To be issued with an EASA or a UK CAA Commercial Pilot’s Licence, you must be the holder of a valid class 1 medical certificate issued by the same EASA member state (or the UK CAA to be issued with a UK licence), who will issue your licence (the ‘State Of Licence Issue’, or ‘SOLI’). To exercise the privileges of the licence your class 1 medical certificate must remain valid.
However, to be issued with an EASA Private Pilot’s Licence, you must be the holder of a valid class 2 medical certificate issued by the SOLI. To exercise the privileges of the licence your class 2 medical certificate must remain valid. The same applies to UK licences. Your UK CAA class 2 medical must be valid.
In most states, the cost of a class 1 initial medical examination and certificate is considerably greater than the class 2. For example, in the UK there are three Aviation Medical Centres (AeMC) which can do the initial class 1 medical and their charges are between £635- £700 including VAT whereas there are many Aviation Medical Examiners (AME) authorised to do the class 2 initial examination and fees of £180 are typical. However, Class 1 Medicals can be considerably more expensive, if the UK CAA or EASA state requires a referral to an AME, if the applicant has a medical concern which requires further investigation. Revalidation of a class 1 is between £150 – £180 for a class 2 and both can be done by any AME.
A class 1 medical certificate has a validity period of 12 months for most pilots who are under 60 years old, whereas a class 2 is valid for 60 months for under 40-year olds and 24 months for pilots aged 40-50 years.
What to I need to start training?
Given the extra cost and in convenience of getting a class 1 medical, which is not needed until you wish to apply for a CPL, it is tempting to get a class 2 during training. However, there is always a small risk that you will pass a class 2 but not a class 1 medical. For this reason, we recommend that you do a class 1 initial medical before committing to the time and expense of commercial pilot training. If you wish to avoid the cost of annual revalidation, you can let a class 1 lapse, in which case it becomes a class 2 medical. When you wish to apply for your CPL, you will first need to renew your class 1 medical certificate which costs the same as a revalidation and can be done by any authorised AME. Some CPL training providers will expect you to have done this before starting training with them.
What is the difference between revalidation and renewal?
You can revalidate a Class 1 medical certificate by taking a revalidation examination at an Aeromedical Centre (AeMC) or by appointment with an Aeromedical Examiner (AME). You can take your revalidation examination up to 45 days before your certificate’s expiry date.
If you do not revalidate your certificate in the 45 days leading up to its expiry date, you will need to have it renewed.
You can renew a Class 1 medical certificate by taking a renewal examination at an Aeromedical Centre (AeMC) or by appointment with an Aeromedical Examiner (AME), subject to the following conditions:
- If your certificate expired more than 2 years before your application to renew it, the examiner will need to assess your aero-medical records before carrying out the renewal examination
- If your certificate expired more than 5 years before your application to renew it then you will have to follow the same process as for initial issue
What if I wish to change my SOLI?
If you wish to change your SOLI, you will either have to do another initial medical examination with the new SOLI or apply for your medical records to be transferred between your old and new SOLI.
Our recommendation is:
- Before committing to training, apply for an initial class 1 medical certificate issued by the state you wish to issue your CPL.
- To save the costs of revalidating your class 1 medical certificate, it is quite acceptable to let it revert to a class 2, as long as you renew it before applying for a CPL (or commencing a CPL course if your training provider requires you to have a valid class 1 medical certificate before commencing training with them).
Aeromedical Centres in the UK
There is a list of AeMCs on the UK CAA website.
All are authorised to conduct the initial class 1 medical. Several of our students have found that the customer service offered by Heathrow Medical Services is poor, and they would recommend that you consider one of the others.
Aviation Medical Examiners in the UK
The UK CAA have an online database of AMEs who are authorised to conduct initial Class 2 medical examinations and renewal of revalidations of class 1 and class 2 medical certificates.
Applying for an initial class 1 medical certificate
The arrangements are different in each EASA member state. In the UK the process is described on the UK CAA website:
In Ireland there is one AeMC:
If you are considering another SOLI, have a look at the National Authorities’ website and/or ask for advice from your flight school in that country.