With much of the nation in lockdown, it is difficult to readjust to the new norms. For instance, a routine annual doctor’s appointment for a physical exam may seem unnerving more than before. Plus, the aviation industry has not come to a complete stop. So what do you do if you are a flight crew member and your medical certificate is set to expire during this trying time?
In the U.S. per the Federal Register 85 FR 26326, the FAA has suspended any enforcement actions related to the expiration of the medical certificates from March 31, 2020 until June 30, 2020. Additionally, a person may serve as a flight engineer if they hold an unexpired second-class (or higher) medical certificate. This policy only applies to holders of an FAA-issued medical certificate serving as a required pilot flight crew member or flight engineer within the U.S.
International operations for Part 135 and Part 121 require some additional steps. The FAA will continue to grant the exemption that extends until June 30, 2020 so pilots may continue to serve in their assigned duty position. However, the employer must submit a Letter of Intent to the FAA (
) that includes the name and airman certificate number of every airman wishing to exercise the relief.
Likewise, foreign-registered license holders have their own exemption protocols. EASA member states are implementing their own set of conditions for the exemptions within each country. For example, the UK has set the extension of their license holders to be November 22, 2020. Whereas in France the certificates are extended by 4 months from expiration or until November 30, 2020, whichever is shorter.
The Civil Aviation Authorities for international destinations have regulatory discretion on accepting the provisions set forth by the various nations. There is no written confirmation of acceptance, so these temporary guidelines may have varying effects when obtaining overflight/landing permits and being subjected to SAFA checks. Our international trip support team will be able to coordinate with the local agents and provide the most up-to-date information, making the process as seamless as possible!
As a reminder, the expiration dates on the medical certificates will still remain in effect and it is encouraged to accomplish regularly required exams if possible. Any airman wishing to utilize the exemption should carry a copy of the exemption reference and required documentation. Also note flight crew members are still prohibited from operating during a known medical deficiency as outlined in 14 CFR 61.53.