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Qualifying the physical test and the written test is one aspect of the pilot training and certification program, another important one is to get the apt medical certification as per the type of program that you are enrolled in. One must realize that without a medical certificate one wouldn’t qualify for becoming a pilot no matter how well they perform in the other exams and hence one should not take these lightly.

Now, we will be answering certain FAQs related to medical certificates.

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1) Who needs a medical certificate?

The ones looking for a private, commercial or airline pilot certification are the ones who need to obtain an aviation medical certificate. A sport pilot certification can be achieved without the medical certificate given that the pilot is not suffering from any major health issue. Also, balloon pilots and glider pilots don’t need this certificate to exercise their privileges.

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2) How can one gain an aviation medical certificate?

For this, you will have to find a qualified aviation medical examiner. You can ask your flight instructor or even your colleagues for reference, and once you find one then you can get the examination conducted as per your requirement. If you are looking for a 1st class medical certificate, you’ll have to find someone qualified enough to conduct the same.

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3) How much does the examination cost?

The examinations will cost you between $50 to $150 depending on the type of examination that you’d like to conduct along with your personal health history. Special medical exams come with a higher price due to extra tests and procedures and also longer processing time with the FAA.

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4) How is the exam conducted?

All 3 classes of the exam have the basic health questions asked by a doctor in common with a focus on mental and neurological health. Then there is the checking of the eyesight which increases with the levels and also hearing tests. In the 1st class examination, there is also emphasis given on the cardiovascular function of the person under examination. Also, an EKG is required for the same. However, for older pilots, the focus is more on age-related issues.

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5) How long is the validity of the medical certificate?

Third class medicals have a validity period of 5 years that turns to 2 when the pilot turns over 40. The same goes for second class medicals too. However, after the pilot turns 40, his second class medicals turns to third class after 2 years. First-class medicals are valid for 6 months to 1 year depending on the pilot’s age.

If you suffer from any medical condition that will disqualify you, then you should search for the same beforehand itself. This will help you know what to expect when you show up for the exam.