Sep 29, 2020

To become a licensed pilot or an air traffic controller in NZ, you must have a NZCAA Medical Certificate. There are three types of medical certification, each for a slightly different application. As part of this medical assessment process you will undergo a physical medical examination carried out by an approved medical examiner (AME). Read on for more detailed information on getting your aviation medical certificate in New Zealand.

Types Of Medical Certificates

Medical ExamThere are three types of aviation medical certificates in New Zealand:

Class 3 Medical Certificate. The Class 3 certificate is required by air traffic controllers. These medicals are very similar to the ones pilots have to sit however the periods between renewals differ slightly. You need to get your class 3 medical certificate before you enrol in your air traffic controller training course.

Class 2 Medical Certificate. The Class 2 certificate is for those wanting to get their private pilot’s licence (PPL) or for skydivers. This medical certificate is rated with IFR or without.

Class 1 Medical Certificate. The Class 1 certificate is for those wanting to get their commercial pilots licence. When you get a Class 1 medical certificate, you automatically get a Class 2 so sometimes it can be more cost effective to just go for the Class 1.

Getting Your CAA ID Number

Before applying for your medical certificate the first thing you need to do is apply for a 5 digit CAA ID Number. You can download the form here and send the form to the CAA at . This process may take up to 2 – 3 working days. A scanned copy of your photo ID (passport or NZ drivers licence) will be required when applying for a CAA ID number.

Application Form For CAA ID Number

What Is The CAA Application Fee?

After you have received you CAA ID Number you will need to pay the medical certificate application fee. The CAA Application fee ($120.75) must be paid in full before attending your medical examination. It is paid directly to the CAA and is to cover the cost of processing your application.

How To Book Your Medical

You will need to choose and approved medical examiner (see list below), it is necessary to call ahead to the practice directly to book your aviation medical. It is recommended to book at least 6 weeks before it expires or is required. This will allow time for CAA clearance processing and any medical issues to be addressed.

Things To Take With You

  • Photo ID (driver’s license or passport)
  • Glasses or contact lenses (only if you are required to wear these)
  • The CAA Application Form (The application form is your responsibility, but your medical examiner will need to witness you signing the form on its last page).
  • The transaction number from your CAA application payment – see CAA Online Payment

How To Find An Approved Qualified Medical Examiner

Cessna 172The CAA website has a full list of the approved medical examiners in New Zealand. If your intended doctor is not on this list then it is likely they are not an approved medical examiner for pilots, only an approved medical examiner can sign off the medical certificate. For a quick reference here is a brief selection of the approved medical examiners in NZ.

North Island


Tauranga, Rotorua, Taupo

Gisborne, Napier, Hastings

Hamilton, Te Awamutu

New Plymouth, Palmerston North

Wellington, Kapiti, Wairarapa

  • Dr D Payne

South Island



Dunedin, Invercargill

West Coast

Queenstown, Wanaka


How Long Does A Medical Take?

The medical will usually take somewhere between 30 -45 minutes, with a further 30 minutes to an hour required to complete the associated paperwork. To save time make sure you fill out the four page application form before you arrive (see link to form below).

What’s Included In A Class 1 Medical?

Aeroplane In FlightAll aviation medicals require a physical examination and a health assessment. The physical exam will include eyesight checks (both with and without your contacts/glasses), hearing checks, and a basic physical exam (ears, nose, throat, height, weight, pulse and blood pressure), blood tests (fasting period required) and a psychiatric screening.

Further tests such as ECG’s, audiograms, optometrist reports, spirometry and blood tests may be required at certain ages or if the doctor seeks further investigation of a pre-existing condition. See the CAA website for more specific information on the examination procedures for a pilots medical.

It is helpful to have the blood test, audiometry, and eye reports done before your medical particularly if you know there are issues present but it is not necessary, they can be done afterwards. You will however need to provide a urine sample, so make sure you are prepared.

Medical Issues That May Prevent The Issue Of An Aviation Medical Certificate

Each case is assessed on an individual basis taking into account all contributing factors, however these are some of the likely medical issues that may prevent the issue of an aviation medical certificate.

  • A coronary artery bypass or stent
  • Angina pectoris
  • Bipolar disease
  • Diabetes requiring hypoglycemic medications
  • Epilepsy
  • History of heart attacks
  • A permanent cardiac pacemaker
  • Psychosis
  • Alcohol/Substance abuse
  • Alcohol/Substance dependence

Please Note: Asthma does not prevent you getting an aviation medical certificate providing it is well controlled, it will be necessary to regularly undertake a bronchodilator spirometry at each medical though.

How Long Is A Medical Certificate Valid?

The length of time a medical certificate will last depends several factors including whether you hold a commercial or private pilot’s licence, age, ongoing medical conditions but as a general guide:

  • Class 1 (commercial) certificates last for 12 months (until age 40 years when a medical is then needed every six months)
  • Class 2 medical certificates are valid for 5 years (until age 40 when it then becomes every 2 years)

How Much Does A Class 1 Medical Cost?

This is detailed in the fees information from the CAA and is subject to change and the total cost varies as it depends on what is required but as a general guide (as at January 2020):

  • Medical Examination and Certification $310.00
  • Resting ECG $65.00
  • Audio $85.00
  • Spirometry – plain $85.00
  • Spirometry – bronchodilator $95.00
  • CAA Application Fee $120.75 (cost associated with processing your application)
  • CAA Audiometry $100 – $120
  • CAA Eye Exam $180 – $280
  • Blood Test $82.50

Do I Need To Report Any Changes In My Medical Condition?

The short answer is, yes. You are legally required to report any changes in your health or any new medical conditions that may interfere with your ability to fly an aircraft safely to the CAA. And you must stop flying until the condition is resolved.

Notifying the CAA can be done via telephone (04) 560 9466 or email .

What Changes Medical Conditions Should I Report?

Anything that has the potential to interfere with aviation safety constitutes a notifiable medical condition. This includes but is not limited to:

  • Any condition that results in behavioural changes
  • Any condition that could lead to an increased risk of incapacitation (whether sudden or  gradual)
  • Any condition that results in a reduction in physical or cognitive capacity
  • Any condition that may alter your ability for sound decision-making, or attention span

Medical Certificate Forms And Useful Links

CAA Medical Renewals

If you are renewing your pilot medical certificate then the process is quite similar. You will need to pay the application fee online before your medical examination. Choose your CAA approved GP, provide your CAA participant number and take note of the receipt number to give to the GP. You will also need to fill out the medical certificate application form.

Medical Certificate Renewal Form

CAA Medical Certificate Replacements

You cannot get a replacement medical certificate from your doctor, a replacement can only be issued by the CAA. Here is the form for a replacement medical certificate.

Replacement Medical Certificate Form

Thinking about getting your aviation medical and learning to fly in NZ? Getting your Commercial Pilot’s Licence? Private pilot’s licence? Talk to the flight training specialists Southern Wings today!


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