• All pilot licences require a medical certificate or declaration of some description. While it is fine to have a trial flight and some initial lessons, you should avoid committing to a full training programme before checking that you meet the relevant medical requirements and undertaking a medical assessment if one is required.

    Medical standards and certificates

    Depending on the type of flying you wish to do and your general medical fitness, there are different options available for the type of aircraft that you may wish to fly.

    EASA aircraft

    To fly EASA aircraft (for example common general aviation (GA) types such as Cessna 152 or Piper PA28) on a Private Pilot’s Licence (PPL), you need an internationally recognised Class 2 medical certificate obtained from an aeromedical examiner (AME).

    If you want to fly EASA aircraft using a Light Aircraft Pilot’s Licence (LAPL) you will need a LAPL medical certificate. The LAPL medical assessment can be conducted either by your GP or an AME and the LAPL medical certificate is valid throughout the EU.

    Non-EASA aircraft

    To fly non-EASA aircraft (for example amateur built or microlight aircraft) you can use the same medical certificates that you would for EASA aircraft. Alternatively you can declare your medical fitness to the CAA (subject to certain conditions) by making a Pilot Medical Declaration. Such medical declarations are only valid for non-EASA aircraft and for use within UK airspace.

    Self-declaring your medical fitness using the Pilot Medical Declaration

    A medical declaration (from 25th August 2016) is an affirmation of your medical ‘fitness to fly’ and may be used to exercise the privileges of a:

    • EU Part-FCL Private Pilot Licence (PPL) to fly non-EASA aircraft;
    • National PPL (NPPL);
    • UK PPL; and
    • A UK Commercial Pilot Licence (CPL) Balloons for non-public transport and restricted to commercial operations only.

    It is valid for flying with up to three passengers on board and in aircraft less than 5700 kg Maximum Take-Off Mass (MTOM). The privileges of an Instrument Meteorological Conditions (IMC) or Night Rating - assuming colour safety has previously been checked by an AME - may be exercised on non-EASA aircraft, but not a full Instrument Rating (IR). Subject to certain exemptions from the EASA Aircrew Regulation, the declaration is only valid for non-EASA aircraft. It is not automatically valid outside of the UK since it is not an internationally-recognised medical standard, unless permission has been granted by the foreign state you are flying in.

    The standard you must meet for the medical declaration is the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) Group 1 Ordinary Driving Licence (ODL) and you must not suffer or have suffered from a list of specified medical conditions.

    To only fly aircraft no greater than 2000 kg MTOM

    You may fly an aircraft no greater than 2000kg MTOM, provided you are not taking medication for any psychiatric illness. If you are taking medication for a psychiatric illness you must consult an AME and apply for a LAPL medical certificate.

    To fly any aircraft less than 5700 kg MTOM

    If you have, or have had, one or more of these conditions:

    • Being prescribed medication for any psychiatric illness
    • Bipolar disorder, psychosis or a diagnosis of personality disorder
    • Drug abuse or alcohol misuse or addiction (or conviction for drink/drug driving)
    • Being prescribed medication or treatment for angina or heart failure
    • Cardiac surgical procedures including cardiac device implantation
    • Recurrent fainting or collapse (syncope)
    • Unexplained loss of consciousness
    • Insulin treatment
    • Chronic lung disease with shortness of breath on exertion
    • Any neurological condition requiring medication
    • Seizures or epilepsy
    • Significant functional physical disability likely to impair safe operation of normal flight controls

    You must visit an AME and apply for a LAPL medical certificate.

    The legal bit…

    Under the Air Navigation Order (ANO) 2016 there is also a general requirement to not:

    • Suffer from any medical conditions,
    • Have had any surgery, or
    • Functional disability

    that might impair the safe operation of the aircraft. The ANO also allows the CAA to specify additional conditions, which listed under the heading 'To fly any aircraft less than 5700kg MTOM'.

    Completing the Pilot Medical Declaration

    The Pilot Medical Declaration is a free service and the form can only be completed and submitted online. Unfortunately postal applications cannot be accepted. The form is optimised for use with Internet Explorer or Acrobat Reader. Other browsers may work, but with limited functionality. More completion guidance and the Pilot Medical Declaration is at www.caa.co.uk/srg1210.

    Declaration validity

    If you have reason to believe you no longer meet the DVLA Group 1 ODL standard, or suffer from any of the specified medical conditions, you must withdraw the declaration by ticking the appropriate box and re-submitting the form.

    For minor and self-limiting conditions (for example colds, day-case procedures, minor musculoskeletal injuries etc) withdrawal of your declaration is not required. You should, however, not fly until you have fully recovered.

    After initially making the declaration it is valid (unless it is withdrawn for one of the reasons listed above) until the age of 70. After the age of 70, a new declaration must be submitted every three years.

    Existing NPPL Medical Declaration holders

    If you already have a Medical Declaration made under the previous NPPL system that is counter-signed by your GP (Article 73A of the ANO 2009) and made before 25 August 2016, you do not need to make another declaration until your current declaration has expired. If after 25th August you develop a medical condition as described above, you should cease flying and seek advice from your GP or an AME. Upon expiry of your NPPL medical declaration you must complete a declaration under the new system.

    Flying EASA Aircraft

    You cannot use a medical declaration to fly an aircraft that has an EASA certificate of airworthiness or permit to fly, unless you possess an EU Part-FCL PPL or an EU LAPL with an appropriate medical for that aircraft. EU Part-FLP PPL holders will need an EU Class 2 Medical Certificate. LAPL holders will need a LAPL medical certificate.

    There is an EU exemption that allows UK national licence holders to fly certain EASA aircraft until April 2018 that is limited to sailplanes, balloons and visual flight rules (VFR) flight in single engine piston aircraft no greater than 2000 kg MTOM with a maximum of 3 passengers.

    EU Part FCL PPL flying non-EASA aircraft

    UK-issued EU Part-FCL PPL holders may use the Medical Declaration to fly non-EASA aircraft within UK airspace.

    Which medical certificate declaration may I use for my licence?

    CAP1441 is a table setting out PPL Licence privileges, type of aircraft to be flown and medical requirements.