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Asked by: Jason P. Granzella
Can you fly with a copy of your FAA medical? Or does it have to be the original?
Bill Trussell on Jan 06, 2013
I would suggest that, while the rules are silent on the question you pose, you should fly with the original while retaining a copy at home if you are concerned about the possible loss of the original.
Note that FAR 61.29 Replacement of a lost or destroyed airman or medical certificate or knowledge test report para (b) “A request for the replacement of a lost or destroyed medical certificate must be made by letter to the Department of Transportation, FAA, Aerospace Medical Certification Division, P.O. Box 26200, Oklahoma City, OK 73125, and must be accompanied by a check or money order for the appropriate fee payable to the FAA.” makes it relatively easy to obtain a new certificate should the original be lost.
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Bob Watson on Jan 07, 2013
I was curious about this and could only find language in the FARs that said, in effect, that tha pilot must have a valid and current medical, not that they had to carry it with them (except for some student pilot cases where the medical is their pilot certificate). It also says that the pilot must make it available to law enforcement, FAA, etc. if requested, but that doesn’t necessarily mean carrying it.
So, the way I read it, if the original got messed up, you could still fly with a copy (as you wait for the replacement) so long as it hasn’t lapsed.
That being said, I have a Special Issuance for my medical and in the letter from the FAA, it said that I needed to carry the letter and the medical with me. However, I think that restriction was lifted with my last medical. (I always carry it with me anyway, so I don’t remember if I have to anymore or not).
Peter Lake on Jan 07, 2013
I was suprised to hear I didn’t need a current medical to take a BFR.
Mark Kolber on Jan 08, 2013
Bob, You need to look closer. Try FAR 61.3 which deals with the documents a pilot needs to carry when acting as a required crewmember. The same reg that requires you to have your pilot certificate in your “physical possession or readily accessible in the aircraft” says the same about the medical certificate.
As to the initial question, the reg requires the medical certificate; it says nothing about a copy being acceptable. While there is nothing specific in the regs that says “the original,” unless you’re willing to go so far as to say that all you need is a photocopy of your pilot certificate, driver’s licence, auto registration and passport, I don’t see any reason to make a distinction for the medical certificate.
>> I was suprised to hear I didn’t need a current medical to take a BFR.
True. Nothing in 61.56 or any other FAR requires that a pilot receiving a flight review to have a current medical certificate.
That assumes, of course, that the pilot receiving the FR is not acting as PIC or as a required crewmember on the flight, since one must have a medical in order to act as PIC or required crew.
John D. Collins on Jan 08, 2013
I don’t think a copy of a certificate is permitted. I know that a copy of an airworthiness certificate is not acceptable to the FAA as we would occasionally lose a certificate due to a careless student on a check ride that would remove it to show the DPE and not replace it in its holder. The airplane was grounded until a replacement was provided from the FAA at our local FSDO.
The regulations call for having a certificate issued by part 67 to be available, not a copy. There would be no need to return a medical certificate if a copy were permitted or the regulation would have to also state and any copies of a medical certificate. At least to me it seems clear that the FAA doesn’t mean a copy when referring to the medical certificate. See section 67.415 below:
Return of medical certificate after suspension or revocation.
The holder of any medical certificate issued under this part that is suspended or revoked shall, upon the Administrator’s request, return it to the Administrator.
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