Getting a LAPL Medical – A guide for Students
UPDATE: This post has been updated in the light of the EASA transiton delay to 2018
If you read my previous post about the EASA transition, you will have noticed that the advice for almost every person is start by getting a LAPL medical. This post details the process and points out some of the main pitfalls. As a medical is a personal matter, it will not be possible to list every possible event, however this should cover the experience of most healthy students.
What is a LAPL Medical, and why do I need it?
To fly solo you require a Medical Certificate to declare that you are fit to fly. Up to 2018 you only require a Private Pilots Medical Declaration signed by your GP. However, from 2018 you will a new LAPL Medical if you wish to fly solo. The LAPL Medical is more rigorous than the Medical Declaration, but less rigorous than the JAR Class 1&2 Medicals required for instructors, airline pilots, and people with the Sail Plane Licence (SPL).
When should I get my LAPL Medical?
There is not any reason to delay getting the Medical, for people under 40 it is valid for 5 years from the day of issue. If you are doing the EASA transition, it is likely to be quite time-consuming and getting the medical done early will give you more time to do everything else.
I’m Pre-Solo do I need a LAPL Medical?
You can fly with an instructor without a medical, if you want to go solo you must have done your medical and the office at Gransden Lodge must have a copy of it on file before your first solo flight. You do not want to miss being sent solo because you have not done your medical, so it is best to get it done early.
Getting the LAPL Medical
Before you begin, the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) has provided some helpful guides to the process here http://www.caa.co.uk/default.aspx?catid=49&pageid=13886 you should read all of these in advance and print them off an bring them to your GP.
Quick Guide for Pilots http://www.caa.co.uk/docs/49/CAP%201127%20LAPL%20Quick%20Guide%20for%20Pilots.pdf
Quick Guide for GPs
Guidance for GPs
Instructions for Completing the Online Form
Before seeing your GP
Most students are medically fit to fly, but if you have a pre-existing health condition, you should seek specialist advice before beginning. Students that need glasses/contact lenses should visit the optician to get an up to date prescription, and have a colour blindness test. Not all GPs can do eyesight tests so you should check with your GP if they are able to do these tests. If not you may have to go to an optician even if you do not need glasses.
Completing the Application Form
Print out this form and complete it http://www.caa.co.uk/docs/49/LAPL%20Application%20(MED160).pdf
Here are some tips on certain questions
12) Initial – even if you already have the old style Medical Declaration
13) Your CAA reference number if known
27) Your weekly consumption of alcohol e.g. 1 litre of beer
Booking an appointment with your GP
Your GP may not be familiar with the LAPL Medical process, so you should book a double length appointment, (around 40 minutes) and visit your GP at least a week before your appointment and provide all the paper work and guidance documents, if you have a Medical Declaration provide a copy of that as well.
The Medical Examination
None of the tests are invasive or particularly unpleasant, the tests are:
1) The GP will talk to you about your medical history and family medical history, and anything you declared on the forms
2) They will measure you height and weight
3) They will take your blood pressure; this involved having a strap around your arm that squeezes your arm briefly.
4) The GP will take your pulse
5) The GP will listen to your breathing and heart with a stethoscope
6) The GP will look inside your ears with a otoscope
7) The GP will check your peripheral vision
8) The GP will feel your tummy while you lie down for any abdominal problems
9) The GP will ask to show free movement, by walking and moving your arms normally
10) The GP will check your reflexes by hitting your joins with a little rubber hammer
11) The GP will ask you to touch your toes (its ok is you can’t reach) and will feel you back and spine
12) The GP may ask you some questions to judge your psychiatric condition e.g. stress, depression
13) If the GP has the right equipment they will check your far eyesight by asking you to read small writing on a distant wall
14) The GP will test your intermediate and near vision by asking you to read aloud from a book
If you have glasses or contact lenses, you only need to pass the vision test with your corrected vision. However, it will then be a requirement for you to always fly with your glasses and a spare pair in the aircraft.
15) If the GP has the right equipment they will test for colour blindness
16) The GP will test your hearing by taking to you at a distance with your back to the GP
17) The GP will ask you to pee into a cup (in private) and then will do some tests on your urine sample
Once the GP has completed their examination, they will sign your paperwork. The examination should take no more than 20 minutes if you are in good health.
Once the paper form has been completed your GP must fill in the online form. This is at https://www.caa.co.uk/application.aspx?catid=33&pagetype=65&appid=11&mode=detail&id=6081 click on Open form in new window. Note that the form does not work in the Google Chrome Browser. At the bottom of the form, click the Submit Form Button.
After submitting the form, you and your GP will be emailed a copy for your records. You should print off sign and keep your LAPL Medical Certificate.
The cost of the medical is up to your GP, I paid £60 for my medical.