Applying for a FAA Medical Certificate

Thywissen, John A. Applying for a FAA Medical Certificate. 2020 Apr 18 [revised 2020 Apr 18; cited 2024 Apr 16]. In: Fly with John Thywissen, CFI, CFII, IGI [Internet]. Austin (TX): John A. Thywissen; 2003– Available from:

Recommended Aviation Medical Examiners

If you use someone else, find an Aviation Medical Examiner who does a lot of aviation medicals, and has aviation medical training. When you call, if the office staff seems to not know about aviation medicals, then that is a bad sign.

What Does the FAA Want to Know?

The FAA wants you to produce a super-detailed list of medical events that have happened to you. Then, your Aviation Medical Examiner discusses this list with you, to see if anything is problematic.

Medication (Current)

Report both prescription and nonprescription medication. If you take medication, the FAA wants to make sure (1) the medication doesn’t interfere with your flying, and (2) that the underlying reasons that you’re taking the medication isn’t a problem.

Medical History (Lifetime)

The FAA wants you to list nearly every illness, disability, surgery, and hospital admission you’ve had in your entire life. (However, they do say, “Do not report occasional common illnesses such as colds or sore throats.”) Most people have something to report here, and the FAA doesn’t expect you to never have been sick or hurt. Here is the list of things the FAA specifically asks about: (Click the triangle for details.)

Visits to Health Professionals (Last 3 Years)

All visits in the last 3 years: Except:

Arrests and/or Convictions (Lifetime)

Any of these, in your entire life:

Basically, the only convictions you can omit are traffic convictions that did not involve any of these: alcohol or a drug; suspension, revocation, cancellation, or denial of driving privileges; or attendance at an education/rehab program.

What If I Have Something in My History?

If you have something that you think my be of concern, call your Aviation Medical Examiner before you fill in the medical application form. Aviation Medical Examiners know what will be OK and how to handle anything problematic, so get advice first.

Preparing for the Visiting Your Aviation Medical Examiner