Medical Issues

Bookmark and Share

FAA Lengthens Validity of Medical Certificates

July 24, 2008

Effective July 24, 2008, the FAA has extended the duration of first class medicals from six calendar months to 12 calendar months for pilots under the age of 40 conducting operations that require an airline transport pilot (ATP) certificate. In addition, the duration of third class medicals has also been extended from 36 calendar months to 60 calendar months (five years) for pilots under 40. Through an extensive review of medical literature, aero medical certification data, and accident data, the FAA determined that this rule change will not have an adverse impact on safety.

This change also makes FAA regulations more consistent with International Civil Aviation (ICAO) standards that require annual medical certification for airline transport and commercial pilots in multi-crew settings.

The first class medicals of pilots conducting operations requiring an ATP certificate who are over the age of 40 at the time of their FAA medical examination continue to be valid for 6 months. The third class medicals of pilots over 40 at the time of their examination are valid for 24 months.

Frequently Asked Questions

A pilot who is 39 years of age obtains a first class medical certificate with an examination date of July 1, 2008. The pilot will turn 40 on September 1, 2008. Is the first class medical valid for six months or 12 months?
The first class medical is valid for 12 months for operations requiring an ATP certificate. If the date of the pilot’s medical exam occurred before his/her 40th birthday the first class medical is valid for one year. It is important to note that both current and expired medical certificates are covered under this new rule.
A pilot obtained a first class medical certificate with an examination date of June 1, 2008, before the FAA rule change was enacted (assume the pilot was under 40 at the time of examination). Before the rule change, the pilot’s first class medical would expire on December 31, 2008 for operations requiring an ATP certificate. Under the FAA’s new rules, is the medical now valid for 12 months rather than 6 months?
Yes, in this situation the pilot’s first class medical will now be valid for 12 months through June 30, 2009.
A pilot obtained a third class medical on May 1, 2004 (assume the pilot was under 40 at the time of examination) which expired May 31, 2007. Under the FAA’s new rules, is the medical now valid until May 31, 2009, although it had previously expired under the old rules?
Yes, as both current and expired medicals are covered under this rule, the medical's validity would be extended for another 2 years.

The "Conditions of Issue" listed on the back of medical certificates that have already been issued and those issued within the next month will not reflect these regulatory changes. For this reason, pilots should carry a copy of the new duration rules with their medical certificates at all times. This is especially important for pilots flying internationally who need to demonstrate the validity of an existing medical certificate.

For additional information contact NBAA's Operations Service Group at (202) 783-9250 or [email protected].