Frequently Asked Questions
For answers to some of the most common EASA certification questions please scroll down the page and view the answer.
The following responses only apply to EASA certification. NPPL medical standards are different.
If you or a potential passenger would like advice on any medical problem related to flying, I would be happy to give advice. Usually, this will be free of charge. However, since the CAA now requires AMEs to field all enquiries, some requiring extensive work might be chargeable (Price on Application). Please send an email to
Can I fly if …
- I need to wear spectacles?
- I wear varifocal spectacles?
- I wear contact lenses?
- I have defective colour vision?
- I have had laser eye surgery?
- I have asthma?
- Can I fly if I take blood pressure tablets?
- I have had a heart attack or coronary artery surgery?
- I suffer from hay fever?
- I have a past history of psychological illness?
- I have diabetes?
- I suffer from migraine?
- What is the minimum age requirement for a holder of a PPL and PPL(H)?
Can I fly if I need to wear spectacles?
It is possible to fly with short or long sightedness and/or astigmatism requiring spectacles. If your refractive error is outside certain limits, it might not be possible to obtain an initial medical certificate. The limits are published on the CAA website. In certain cases certification might be possible even if your refraction is outside limits. This would be at the discretion of the CAA medical department. It is wise to check the requirements to make sure that your eyesight is within limits. If you need clarification, Please email me at
Can I fly with varifocal spectacles?
Yes. It is essential that they are well tolerated. In general, the pilots who have most difficulty are those who, for the most part, can manage without them. Wearing varifocal lenses all the time enables the brain to make sense of the images that the eye receives and this can take up to three weeks of continuous daytime wear.
Bi-focal spectacles are also acceptable and the preferred type is with a small ‘D’ reading segment. Tri-focal lenses are also acceptable and certain types may be used to enable the reading of ‘head-up’ displays.
Can I fly with contact lenses?
Yes but not with varifocal contact lenses or by wearing one lens for reading and one for distance. You need to be able to tolerate them for several hours a day without discomfort. Do not wear contact lenses as these will have to be removed for the eye test.
Can I fly if I have defective colour vision?
As a private pilot you can fly in daytime, in clear conditions anywhere in European airspace but you will not be able to gain a night rating. You might be able to gain a poor weather (IMC) rating for use in UK airspace only. Potential commercial pilots who fail the Ishihara colour plates may still gain unrestricted certification if they can pass the CAD test, conducted at the Civil Aviation Authority, Gatwick. Likewise, a private pilot may have any restrictions lifted if the test is passed. It is not possible to gain a first class medical certificate for commercial flying if the test cannot be passed.
Can I fly if I have had laser eye surgery?
Yes, if your pre-operative refraction was within the usual limits for medical certification. In other words, you cannot use laser eye surgery to bring your eyesight within limits. The preferred operation is LASIK, which will render you unfit for flying for approximately three months. Your subsequent vision must be stable and without glare. LASEK surgery is also acceptable but may necessitate you being declared unfit for flying for longer than three months. If you have had laser eye surgery you will need to bring your pre-operative refraction details to your medical examination. You will also need to supply a surgeon’s report stating the post operative refraction, confirmation of stable vision and the absence of any complications including glare.
Can I fly if I have asthma?
Yes, if it is not severe and is well controlled on inhalers or no medication. Certain commercial airline companies might be reluctant to employ pilots whose asthma is not well controlled or if there is a history of severe asthma.
Can I fly if I take blood pressure tablets?
So long as your blood pressure is well controlled on acceptable medication, a history of high blood pressure is not normally a problem, even for commercial pilots.
Can I fly if I have had a heart attack or coronary artery surgery?
It might well be possible so long as you can meet certain standards on comprehensive cardiological testing such as treadmill testing, perfusion scanning and coronary angiography. If you continue to suffer from angina or need to take anti-anginal medication, you will not be able to gain a medical certificate.
Can I fly if I suffer from hay fever?
Mild hay fever should be acceptable so long as it is well controlled with any or all of the following: nasal sprays, eye drops, fexofenadine tablets, cetirizine tablets or loratadine tablets. Other tablets, some of which might cause drowsiness, are not acceptable.
Can I fly if I have a past history of psychological illness?
This will depend on your history and the severity of the complaint, including the likelihood of recurrence. It is now possible to gain a medical certificate whilst taking certain medications for mental ill health. A report will be required from your medical practitioner(s). Occasionally, a psychiatric report might be required from a CAA approved psychiatrist.
Can I fly if I have diabetes?
So long as this is controlled by diet or certain specified medications, there should be no problems. Periodic reports will be required regarding the control of your diabetes. Insulin-dependency is no longer an absolute bar to medical certification. (See CAA website for further details)
Can I fly if I suffer from migraine?
Frequent and/or severe migraine with visual disturbance is usually an absolute bar to medical certification. A past history of migraine that no longer requires treatment may be acceptable.
What is the minimum age requirement for a holder of a PPL and PPL(H)?
The minimum age requirement for a holder of a PPL and PPL(H) is 17 years old, however if someone younger than 17 wishes to start and learn, this is no problem but he/she would not be able to fly solo or pass his/her test until their 17th birthday.