FAA Form 8500-9 - Medical Certificate

Obtaining Your Medical Certificate

If you’ve been out of aviation for a while and are eager to get back in, it wouldn’t be a bad idea to get your medical done first.


In my humble opinion, depending on your age, any ailments since, or medications you may have been prescribed since you last flew or your last medical was completed, you may not be able to attain the same medical class you once held. If you are not sure, it wouldn’t be a bad idea to seek some professional help in determining if you should attempt to secure a class of medical or perhaps exercise your right to use the basic-med (started in 2016). Rather than re-writing what the FAA has already done, more information on basic-med can be found here.

Find an AME

In order to get the medical completed, obviously, you would need to visit an AME (Aviation Medical Examiner). Not sure if there is one local to you or not? You can ask around on various aviation forums on Facebook, Reddit, or any other social media outlets for other pilots’ recommendations. The FAA has a handy index of available AMEs at the AME Locator

Paperwork – In never ends…

So you’ve decided that a third-class medical or higher fits your needs. Again, depending on how long you have been out of the business, you may not be aware that medical applications can now be completed online. Med-express makes it super simple to complete the application form required for the AME to complete. I completed my form online, walked into my appointment at the AME’s office, and as I was walking out the FAA already knew I was issued a 2nd class medical. 

How long is my medical good for?

A quick little review on the length of time medicals are good for. It seems either I’d forgotten or there was a change. I’m sure it was one of those little details that had fallen out of my head. The details can be found in FAR 61.23.

I attended a webinar with Sporty’s a few days ago. The 20 questions to test your knowledge (2022 edition) webinar hit on many good topics. One of them was the length of time a second-class medical is valid. I remembered that the medical expires on the last day of the month in which it was obtained but the length of time stumped me. In the webinar the following graphic was used:

The part that stumped me was that there was a designation on what you are using the medical for. That if you were utilizing the 2nd class medical for personal or business use, it was good for 24 months, but only 12 for actual commercial use. The thought in my head was that there was a flat 12 months. Good information to know and what would be a good teaching point in the future for students no matter their age.

So, my step one is complete. Second-class medical is in force and is now valid until September 30th. If I am flying for personal pleasure or business, it is good until 2024. Should I be lucky enough to land some commercial position, 2023 and I go back to see Dr. Warren again.