As a pilot, you must get a flight physical in order to fly. This is an examination that evaluates if you meet the minimum safety standards as being mentally and physically fit as laid out by the FAA. When you are examined and cleared by an FAA approved physician, you will be granted a medical certificate stating that you have met the said qualifications.
You do not need to have a flight physical to start flying with us unless you are a VA student; however, you must have one to be able to fly solo. As a Private student and depending on how quickly you are progressing, this means that you will probably have at least a few weeks from your start date to get it done.
What Class Do You Need?
There are three classes of medical certificates, with varying restrictions:
- 3rd Class Medical: This is all you need for any recreational flying. Our Private Pilot Certificate and Instrument Rating programs require a 3rd class medical which has the lowest restrictions. A 3rd class medical is valid for 5 years if you are under 40 at the time of the exam and 2 years if you are older than 40.
- 2nd Class Medical: If you plan to pursue a Commercial Pilot Certificate, you will need a 2nd class medical. Bear in mind, when laying out your long term goals, that a 2nd class medical is valid for 1 year before reverting to a 3rd class medical.
- 1st Class Medical: Only required for commercial pilots pursuing an ATP Rating (Airline Transport Pilot), the highest level of airman certification offered by the FAA.
Another detail to factor in when planning your aviation future is your ability to get a flight physical. If you plan to have a career in aviation, you will want to get a 2nd class initially to ensure that you are able to do so. If you have any health concerns or DUIs, give yourself plenty of time as it can take up to 6 months to be cleared if there are any issues.
For military personnel, it is at your discretion as to how you obtain your medical. It can take months to schedule one with a military AME. You will then need to take it to the Flight Standards District Offices (FSDO) downtown where it will be converted to a civilian 3rd class medical.
For those using VA benefits, you must have and maintain at minimum a 2nd class medical for the courses we offer that qualify for VA reimbursement. You cannot start your training until you have obtained your medical and submitted it to the VA, which we are happy to do for you.
Even if you go to a military AME to obtain a DoD Flight Physical (AF1042) from the Air Force or get a Class 1 – Class 4 from the Army, a certified military flight physical only qualifies as an FAA 3rd class medical which will not meet the VA standards.
Where Can You Get Your Flight Physical?
There are three FAA approved physicians in Anchorage that we send our students to:
- Aviation Medical Services
5011 Spenard Rd., Ste. 205 Anchorage, AK 99517 (907) 245-4359
- Medical Park Family Care
2211 E Northern Lights Blvd. Anchorage, AK 99508 (907) 279-8486
- ATP Medicine LTD
2000 W International Blvd., Building B, Ste B4, Anchorage, AK 99517 (907) 868-2961