A pilot’s physical and mental well-being, besides their skill and knowledge levels, play an important role in ensuring the safety of his passengers and the civilians on the ground. FAA medical examinations are crucial in determining whether a student should receive his pilot certification, as it accomplishes for pilots what annual inspection does for airplanes.

To accomplish this objective, the AME is designated and trained by the FAA in the United Sates to evaluate whether a pilot is fit to act in that capacity.

Where do I get a FAA medical certificate

An FAA-designated Aviation Medical Examiner (AME) must examine you.

You can locate an AME of your choosing, schedule an appointment, complete an official FAA application form via MedXPress, and undergo a physical examination by an AME. The AME will issue you a FAA medical certificate if you meet the appropriate medical standards.

Is there any minimum or maximum age in obtaining a FAA medical certificate?

There is no minimum of maximum age for obtaining a medical certificate.

Do I need perfect eyesight to pass my FAA medical?

You are not required to have perfect eyesight nor a high level of physical fitness. We recommend that you get your medical certificate before beginning flight training as this will alert you to any medical conditions that would prevent you from becoming a pilot.

What will I be tested for?

You can check out the list of exam items before taking your medical exams.

Medical conditions that will disqualify me from a FAA medical certificate

Some of the medical conditions that will disqualify you are as follows:

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

Types of FAA medical certifications

There are three different classes of FAA medical certificates, each with its own medical standards. The class of medical certificate that each pilot will require will depend on his pilot certification and pilot privileges being exercised at that given time.

First-Class Medical Certificate

  1. Pilot-in-command privileges of an ATP certificate
  2. Second-in-command privileges of an ATP certificate

Second-Class Medical Certificate

  1. Second-in-command privileges of an ATP certificate
  2. Privileges of a commercial pilot certificate

Third-Class Medical Certificate

  1. Privileges of a private pilot certificate
  2. Privileges of a recreational pilot certificate
  3. Privileges of a student pilot certificate
  4. Privileges of a flight instructor certificate and acting as the pilot in command
  5. Privileges of a flight instructor certificate and serving as a required pilot flight crew member
  6. When taking a practical test in an aircraft for a recreational pilot, private pilot, commercial pilot, or airline transport pilot certificate, or for a flight instructor certificate
  7. When performing the duties as an Examiner in an aircraft when administering a practical test or proficiency check for an airman certificate, rating, or authorization.

Which are the pilot certifications that do not require a medical certificate?

You do not need medical certificates for Glider, Balloon, Recreational or Sport Pilot certifications. Recreational and sport pilot certifications require only a U.S. driver’s license, from any state.

A sport pilot certificate does not require a driver’s license nor a medical certificate and is restricted to non-commercial flying in a light sport glider or balloon.

Pilot certifications that do require a FAA medical certificate

Any person exercising the privileges of any of the following certificates must always hold a medical certificate and carry it with them.

  1. Airline transport pilot certificate
  2. Commercial pilot certificate
  3. Private pilot certificate
  4. Recreational pilot certificate
  5. Flight instructor certificate (when acting as pilot in command if serving as a required pilot flight crew member)
  6. Flight engineer certificate
  7. Flight navigator certificate
  8. Student pilot certificate

How long is the FAA medical certificate valid for?

It depends on the age of the pilot on the date of his medical examination and the class of medical certificate obtained.

For example, a pilot under the age of 40 holding a first-class medical certificate will see his ATP privileges expire 12 months after the issuance of his medical certificate. But he is still entitled to exercise the privileges of a recreational or private pilot, for which a third-class medical certificate will suffice, for another 48 months. The first-class medical certification is also the most stringent medical examination.

Another example, a pilot under the age of 40 holding a third-class medical certificate can exercise the privileges of a private pilot for 2 years, but 5 years if that pilot is above the age of 40.

For more information, you can check out this table.

Is the certificate renewable?

No. But you can get a new one by passing the examinations again.

Who can I contact if I need more information?

You can call or email:

Aerospace Medical Certification Division, AAM-300
Federal Aviation Administration
Civil Aerospace Medical Institute
P.O. Box 25082
Oklahoma City, OK 73125
(405) 954-4821

Alternatively, you can always contact Pray Aviation at any point in time and we will be more than happy to answer all your queries.