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The FAA Medical Exam: Common Questions

If you’re considering a career in aviation, you’ll need to obtain an FAA Medical Certificate to ensure you’re fit to fly. Here are some answers to common questions about the medical exam.

How do I find an Aviation Medical Examiner?

Aviation medical examiners (AMEs) are typically medical doctors that are also certified by the FAA to give aviation medical exams to pilots. You can find one by searching the FAA database of examiners on the FAA’s website or by asking for recommendations from other pilots at your local airport or Our Admission department If you happen to be attending Phoenix East.

Which Type of Aviation Medical Certificate Should I get?

There are three types of medical certificates that the FAA issues: First class, second class and third class. Student pilots, sport pilots and private pilots are required to have a third class certificate. Commercial pilots need at least a second class certificate and airline pilots are required to maintain a first class certificate. If you’re just beginning, a third class medical certificate will suffice, but if you’re planning a future career as a pilot, you might want to obtain a first class certificate, just to ensure you meet the medical requirements.

How Much Does it Cost to Obtain an Aviation Medical Certificate?

Each medical examiner determines how much they want to charge for aviation medical exams. The cost of the medical exam will vary by location and examiner as well as the type of exam given. An exam for a third class medical certificate with a student pilot certificate can cost between $75 and $150. First class medical exams can cost up to $200. Special Issuance medical exams can cost more.

What Are the Health Standards Needed to Pass?

The health standards to pass each type of medical certificate are outlined in the Code of Federal Regulations, 14 CFR Part 67: Medical Standards and Certification. For a third class medical certificate, you need to have 20/40 vision or better, with or without glasses. You’ll need to be able to hear normally at a conversational level. In general, you’ll need to be in good health, mentally and physically.

What Happens if I Fail?

Most people pass the aviation medical exam without a problem. Pilots with certain medical conditions may require a special issuance medical certificate, which means that the doctor must submit your application to the FAA for review. The doctors and the FAA want you to fly, so if your condition doesn’t interfere with the safety of the flight, then you will likely be issued an aviation medical certificate after a review.

Rarely, a pilot will “fail” the exam based on a disqualifying condition. If you have a medical condition that might interfere with the safety of flight, talk to an aviation medical examiner and/or an aviation lawyer about your options. Sometimes you can obtain a waiver, but you’ll want the advice of someone knowledgeable with the FAA and aviation medical exams.

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