FAA mandates physical and psychological standards prior to granting a certificate for pilot-in-command as well as crew members operating an aircraft. This includes student, private, commercial, certified flight instructor, and airline transport pilots.
Louisiana Tech Students
Louisiana Tech students are required to have a medical certificate PRIOR to commencing a solo flight. This certificate is issued by an Aviation Medical Examiner. The only difference between a regular medical certificate and the student certificate is that the back of the student medical certificate is also the Student Pilot Certificate, which holds the solo and solo cross-country endorsements. The Student Pilot Certificate must be signed by the student's designated instructor pilot prior to being released for solo flight.
About the FAA Medical
There are three classes of FAA medical certificates. Each level of certification requires more restrictive standards. A pilot may apply for any class of medical certificate, but they must possess a class of certificate applicable with their flight status. See 14 CFR 61.23(D) for the duration of each medical certificate.
The medical standards for certification are listed in Federal Aviation Regulation Part 67 and also on the Flight Physical website. Applicants can request any class of medical certificate and the expiration is commensurate with their pilot operations. Louisiana Tech encourages students who intend to be an airline pilot apply for a First Class Medical Certificate. This will allow for the identification of any medical deficiencies prior to graduation and application for Commercial Pilot duties.
How to Obtain a Medical Certificate
There are approximately 5,300 Aviation Medical Examiners (AME) throughout the world that are certified to perform FAA medical examinations. These physicians have completed specialized training and have passed a written examination. Certified physicians are usually listed in the phone directory, or can be identified by contacting the FAA Flight Service District Office, and on the internet by going to the Flight Physical website. When the examination is completed, the AME may issue the certificate, deny certification, or defer the determination to the FAA Aeromedical Certification Division. A denied application can be appealed to the FAA. Normally, the examination can be completed within one hour. It may take longer if specialized tests must be accomplished outside the physician's facility.
Preparing for the Medical Examination
You will need a photo identification. To save time during the examination, it is helpful if you arrive with a list of any visits to a health provider in the previous three years, a list of all medications (prescription and over-the-counter) and the dosages. You will be required to complete an application, so arrive early. You will be required to indicate any moving automobile violations and any reportable involvement in the use of alcohol or illegal drugs. Keep in mind that any false or misleading information entered on the application can be grounds for suspension and/or revocation of an airman certificate.
Your Medical Health
The Aviation Medical Examiner should not replace your family physician. They are looking for specific medical health conditions applicable to aviation. However, if you have any symptoms, or if you are prescribed any medications, you should consult with the AME prior to flight. Many general practitioners may not be aware of the consequences of medicine side effects to aviators.
Professional Aviation Flight Requirements
Before students may register for a course involving flying, they must first pass an appropriate medical examination administered by a physician approved by the Federal Aviation Administration. This medical certificate also serves as the student pilot certificate.
- A First Class Medical Certificate is recommended, but not required, for students whose objective is to be employed as a commercial airline pilot.
All other students should obtain a Second Class medical examination which will be required when they advance to the commercial pilot level.