Types of Aviation Medical Certificates

Types of Aviation Medical Certificates


An aviation medical certificate is a medical certificate intended for pilots. Most pilots, with the exception of sports certificate, recreation, or balloon pilots, are required to have an aviation medical certificate. Aviation medical exams are conducted in order to determine if a pilot is fit enough to obtain an aviation medical certificate.

Aviation medical certificates are often used to prove that a pilot’s mental and physical health are stable enough as required. Doctors or medical examiners designated by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) are usually given the right to issue aviation medical certificates to a pilot after further examination of his/her medical exam results.

Medical exams for pilots are done on a regular basis and usually involve physical examination including eye examination, hearing tests and other required tests depending on the medical examiner.

Importance of Aviation Medical Certificates

Aviation medical certificates are provided to pilots after a thorough examination of a pilot’s present health status, and medical history. An aviation medical certificate is endorsed to certify that a pilot has been examined and is considered to be physically and mentally fit to operate or pilot an aircraft.

Upon receiving the aviation medical certificate, pilots are required to carry the certificate with them every time they fly or operate an aircraft. However, aviation medical certificates are not required for some pilots such as sport pilots, balloon pilots, glider pilots, ground instructors, check ride examiners, etc.

There are three types or classes of aviation medical certificates examples issued depending on pilot duties or privilege, namely first class, second class, and third class medical certificates.

First Class Medical Certificate

First class or class 1 aviation medical certificate is a requirement for pilots involved in airline transportation or commercial aviation. Airline transport pilots must undergo and pass the medical examination in order to obtain a first class medical certificate. First class medical certificates  examples are valid for a period of twelve (12) months for pilots under 40 years of age, or six (6) months for pilots age 40 or older.

Second Class Medical Certificate

Second class or class 2 aviation medical certificate is required for pilots exercising their privilege in general aviation. Pilots of general aviation often fly as a hobby and is not involved in commercial aviation. Second class aviation medical certificate is also a requirement for flight engineers, flight navigators, and air traffic controllers. Second class aviation medical certificates  examples have a validity period of twelve (12) months from procurement.

Third Class Medical Certificate

Third class of class 3 aviation medical certificate is a requirement for flight instructors acting as pilot in command, student pilots, recreational pilots, and private pilots. Third class aviation medical modern certificates are valid for twenty-four (24) months for pilots age 40 years or older, or sixty (60) months for pilots under 40 years of age.

Upon expiration, pilots may apply for a re-validation (medical exam taken on the date of expiration or 45 days before), or a renewal (medical exam taken after expiration date).