Got Your FAA Medical Yet?

The first milestone in becoming a pilot is to get your FAA Medical Certificate. FAA 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.

However, BasicMed is an alternate way for pilots to fly without holding an FAA medical certificate as long as they meet certain requirements. Here is more information on the requirements and limitations of acquiring an FAA BasicMed.

Ready to apply for your FAA Medical certificate? Here is the MedXpress Guide to help you get started with the process.


Pilots, except those who fly gliders or free air balloons, must possess a valid FAA medical certificate to exercise the privileges of their airman certificates. And student pilots are no exception to this rule. The road to obtaining your FAA medical certificate starts with your flight instructor first then followed by an Aviation Medical Examiner known as an AME.

Before beginning flight training, a flight instructor should interview you about any health conditions and determine your goal as a pilot. Good advice would be to obtain the class of FAA medical certificate required, for the certificate level you ultimately want, before beginning flight training. Finding out immediately whether you are medically qualified could save time and money.

The periodic FAA medical examination required for medical certification is conducted by designated aviation medical examiners, who are physicians with a special interest in aviation safety and have training in aviation medicine.

If you do have physical limitations, such as impaired vision, loss of a limb, or hearing impairment you could be issued an FAA medical certificate valid for “Student Pilot Privileges Only.” This kind of medical certificate will allow you to continue flight training and prepare for the pilot certification practical test. During training, flight instructors should ensure that you can safely perform all required Tasks that pertain to the required standards. Special devices may be necessary to allow you to manipulate the flight controls.

If you are unable to perform certain tasks, you may have a limitation placed on your pilot certificate. For example, hearing impairment would require the limitation “Not Valid for Flight Requiring the Use of Radio.” Another limitation may allow the pilot to only operate a certain make and model airplane, such as one without rudder pedals.


List of FAA Medical Examiners

Edward G. Shore, MD

15243 Vanowen St, Suite 412 Van Nuys, CA 91405


Nat S. Linhardt, MD

5620 Wilbur Ave, Suite 303, Tarzana, CA 91356


Gregory J. Beeve, MD

Verdugo Hills Medical Group 1818 Verdugo Blvd, Suite 108, Glendale, CA 91208


Larry C. Barnhart, MD

US Healthworks Medical Group 25733 Rye Canyon Rd, Valencia, CA 91355


Pamela Dewar-Desilva, MD

Desilva Medical Inc 44215 15th St West, Suite 213, Lancaster, CA 93534