How, when and where to know if you are fit to be a pilot
An EASA Medical Class 1 is a requirement to become a professional pilot and needs to be renewed each year.
One of the more frequent questions that we get is how we know if we are physically fit to work as pilots.
Can you wear glasses and be a pilot? What about allergies? Asthma? What if I get Lasik on my eyes? Those are very common questions for a reason: the first step when deciding to become a pilot is to know if you are physically fit.
How do I know if I am physically fit to work as a pilot?
According to the European civil aviation authority (EASA), an EASA Medical Class initial 1 is a requirement to become a professional pilot and needs to be renewed each year. That’s why your first step as a soon-to-be pilot, is to take the test. This test is a series of medical tests with a total cost of 500 €, give or take. Its purpose is to determine if you are fit to fly today, and in the long term as well. Since it is aimed at professional pilot students, those are more demanding than usual. If you wish to obtain the private pilot license instead (PPL), you will need to take the EASA Medical Class 2, which is far less physically demanding.
When should I do this test?
Ideally, before starting your ATPL course, even before you decide in which school you want to study. There is no need to do it earlier than one year (remember that you need to renew your medical certificate every year), but it should be the first thing you do.
But I do wear glasses. Should I get Lasik or operate my sight?
No, not really. You can be a pilot and wear glasses. As counterintuitive as it sounds, sometimes it’s better to fly with glasses or contact lenses rather than with operated eyesight. If your particular case is complicated, please look for the advice of ophthalmologists specializing in aeronautic medicine.
But what if I don’t pass the medical test? Will I ever be able to work as a pilot?
Sometimes, students fail some medical tests. This often happens with the psycho-technical trial capabilities, which are quite sensitive to stress. More often than not, that failed medical test can be repeated and be passed in the future. If you get a permanent negative test (meaning, your doctors have detected a medical condition that does not allow you to work as a professional pilot), our school will give you back the starting fees. But those are very rare cases.
Where can I take those tests?
There are several authorized medical centers all over Spain, but not all of them are qualified to perform Initial EASA Class 1 tests: some can only offer the Class 2 test, while others are specialized in yearly renewals, which are far more simple (and cheaper) affairs.
We usually direct our Madrid students towards Hospital de día Pio XII, while we recommend our Sevilla students to the Quirón Hospital Santa Luisa at Conde de Bustillo street, which is the nearest to our bases.
We hope that you find this article helpful. Good luck, and good future flights!