Medical reforms have been passed by both the House and Senate and signed into law by President Obama on July 15, 2016.

According to AOPA,  an extension  keeps the FAA regulations in place through September 2017, but the medical reforms are permanent, and the FAA now has one year to develop and enact rules that align with the reforms. Pilots will not be allowed to fly under the reforms until the FAA has completed its rule-making or the one-year time limit has elapsed, whichever comes first.

AOPA also states that under the reforms, pilots who have held a valid medical certificate any time in the decade prior to July 15, 2016 may not need to take another FAA medical exam. The 10-year lookback period applies to both regular and special issuance medicals. Pilots whose most recent medical certificate was revoked, suspended, withdrawn, or had his or her most recent application for a medical certificate denied will need to obtain a new medical certificate (regular or special issuance) before they can operate under the reforms. Individuals who have never held an FAA issued medical certificate, such as new student pilots, will need to go obtain an FAA issued medical certificate (regular or special issuance) one time only.

Pilots who follow the necessary steps can fly in aircraft weighing up to 6,000 lbs. gross takeoff weight, with up to six seats and carrying up to five passengers. They can fly day or night, VFR or IFR, at speeds up to 250 kts and at altitudes up to 18,000 feet msl.

After meeting the initial requirements to fly under the reforms, pilots will need to visit a state-licensed physician at least once every four years and take the free online medical education course on aeromedical factors every two years. The course will be available for free on AOPA’s website.

For full information and helpful links click on this LINK to the AOPA website.