Medicals for Pilots

Find out what medicals you'll need to become an airline pilot

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Why do I need a medical to become a pilot?

This is a common question asked by those starting on their journey to becoming either a private pilot, commercial or airline pilot.

Whilst there are differences in the class of medical ie. how stringent the requirements are and the cost and the length of time they are valid – they are all there for the same basic reason:

To make sure you are safe both physiologically and psychologically to fly an aircraft without being a danger to either yourself, your passengers or the public on the ground.

What type of pilot medical do I need?

The kind of medical you’ll need depends on which licence type you want to train for. Please see the table below for details on which type of medical you’ll need for each licence type.

License Type Minimum level of medical certificate required
CPL, MPL and ATPL Class 1 medical certificate
PPL Class 2 medical certificate
(If you hold a PPL with an instrument rating, you will need to undertake a pure tone audiometry test to the same requirements and frequency as for a Class 1 medical)
LAPL Class 2 medical certificate

Acronyms:

ATPL: Airline Transport Pilot’s Licence
CPL: Commercial Pilot’s Licence
MPL: Multi-Crew Pilot’s Licence
LAPL: Light Aircraft Pilot’s Licence
UK CAA: United Kingdom Civil Aviation Authority
AME: Aero Medical Examiner
AeMC: Aeromedical Centre

Please check out our how to become an airline pilot page, to find out about the different licences and which one you will need.

If you are aiming to achieve either your CPL or ATPL because you want to become a professional pilot, we would highly recommend you obtain your Class 1 medical first, to avoid possible disappointment later in your training.

How do I get my United Kingdom Civil Aviation Authority medical?

In the UK the UK-CAA is the organisation in charge of pilot medicals. Once you have worked out which type of medical you need, then you’ll need to make an appointment with either an AME or your GP (for LAPL) only.

The UK-CAA have made a handy flow diagram to help with the decision process.

You can see the document below (from the UK-CAA website).

>> See which medical you need

Where can I get my initial Class 1 medical?

For your first Class 1 medical certificate you will need to attend one of the centres listed below (these details should be checked on the UK-CAA website and are here for your reference only).

Subsequent medicals can be conducted by an AME in a location more suitable to you.

Name Address Contact Details
Birmingham AeMC Birmingham Aeromedical Centre
Rooms 18, 19 & 22 Forward House
Cargo Terminal
Birmingham International Airport
B26 3QT
0121 781 0199
www.aeromedicalconsulting.co.uk
admin@aeromedicalconsulting.co.uk
London AeMC 22 Upper Wimpole Street,
London.
W1G 6NB
01293 775336
www.centrelineaviationmedicalservices.co.uk
reception@amsgatwick.com
Heathrow Medical Services LLP Weekly House,
Padbury Oaks,
583 Bath Road,
Longford, Middlesex.
UB7 0EH
www.heathrowmedical.com
medicals@heathrowmedical.com

What’s involved in the Class 1 medical process?

It is best to arrive a little early to give yourself enough time to settle yourself. Some people suffer from white coat syndrome meaning you feel a slight anxiety when having to deal with doctors or other medical professionals, and when you feel your whole new hobby or career is hanging in the balance it is normal to feel a little anxious!

Please don’t worry the staff and doctors at your chosen centre will make you feel at ease and are not trying to catch you out, they are just trying to make sure you are safe to become a pilot.

Please see below (taken from the UK CAA website):

What should you take with you?

If you wear glasses or contact lenses you must bring your most recent optician’s report along to the examination.

Your AeMC will be able to help you with any additional individual preparations you need to make before your appointment.

What should you expect at your examination?

You will need to complete the medical certificate application form. This is a signed declaration containing the following:

  • Facts about your medical history.
  • Whether you have had a medical examination before, by whom and the result.
  • Whether you have ever been assessed as unfit or had a medical certificate. You may be asked to complete the form in advance of your appointment.

A medical examination at an AeMC may take up to 4 hours. The examination will include the following:

  • Medical history
  • Eyesight
  • Physical examination
  • Electrocardiogram (ECG)
  • Lung function test
  • Haemoglobin blood test
  • Urine test

Certificate issue

A medical certificate can be issued on the same day as the examination if all of the requirements are met.

However, if the requirements are not met or further investigations are necessary, then a decision on your fitness for a medical certificate will take longer.

Validity period

A Class 1 medical certificate is valid for 12 months,

unless you are 40 or over and carry out single pilot commercial air transport operations carrying passengers;
or you are over 60.

In both of these cases, it is 6 months.

Where can I get my initial Class 2 medical?

For a Class 2 medical suitable for a pilot wishing to obtain a PPL only, you can make an appointment with a local AME. The UK CAA has a list of such AME’s which can be found here.

>> List of AMEs

What’s involved in the Class 2 medical process?

The information below is taken from the UK CAA’s website and is for reference only. Please check the CAA website for the most up to date information:

Medical history

If you are aware of any personal or family medical history, you should mention it when you book your AME appointment. Your AME will then be able to tell you whether you will need to bring along any additional information or reports to the appointment.

What should you take to your AME appointment?

If you wear glasses or contact lenses you will need to take them and your most recent optician’s report along to the examination.

You will be asked to provide a sample of urine, so ideally you should arrive at the examination with a full bladder.

Your AME will be able to help you with any additional individual preparations you need to make before your appointment.

What should you expect at your examination?

At the examination you will need to complete the medical certificate application form. This is a signed declaration containing the following:

  • Facts about your medical history, including family history.
  • Whether you have had a medical examination before, by whom and the result.
  • Whether you have ever been assessed as unfit or had a medical certificate suspended or revoked.

Your AME may ask you to complete the form in advance of your appointment.

A medical examination with an AME may take several hours. The examination will include some or all of the following:

  • Medical history
  • Eyesight
  • Physical examination
  • Hearing
  • Electrocardiogram (ECG)
  • Lung function test
  • Urine test

Certificate issue

A medical certificate can be issued by your AME on the same day as the examination if all the requirements are met. If the requirements are not met or further investigations are necessary, then a decision on your fitness for a medical certificate will take longer.

Validity period

How long a Class 2 medical certificate is valid for depends on what age you are when you are examined.

If you are under 40, the certificate will be valid for 60 months. Please note that if you are issued with a class 2 medical before you reach 40, it will no longer be valid once you reach 42 years of age.

If you are aged between 40 and 50 the certificate will be valid for 24 months. Please note that if you are issued with a class 2 medical before you reach 50, it will no longer be valid once you reach 51 years of age.

If you are aged 50 or over the certificate will be valid for 12 months.

How long does a pilot medical last?

Please see the table below from the UK CAA for full details on how long each medical lasts.

>> UK CAA Medical Validity Table

How much does a UK pilot medical cost?

The cost of medicals is set by the UK CAA.

For up-to-date prices please contact your local AME if seeking a Class 2 medical, or one of the listed AeMC’s if it’s your initial Class 1 medical.

For an initial Class 1 medical, the approximate cost is £620.
With a renewal costing £186 + an ECG (if required) + Audiogram (if required).

For an initial Class 2 medical, the approximate cost is £225.
With a renewal costing £165 + ECG (if required).

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