Before starting your practical training for either an ATPL or CPL licence, you will need to obtain a Class 1 Medical certificate. This is an important part of your path to becoming a pilot and we strongly recommend getting a Class 1 Medical certificate before any training as your ATPL/CPL licence will only be valid if you have one.
The aim of a Class 1 Medical assessment is to make sure you are free from any underlying health conditions that would prevent you from becoming a commercial pilot.
To apply for a Class 1 Medical, you will have to visit an Aeromedical Centre to attend an assessment with an Aeromedical examiner (AME), a doctor that specialises in aviation medicine. When booking your assessment, you can mention any personal or family medical conditions you are aware of and they can advise if you need to bring additional information/reports to the examination with you.
The assessment usually takes about half a day to complete and covers a range of medical examinations. A recent report from your optician must be brought along to the examination if you wear glasses or contact lenses, the Aeromedical Centre can advise you on additional information you need to bring with you.
On the day, you’ll be required to fill out the medical certificate application form which includes: details about your medical history, your last medical examination (if any/ by whom and the results), and if you have ever been deemed unfit or had your medical certificate revoked or suspended.
The doctor will then commence the Class 1 Medical assessment testing the following:
- A physical exam that will cover lung, heart, blood pressure, stomach, limbs and nervous system.
- An eyesight examination including a colour vision check.
- Lung function test (spirometry) in which they will test your ability to expel air rapidly from your lungs and check for abnormal lung functions.
- An electrocardiogram (ECG) measures the electrical pulses passing through your heart.
- A finger prick blood test called a haemoglobin blood test that measures the oxygen-carrying capacity of your blood.
- A urine test to test for diabetes, protein or blood in the urine.
- They will also go over your medical history and ask a series of questions about any previous illnesses you have had.
Once you have passed all the above tests, your doctor will issue you with your certificate, this will be valid for 12 months. If you are 40 or over and carry out single pilot commercial air transport operations carrying passengers or are over 60 your medical certificate will be valid for 6 months.