The Dreaded 60-Day Deadline
Many FAA request letters give you a 60-day deadline to submit the aviation psychiatry report and any other documents. The same letter often also requires that you have a copy of the FAA medical file sent to your evaluator. The FAA medical file typically takes about ten-to-twelve weeks to produce.
How can I submit a report in 60 days if the FAA can’t produce my record for nearly 90 days?
The truth is, often you cannot meet the obligation.
Your case analyst can only use FAA-approved language in any letter to you, and I have seen the 60-day deadline published in FAA letters for most or all of the 2010s.
In or around 2017, there was a heightened screening requirement placed on the FAA’s medical records division before a file can be produced. A records request to the FAA must be screened for compliance to applicable medical records laws. The file must also be processed as a Freedom of Information Act request.
This means that there is an extra burden on the medical records division that has not yet been reconciled with the language of the 60-day filing deadline.
So, what do I do?
If you want to pursue or keep an FAA medical certificate, you should try to meet all the evaluation and document requests placed into your letter, even if you may not be able to hit the 60-day deadline. It helps to keep the FAA informed of your progress, such as the time and date of your aviation psychiatric appointment.
If you can’t get everything filed on time, the FAA may give you an extension to complete your file. I am not involved in the FAA’s decision, but it seems that most of the time the agency will grant the request.
If you’ve already had an extension, you usually cannot get a second one. There may be some other scenarios where an extension does not apply but you should always call and ask if you need more time.
You can call this number and ask for an extension: (405) 954-4821
You should not ask for an extension until the last possible regular workday before your deadline expires. Most extensions are for thirty days, and they start on the day you ASK for an extension, and the days are not added to the current deadline.
My observation over is that the FAA will continue to process your file even if the 60-day window, or any extension, has lapsed. I have never seen a case closed by the FAA when the agency knew that the pilot was working to submit a complete file.
Am I legal to fly if I miss the filing deadline?
If you currently have an FAA medical certificate, missing the deadline may have implications about your ability to continue operating an aircraft. Only the FAA or your AME can give you direct advice about if you are legal to keep flying past a deadline.