Aviation and compliance go very much hand-in-hand and it is my privilege to help you with the medical bits. Your Medical should not be a threatening process!
The best advice I can offer is that if you look after yourself through the rest of the year the medical itself shouldn’t throw up too many surprises. Have a look at the advice sections below to help make the process run smoothly.
My focus is to try and make the process centred around you and not a threat to you holding your licence. It doesn’t matter if you are flying for fun or working in the industry commercially, the compliance bits still need to be done and with my help it is your responsibility to maintain the standards to keep the industry safe.
The UK CAA set up a system called “Cellma” (also known as “the Portal”) which has not been entirely faultless. It can be conquered though!! If you haven’t used it yet you need to register with ID which needs to be verified by the CAA before you can get access to all the functions.
This process can take up to 10 working days and following this one-off process you will be given access to complete an application form before your medical.
You must bring your ID every time. The CAA require that I see it every time you come even if we know each other. Please also bring your old certificate as I should take it from you and hopefully replace it with a fresh one.
If doctors scare you then take multiple blood pressure readings before you come so we can put the reading on the day into context.
Complete the forms honestly – there is a legal bit stating that the information provided is true but so often we do the medical and find scars revealing the missing detail…
If your health changes through the year you must get in touch with me. Generally speaking a minor illness (infections etc) will preclude you from flying/working until you feel better and complete any treatment. If you are referred to a hospital, are started on new long-term medication or diagnosed with a long term condition it is likely that you will need to spend a bit of time “unfit”. Tell me when it happens please, rather than after the event, as this is a requirement for the licence holder.
If you are fit you will be given your medical certificate on the day.
If you have a minor issue you may still get your certificate but will be marked with a “TML” which is a timed limitation and will expire within a number of months – giving you time to get medical reports/tests etc. When I get the reports I may be able to give you a certificate for the usual duration or I may need to talk to the CAA.
If you are not fit then I will talk you through what you need to do to get fit.
ECGs are tracings of the electrical activity from the heart and can throw up problems. I use an approved machine with approved analytics. The machine read-out will dictate if it is acceptable. If it is not acceptable I send it to a cardiologist for “over-reading” and he will use the CAA algorhythms to determine what, if any, extra tests are needed. In some instances you will get a TML while these are being done.
Please note that if you prefer a female to do your ECG this can be arranged.
Urine dips can reveal some signs of diabetes, kidney problems, infection or bleeding. Abnormalities can occur if you have been doing a lot of straining including sports, sex and aerobatics in the few days before. So ensure that you are living like a saint before the medical to avoid a false result.
Bring the glasses that you fly/work in. If you wear contacts then you will need to take them out so bring a container for them or glasses so that you can drive home!
It is really important that reports are from consultants that are specialists in their fields and not from junior doctors that can be in the clinics. Some tests may be indicated on the NHS and so your GP may be able to refer you for these tests “free” but there will be a waiting time for these to be done and you may not see the consultant. In certain circumstances the tests are simply not indicated for your general health, so if only needed for licensing your GP won’t refer you so you will need to go privately. All reports/tests will be done at your expense. If you have trouble explaining to your GP what you need then I can refer you.
I have heard from the CAA directly that this is not a conspiracy against pilots and ATCOs.
The old system needed replacing and they tendered the process and went with who they felt were the best. It is getting better and is here to stay so we just need to get on with it.
I am definitely your advocate and work entirely for you.
I do have to do a number of hours a year of education to retain my permission to do medicals so do have to maintain a relationship with the CAA but work for you.
I am VAT registered so have to charge VAT for occupational/fun medical assessments which is included in the fees. I keep my fees in line with other non-VAT registered AMEs.
You can pay by card or cash when you come but the price remains the same.
Class 1 pilots fly the big stuff around the world – I can do renewals and revalidation for UK and EASA, but not initials. ECGs and Audiograms are done at the time of your medical.
Class 2 pilots are usually flying in “General Aviation”, have less restriction than Class 1 and usually longer validity. If you are new to aviation you need a Class 2 to get your PPL. You will need an ECG for an initial exam and then periodically after that. You won’t need an audiogram unless I think you have trouble hearing or if you have special ratings.
LAPL pilots are treated more in line with HGV drivers and generally have a LAPL because they are not fit enough to get a Class 2. The flying that you can do is restricted to certain aircraft and to UK airspace.
Class 3 is for Air Traffic Controllers. Again I can do UK and EASA renewals or revalidation but not initials. I can do the ECGs and Audiograms on site during your medical.
A renewal is done when your licence expires.
A revalidation is done up to 45 days before your expiry date and maintains the original date – eg expiry is 01/04/23 and if done in March will be valid until 01/04/24.
The ‘validity’ period of a test or investigation must run concurrently with the validity of the medical examination for certificate issue, and the test validity should not expire more than 45 days in advance of the revalidation medical.
For Class 1 and 3 you will have had quite an extensive check from an optometrist at your initial.
If you wear glasses or lenses it is likely that you will need an “extended Ophthalmology” check using a “Med 162”.
It will either need to be done every 2 years or 5 years depending on your prescription.
Price List (inc VAT) – all in line with major airline reimbursement
- Class 1 Medical Examination: £192
- ATCO/Class 3 Medical Examination: £195
- Initial Class 2 Medical Examination with ECG: £195
- Class 2 Renewal / Revalidation Medical Examination: £145
- Class 2 Renewal / Revalidation Medical Examination with ECG: £195
- LAPL Initial/renewal: £145
- Cabin Crew Medical UK/EASA: £120
- ECG: £96
- Audiogram: £72
- Cholesterol (Class 1 at age 40): £23
- EASA additional fee for all classes: £75
- Inclusive of CAA submission fees and haemoglobin test where indicated
Where a cardiologist opinion for an ECG is required, an additional fee is charged by the cardiologist and is passed on to the pilot at £40 including VAT.
“Case work” entered on to the CAA AME online system will result in a charge of £30.
Additional time spent on your behalf in order to be able to establish your fitness for medical certification will be charged at £100p/h.
Further Reading and Documentation
Guidance on Class 1/2 Medical Standards
ATCO Medical Standards
LAPL Medical Standards
Generally follows https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/1084397/assessing-fitness-to-drive-may-2022.pdf
Cabin Crew Medical Standards
Norway’s EASA Implementing rules
Norway’s EASA AMC (Acceptable means of compliance)