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Medical Certificate

Medical Certificate Information
From FAA Website (As of August 9, 2011)

 What is a medical certificate?
Under Title 14 of the Code of Federal Regulations (14 CFR) Part 1, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) defines a medical certificate as “acceptable evidence of physical fitness on a form prescribed by the Administrator.” The primary goal of the airman medical certification program is to protect not only those who would exercise the privileges of a pilot certificate but also air travelers and the general public.

A person who meets FAA airmen medical standards, based on a medical examination and an evaluation of medical history, is entitled to a medical certificate without restriction or limitation other than the prescribed limitation as to its duration. Individuals required to hold a medical certificate must have it in their personal possession at all times when exercising the privileges for which they are licensed. 

 What does it cost to get a medical certificate?
The FAA does not set fees for the performance of the medical exam and issuance of the medical certificate. Aviation Medical Examiners are allowed to charge the applicant appropriately, as long as it is not more than the usual fee for similar examinations for other purposes. If you are concerned about the cost of the exam, please discuss this with the doctor you are thinking about seeing. The FAA has no additional fees above what the physician charges. 

 What medical conditions does the FAA consider disqualifying?
The following conditions are listed in the regulations as disqualifying medical conditions; however, in many cases when the condition is adequately controlled, the FAA will issue medical certification contingent on periodic reports;

  • Angina pectoris 
  • Bipolar disease 
  • Cardiac valve replacement 
  • Coronary heart disease that has been treated or, if untreated, that has been symptomatic or clinically significant 
  • Diabetes mellitus requiring hypoglycemic medications 
  • Disturbance of consciousness without satisfactory explanation of cause 
  • Epilepsy 
  • Heart replacement 
  • Myocardial infarction 
  • Permanent cardiac pacemaker 
  • Personality disorder that is severe enough to have repeatedly manifested itself by overt acts 
  • Psychosis 
  • Substance abuse 
  • Substance dependence 
  • Transient loss of control of nervous system function(s) without satisfactory explanation of cause. 

Other conditions not specifically listed in the regulations are also disqualifying. For further information refer to the Guide for Aviation Medical Examiners. 

What medical standards must I meet in order to qualify for a medical certificate?
The medical standards for each class of medical certificate are set forth in 14 CFR Part 67.  Go to the FAA website to find out more.

Who must hold a Medical Certificate?
Any person exercising the privileges of any of the following certificates: airline transport pilot certificate, commercial pilot certificate, private pilot certificate, recreational pilot certificate, flight instructor certificate (when acting as pilot in command if serving as a required pilot flight crewmember), flight engineer certificate, flight navigator certificate, or student pilot certificate. Except for a person employed by the FAA, a branch of the military services or the Coast Guard, a person acting as an air traffic control tower operator also must hold a medical certificate. 

What class of medical certificate must I hold and how long is it valid?

  • A first-class airman medical certificate is required to exercise the privileges of an airline transport pilot certificate.

A first class medical certificate is valid for the remainder of the month of issue; plus

    • 6 calendar months for operations requiring a first class medical certificate if the airman is age 40 or over on or before the date of the examination, or
    • 12-calendar months for operations requiring a first-class medical certificate if the airman has not reached age 40 on or before the date of examination, or
    • 12 calendar months for operations requiring a second class medical certificate, or
    • 24 calendar months for operations requiring a third class medical certificate if the airman is age 40 or over on or before the date of the examination, or
    • 60 calendar months for operations requiring a third class medical certificate if the airman has not reached age 40 on or before the date of examination. *
  • A second-class airman medical certificate is required for commercial, non-airline duties (e.g., for crop dusters, corporate pilots) and is valid for 1 year plus the remainder of the days in the month of examination. Those exercising the privileges of a flight engineer certificate, a flight navigator certificate, or acting as air traffic control tower operator must hold a second-class airman medical certificate.

A second class medical certificate is valid for the remainder of the month of issue; plus

    • 12 calendar months for operations requiring a second class medical certificate, or
    • 24 calendar months for operations requiring a third class medical certificate, if the airman is age 40 or over on or before the date of the examination, or
    • 60 calendar months for operations requiring a third class medical certificate if the airman has not reached age 40 on or before the date of examination. *
  • A third-class airman medical certificate is required to exercise the privileges of a private pilot certificate, recreational pilot certificate, a flight instructor certificate, or a student pilot certificate.

A third-class medical certificate is valid for the remainder of the month of issue; plus

    • 24 calendar months for operations requiring a third class medical certificate, if the airman is age 40 or over on or before the date of the examination, or
    • 60 calendar months for operations requiring a third class medical certificate if the airman has not reached age 40 on or before the date of examination. *