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If you are like me, the very thought of having to visit an aeromedical examiner (AME) immediately fills you with dread and worry. I guess the fear amongst pilots is the simple stroke of a pen could leave you grounded!
In my case, my initial EASA class 1 medical took a good few months to complete because some additional items and tests needed to be followed up regarding my medical history.
The priority at all times is to keep the general public safe, so the aeromedical examiner needs to be completely satisfied with your fitness to fly, and I applaud the excellent and thorough work they do.
That does not detract from the fact that as a pilot, those periods without a medical are the absolute worst thing ever as I found out during the process for my initial CAA class 1 medical. I did eventually receive my class 1 medical, so all ended well!
In this blog post, I’ll talk about my Class 1 revalidation which was just before my PPL revalidation!
DISCLAIMER – PLEASE CHECK WITH YOUR RELEVANT CAA AUTHORITY FOR SPECIFICS AND REQUIREMENTS. THIS BLOG IS NOT MEANT TO REPLACE OFFICIAL SOURCES OF CAA REGULATORY MATERIAL.
What are the class 1 medical revalidation requirements?
You can expect the major items to be examined as you had during your initial class 1 medical examination. These will include:
- medical history: has anything changed?
- eyesight test?
- a physical examination
- urine test
- blood test
Other tests are only required at certain intervals based on your age and current health which include:
- Electrocardiogram (ECG)
- Comprehensive Ophthalmology?
- LIPIDS (checks for items such as cholesterol)
- Respiratory function tests
Where do I find a suitable Class 1 medical examiner?
Unlike the Class 1 initial medical that has to be completed at the specific CAA authorised aeromedical centres, the revalidation pool of AMEs allowed to complete the Class 1 revalidation and renewals is a lot wider.
I searched on the CAA medical examiners database and found an AME locally.
I visited Dr Chris at Manchester Medicals, based at Barton where I completed the PPL part of my modular pilot training. Dr Chris was fantastic. I felt at ease and was not nervous at all during the appointment.
Of course, with this renewal taking place during the COVID pandemic, there were all the usual social distancing measures you would expect.
One of the pieces of advice given to me by another pilot was to find an AME that you can grow with during your flying career. Rather than seeing someone afresh each year, sticking with the same AME will allow your AME to know you and your medical situation well.
The whole idea is to have a good relationship with your AME so if ever there are any issues with your medical or your health; you can work together to get you flying fit again in the shortest space of time.
For the scenario that you lose your class 1 medical, it is worth considering taking out loss of class 1 medical insurance.
What is the validity of the Class 1 medical?
The class 1 medical is typically valid for 12 months, but the validity period does change with age. Being in my 30’s, my class 1 medical certificate was issued with a 12-month validity. It is worth noting that you can visit your AME up to 45 days before your class 1 medical expiry date.
What does the Class 1 medical renewal cost?
Dr Chris at Manchester Medicals was excellent. The renewal fee was £180 for the medical. This current renewal interval did not require an ECG, audiogram, or any extra work, so it was a relatively straight forward and low cost medical.
If you are reaching the intervals for ECG or Audiogram, you would need to budget for those extra – typically priced around £50 each.
Overall I have found my class 1 revalidations a lot less stressful than the initial! As time progresses and you have more and more medicals, each one becomes less daunting as you get more comfortable with the whole process.
What do I need to bring to my class 1 medical?
Check with your AME of what to bring to your examination at the aeromedical centre. The usual items asked for are:
- Your ID
- A record of flying hours (or at least knowing what hours you have done in the last year)
- Your previous class 1 medical certificate
- Glasses or contact lenses & opticians prescriptions
- Details of your current doctor and any medication you take
- A means of payment!
I hope your class 1 medical revalidation goes well. Please leave a comment if I have missed anything or you have any questions about EASA Class 1 revalidation.
Kudzi Chikohora is a B737 pilot with around 2,000 hours flying in Europe. He holds a masters degree in Aerospace Engineering and is a chartered engineer and a member of the Royal Aeronautical Society.
Kudzi completed his pilot training via the self funded modular pilot training route and created kcthepilot.com to share pilot training and aviation content.