This has been a subject of debate recently. §61.23 states that you can use BasicMed to apply for some certificates or ratings but limits this to gliders, practical examination in a simulator or flight training device and balloon categories. For other ratings, unless you were a former pilot with the armed forces and applying for a conversion of your military ratings, you must present at least a valid third class medical certificate to a pilot examiner when applying for a rating.

I talked with the FAA Medical Certification Division and they seemed to think one could apply for a airman certificate using only BasicMed. does anyone out there know if Pilot Examiners in the field are accepting BasicMed with a valid driver’s license from checkride applicants?


2 Answers 2


I think you may be confusing Basic Med with No Medical At All, some operations do not require any sort of medical exam

(b)Operations not requiring a medical certificate. A person is not required to hold a medical certificate -

(1) When exercising the privileges of a student pilot certificate while seeking -

(i) A sport pilot certificate with glider or balloon privileges; or

(ii) A pilot certificate with a glider category rating or balloon class rating;


(8) When taking a practical test or a proficiency check for a certificate, rating, authorization or operating privilege conducted in a glider, balloon, flight simulator, or flight training device; or

Basic med can be accepted if you comply with the Basic Med regulations. However you need at least one valid medical (that can be expired) to be eligible for basic med, since a Class III medical is valid for 5 years (under the age of 40) its more than likely your training will be accomplished before it expires and thus you will have a valid medical when you sit for your check ride.

The FAA address this in this Q/A document

Q17: Do student pilots need to hold a medical certificate when they go for their private pilot checkride?

A: Individuals who are new to aviation will need to get one medical certificate if they want to fly under BasicMed. After that, they can fly under BasicMed forever, as long as they fly a BasicMed-compliant aircraft and never fly for compensation or hire. Most student pilots will still hold their first medical certificate when they apply for their private pilot certificate.

To trace the legislation exactly:

As you note for some student pilot operations as per 61.23

(c)Operations requiring either a medical certificate or U.S. driver's license.


(v) Exercising the privileges of a student, recreational or private pilot certificate if the flight is conducted under the conditions and limitations set forth in §61.113(i); or

This would potentially allow it but sends you over to 61.113(i) for more info

61.113 Private pilot privileges and limitations: Pilot in command.


(i) A private pilot may act as pilot in command of an aircraft without holding a medical certificate issued under part 67 of this chapter provided the pilot holds a valid U.S. driver's license, meets the requirements of §61.23(c)(3), and complies with this section and all of the following conditions and limitations:

which just bounces you right back to §61.23(c)(3) one section down from where we were earlier


(3) A person using a U.S. driver's license to meet the requirements of paragraph (c) while operating under the conditions and limitations of § 61.113(i) must meet the following requirements -

(i) The person must -

(A) Comply with all medical requirements or restrictions associated with his or her U.S. driver's license;

(B) At any point after July 14, 2006, have held a medical certificate issued under part 67 of this chapter;

So at some point you will need to get at least one medical. Most students do this along with either student pilot certificate (allowing them to fly solo) furthermore most complete their training within 5 years of that date although there are other cases. For example, you started your training in early 2006, got you class III medical/student pilot on July 15th of 2006 which is good for 5 years. Life gets in the way and you stop training for a while. Your medical expires in 2011 but you now decide to get back into the left seat. Since you never lost your medical and once held a valid medical you are legal to fly and train under basic med (and even sit for a check ride).


Yes, you can use BasicMed in place of a third class medical. When BasicMed was introduced, the FAA updated 61.23 (I've bolded the new text):

(3) Must hold at least a third-class medical certificate—


(iii) When taking a practical test in an aircraft for a recreational pilot, private pilot, commercial pilot, or airline transport pilot certificate, or for a flight instructor certificate, except when operating under the conditions and limitations set forth in §61.113(i); or

61.113(i) states the BasicMed limitations.

On the other hand, if you check the FAA's checkride guidance to examiners (e.g. for an ATP), it says:

At the time of application for an ATP practical test, the applicant must hold at least a current third-class medical certificate.

So, the regulations say BasicMed is fine, but the examiner guidance says it isn't; the obvious explanation is simply that the FAA hasn't updated every document affected by BasicMed. The regulation itself is clear and takes precedence over a guidance document anyway.

If a DPE did question using BasicMed for a checkride instead of a third-class medical, I think an appropriate response would be to show them the current version of 61.23 and ask them to clarify.

  • $\begingroup$ BasicMed doesn't apply to ATP, so there seems nothing wrong with that guidance for DPE's $\endgroup$
    – TomMcW
    Mar 29, 2018 at 22:32
  • $\begingroup$ @TomMcW True, but this question is about which medical you need to take a checkride, not which one you need to exercise privileges. "Which class of medical is required for a checkride?" is a classic written and oral test question. With BasicMed, the answer got a bit more complicated. $\endgroup$
    – Pondlife
    Mar 29, 2018 at 23:17
  • $\begingroup$ I guess if you've always been allowed to take an ATP checkride with a third class then you should be able to use BM. Not sure why you'd want to since you couldn't actually use the ATP with them. $\endgroup$
    – TomMcW
    Mar 29, 2018 at 23:22
  • $\begingroup$ @TomMcW Some folks add ratings they never intend to use for novelty, to lower their insurance rate or to avoid a BFR. $\endgroup$
    – StephenS
    Jul 25, 2019 at 21:42

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