BasicMed Finds First International Destination in the Bahamas

Pilots flying under the FAA’s new medical certification rules are now cleared for an island vacation.

The Bahamas is fittingly the first international destination that accepts pilots flying under the FAA's BasicMed certification.Pixabay

While the 2017 Grand Bahama Island Air Show is in the books, it doesn't mean you can't load up your plane and head down to the Bahamas for a tropical getaway. And now, that especially includes pilots enrolled in BasicMed, as the AOPA recently announced that the Bahamas has become the first international destination that accepts pilots flying under the FAA's new medical certification.

"This is a huge win for the thousands of BasicMed pilots and we can't thank the Bahamas Civil Aviation Authority enough for their work and leadership," said AOPA President Mark Baker. While AOPA is still working with officials in Canada and Mexico to open their borders and airspace for BasicMed pilots, the deal with the Bahamas is significant, as more than 30 percent of international GA flights land in the islands each year.

BasicMed was rolled out on May 1, after the FAA released an official BasicMed Comprehensive Medical Examination Checklist that allowed GA pilots to determine if they qualify to fly without holding an FAA medical certificate. Thus far, pilot response to BasicMed has been positive, as more than 5,000 pilots have already enrolled, while AOPA believes the program will ultimately affect hundreds of thousands of pilots, including many who stopped flying because of concerns over their medical certificates.

To qualify for BasicMed, pilots must first have their physicians fill out the FAA checklist, and then they can complete the free AOPA online medical course. The completed exam checklist and the certificate of completion from the course must be kept with the pilot's logbook. For more on BasicMed, check out our in-depth look from the April issue of Flying.