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Classes of medical certificates
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Pilots and air traffic controllers (ATCs) must hold a current medical certificate to exercise the privileges of their licence. How medical conditions and their treatments affect the safety of air navigation are detailed in the Civil Aviation Safety Regulations (CASR) Part 67 and our medical Fact Sheets and Clinical Practice Guidelines.
There are no medical requirements for learning to fly when you are in the aircraft with your flight instructor. If you have any relevant medical conditions or history, you should consider fiscussing this with a medical practitioner and your flying school before starting to fly, especially if you intend to become a professional pilot.
The Class 1 medical certificate standard applies to holders of an Air Transport Pilot Licence, Commercial Pilot Licence (other than balloons), Multi-crew Pilot (aeroplane) Licence, Flight Engineer Licence or Student Flight Engineer Licence.
Since April 2018, holders of a Commercial Pilot Licence can undertake some operations with a Class 2 medical certificate - see details below.
Unless otherwise advised by the Aviation Medicine Section, a Class 1 medical certificate is valid for one year. A Class 2 certificate is generally granted at the same time as a Class 1 certificate, but with a longer validity.
The Class 2 medical certificate standard applies to holders of a Recreational Pilot Licence, Private Pilot Licence and a Commercial Pilot (Balloon) Licence that want to exercise the full privileges of their licence. A Basic Class 2 (details below) is an alternative, but with some operational restrictions.
Holders of a Commercial Pilot Licence can conduct commercial flights that do not carry passengers with a Class 2 medical certificate if the maximum take-off weight is less than 8618 kilograms. This includes flight training.
A minimum of a Class 2 (or Basic Class 2) medical certificate is also required by a student pilot before they can fly solo. Some Designated Aviation Medical Examiners (DAMEs) can grant Class 2 medical certificates on the spot, generally valid for four years for applicants less than 40 years of age on the day of the medical examination or two years for those aged over 40 years.
CASA no longer reviews Class 2 medical applications unless a DAME elects to refer the application for review. The only exception is for conditions of psychosis, irreversible dementia or epilepsy or if an applicant has previously had a Class 2 application denied. Some DAMEs have elected to refer all applications to CASA - you may wish to check with your DAME when you make an appointment.
A Basic Class 2 medical certificate is an alternative to a full Class 2 certificate that has been introduced in July 2018 for private operations. It has the following operational restrictions:
- private operations by day under the visual flight rules (VFR) and below 10,000 feet
- a maximum of five passengers
- piston engine aircraft
- maximum take-off weight (MTOW) of less than 8618kg
- no use of operational ratings (eg. instructor rating, instrument rating)
- no use of flight activity endorsements (eg. aerobatics, low level).
The restrictions do not apply if a suitably qualified pilot with a valid Class 1 or Class 2 medical certificate occupies a control seat.
Examinations are conducted by any medical practitioner who can conduct a motor vehicle driver examination. The medical standard is exactly the same as a commercial driver standard (Austroads).
If applicants unconditionally meet the standard (except for glasses and hearing aids), they will be issued with a Basic Class 2 medical certificate by CASA.
If you do not pass the Basic Class 2 medical assessment, or you have a pre-existing medical condition, you can still apply for a Class 2 medical certificate where you will be assessed in further detail by a DAME. DAMEs have more flexibility to consider the specific circumstances and in the aviation context.
Further information about the changes are available in our Basic Class 2 medical certificate fact sheet for pilots (pdf 1.29 MB) and Basic Class 2 medical certificate fact sheet for medical practitioners (pdf 1.26 MB).
The Class 3 medical standard applies to holders of an Air Traffic Control Licence and Flight Service Officers. Unless otherwise advised by the Aviation Medicine Section, a Class 3 medical certificate is valid for two years.
The Basic Class 2 medical certificate does not replace the RAMPC. If you currently have a RAMPC you can continue to exercise the privileges of a recreational pilot licence. The restrictions for holders of a RAMPC include:
- single engine piston powered aircraft with a maximum take-off weight of 1500kg or less
- day VFR conditions only
- below 10,000 feet above mean sea level
- no acrobatic flight and with not more than one passenger on board.
Persons continuing to hold a RAMPC are required to:
- meet the Australian Fitness to Drive unconditional private drivers' requirements
- not have any of the disqualifying conditions.
If you have any of the disqualifying conditions you are not able to hold a Recreational RAMPC but you have the option to apply for a Class 2 medical certificate via a Designated Aviation Medical Examiner (DAME).