If you're considering a career as a commercial pilot you need to do a Medical Class 1 examination. The reason why is very simple – you will be responsible for the safety of the passengers and cargo you are carrying, and you need to see if you're fit for flying!
OBS! This article goes through the initial EASA Medical Class 1, which are the medical requirements for European citizens. If you are living in the US of A, you can read about the FAA First Class Medical examination here.
Last month we had the pleasure of welcoming Mentour Pilot back to our school in Västerås, where he interviewed Michael Sjöö, the Chief Medical Officer at Scandinavian Airlines (SAS). The interview goes through the initial EASA Medical Class 1 examination at an Aero-Medical Centre (AMC) and discusses the medical requirements for pilots and what you can expect on your first medical examination.
You can watch the full interview in this video: Pilot Medical Test - Does a pilot need to be 100% healthy?
Don’t worry – if you don’t have your headphones nearby or don’t have time to see the video right now – we will recap the essence of what you can expect on your first medical exam in this post.
If you want a more detailed tour through the medical examination you can read our blog post Medical Requirements for pilots – What gives? where a former student at OSMAA describes his first medical exam.
So, how does the Medical Class 1 test look like?
According to European regulation, you need to do the examination at an Aero-Medical Centre (AMC) and it will take one full day.
During the medical evaluation, you will get a full health examination including vision test, hearing test, heart functioning, blood/urine samples, and a general health exam.
- Vision: Measure eyesight and vision, color vision, blind spots, or any issues with your vision that could prevent you from performing your duties as a pilot (glasses are allowed in some cases).
- Hearing: Measure hearing through an audiogram, balance test, check sinuses.
- Heart: Measure the heart with an ECG (includes rest- and exercise ECG).
- Blood samples: Measure hemoglobin value (to see that you have the capacity to transport oxygen around the body - your ability to carry oxygen is important so that you don’t pass out when flying), cholesterol test.
- Urine samples: Measure leakages of blood and sugar level that is one indication of diabetes, drug samples if needed.
- General health exam: Listening to the heart and lungs, checking reflexes.
You would also need to fill out questions about your health and medical history, like if you are taking any medicines or suffering from any allergies. You can also expect questions about your relative’s health status or if there is any illness running in the family.
What has changed in the Medical Class 1?
On January 1st 2019, EASA introduced a new regulatory framework in which they decided that mental health should be included in Medical Class 1. Read all about the new regulation in this blog post:
- New medical requirements for becoming a pilot
Be honest ...
One thing that is extremely important to remember when you go to our first medical evaluation is that you have to be honest. Be honest when you’re answering the questions related to your medical history. Even though if you are afraid or scared of the outcome, always tell the truth. Because if you don’t, it can end up in a legal question if you had lied and something happens.
With all these tests and evaluations combined the goal is that you should be basically healthy in order to pass your medical exam. But you don’t need to be 100% healthy like if you have a reduced sight you can correct it with glasses or contact lenses. More about these technicalities in our blog post Can a pilot be obese, diabetic, colorblind, or have ADHD? [Video].
Check out our blogpost "Medical Requirements - What gives?", where you come along with Martin Trankell, now First Officer on the ATR-72, on his first Medical class 1 examination! Click here or on the image below.