What You Need To Know - Pilot Medical Edition
A common issue I found was the concept of medicals, this is something you need to be able to continue with your course and journey to get your pilot license. So here is a breakdown of information I wish I’d known before-hand.
I. Always do your research!
The CAA website is a great place to start! They offer a list of medical facilities in your area and the contact information for authorised centres that are able to issue a Medical License. Make sure when searching for a centre it is approved by the CAA and always consider all options before making a decision.
II. Which Medical do I require?
They are two types of medicals that pilots can get.
- Class 1 EASA medical certificate
- Class 2 EASA medical certificate
A ‘Class 2’ will cover all Private pilot licence holders, therefore you would be able to use this medical clearance whilst under training. This medical classification is valid for 60 months whilst under the age of 40; whereas a class 1 medical is valid for 24 months (varies with age). Therefore, this is more practical for those that will be studying a PPL course with the University as this medical would not need to be renewed during this time.
Commercial students have the option of getting either a Class 1 or 2 during PPL training. However, as a current student I would recommend aiming for the Initial Class 1 medical first. By doing this you are able to find out early on if you are eligible for the class 1 medical license; instead of at the end of first year when you are aiming for ATPL ground school.
To get onto the ATPL programme you require a class 1 and without one you cannot be a commercial pilot. Therefore, before committing all those funds it would be best to be confident in knowing that your medical clearance will not hold you back.
iii. Schedule your Medicals ahead of time
Prior to beginning your course, I would suggest scheduling your appointment to attain your medical at least a few months prior to starting. This is for two reasons. Firstly, to avoid any inconvenience within your choice of AME (Aeromedical Examiner) office, it would be best to call in for an appointment as soon as you get your acceptance letter.
Secondly, at times pilots and prospective pilots such as yourselves may encounter what is known as a referral. A referral is when a portion of your examination needs further exploration before it is cleared as non-problematic. This can take some time to achieve.
iv. Have patience with your referrals
DISCLOSURE: ALL REFERRALS OR CONSULTATIONS ARE SELF FINANCED!!!
Referrals are perfectly normal! Depending on the issue found, you may be looking at months of waiting and tests. Do not stress, simply inform your instructor and course leader to see what alternative can be arrange or how much time you have in order to get your medical sorted.
Although your instructors and course leaders maybe lenient, always stay on top of all referrals and tests that need to be completed. Following up on even the smallest details can reduce the amount of time taken to complete the process.
Blog written by Tamyra, a Air Transport with Commercial Pilot Training student.