The FAA and the Department of Transportation have taken the unprecedented step of formally suspending enforcement action against required pilot flight crew members if their medical certificate expires between March 31, which is next Tuesday, and June 30, 2020. (Why it starts on Tuesday and not immediately, we cannot say. except as one commenter pointed out, March medical certificates expire on the last day of the month, so it’s the same effect).
The FAA’s logic in issuing the order is predictable for the most part. “It is not in the public interest,” the order states, “at this time to maintain the requirement of an FAA medical examination, which is a nonemergency medical service, in order for pilots and flight engineers with expiring medical certificates to obtain new medical certificates. This is because of the burden that COVID-19 places on the U.S. healthcare system, and because these aviation medical examinations increase the risk of transmission of the virus through personal contact between the physician and the applicant for an airman medical certificate.”
The FAA went on to say that it was following both Center For Disease Control guidance along with President Trump and the Coronavirus Task Force’s declaration of a nationwide effort to keep infections from peaking too fast at once. The “15 Days To Slow The Spread” effort calls for the implementation of social distancing wherever possible.
As with all FAA guidance and legal documents in general, the details are a little dense. To see how this might affect you, please check out the text of the actual order.