By request from my flight instructor, I went to the doctor this morning. Well, he is a doctor as well as an Aviation Medical Examiner.Â Real nice guy located in Middletown, NY. I went in for my medical certification. All student pilots need this before they can fly solo and get their Pilot Certification. Once your instructor endorses the back of the certificate with the date, make and model of airplane and their signature, you are golden to perform your first solo. This will be the first time in your life you are in an airplane (in the sky) alone.
I wanted to write this post to describe exactly what happened at the doctor’s office. I was kind of curious before I went and I am sure that other students out there want to know what goes down and are kind of anxious about it. So here it is…
I walked in and said hello. That was the hard part. They handed me the application sheet that basically asked me who I was and when was the last time I went to the doctor and for what. It also asked if I have any medical conditions…diabetes, hearing problems, etc…I filled this out and handed it back to the desk. They then asked me to give them a urine sample. I did this and gave it to them. Then, they walked me over to the eye test machine. They had me read the bottom row of letters…the really teensy weensy ones. I completed this fine. My right eye is slightly blurry, but I still read the letters. My left eye is crystal clear. I then had to read the sheets with color bubbles mixed with black and white ones. This tested my eyes for color accuracy. Then I went into the exam room to meet the doctor. He asked me to remove my shirt and he asked me to breath with a stethoscope against my back. Then, he checked my heartbeat from the front. He said it was beating fast and told me I needed to exercise…that would slow it down. I told him I was a little nervous because I really wanted this certificate. Oh well. He then had me sit on that little bed covered with paper. He checked my ears with the light and made me open my mouth to look in. Then, he shined the light in my eyes to see if there was anything wrong there. All looked good. Then, I had to lay flat on the bed and he tapped my stomach and my back with the tips of his fingers. All good. All the while, he kept conversing with me, sometimes quietly. This was to check my hearing and to make sure it was suitable for flight. There are certain requirements. For the third class, they are listed below:
Third class certifications require the least involved examinations of all medical certifications. They are required for those intending to be pilot-in-command of an aircraft under the Private or Recreational pilot certificates or while exercising solo privileges while a student pilot.
To qualify for a third class medical certificate, pilots must meet the following requirements:
- Distant vision: 20/40 or better in each eye separately, with or without correction
- Near vision: 20/40 or better in each eye separately, with or without correction, as measured at a distance of 16 inches
- Color vision: Demonstrate the ability to perceive the colors necessary for the safe performance of airman duties
- Hearing: Demonstrate the ability to hear an average conversational voice in a quiet room, using both ears, at a distance of six feet, with their back turned to the examiner, or pass an approved audiometric test
- Ear, Nose, and Throat: Exhibit no ear disease or condition manifested by, or that may reasonably be expected to be manifested by, vertigo or a disturbance of speech or equilibrium
- Blood Pressure: Under 155/95
- Mental Status: No diagnosis of psychosis, bipolar disorder, or severe personality disorders
- Substance Dependence: No dependence on alcohol or any pharmacological substance in the previous two years
For pilots under 40 years of age, third class medical certificates expire on the last day of the month they were issued, three years from the date of issue. For all others, they expire on the last day of the month they were issued, two years from the date of issue.
I hope I am not leaving anything out and I hope this helps any anxious students out there get a feel for what they need. Also, make sure you drink some water before you go in, because, as I said above, you will need to give a urine sample.
If you do ok during the appointment, you will most likely walk out with a card that looks like this:
This is actually a first class certificate I found online (I changed it to say “3rd”), so your third class one may look slightly different.