Shannon School of Aeronautics

Medical Certificate








As student pilot, you will eventually need to obtain a medical certificate. There are several important steps to take to ensure that you get the certificate you need with the least amount of hassle. Here are the steps you need to take to get your medical.


First, you will need to register for an account on-line. The simplest way to do this is to go the Google web site and type in "medxpress" without the quotes. Also note that there is no"E" after the d in med. Click on the first entry ( and you will be at the FAA's medical web site. At the top left you will see an option to request an account. Select that option and you will receive an email notification for the account when it is established.


Log into your MedXPress account and complete the application for a medical certificate. There are numerous conditions listed for which you must verify that you do not have that condition. If you answer YES to any of the conditions, STOP. Do not complete the rest of the form. Join AOPA, if you have not done so already, and once you have a membership number call them. the AOPA medical team will provide you detailed guidance on how to proceed so that when you take you examination, the result will be the issuance of a medical certificate. As a student pilot you can enroll FREE for a six month membership if you have not previously had one. Contact one of the flight instructors at Shannon School of Aeronautics to enroll in just a few minutes. This can be done over the phone.


Once you have completed the on-line application and submitted it, you should see a page that contains an application number. Print this off and bring the page with you to you examination. This is how the examiner will "find" your application.


There is a list of qualified FAA medical examiners on the FAA's web site. While the selection of an examiner is up to you, there are several in the local area. My personal preference is Dr. Ronald H. Johnson, MD. His office is located at 411 Park Hill Drive, the entrance to which is across the street from the emergency room at Mary Washington Hospital. He is normally available on Tuesdays and Thursdays. The office phone is 540-372-6811.


When you show up, you will need your glasses (if you wear them) and your exam application ID. The exam itself is non-intrusive and takes about 15 minutes. At the conclusion of the examination, you will hopefully receive your medical certificate.

Here are some additional items for consideration.

Obtain your medical certificate as soon as possible. If there is an unexpected problem, you will want to take care of it before you have too much invested in flight training.

  • A candidate for a Sport Pilot's License does not need a medical certificate.
  • A student pilot who seeks a Private Pilot License must have a 3rd Class medical.
  • A medical issued from an authorized military flight surgeon meets the requirements for an FAA medical examination.
  • If you are considering becoming an airline pilot, you should consider taking a 1st class medical examination. It includes an EKG, costs a little more, but verifies that you are eligible to continue your career.
  • Effective May 1, 2017, the FAA has approved a program called Basic Med. It means that you may only need to obtain a medical ONCE in your lifetime if you meet certain other criteria. Ask your flight instructor for details.
  • As a student pilot, you must be in possession of a valid medical certificate before you are allowed to fly as the sole occupant of the plane (solo).
  • The cost of a medical is about $125. This seems to be fairly standard between examiners in the local area.

BASIC MED. This regulatory change allows pilots with an FAA medical issued within the last 10 years to continue to operate aircraft without the need to take an additional medical from an FAA Aviation Medical Examiner (AME). Note that this change still requires an INITIAL medical from an FAA AME. Operating under Basic Med does have some limitations and requirements, but in general could be applicable to many pilots.