An FAA Medical Certificate is more than a little piece of paper you keep in your flight bag or clip inside your pilot's logbook in fact, it's best described as the other half of your FAA Pilot Certificate. Just as you cannot take to the air as a Private Pilot without a valid pilot's license, you can't fly without a current Medical, which confirms that you have no disqualifying health conditions that would prevent you from flying as Pilot in Command. A Medical also serves as the basis of your own self-certification of health, which all pilots are required to affirm before every flight.
At Willamette Aviation, we offer on-field FAA Medical examinations with FAA Designated Medical Examiner Jim Tarro, M.D. Dr. Tarro is a veteran of the U.S. Air Force, flying F-100 aircraft while stationed in Europe. After leaving the service, he enrolled in medical school, where he specialized in internal medicine. Dr. Tarro retired from private practice several years ago, but "retirement" wasn't so simple, and before long he found himself drawn to one of his foremost passions conducting clinical trials in pharmaceutical research while continuing to serve as an FAA Designated Medical Examiner for the local aviation community. When not practicing, Dr. Tarro enjoys golf, cycling, and spending time with his family.
If you would like to meet with Dr. Tarro for an FAA Medical exam on the Willamette Aviation campus at the Aurora State Airport, please contact our front desk at (503) 678-2252 to reserve a time he's here on the third Saturday morning of every month. Second Class Medicals are $140, while Third Class Medicals are $120. Alternately, he offers examinations at his office in John's Landing on Monday and Wednesday mornings please contact him at (503) 222-1261 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to schedule an appointment. (First Class medicals, which require an EKG, are done at Dr. Tarro's office with an additional fee.)
FAA medical examinations are now even easier with the MedXPress system. MedXPress was created in 2007 so that pilots could complete an electronic FAA Form 8500-8 prior to visiting an Aviation Medical Examiner (AME). That's right — no more forms to fill out once you arrive! Pilots are now required to complete an electronic 8500-8 prior to visiting any AME for an examination. To login or register with MedXPress, visit medxpress.faa.gov.
Requirements and Exceptions
The FAA approves Medical Certificates in three classifications, although nearly all pilots who do not act in a commercial capacity will pursue a Third Class Medical Certificate, which is good for 60 calendar months if the date of the examination is prior to the pilot's 40th birthday, or 24 calendar months if after the pilot's 40th birthday. As previously mentioned, in addition to holding a valid Medical Certificate, all pilots acting as Pilot in Command must self-certify their fitness for flight before every flight operation this means that the pilot confirms that he or she is not ill, is not taking disqualifying medication, is not suffering from undue stress or fatigue, is properly rested and nourished, and is not under the effect of alcohol or drugs, with no alcohol consumed in the past eight (8) hours and a blood-alcohol level of less than 0.04%. Even with a valid Medical, any pilot who cannot meet these basic requirements must disqualify himself or herself from acting as Pilot in Command or a required member of any aircrew.
The FAA Medical itself is an uncomplicated physical exam that's meant to assess a pilot's health history and overall fitness for flight, including blood pressure, vision, hearing, and reflex response. Most people who are in reasonably good health will have no problem passing an FAA Medical, provided that they do not suffer from a disqualifying condition, which primarily comprises health issues affecting the heart and nervous system, as well as any concerns surrounding mental stability and substance abuse. You don't have to be in the best shape of your life to get a Medical. In fact, pilots with poor eyesight normally are allowed to fly with corrective lenses, while hearing-impaired pilots may be granted a Medical and fly with several operating restrictions. If you've scheduled an FAA medical examination, you can expect to answer questions about your own personal health history while having your vision and hearing checked, along with a few other things (if you wear contact lenses, please be prepared to remove them in order to test your uncorrected vision). A typical exam is a stress-free experience and takes no more than 20 minutes.