5 Mar

EASA Class 1 Medical examination

In order to become an Airline Pilot in Europe, each candidate has to be able to obtain an EASA Class 1 Medical Certificate. Although the examination methods may differ between the European countries, no matter where it is done all required checks will be performed.

The Initial medical examination is performed the first time when a person is applying for the certificate and it is valid for only one year. The renewal procedure is much shorter because only few check have to be done, however every 4 years the medical renewal will contain same checks as the initial one (this is the case in Lithuania).

I arrived at the aviation medical center in Vilnius (located on the Antakalnio g. 124, Vilnius 10200, for those who are interested) around 08:00h on the 30th of September, filled in my application form and submitted the medical history documentation which I brought from my home country. I was told not to have a breakfast or drink anything that morning since the first two things I had to do is give a blood and urine samples for the laboratory analysis. Afterwards I was directed to the room where the stomach ultrasound is performed. The check lasted for about 10 minutes. Following the ultrasound were the hearing and eyesight checks. I entered a soundproof chambered where the doctor has sat me on the chair and mounted a headset on my ears. She then left the chamber and through the headphones played various tones (some low, some high). As soon as I heard the tone I had to press a button. This process would repeat two more times, however with two additional headset devices. After this part was done, the doctor inserted some kind of vibrating device into my ears (similar shape to the ear caps). Since the only doctor who was going to look at all my results and discuss them with me is the last doctor in the line of many checks, I couldn’t help myself and shortly asked each of the doctors to tell me if everything was ok.

The eyesight check started with the usual eye diopter chart. Since I was able to read all lines (corresponding to the value of 20/20 vision) without an aid, there was no need to use the eyedrops for the diopter check. Following the diopter chart was a test which evaluated my peripheral sight. It is performed on a machine by looking at a black dot (focus dot) and every time you see another dot in the background you should press a button. The focus dot changes position from time to time. This check is performed on one eye at the time and lasts about 7 min per eye. Afterwards the doctor put some kind of anesthetic drops in my eyes and after few minutes lowered a tonometer (a device for measuring eyeball pressure) on my eyeballs. The last check regarding eyesight is the Enchroma test to see if a person is colorblind.

Next, I had to do a chest X-ray. The whole check lasted about 10 minutes. Afterwards I was directed to a dental ordination where my teeth were checked. Even though I’ve never heard of someone not getting a medical because of their teeth not being in good condition, for some reason the Lithuanian Aviation Medical Center requires this check. The next check which I had to do is the regular ECG. It took about 15 minutes to complete and afterwards I was told to return in one hour. I used this time to grab something to eat since I haven’t had any breakfast.

Next stop was the surgeons’ office. To my surprise the doctor didn’t perform any kind of physical examination, he only asked about my medical history and signed the paper. I then went to the psychologist who also asked me about my medical history, checked my reflexes and also asked that I do squats with my arms stretched forward and my eyes closed. She then instructed me to go to the otorhinolaryngology department where they did basic checks of my throat, nose and ears.

Later I went to the room where lung capacity was measured. This is done with the spirometry test where I had to breathe in deeply and exhale as fast as possible into some kind of tube. Even though it sounds funny it is actually challenging to do it the right way. Next was the ECG while exercising. I was hooked to the standard ECG instruments, however this time I was on the bicycle. The whole check lasted about 15 min during which the load level on the bicycle changed.

The only check left to do was Echocardiography. Unfortunately, the doctor for this check was on the vacation so I had to go to the private clinic, complete the check and bring my results back. The problem is that by the time I finished in the private clinic, the Aviation Medicine department was closed and therefore I had to return the morning after. The next day I had a talk with two doctors (individually), one of whom was the head of the Aviation Medical department. After they reviewed results from every check, the main doctor signed bunch of papers and I was final issued the EASA Class 1 Medical certificate.

The initial check for EASA Class 1 Medical certificate in Lithuania costs 300.00 EUR, however because I had to do one check in private clinic, the final price was 340.00 EUR.

Atricle source: Dušan Pavlovič blog