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 Janice Buenafe, M.D.
Dr. Janice Buenafe is a family physician who has been in practice since 2004, beginning her career in Nevada before moving to Oregon in 2012. She delivers primary/urgent care to the surrounding communities in the Portland area. Dr. Buenafe's desire to have a diverse background in medicine drew her to study abroad in Uganda, England, Scotland, and eventually settle back home in the United States. She was drawn into the world of aviation by her partner, who is a pilot and Cessna 182 owner. They enjoy taking flights to the coast and scenic areas around Oregon. Witnessing the passion that pilots have for flying prompted her to become an FAA medical examiner in 2019. When not working, Dr. Buenafe enjoys raising puppies for Guide Dogs for the Blind, spending time with her family, cooking great meals, and meditation/spiritual development.
If you would like to meet with Dr. Buenafe 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. She is here on the third Thursday and fourth Saturday of every month.
Third Class Medicals are $120, while Second Class Medicals are $140.
If you require additional medical consultation time to organize paperwork for the FAA, such as required with new Special Issuances, Dr. Buenafe's fee is $200 per hour.
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.