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3 CLASSES OF MEDICAL CERTIFICATES

Medical Certificate durations and privileges can be confusing for some pilots.


Here's what you need to know.


WHY DO I NEED A MEDICAL CERTIFICATE?

Medical Certificates are required for certain piloting operations (which will be covered in more detail below). While it is not mandatory to receive your Medical Certificate before beginning your flight training, it IS mandatory to have this certificate prior to conducting any solo flight operations (flying without your instructor in the cockpit with you). However, we suggest all students receive their Medical prior to beginning ANY flight training. The last thing you want to do is get excited about the prospect of becoming a pilot or spending a bunch of money on flight training just to find out that you are unable to continue due to an existing or past medical condition.


HOW CAN I OBTAIN MY MEDICAL CERTIFICATE?

Medical Certificates are essentially a health physical. They are used to ensure you are in proper health condition to safely operate an aircraft. In order to obtain one, you must contact an AME (Aviation Medical Examiner) and schedule your appointment.


A list of approved AME's can be found near you by clicking this link >


CLASSES OF MEDICAL CERTIFICATES

There are 3 classes of Medical Certificates: First Class, Second Class, and Third Class. When you contact your AME, they will ask you which class you are applying for. Selecting the class you need will depend on the type of flight operations you would like to perform. Read the information on the specific classes below to ensure you select the class that best suits your flying desires.


FIRST CLASS MEDICAL

Privileges: For those pilots that desire to exercise the privileges of their ATP (Airline Transport Pilot) License.


Durations: If you are over the age of 40, the Medical Certificate Privileges are valid for 6 Calendar Months. If you are under the age of 40, the Medical Certificate Privileges are valid for 12 Calendar Months.


SECOND CLASS MEDICAL

Privileges: For those pilots that desire to exercise the privileges of their Commercial Pilot License.


Durations: Second Class Medical Privileges are valid for 12 Calendar Months regardless of the pilot's age.


THIRD CLASS MEDICAL

Privileges: For those pilots or student pilots that wish to: solo an aircraft, take a checkride, or exercise the privileges of their Private Pilot License.


Durations: If you are over the age of 40, the Medical Certificate Privileges are valid for 24 Calendar Months. If you are under the age of 40, the Medical Certificate Privileges are valid for 60 Calendar Months.


THE TRICKY PART

Now to throw you for a loop. If you are over 40 years old, your Medical Certificate is valid for 24 Calendar Months regardless of which class of Medical you hold (First, Second, or Third).


If you are under 40 years old, your Medical Certificate is valid for 60 Calendar Months regardless of which class of Medical you hold (First, Second, or Third).


Uhhhh... what?


What we mean is, Medical Certificate Privileges will degrade as time passes, but the Class of Medical does NOT degrade.


Take the following example:

A 42 year old pilot obtains a First Class Medical Certificate.


6 months later this pilot with still have a First Class Medical Certificate but will now have Second Class Privileges.


12 months after the pilot initially received his/her First Class Medical Certificate, he/she will still have a First Class Medical Certificate but will now only be able to exercise Third Class Privileges.


In short, Privileges will degrade as time passes but Class does not.


Author - Nate Hodell

CFI/CFII/MEI/ATP - Creator of wifiCFI - Owner of Axiom Aviation Flight School.


This information is included in the Certificates and Documents Lessons on wifiCFI. Sign up today to watch videos, listen to podcasts, take lesson quizzes, join live webinars, print lesson quicktakes, and more by clicking this link >


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