Lets say I'm a 35 year old pilot who just had a medical renewed so that it doesn't expire until 2021. 3rd class medical reform (although not law yet) requires that I visit my regular physician once every 4 years.

When do I need to see my doctor?

  • Anytime prior to the expiration of my 3rd class medical?
  • Do I surrender my 3rd class medical and go to the doctor immediately (after regulations pass of course)?
  • Do I go to my doctor in 2020? 2019?
  • Do I wait until my 3rd class medical expires (or within a month or two)?
  • 4 years after the expiration of my 3rd class medical?

And a bonus question:

  • Does the 4 year clock start ticking when my medical expires, when regulations are enacted, or some other time?

114th Congress Senate Bill 571 - Pilots Bill of Rights 2

  • $\begingroup$ AOPA has a good FAQ on this that has a lot of information, but since the FAA hasn't written the new regulations yet, no one really knows what the details will be. $\endgroup$
    – Pondlife
    Sep 11, 2016 at 20:29

1 Answer 1


The FAA hasn't written the regs yet so who knows. All that has happened is congress has told the FAA to write the refs

Personally I think it's foolish to use your personal doc. You're waving all your HIPPA rights and obligating your personal doc to report anything to the FAA without your consent.


  • $\begingroup$ Law has been passed, the regulations need to be written, so the bill and terms are set out in the bill. Also the doctor doesn't report anything to the FAA, there is no FAA reporting and nothing I've read in the law obligates a doctor to report to the FAA, they would simply not sign off on your log book document. $\endgroup$
    – Ron Beyer
    Sep 11, 2016 at 3:22
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ By the way you should consider moving this "answer" to the comments, it really doesn't answer anything and is more of a commentary on the reform rather than addressing the specific question at hand. $\endgroup$
    – Ron Beyer
    Sep 11, 2016 at 3:26
  • $\begingroup$ The only law that was passed was a directive requiring the FAA to implement the regulation allowing it. The details the op is asking for have not been drafted yet. $\endgroup$
    – user959690
    Sep 11, 2016 at 13:29
  • $\begingroup$ I’ve heard people say that they wouldn’t use their personal physician to do an FAA medical but it never made sense to me. If your personal physician finds something that disqualifies you from flying, then by definition you are breaking the regs if you fly. On the other hand, if your personal physician is also your FAA medical examiner, then they can make sure you aren’t taking any meds that are prohibited by the FAA, alert you to any conditions that, if left untreated will cause problems on your next medical, and in general be better equipped to keep you in the air. $\endgroup$
    – JScarry
    Oct 1, 2016 at 0:49
  • $\begingroup$ Personal physicians in general know nothing about FAA rules so there is no such possibility of a personal physician finding something that disqualifies you from flying unless that physician is also an AME. What was proposed is no different than the LSA rules where you self-certify in combination with your physicians medical recommendations. $\endgroup$ Jan 25, 2021 at 2:44

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