Medical & physical requirements for pilots from a pilot

Hi, Aanand Keerthy here with regular dose of aviation related topics. Today we are discussing about physical and medical requirements of pilots in a easy to understand format. This can help pilot trainees and aspirants to do a self check on themselves and find whether they are fit to the profession.By the way, we are also discussing some simpler ways to overcome certain issues you may face regarding to the medical assessments. Pilots are required to have the best of senses and physical capabilities to tackle every situation in flight so as to safely handle an aircraft.

Some of the qualities or requirements are not clearly defined by the DGCA, but can cause issues when you go for a job interview, after obtaining your license. So make sure that you satisfy all of the following requirements to avoid possible guilty feelings in the future. For various types of medical assessments for pilots, click here.

Beauty, color and Personality/appearance

These three qualities have NO importance in becoming a pilot. I have heard from many of my friends that you should look handsome like Bradpit, to become a pilot. This is utter non-sense because you are going to handle a machine, not a beauty conscious lady/guy. But these things have importance when you are trying to become an airhostess or flight steward, who should handle passengers in an airline. Being good looking has something to do with the passengers, not the cockpit.

Mental Health

Mental health is of utmost importance, as it can be a guiding factor in human performance. Drug addicts, depression patients etc. should refrain from becoming a pilot as they may experience problems in taking decisions in right time, while flying an aircraft.

Height, weight, BMI, Muscular buildup

Though not considered seriously, these points are important. proper height, weight and body mass index level (BMI) are required for proper operation of aircrafts. Imagine a very short man in cockpit. He may not be able to reach controls or see outside for visual flying. One need not have heavy muscular buildup to operate controls of modern aircrafts, but should be physically fit to drive a car. BMI number between 17 and 25 is considered the best However those above 25 in BMI score is also considered if his body weight is not just fat deposits but muscles.

Vision/ eye-sight and color perception

Vision must be perfect for pilots. Corrected vision to 6/6 is allowed. However color blindness is not at all allowed. This is because those people will find it difficult to recognise buttons, lights or controls in an aircraft or ground. If you use spectacles or contact lenses, try to avoid them by doing Laser treatments if possible. If your vision is still compromised, better find some other job.


Hearing ability is also a must and will be checked for during medical assessments. This test is called sonography. Test is conducted to test how much shrill (low volume) sound you can hear. If you can hear sounds lower than a threshold, you will be declared PASSED.

Speech, voice, tongue

No specific voice clarity tests are conducted for medical assessments. However while taking Radio Telephony exams with practical tests, you must have to show your communication ability. Moreover, for aerial communication, good voice clarity is required. If your voice is not good, chances are there that you cannot pass the Radio Telephony (RT) exam and get the license to operate aircraft radio. As of now it costs 5000 Rs to appear for the exam. I have some friends who have attempted about 18 times and not yet achieved success.

History of surgeries & broken bones

You will not be considered un-fit if you have undergone surgeries. However, certain scenarios will be treated as permanent or temporary unfitness. So it is advised to consult a Class 2 approved doctor or a Class 1 medical center to clear your doubts regarding this, before paying money to flying clubs.

Teeth & gum

Teeth conditions are not considered generally for pilot medicals. However for aesthetics and good appearance, good teeth structure is preferred. If you have lost some teeth, get them fixed permanently with Fixed dental implants. Bridges, root canal treatment (RCT) and Removable Partial Dentures (RPD) don’t help much in the long run. Bridging means fixing a missed tooth by taking support from adjacent teeth, by grinding the and fixing a common cap over the three. In my personal experience, it will damage those healthy adjacent teeth, in the long run. In RCT, root of tooth is drilled and filled with some fillers so that the tooth remain there in a dead condition. It is also not worthy, as the dead tooth will loss its hardness over time and will break in a few years. Removable dentures should be removed and kept in cold water during night and washed separately before fixing again in mouth. They are easily recognisable and doesn’t support much in chewing. Fixed implants are done by drilling titanium screws into gum and then fixing caps which look like original tooth. This method is comparatively costly (10,000 Rs to 30,000 Rs per tooth), but reliable and long lasting.

Permanent disabilities

Permanent disabilities in speech, hearing, vision and body movements can hinder proper handling of aircrafts and hence are considered reasons for permanent unfitness.

Diseases, infections, BP, hemoglobin

Urine and blood samples are collected and analysed during your medical checkups to ensure that you are free from abnormalities and infections. Serious infections like hepatitis, HIV are causes for permanent unfitness. Those with abnormal blood pressures are seen to attend medical checkups after taking medication, which is very dangerous. As we fly an aircraft, atmospheric pressure will decrease with altitude. A person under medication for blood pressure may not be able to cope with changing atmospheric pressures. Cases are reported in which pilots have fainted while flying due to pressure changes inside & outside  body. Hemoglobin levels also must be in the normal healthy range.


I think I have told almost everything related to medicals, which a pilot aspirant should take care of. If you think I have missed some point, please let me know. By the way, sharing is caring. Share this with friends so that they can also stay alert.


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2 thoughts on “Medical & physical requirements for pilots from a pilot

  1. Hannah Schroeder says:

    This article was really helpful, especially the part about how height, weight, and BMI aren’t considered seriously in aviation medical exams, but you should be fit enough to drive a car. I’ve always wanted to fly planes, and I’m thinking about starting a course after I finish my semester in three weeks. I’m not the fittest person, but I can drive a car, so I’ll hopefully pass a physical.

  2. manasi saxena says:

    Thank you for your article sir,
    I want to become a commercial pilot but i am having myopia of -1.25 D in my both eyes
    i am in 12th standard with PCM subjects and i am confused with this please help me sir
    Thanku !!!

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