The duration of airman medical certificates is explained in FAR 61.23(d). In July, 2008, the durations of both first and third class medical certificates were extended for pilots under age 40.
Under the new regulation, third class medicals issued to pilots under age 40 became valid for a maximum of 60 months, up from 36 months. Pilots who are age 40 and older will still renew a third class medical every 24 months.
First class medical certificates are now valid for 12 months for pilots who had not reached age 40 at the time of their medical examinations. Pilots age 40 and over will continue to renew a first class medical every six months.
Under the new regulation, when the first class privileges expire after twelve months, the first class medical lapses to a third class medical. The regulation change does not affect the duration of second class medical certificates, so, for pilots under age 40, the first class and second class medical durations run concurrently for twelve months.
Important note: Commercial pilots flying with a valid FAA second class medical in some International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) countries may not be considered in compliance with that country’s regulations because ICAO does not recognize a second class medical certificate for any commercial operations. Therefore, AOPA recommends that pilots flying for hire internationally maintain a current first class medical certificate.
Updated October 27, 2009
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