Medical requirements for professional and private pilots

In order to gain a full pilot’s licence a medical certificate is also required.  Depending whether you want to fly privately or professionally there are three types of medical certificate currently available.

  • Professional pilots require a Class 1 medical certificate
  • Private pilots require a Class 2 medical certificate.  (Also covers public transport balloons and airships).
  • Under the current regulations if you do not meet the requirements for either of these you may still be eligible for a National Private Pilot’s Licence (NPPL), which would allow you to fly in UK regulated airspace only. 
    (Also covers restricted commercial balloonists/aerial work and private balloons and airships).

All of the validities for these certificates run from date to date ie, if a certificate is issued on 12 May the validity will run to the 12th day of the appropriate month, depending on the respective validity rule.


Professional Flying

For professional flying the first (initial) medical examination must be carried out at an Aeromedical Centre (AeMC).  The examination and required tests take approximately half a day and appointments can be made through the AeMC.  There are set charges for all examinations and tests.


Private Flying

For private flying the initial medical examination can be carried out by any approved Aeromedical Examiner (AME).  The examination will take about one hour and the AME is responsible for setting the fee.


National Private Pilot's Licence (NPPL)

The aim of the NPPL is to devolve the regulation of some recreational flying to ‘Air Sports’ organisations.  The licence itself is easier to obtain and easier to maintain than the standard PPL.  It is generally available to applicants who fall outside the current regulations, but might still be eligible to fly privately solely within UK airspace. 

NPPL standards are the same as those needed to reach DVLA Group 2 driving requirements. 

  • The minimum medical requirement for an NPPL is a declaration of medical fitness by the pilot, countersigned by their general practitioner (GP). 
  • The GP must be licensed to practise in the United Kingdom and they are entitled to charge you for this service.

Holders of UK PPLs for balloon, airship and gyroplane flying also use a declaration of medical fitness as do certain pilot licence holders operating under CAA Exemption ORS4 816.


Balloons and airships

Balloon and airship pilots require either a Class 2 medical certificate or a Medical Declaration (as required for a National Private Pilot’s Licence) which is based on the DVLA driving medical standards.

The initial medical examination can be carried out by any approved AME.  The examination will take about one hour and the AME is responsible for setting the fee.



Revalidation/Renewal* medicals can be carried out by your chosen AME.  The examination should take less time than the initial and may not require all the additional tests.  This is dependent upon when the last test was carried out, the type of certificate held and your age at examination.

*A revalidation medical examination can be carried out up to 45 days prior to the expiry date of the medical certificate and no validty would be lost.  A renewal medical examination is carried out once the medical certificate has expired and a new validity date would be set accordingly.  Renewing your medical certificate prior to the 45 days before the due expiry date is known as an “early renewal” and under these circumstances you would lose any remaining validity and a new date would be set.


Decrease in Medical Fitness

Under the current regulations pilots are required to notify the Authority of any decrease in medical fitness.  In the first instance contact your AME who can advise whether you should curtail your flying and whether any further information (medical reports or tests) is required.


Associated Rules and Regulations

COMMISSION REGULATION (EU) No 1178/2011, Annex IV, Part-MED and the amendment