An approved EASA Medical Class 1 is a requirement when applying for a pilot training program in Europe. The EASA regulations have made a new decision regarding Medical Class 1, this new regulation has created some confusion for those who want to apply for a pilot training program and also the flight psychologists and aero-medical examiners. This is discussed and explained clearly below by flight psychologist and researcher Marika from SIAP.
What has changed in Medical Class 1?
EASA Medical Class 1 consists now of two parts instead of one. First, the medical test is completed with an aero-medical examiner, which now also includes a drug test, and then you go to a flight psychologist who will go through your mental health. The regulations now state that "A comprehensive assessment of mental health should be included as a part of the first medical examination for class 1".
Flight psychologists and aero-medical examiners must now cooperate with the new regulations. The aero-medical examiners can no longer carry out the entire test themselves as they are only legitimized to perform the medical parts, and we flight psychologists can do the assessment of mental health.
What are the steps in a medical examination?
The medical examination follows very strict rules where we use different assessment instruments.
If you want to do a medical examination then you need to first book time with an aero-medical examiner. It is then the aero-medical examiner who books you with us at SIAP or another company for the psychological assessment.
When you come to us for the psychological assessment, the test takes about three hours. First, you get to fill in different assessment forms, thereafter you will meet one of our flight psychologists. The psychologist will ask questions about your background, possible medical history and life situation. The test will be carried out as a conversation with the psychologist.
The results of the assessment are then sent to the aero-medical examiner which you first met, then the examiner will inform you the results. This step could take 1 week to 8 weeks depending on which aero-medical center you are conducting your medical examination at.
To clarify, you will not get any information regarding your results on set from the flight psychologists, instead, you will get the final result of your medical test from the aero-medical examiner. No preparation is required, you only need to bring a valid driver's license, passport or national ID.
Aleris, whom we cooperate with, has thought about introducing digital feedback in the future so that only one physical visit to the aero-medical examiner is needed. This is still new for everyone and I think more improvements in the systems will be accomplished in the near future.
You can find the entire regulatory framework by searching "EASA's mental health testing regulations". There are many documents that describe exactly what is being tested.
Are both parts performed at the same day?
Here in Stockholm, both parts are not performed on the same day, they are divided. However, I know that FMC in Malmö, they sometimes do both parts during the same day, when they have their flight psychologists available.
The procedure of doing the class 1 medical examination is described above in accordance with the Swedish system. How the tests are conducted may vary depending on which European country you are conducting your examination. However, all approved aero-medical centers in Europe operate under the same regulations from EASA.
Approved aero-medical examiners in Sweden and Norway:
- Aleris Flyg- och Dykmedicinskt Centrum (Sabbatsberg Närsjukhus, Stockholm)
- Flygmedicinskt Centrum – FMC (Malmö, Sweden)
Why hasn’t the "mental health" part been included before?
On January 1st 2019, EASA introduced a new regulatory framework in which they decided that mental health should be included in Medical Class 1.
The new regulation I would say is a direct consequence of the tragic plane crash, where a pilot locked the captain out from the cockpit and crashed the aircraft with 150 people on board. It turned out after the accident that the pilot, who crashed the aircraft, had a serious depression.
EASA constantly conduct safety investigation of accidents and incidents to solely promote and improve aviation safety, through accident prevention. This adherence the importance of always keeping safety as top priority in any organization.
You can read more about how OSM Aviation Academy keeps safety as the highest priority in this blog post:
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