Getting Your First-Class Airman Medical Certificate
There are a number of requirements to becoming an airline pilot. One of those is a First-Class Airman medical certificate for any pilot who wants to exercise ATP (airline transport pilot) privileges such as flying scheduled airliners. That means anyone looking to fly for their career and become an AeroGuard cadet needs to be ready to meet these medical requirements in the future.
This time on the AeroGuard blog we want to dive deeper, looking at those requirements for the First-Class Airmen specifically. We’re not doctors here so forgive the jargon, we’re doing our best! You should be able to read through these requirements and have a good idea if becoming an airline transport pilot is possible in your future.
First-Class Airman Medical Certificate Requirements
As to be expected, there are a number of vision requirements for receiving a First-Class Airmen Certificate. Being an airline pilot requires excellent vision in a variety of standards.
Distant Vision: 20/20 in each eye, with or without correction.
Intermediate Vision: (50 years and older) 20/40 with or without correction.
Near Vision: 20/40 in each eye, with or without correction.
Color Vision: The necessary colors for the safe performance of duties.
‘With or without correction’ means glasses or contact lenses that bring your vision to the 20/20 standard are required if necessary. There are some caveats to correction to be aware of. For instance, certain contact lenses called monovision contact lenses are not an acceptable form of correction for piloting per the FAA. Monovision lenses have one lens crafted for near vision, while the other is made to help distant vision. The effect is that depth perception and binocular vision are impaired.
Vision corrective surgeries also need to be looked at closely. Procedures such as LASIK can result in effects that are not compatible with duties in flight including night-glare, haziness, a worsening of sight, corneal scarring. It isn’t a guaranteed outcome, so if a pilot does get surgery done for vision correction it is imperative that they ensure their vision has not suffered.
The hearing requirements require the person to demonstrate the ability to hear: an average conversational voice in a quiet room at a distance of 6 feet, understanding speech at an acceptable level (determined by an audiometric test).
Nose, Throat, Equilibrium
You might be surprised to find out that there are health requirements for your nose and throat. If that third word in the subheading doesn’t give it away, it is about equilibrium. Any first-class airman cannot have any diseases or conditions of middle or internal ear, oral cavity, pharynx, larynx, or nose that is aggravated by flying or interferes with the ability to effectively communicate clearly. And absolutely no disease or condition that may manifest in vertigo or disturbances of equilibrium.
Flight can cause those shifts in altitude and equilibrium that if you already susceptible to it can cause significant problems, and be downright dangerous to the pilots and the plane as a whole.
Mental & Neurologic
There are a number of mental standards for the first-class airman medical certificate. No history of a personality disorder that is severe and repeatedly manifests, ‘a psychosis,’ bipolar disorder, substance dependence (of any substance other than tobacco or caffeine beverages,) and more. Speaking with an Aviation Medical Examiner (AME) will give you more details and they can answer further questions.
The neurologic standards require that a first-class airman has no history of epilepsy, a ‘disturbance of consciousness without satisfactory medical explanation,’ seizures or loss of control of the nervous system (again without ‘satisfactory medical explanation,) or any other disorder that makes the person unable to safely perform the duties required of them.
No history of Myocardial infarction, Angina pectoris, Cardiac valve replacement, coronary heart disease, heart replacement.
If you have no history of any of this then great! Just make sure you keep taking care of your heart and body! Eating heart-healthy foods, limiting stress, and keeping your blood pressure in line. When you are ready to get that first-class airman’s medical certificate, you can use the FAA website and locate the nearest AME for you.