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GFA pilot medical  requirements - frequently asked questions (FAQs)

NOTE: Overseas pilots should consult the Foreign Pilots page.

The GFA Medical Requirements are more fully explained in the GFA Operational Regulations, Section 3.2 and Manual of Standard Procedures (Part 2),Section 10.1.

Please find below aselection of frequently asked questions and answers on the GFA pilotmedical.


Pilot FAQs 

Q.     What are the GFA’s Medical Standards?

The GFA uses the ‘Austroads Standards’ for the issue of a private motor vehicle driver’s licence medical certificate, as contained in the Austroads Inc. publication ‘Assessing fitness to drive for commercial and private vehicle drivers: medical standards for licensing and clinical management guidelines, March 2012’, or a later version as in force from time to time.

Q.     When can I self-declare my medical status and when must I have a Medical Practitioner’s Certificate of Fitness?

If you do not suffer from one of the prescribed medical conditions and you are not an Instructor or Charter pilot, you may make a self-declaration of your medical fitness. In all other cases you must obtain a Medical Practitioner’s Certificate of Fitness. See the following Flow Chart: 

 Medcial Flow Chart

Q.     Do I need to specifically use the GFA Medical Practitioner’s Certificate of Fitness form or can I use the driver licence medical certificate provided by Austroads or my state based transport authority?

       You must use the GFA Medical Practitioner’s Certificate of Fitness form and have your doctor certify you are “not suffering from a medical condition which would preclude (you) from flying a sailplane as pilot in command”. 

 Q.     How long is my Medical Practitioner’s Certificate of Fitness Valid?

A Medical Practitioner’s Certificate of Fitness shall be valid for two years in respect of a pilot aged 40 or over at the time of examination, or four years in respect of a pilot aged under 40 at the time of examination.

Q.     I have a CASA Class 1/Class 2/Class 3 Medical Certificate. Does this meet GFA requirements?

Yes. Please provide a copy of your CASA Medical Certificate to your CFI.

Q.     I have a CASA Recreational Aviation Medical Practitioner’s Certificate (RAMPC). Does this meet GFA requirements?

Yes. CASA accepts that the RAMPC is a CASA Medical Certificate and as such, would fulfil a requirement under the GFA Operational Regulations (Paragraph 3.2.1 (c)) for a GFA member "to hold an appropriate and valid CASA Civil Aviation Medical Certificate"

Q.     I have a Medical Practitioner’s Certificate of Fitness obtained for my employment. Can I use this to meet GFA’s medical requirements?

No. If you are ineligible to make a self-declaration, then you will need to have your Doctor sign the form specifically provided by the GFA (OPS_F006(b) - Medical Practitioner's Certificate of Fitness), which can be downloaded from the Docs/Forms tab above.

Q.     I have a Heavy Vehicle/Commercial Driver’s Licence that proves I meet the Austroads standards. Can I use this to meet GFA’s medical requirements?

No. If you are ineligible to make a self-declaration, then you will need to have your Doctor sign the form specifically provided by the GFA.

Q.     I am an Australian Citizen but hold a Class 1/Class 2 Medical Certificate issued overseas. Can I use this to meet GFA’s medical requirements?

No. You must hold a Medical Certificate issued by an Australian Registered Doctor or DAME.

 Q.     Can any registered doctor issue my GFA Medical Practitioner’s Certificate of Fitness?

The driver licence medical certificate can be issued by any Australian Registered Medical Practitioner to any person meeting the required standard, however GFA recognises the value of the doctor/patient relationship. Pilots with a history of heart failure or cancer can only be assessed for a driver licence medical by their treating GP (or a GP with access to the patient's medical history) and must be under case management.

Q.     If I do not have a driver licence, can I still apply for a GFA Medical Practitioner’s Certificate of Fitness?

Yes. There is no requirement for you to hold a driver licence; only to be assessed to the standard.

Q.     I have a ‘conditional’ driver licence. Am I eligible for a Medical Practitioner’s Certificate of Fitness?

Yes, providing your Medical Practitioner believes you are capable of flying a sailplane as pilot in command.

Q.     I’m pregnant. Am I eligible to apply for a Medical Practitioner’s Certificate of Fitness?

Yes, however it is your responsibility to cease flying when the safety of flight could be compromised. 

Q.     I failed my Class 2 medical. Can I still apply for a GFA Medical Practitioner’s Certificate of Fitness?

Yes, if you meet the Austroads standards.

Q.     What happens if my doctor does not issue me with a GFA Medical Practitioner’s Certificate of Fitness?

You cannot fly as pilot in command but your CFI may allow you to continue to fly with a suitably qualified ‘safety' pilot under the mutual flying provisions as described in subparagraph 8.1.3 of the Operations Manual, providing the medical condition is such that it does not present an unacceptable risk. You can also visit a Designated Aviation Medical Examiner (DAME) to discuss your medical condition further. The DAME is qualified to determine whether you are eligible for a Class 2 medical with conditions (for example, you may need to do additional medical tests).

Q.     What must I do if I become medically unfit to fly?

A pilot flying under the provisions of the self-declaration of physical fitness who suffers from a condition described in Operational Regulations, Section 3.2.2(d) must obtain a Medical Practitioner’s Certificate of Fitness’ before recommencing flying.

A pilot flying under the provisions of a ‘Medical Practitioner’s Certificate of Fitness’ in terms of Operational Regulations, Section 3.2.2(d) who suffers a condition which renders him/her unfit for flying is required to undergo another medical examination by his/her GP or medical specialist before resuming flying as PIC. A fresh ‘Medical Practitioner’s Certificate of Fitness’ will be required confirming the problem has been treated and the person is again fit to fly.

The above requirements do not apply to minor injury or temporary illness (such as the flu, head cold, etc.).

Q.     I am a CFI and have become medically unfit to fly? Must I stand down from that position?

A CFI who suffers from a condition that renders him/her unfit for flying will not be required to stand down from their position if:

    1. the problem does not prevent him/her from continuing to manage their Club’s operations; and
    2. there is an expectation that a ‘Medical Practitioner’s Certificate of Fitness’ will be provided within 6 months to allow resumption of in-flight duties.

If the condition is likely to be of a long-term nature, a suitable replacement should be found.

Q.     The GFA Medical Self-Declaration has a disqualifying condition "Cancer in the last 5 years". Is this not a little broad? Surely pilots who have had minor skin cancers, such as basal or squamous cell carcinomas, removed recently should not be included in this catchall.

The prescribed conditions on the self-declaration form and in our Regulations were set by CASA in line with the ‘disqualifying conditions’ in the CASA Drivers Licence Medical standards. Under the CASA standards, basal cell skin cancers are not disqualifying if they have been successfully excised and other treatment conditions are met. This concession is only available to a person who has been under focused, active and continuous treatment by the same or professionally-related medical practitioners who have full access to the person’s medical history. Consequently, CASA requires a GP to certify this.

Q.     If I hold a Medical Practitioner’s Certificate of Fitness, do I also need to make a declaration when I renew my membership?

No.

Q.     If I am well, and know I am well, why must I make a declaration each and every year when the person who has to have the GP certify their fitness only does it every two or four years?

Regulations require the self-declaration to be made annually. As it is a ‘self-declaration’, this should not be an impost.

Q.     The Medical Certificate of Fitness lasts two or four years from the date of GPs signature. If I did this medical in August this year but when it is due for renewal I wait until just before the end of September, I will actually be not legal for the month long gap between the expiry of the August medical and my next one I planned for end of September!

Correct. A person cannot fly in command of a sailplane if they do not meet GFA Medical Requirements.

NOTE: A Person who is eligible to self-declare their medical status but is otherwise required to hold a Medical Practitioner’s Certificate of Fitness because they are an Instructor or Charter Pilot, may fly under a self-declaration providing they do not exercise the privileges of their charter/instructor ratings.

Q.     I am an Air Experience Instructor and aren't really allowed to teach. So for the purposes of the medical requirement definition, am I an Instructor?

Yes, and a person holding an AEI rating actually does provide in-flight instruction in the important aspects of lookout and, if the student is to ‘have a go’, the primary effects of the controls.

Q.     I am a Ground Supervisory Instructor and cannot undertake any in-flight instruction. Am I required to hold a GFA Medical Practitioner’s Certificate of Fitness?

If you do not suffer from one of the prescribed medical conditions, you may make a self-declaration of your medical fitness.

Examples of acceptable and unacceptable Medical Certificates


GP FAQs

 

Q.     I don't have an aviation medicine background. Am I qualified to conduct an examination for the issue of a Medical Practitioner’s Certificate of Fitness?

Yes. You do not require aviation medicine training or a background as a pilot. All you need to do is to assess the applicant against the Austroads driver standard.

Q.     Am I obliged to conduct an examination for the issue of a Medical Practitioner’s Certificate of Fitness?

No, there is no legal or other obligation for you to conduct the driver licence medical examination.

Q.    Am I being asked to approve a person to fly an aircraft?

No. All you need to do is assess the applicant against the private Austroads driver standard. GFA has determined that a person who meets this standard will be permitted to act as the pilot in command of an aircraft.

Q.     Is there a minimum or maximum age limit for the issue of a Medical Practitioner’s Certificate of Fitness? What do I do if the applicant is too young for a driver licence?

There is no minimum or maximum age for the issue of a driver licence medical certificate. Pilots of gliders can fly solo at the age of 15 and may commence their flight training before that age. There is no upper age limit as long as the pilot can meet the required medical standard. A Medical Practitioner’s Certificate of Fitness shall be valid for two years in respect of a pilot aged 40 or over at the time of examination, or four years in respect of a pilot aged under 40 at the time of examination.

Q.     I am not familiar with the pilot's medical history, does this have any impact?

The driver licence medical certificate can be issued to any person meeting the required standard, however GFA recognises the value of the doctor/patient relationship. Pilots with a history of heart failure or cancer can only be assessed for a driver licence medical by their treating GP (or a colleague with access to the patient's medical history) and must be under case management.

Q.     Must I use the Austroads private driver licence standard with CASA's modifications to form an opinion on whether the pilot meets the fitness standard?

No. The CASA modifications do not apply to Pilots flying under the auspices of the GFA. 

Q.     I do not have the Austroads Assessing Fitness to Drive publication. Where can I find it?

The Assessing Fitness to Drive publication is available from the Austroads website.

Q.     What forms do I need to complete and sign and how do I know if the pilot has provided me with all of the relevant information?

You need to use the form specifically provided by the GFA (OPS_F006(b) - Medical Practitioner's Certificate of Fitness), which can be downloaded from the Docs/Forms tab above.

Q.     The pilot wears glasses or has a hearing aid. Can I still issue a Medical Practitioner’s Certificate of Fitness?

Yes, as long as the corrected vision and/or hearing meets the required standard. It must be noted on the medical certificate that the pilot requires vision correction to exercise the privilege of their pilot Certificate.

Q.     The pilot is pregnant. Can I issue a Medical Practitioner’s Certificate of Fitness?

Yes. It is the pilot's responsibility to stop flying when the safety of flight could be compromised.

Q.     Can I issue a Medical Practitioner’s Certificate of Fitness as I would issue a conditional medical for a motor vehicle driver?

Yes, providing the medical condition is controlled and unlikely to affect flight safety.

Q.     What if the pilot does not meet the Austroads standard?

If the pilot does not meet the Austroads standard for the issue of a Medical Practitioner’s Certificate of Fitness, no certificate is to be issued. You can suggest to the pilot that they can still visit a Designated Aviation Medical Examiner (DAME) to be assessed for a Class 2 aviation medical, which can be issued with conditions.

Q.     I require further guidance about a specific medical condition. Who can I contact?

If you need guidance on a specific medical condition, contact GFA’s Executive Manager, Operations by phone on 0414 476 151 or by email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Q.     I suspect the pilot may not be disclosing their full medical history. What should I do?

You can advise the pilot that it is their responsibility to disclose their medical history. Do not issue the Medical Practitioner’s Certificate of Fitness. If you believe that your advice may be ignored and there is a risk to aviation safety, advise GFA’s Executive Manager, Operations by phone on 0414 476 151 or by email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Q.     A patient with a Medical Practitioner’s Certificate of Fitness no longer meets the standard, either temporarily or permanently. What must I do?

If the pilot has a temporary unfitness such as a sprained or broken limb, advise the pilot not to fly until you have assessed them as meeting the Austroads standard.

There is no need to re-issue a new Medical Practitioner’s Certificate of Fitness when the pilot has regained fitness.

If the pilot has a long term unfitness, advise them that they no longer meet the required standard, they should not fly, and they should advise their CFI and the GFA that they are no longer using their Medical Practitioner’s Certificate of Fitness. A new Medical Practitioner’s Certificate of Fitness can be issued when the pilot is able to meet the required standard.

If you believe your advice to cease flying is being ignored, you should advise the GFA’s Executive Manager, Operations by phone on 0414 476 151 or by email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Q.     A patient has recovered from a medical unfitness and now meets the required medical standard. Can I re-issue a Medical Practitioner’s Certificate of Fitness?

Yes. The process is the same as the initial issue.