Medical requirements for pilots

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When first starting out in flying there is often a bit of confusion about what medical certification is required and when you need it. Here we provide the information you need to know about medicals and flying

Class 2 Medical certificate

This is required for non-commercial flying where income is not being derived from your flying. This includes light aircraft flying under a PPL licence as well as flying friends and relatives for recreation purposes. It also includes training towards a PPL license. This will be a CAA class 2 medical for use in the UK and an EASA class 2 medical for use in Europe.

To obtain a class 2 medical you need to have an appointment with a registered Aeromedical Examiner (AME) which you can find using the search function on the CAA website Search for an aeromedical examiner | Civil Aviation Authority ( as well as applying using the CAA Cellma system Apply for a Class 2 medical certificate | Civil Aviation Authority ( The class 2 license is a lighter touch examination than the class 1 and the certificate can be issued on the day of the appointment. You may be able to satisfy the requirements for a class 2 when not fit under a class 1.

Class 1 Medical certificate

This is for all commercial pilots where income is derived from flying (ATPL, CPL). It is really important that before you start any form of commercial training that you ensure you have a valid class 1 certificate. For integrated students this is before you start training. For modular students starting with a PPL and then going on to ATPL the situation is more complicated. You could train for your PPL under class 2 certification, but if your intention is to fly commercially you must get a class 1 as soon as possible, or you risk losing training costs if you fail to reach the class 1 standards at a later date. 

A class 1 medical is more expensive than a class 2 and the medical requirements are more stringent. Unlike a class 2 you must attend an Aeromedical Centre (AeMC) for your first examination. There are currently only 4 AeMC’s in the UK and details can be found at Apply for a Class 1 medical certificate | Civil Aviation Authority ( The appointment will last for up to 4 hours and will include a thorough physical examination together with blood tests and exercise test. The certificate if issued is valid in most cases for 12 months and renewal can be carried out by an AME as for a class 2. 

If you lose your class 1 medical you cannot fly commercially, which can have huge implications financially. Here on Pilot Network we have a recent article on insurance that is very important to consider regarding you medical certification even as a student. Insurance for students and pilots | Pilot Network (

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