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FAA Examinations – Recreational Pilots

Wednesday, September 6, 2017   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Adrienne J. Hersh, JD
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FAA Examinations – Recreational Pilots


The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) recently issued a new rule – the “BasicMed” rule -- that allows general aviation (non-commercial) pilots to fly without holding an FAA medical certificate, as long as they meet certain requirements.  Until now, the FAA has required private, recreational, and student pilots, as well as flight instructors, to file the same medical certificate as a commercial pilot, including a physical examination with an FAA-designated Aviation Medical Examiner.  Since May 1, pilots may follow the BasicMed rule or opt to continue to use their FAA medical certificate. Under BasicMed, a pilot will be required to complete a medical education course, undergo a medical examination every four years with a state-licensed physician, using the Comprehensive Medical Examination Checklist, and comply with aircraft and operating restrictions. 


On first review, it appears that doctors of chiropractic, as state-licensed physicians in Illinois, should be able to perform and sign off on these exams, and some D.C.s and chiropractic attorneys are under that impression.  However, a little-known subsection of the rule requires the physician to discuss all prescription and nonprescription drugs the individual reports taking and their potential to interfere with the safe operation of an aircraft or motor vehicle.  Because it is not within scope in Illinois for chiropractic physicians to advise or make recommendations to patients about prescription drugs, Illinois D.C.s unfortunately do not meet the requirement of the FAA rule.  We will monitor this rule to stay informed if any changes occur.  


The Comprehensive Medical Examination Checklist may be found at: 

The FAA Advisory Circular containing applicable rules, including the rule regarding medications, may be found at:


Note: This FAQ is an excerpt from the article National Association of Chiropractic Attorneys Meeting June 2017: Online Reviews; FAA Exams; Service Animals in the Office by Adrienne Hersh, JD.


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