Q. What is the difference among 1st, 2nd &
3rd class exams?
It is the same exam; it is only the standards to
which you are held. Additionally, a 1st class exam requires an electrocardiogram every 12
months. FAA Medical Standards link: http://www.faa.gov/about/office_org/headquarters_offices/avs/offices/aam/ame/guide/standards/
Q. What is a student pilot medical certificate?
This certificate is a regular FAA Medical
Certificate on one side and a temporary pilot certificate on the reverse side. Your flight
instructor will sign you off on this form as you progress. This certificate must be
carried with you when flying. After you finish your training and obtain your regular pilot’s
license, the Medical Certificate side is still valid until it’s normal expiration date.
The student pilot license side expires 2 years after issuance. You cannot obtain the
student certificate until your 16th birthday – you can of course start your training
before this time, and will need to obtain the student medical before solo flight, which is
also not permitted until your 16th birthday. The student medical certificate can be issued
as a 1st, 2nd or 3rd class. If your goal is to solo on your 16th birthday, call me so we
can make special arrangement to be available for your exam that day.
Q. What is the duration of the FAA Medical Certificate?
Under Age 40: 12 months for use as a 1st class
Age 40 and older: 6 months for use as 1st class
12 months for use as 2nd class, regardless of age.
Under 40 years old: 5 years
Age 40 and older: 2 years
* 1st & 2nd class certificates incrementally degrade over time to the next lower
class. E.g. 1st class becomes a 2nd class after 6 months for pilots 40 years or older and
then becomes a 3rd class after total of 12 months since issue.
All certificates are valid until the last day of the month in which they were issued. E.g.
Certificates issued 03 August are valid until 31 August in two or five years as dictated
by the age 40 rule.
Some Special Issuance certificates are valid only for a specified time, such as six months
or one year due to desire to have closer follow-up on the medical condition requiring
special issuance. These certificates will be labeled with a restriction such as “Not
valid for any class after 31 August 2010”
Q. What is involved in the exam?
It is a simple physical exam that includes visual
acuity testing; the only lab is a urine test for sugar or protein. First class exams once
at age 35 and every 12 months after age 40 require an electrocardiogram (EKG).
Q. How long does the exam take?
Most exams take about 30 minutes or less from the
time you walk into the office. If you have a history of stroke, heart attack, cancer or
major medical problems we often must solicit additional studies and records of past
medical care that add very little time to our initial office visit but can result in delay
issuing your ticket due to a need for specialty board review process at the Regional or
National level and some continuing correspondence with the Aeromedical Certification
Division. (A process called Special Issuance). If you have a known medical condition that
may require some additional information, please call our office for further guidance. If
you get the answering service, they will not be able to adequately answer your questions.
Do not hesitate to call my Cell 805 312-4269 if you have questions about a medical
condition that may require additional studies or consultations.
Q. What is Special Issuance?
This is a process required for clearance of
certain medical conditions such as Heart disease, stroke and several other conditions. It
requires we gather hospital records, current evaluations by appropriate specialists and
may require certain labs and studies / procedures such as CT scans, Lab studies, Cardiac
stress tests, etc. This database is then forwarded to the appropriate Medical Specialty
Board within the FAA for review and decision. Your FAA Medical Certificate is then issued
by the Regional Flight Surgeon for West Pacific Region or the FAA Aeromedical
Certification Division at the FAA’s main medical center in Oklahoma City. The FAA has
been streamlining this process and waiting times for decisions are now greatly reduced;
some decisions and the ability to issue at my level, from my office, are now allowed for
many conditions. A helpful link to answer your questions about various medical conditions,
and the FAA position on certification:
Q. How much does an exam cost at my office?
1st, 2nd & 3rd class
(Spirometry and chest x-rays done at local hospital at your expense if required)
Hanger talk - Obtain forms, advise,
Referrals or just sit and talk about aviation
medical concerns, flying, or
swapping war stories.
[Office accepts checks, cash, credit cards & IOUs]
Q. What about medications
Unauthorized: Generally, any medication that has a significant mind
altering potential to include sedation, euphoria, interference with balance or ability to
make one more vulnerable to vertigo. This would include, categorically, all narcotic pain
medicines, many antidepressants, antianxiety, antipsychotic, some antihistamine
medications and some medications for gastrointestinal disease.
Authorized: Most medications for hypertension, diabetes, asthma, heart disease,
dermatologic conditions, eye problems, arthritis, pulmonary disease, anticoagulants, most
antibiotics and hormone therapeutics.
Considerations: The underlying disease or acute illness for which the medications are
taken may be more the limiting issue than the medication.
Recommend: Since the above are just broad, nonspecific guidelines, please check with an
FAA Medical examiner to ensure a medicine you are prescribed or entertain buying over the
counter is approved. Some will be absolutely unauthorized others may only require a time
interval between ingestion and flight. Some may pose an adverse interaction with an
approved medication you are already taking. Do not hesitate to call or Email me with
specific questions about medications.
Office 805 987-0516
Cell 805 312-4269
Q. Where can I find assistance in preparing for my FAA Medical Exam?
There are two excellent programs now available:
FAA’s MedXpress program.
After registration, this allows you to complete your application for airman medical
certificate on line, saving you time at the exam office. After you complete this on line
form you will be given a confirmation number – just take this number to your FAA Medical
Examiner’s office and he can download the completed form. You will then have the
opportunity to change items previously entered as you wish. It will also facilitate future
exams, as the previously submitted information will be there for your submission unchanged
or with necessary updates. This on-line form is valid for 60 days, if you do not obtain
your flight physical exam in the 60 day time frame, you must re-register.
is a helpful guide in completing your application offered by the AOPA on their web site.
This is an excellent program that gives you a practice run in filling out the application,
complete with prompts and helpful guidance. You must be as AOPA member to use this
service. The TurboMedical form you complete on line is not directly transmitted to the
FAA, as is MedXpress, but you can bring the completed form to the AME office. This will
preclude having to fill out another form at the office.
Q. What medical certification issues exist for the sport pilot
This category does not require an FAA medical
certificate. You must only possess a valid driver’s license and self certify you are not
impaired for flight activity.
There is one caveat. If you have applied for a regular FAA Medical
Certificate and failed or are disqualified temporarily over some matter, you cannot self
certify for flight in sport category aircraft with your driver’s license until the
disqualifying issues are favorably resolved with the FAA AeroMedical Certification
Division in Oklahoma City.
Q. What if I have only one eye, am color blind, have had amputations
of arms/legs or have impaired hearing etc…?
If otherwise healthy and you pass other elements
of the exam, you may well be certified. You must demonstrate, in a practical test given by
a flight examiner, that you can perform the necessary procedures in the flight/airport
environment. You will then be given a “Statement of Demonstrated Ability” known as a
“SODA”, authorizing you to act as pilot in command.
Q. What if I incurred a DUI or was in a motor vehicle accident
associated with a DUI. How do I report this and stay in good grace with the FAA?
There is a protocol for reporting the offense and
it must be reported on your next FAA physical or within 60 days, which ever comes first.
See this link for the full protocol. http://www.faa.gov/about/office_org/headquarters_offices/ash/ash_programs/investigations/airmen_duidwi/
Q. What if I have one of the 15 listed disqualifying conditions?
You may be certified for many of these conditions
through the process of “Special Issuance” as long as the requested consultations /
studies are approved by the FAA’s Medical Specialty Board.
list of disqualifying conditions:
discussion of various medical conditions: