3rd Class Medical and Student Pilot Certificate

After my lesson today, I had an FAA medical examination with a an FAA medical examiner who also happens to be a club member. I filled out some medical history, had a short question answer session along with a vitals, eyesight, and urine check. Took all of 10-15 minutes.

As a student pilot, my medical certificate is also my student pilot certificate. The medical part is valid for three years, but the pilot part is only valid for two. The FAA apparently just approved (in the last week) an extension of medical certificates, so it may be valid for 5 years now, I’m not sure. Once a pilot reaches age 40, the medical certificates are valid for slightly less time (currently 2 years instead of 3 for a 3rd class).

BTW, a 3rd class certificate is required for student pilot solos and private pilots. Commercial pilots require a 2nd class, and ATP pilots require a 1st class. Each class has different requirements and expires at different times. First class is the most demanding and expires in the shortest time.

I do have one minor limitation on my certificate that will probably stay there for life: “Holder must wear corrective lenses.” My vision is 20/20 with my lenses. It’s not that bad without them, but I have trouble seeing clearly at a distance, so I wear them anyway. There are people with far worse vision that are allowed to fly. The doctor mentioned that I might, later in life, have an additional limitation requiring that I have near vision glasses available if/when my near vision becomes poor. I hope I’m flying long enough for that to be a concern some day.