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FAA Extends Duration of First- and Third-Class Medical Certificates

July 24, 2008 — Effective today, July 24, 2008, the FAA has extended the duration of first- and third-class medical certificates for pilots under the age of 40. Under the revision, first-class medical certificates have been extended from 6 months to one year, and third-class medical certificates from 3 years to 5 years. The ages and examination periods were selected based on current ICAO standards

The new duration periods are effective immediately, and effects current medical certificate holders as well. Those with first- and third-class medical certificates who were under the age of 40 on the date of the application for their certificate will be covered by the new, longer durations established under FAR 61.23(d). Pilots will not receive an updated medical certificate stating the new expiration date, and the FAA recommends carrying a copy of the new duration standards (available here) with you when you fly, especially if flying internationally.

“This significantly reduces the workload in the medical division, allowing more resources available to work on special issuance certificates,” said Earl Lawrence, EAA vice president of industry and regulatory affairs.

The duration period for second-class medical certificates remains at one year, regardless of age, and for those over 40, the duration periods remain at six months for the first-class certificate and two years for the third-class certificate. Medical certificates will continue to lapse to lower classes as they have in the past, and will still expire on the last date of the month.

“The EAA Aeromedical Council is extremely pleased at the New Rule,” said Dr. Jack Hastings, chairman of the EAA Aeromedical Advisory Council. “This development is a great example of how advances in medicine can be incorporated in the medical certification process. The Council applauds the FAA's efforts to make medical certification least burdensome for pilots while assuring aviation safety.”

Read the full text of the final rule here.

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