How Long Does It Take To Get a Flight Physical & What It Consists Of

Jun 20, 2018

If you're interested in becoming a pilot or pursuing a career in aviation, it's crucial to understand the flight physical process. A flight physical is a medical examination that assesses your overall health, ensuring you are fit to fly and meet the necessary requirements set by aviation authorities.

What Is a Flight Physical?

A flight physical is a comprehensive medical examination conducted by certified aviation medical examiners. These exams are designed to evaluate an individual's physical and mental health, ensuring they meet the medical standards required to safely operate an aircraft. The examination typically consists of various tests and assessments to determine an individual's medical fitness for flying.

Who Needs a Flight Physical?

Anyone who wants to pursue a career in aviation or operate an aircraft must undergo a flight physical. This includes aspiring pilots, commercial pilots, and even air traffic controllers. Aviation authorities, such as the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), require individuals to obtain a valid medical certificate before engaging in flight operations.

Types of Flight Physicals

There are different types of flight physicals, each corresponding to a specific class of medical certificate. The class of medical certificate required depends on various factors, such as the type of flying activity and the individual's age. The most common classes of medical certificates include:

  • First-Class Medical Certificate: Required for airline transport pilots and individuals operating large commercial aircraft.
  • Second-Class Medical Certificate: Required for commercial pilots and individuals operating smaller commercial aircraft.
  • Third-Class Medical Certificate: Required for private pilots and individuals engaging in recreational flying.

The class of medical certificate you require depends on your specific aviation goals and the regulations set by the aviation authority in your country.

The Flight Physical Process

The flight physical process typically consists of several stages, including the completion of paperwork, a thorough medical examination, and possible follow-up assessments. Here's a breakdown of the various steps involved:

1. Paperwork:

Prior to your flight physical, you will need to complete the necessary paperwork. This includes providing personal information, medical history, and any relevant documentation.

2. Medical Examination:

The medical examination will be conducted by a certified aviation medical examiner (AME). The AME will assess various aspects of your health, including:

  • Visual acuity and color vision
  • Hearing
  • Blood pressure and cardiovascular health
  • Respiratory function
  • Neurological function
  • Psychological well-being
  • Drug and alcohol screening

The AME will carefully evaluate your medical history, perform physical examinations, and may order additional tests or consultations if necessary.

3. Follow-Up Assessments:

In some cases, a follow-up assessment may be required. This could be due to a specific condition that needs further evaluation or requires more time for review. It's essential to follow any instructions provided by the AME and provide the necessary documentation or test results promptly.

How Long Does It Take to Get a Flight Physical?

The time it takes to get a flight physical can vary depending on several factors, including the availability of certified AMEs in your area, the complexity of your medical history, and any additional assessments required. In general, you can expect the process to take a few weeks to complete.

It's advisable to plan ahead and schedule your flight physical well in advance, especially if you have specific deadlines or training programs you need to meet. Ensuring ample time for the examination process can help minimize any potential delays or issues that may arise.

Choosing a Certified Aviation Medical Examiner

When seeking a flight physical, it's crucial to choose a certified aviation medical examiner with expertise in conducting these examinations. A qualified and experienced AME can guide you through the process, ensure all necessary assessments are conducted, and provide appropriate guidance based on your specific needs.

At Weissman Douglas M MD PA Facp, we have a team of specialized aviation medical examiners who understand the unique requirements of flight physicals. Our goal is to provide comprehensive medical evaluations to aspiring pilots, commercial pilots, and air traffic controllers, helping them achieve their aviation career goals.


The flight physical process is an essential step for aspiring pilots and those involved in aviation. Understanding the process, requirements, and timeline is crucial for planning and achieving your aviation career goals.

At Weissman Douglas M MD PA Facp, we provide professional flight physicals conducted by certified aviation medical examiners. Our team ensures a thorough evaluation of your health, helping you meet the necessary standards for aviation operations.

For more information about flight physicals or to schedule an appointment, contact Weissman Douglas M MD PA Facp today.

Holly Russo
Very informative! 👍 I had no idea about the flight physical process before reading this. Now I'm more knowledgeable!
Nov 8, 2023