Become a Pilot
Medical Certificate Requirements
When do I need a medical certificate?
You need a medical certificate before flying solo in an airplane, helicopter, gyroplane, or airship. We suggest you get your medical certificate before beginning flight training. This will alert you to any condition that would prevent you from becoming a pilot before you pay for lessons.
If you are going to pilot a balloon or glider, you don't need a medical certificate. All you need to do is write a statement certifying that you have no medical defect that would make you unable to pilot a balloon or glider.
If required, how do I get a medical certificate?
By passing a physical examination administered by a doctor who is an FAA-authorized aviation medical examiner.
Where do I get my medical certificate?
From any FAA-authorized aviation medical examiner. There are approximately 6,000 of them in the U.S.
Where can I get a list of FAA-authorized aviation medical examiners?
The FAA publishes a directory that lists them by name and address. You can get a copy from any FAA Flight Standards District Office, air traffic control facility, or flight service station. Airport managers and some aviation businesses may also be able to supply this information. Locate an Aviation Medical Examiner.
When required, what class of medical certificate must a student pilot have?
Third-class, although any class will suffice. Medical certificates are designated as first-class, second-class, or third-class. Generally, first-class is designed for the airline transport pilot; second-class for the commercial pilot; and third-class for the student, recreational and private pilot.
If I have a physical disability, can I get a medical certificate?
Yes. Medical certificates can be issued in many cases where physical disabilities are involved. Depending on the nature of the disability, you may have some operating limitations. If you have any questions, contact an FAA-authorized aviation medical examiner before beginning flight training.
Must I carry my medical certificate when I am flying solo?