Aviation Flight Physicals

To fly a plane, aviators need a pilot’s license and a medical certificate, which involves getting a physical from a doctor who is a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA)-certified Aviation Medical Examiner (AME).

FAA Medical Certificate Classes

There are three classes of FAA medical certificates, each with a more restrictive set of physical standards. Although you may apply for any class of medical certification, most pilots apply for the class most applicable to their flying activity.

First-Class Medical Certificate

Commercial airline transport pilots need first-class medical certificates from senior AMEs with two to three years of experience. These pilots must receive physicals every year until age 39. At 40, they need a flight physical every six months.

Second-Class Medical Certificate

Second-class certificates are for commercial pilots, including corporate aviators, crop dusters, aero-medical pilots, charter pilots, or navigators and first officers of commercial airline flights. They need a flight physical every year.

Third-Class Medical Certificate

The third-class certificate covers recreational and private pilots. Before age 40, they must have a flight physical every five years; after age 40, they need one every two years.

To learn more about FAA requirements and pilot medical certification visit the Federal Aviation Administration.

Find a Location

Work with Avera business health specialists to create the mix of services that’s right for you, your employees and your business.


Businesses based in the Sioux Falls region, benefit from the expertise and comprehensive business health packages offered by Avera@Work. After a full assessment of your business health, you’ll receive a personalized recommendation of the employee health and wellness tools that best fit your needs. Learn more about Avera@Work.

Avera is a health ministry rooted in the Gospel. Our mission is to make a positive impact in the lives and health of persons and communities by providing quality services guided by Christian values.