How to gain a Class 1 medical certificate
Anyone wishing to train for a commercial or airline transport pilot's licence will need to obtain an initial Class 1 medical certificate as part of the licensing requirements.
The assessment process for initial applicants can be found on our Guidance for Applicants for Initial Medical Certificates in the UK flow chart.
Initial Class 1 (Professional Pilot) Medical Examination
The Class 1 initial medical examination must be carried out at either the UK CAA Aeromedical Centre (AeMC) or NATS, Swanwick, Hampshire.
Who can apply
An applicant for a Commercial or Multi-Crew Pilots Licence must be at least 18 years old, and applicants for an ATPL licence must be at least 21 years old. A Class 1 Medical Certificate will be required while completing the training for these categories of licence.
What to expect
The medical examination may take up to 4 hours and includes:
Medical History - Application for Medical Certificate (MED 160)
These are a series of questions about medical history and any previous illness. You will be asked about them by your AME, and if there is any major illness in your past, it is important to bring reports about it from your family doctor or treating specialist. Appendicitis or a broken arm are not regarded as major illnesses. Further details of the regulatory requirements can be found on our Medical Examination Standards page. You may find it helpful to print off the requirements and discuss them with your GP or Specialist. Guidance on the information your AME will require in medical reports, together with flow charts on the assessment process for a number of medical conditions can be found on our Documents for Download page.
Eyesight - Eye examination form (MED 162)
Eyesight requirements are listed in the Class 1 Visual Standards guidance material. If you wear glasses or contact lenses it is important to take your last optician’s report along to the examination. An applicant may be assessed as fit with hypermetropia not exceeding +5.0 dioptres, myopia not exceeding -6.0 dioptres, astigmatism not exceeding 2.0 dioptres, and anisometropia not exceeding 2.0 dioptres, provided that optimal correction has been considered and no significant pathology is demonstrated. Monocular visual acuities should be 6/6 or better.
Physical Examination - Guidance on Performing Medical Examinations for AMEs
A general check that all is functioning correctly. It will cover lungs, heart, blood pressure, stomach, limbs and nervous system.
Hearing – ENT form (MED 163)
A pure tone audiometry test will evaluate your hearing. Applicants may not have a hearing loss of more than 35dB at any of the frequencies 500Hz, 1000Hz or 2000Hz, or more than 50dB at 3000Hz, in either ear separately.
Electrocardiogram (ECG) - this measures the electrical impulses passing through your heart. It can show disorders of the heart rhythm or of the conduction of the impulses, and sometimes it can show a lack of blood supplying the heart muscle. Changes on an ECG require further investigation. A report from a cardiologist and further tests (for example an exercise ECG) may need to be done.
Lung function test (spirometry) - this tests your ability to expel air rapidly from your lungs. Abnormal lung function or respiratory problems, e.g. asthma will require reports by a specialist in respiratory disease (UK CAA Asthma guidance and Guidance for Respiratory Reports).
Haemoglobin blood test - this is a finger prick blood test which measures the oxygen carrying capacity of the blood. A low haemoglobin is called anaemia and will need further investigation.
Urine test – you will be asked to provide a sample of urine, so remember to attend for examination with a full bladder. This tests for sugar (diabetes), protein or blood in the urine.
Typical processing time
A medical certificate is issued on the same day if all required standards are met. If the required standards are not met or further investigations are necessary before a decision on medical certification is possible this process will take longer.