How long does your 1st class medical last?


'Not a new member'
Hi there, I got my 1st class in September, does it expire in 6mo time or can I only excerise 1st class flying privlages for the first 6mo and it's just downgraded to 2nd class after that? What I'm asking is, do I need to renew it in 6 months to keep current, (ie not have to take the full exam again) or as long as I renew it before the 3rd class previlages run out.. like after 3yrs?

Also when a school says you need a 1st class medical, does that mean you need a current 1st class or can you just have gotten your 1st class and have it now lapsed to a 2nd or 3rd class?

Hope that makes since, it's a little confusing
After 6 months your first class medical will become a second, and then a third. So you do not have to get it re-done every 6 months (unless a 1st class is required for the type of flying you are doing i.e. airline stuff). I highly doubt you will need to maintain a current 1st to meet your flight school requirement I think it is more likely just to make sure you can get one before you start training, however do check up on that as it coud be an insurance requirement.
Refer to section 61.23 Medical certificates: Requirement and duration in the FAR for details and the final word on this.

Basically it's valid for 6 months for operations requiring the privileges of an ATP, then another 6 months for operations requiring a commercial pilot certificate or an air traffic control tower operator certificate, then for another 12 or 24 months as a 3rd class certificate, depending on how old you are.
Yes it is. Anytime you hear the phrase "Calender month", it means until the end of that month. So if you got a first class medical today (12/20/02), it would be valid for operations requiring a first class medical until 06/30/03. It does not "change" though into a second or third class medical. You'll always have a first class, but the longer you have it, the more restrictive it becomes on what duties you may perform.

It's very strange that a flight school requires students to have a first class medical. However, the key to answering your question is to find out if they require a "current first class medical" or just a "first class medical". I'm sure they don't require a "current" first class medical. That would be highly unecessary and costly.
I will break it down so you can chew it up a little bit better.

The first class medical privelages are good for 6 calender months from the date of issue(say 1/8/03), after that you still have a first class medical, however, you can only excercise the privelages of a second class medical which is good for another 6 calender months (1/31/04), finally it becomes a first class medical with 3rd class privelages for the remaining 24 calender months (1/31/06)