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photocopy of FAA medical

Nhyrum

New member
I know the general consensus is you HAVE to carry the original. 61.3(c)(1)states "a person may serve as a required pilot flight crewmember of an aircraft only if that person holds the appropriate medical certificate issued under part 67 of this chapter, or other documentation acceptable to the FAA". 67.403 (a)(3) (the only part I could find that speaks of reproductions) states (a)"no person may cause to be made-" (3)"a reproduction, for fraudulent purposes, of any medical certificate under this part. I've looked under FAA order 8900, which mentions lamination is a-ok, and cannot find ANYTHING that mentions the medical certificate carried MUST be the original.

so, my question is, where, in the regs, does it say the medical certificate carried MUST be the original? I haven't been able to find anything that states that, and "well that's just how its done" isn't acceptable. so far all I've seen is it states a medical must be carried, and photocopies are allowed. Why then, would they allow photocopies tp be made if said copy wouldn't be able to be used in any sense, or specifically mention that a photocopy isn't allowed while acting as pilot-in-command, required crewmember, etc. they seem to be pretty explicit in all of that. I hope that makes sense.

This obviously isn't something you'd want argue about with an examiner on a practical test about, but I honestly see no ground they stand on, so I'm looking for it
 

MsHighAltitude

Active member
The second half of §61.3.(c).(1) continues with "that is in that person's physical possession or readily accessible in the aircraft." So essentially the reg is telling you that you need to hold the appropriate medical certificate AND have it in your physical possession. That's the ground you are looking for.

§61.3.(a).(1).(i) states that "No personal may serve as a required pilot flight crewmemeber of a civil aircraft of the United States, unless that person has in the person's physical possession or readily accessible in the aircraft when exercising the privileges of that pilot certificate or authorization a pilot certificate issued under this part and in accordance with §61.19."

Would you question whether it is ok to carry a photocopy of the pilot certificate instead of the original? The reg doesn't explicitly say it has to be the original does it?
 
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Nhyrum

New member
Well, § 61.3.(a).(1).(i) states that no personal may serve as a required pilot flight crewmemeber of a civil aircraft of the United States, unless that person has in the person's physical possession or readily accessible in the aircraft when exercising the privileges of that pilot certificate or authorization a pilot certificate issued under this part and in accordance with §61.19.

Would you question whether it is ok to carry a photocopy of the pilot certificate instead of the original? The reg doesn't explicitly say it has to be the original does it?
Sure. But 61.19 doesn't state that photocopies/reproductions are allowed. In the medical section, it says it must follow section 67, which does allow reproductions.

But, after a little more looking, i found this on the faa's website,
section 13(page 19), it says that they're only valid so long as it has the original examiners signature, and that copies are not allowed.
 

MsHighAltitude

Active member
61.3.(c).(1) says, "the appropriate medical certificate issued under part 67 of this chapter." It does not say must follow section 67.

67.403.(a).(3) prohibits reproduction of a medical certificate for fraudulent purposes. It does not offer permission for the use of a reproduced copy of the certificate under 61.3.(c).(1).
 

Nhyrum

New member
61.3.(c).(1) says, "the appropriate medical certificate issued under part 67 of this chapter." It does not say must follow section 67.

67.403.(a).(3) prohibits reproduction of a medical certificate for fraudulent purposes. It does not offer permission for the use of a reproduced copy of the certificate under 61.3.(c).(1).
I guess 61.3 (c)(1) does say the certificate ISSUED. Not just "the appropriate medical certificate" So that does point to it having to be the original certificate.
 

MsHighAltitude

Active member
Even if it only says "the appropriate medical certificate" instead of "the appropriate medical certificate issued under part 67", it would still preclude the use of photocopies. Otherwise it would say something like "the appropriate medical certificate or a legible reproduction of the medical certificate."
 

Nhyrum

New member
But it does, kind of. It says "...or other documentation as acceptable by the FAA"

But, as in the link above, I already found where they do specifically say copies are not allowed, explicitly.
 

MsHighAltitude

Active member
The reference you found is on the validity of the medical certificate itself and has no bearing on the permission or prohibition regarding the use of photocopies.

For example, a scanned copy of your driver's license is not a valid ID but may be accepted as proof of identity when you apply for a credit card online.

The "...or other documentation as acceptable by the FAA" part is for BasicMed and certain exceptions. Or maybe military issued documents.
 

Nhyrum

New member
The reference you found is on the validity of the medical certificate itself and has no bearing on the permission or prohibition regarding the use of photocopies.

For example, a scanned copy of your driver's license is not a valid ID but may be accepted as proof of identity when you apply for a credit card online.

The "...or other documentation as acceptable by the FAA" part is for BasicMed and certain exceptions. Or maybe military issued documents.
But it explicitly states that photocopies are not valid. And I know the "or other documentation" they mean basic med,etc. But I can see how an argument could be made that a photocopy of a medical could be included in that.

I hope I don't sound argumentative, that's not my intent. Simply to have a discussion about what the laws state and where some interpretations have come from.
 

MsHighAltitude

Active member
I hope I don't sound argumentative, that's not my intent. Simply to have a discussion about what the laws state and where some interpretations have come from.
Oh not at all. I hope I don't sound argumentative either.

Ok so, there's a difference between validity and acceptability. Like I said earlier, a scanned copy of your driver's license is not a VALID piece of identification. The driver's license is. However, a financial institution or a government agency may deem the copy as an ACCETABLE document in some processes. I hope that makes sense.

Now back to the medical certificate. The FAA AME guide states that a medical certificate is VALID only with the original signature and copies are NOT VALID. What does that mean? It means you can't use a copy of your medical certificate as proof that you have a first-class medical.

Yet, for your checkride, your examiner, after checking the original certificate, may ask for a copy of your medical certificate to keep in his/her record. So in this case, a copy is considered an acceptable piece of documentation for record-keeping purposes. Does the lack of validity has any impact? No.

Now the question is "Does the FAA deem a photocopy of the medical certificate an ACCEPTABLE piece of document for a pilot to operate an aircraft?" Per 61.3.(c).(1), the person must hold the medical certificate AND have the certificate in his/her physical possession. Is a copy of the certificate also a certificate? No. Hence in the eyes of the FAA, a photocopy is NOT an acceptable documentation for flight ops.
 
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Zeede

Active member
I don't understand what the point of this thread is. It's a tiny piece of paper. Mine is folded and tucked behind my pilot's license. Most, if not all of us carry a flight bag and/or a headset case that is way heavier and bulkier, so the addition or subtraction of the medical cert shouldn't be a factor.

Did you lose your original and you're trying to argue that you don't have to be grounded until you get a replacement?
 

Nhyrum

New member
Oh not at all. I hope I don't sound argumentative either.

Ok so, there's a difference between validity and acceptability. Like I said earlier, a scanned copy of your driver's license is not a VALID piece of identification. The driver's license is. However, a financial institution or a government agency may deem the copy as an ACCETABLE document in some processes. I hope that makes sense.

Now back to the medical certificate. The FAA AME guide states that a medical certificate is VALID only with the original signature and copies are NOT VALID. What does that mean? It means you can't use a copy of your medical certificate as proof that you have a first-class medical.

Yet, for your checkride, your examiner may ask for a copy of your medical certificate to keep in his/her record after checking the original certificate. So in this case, a copy is considered an acceptable piece of documentation for record-keeping purposes. Does the lack of validity has any impact? No.

Now the question is "Does the FAA deem a photocopy of the medical certificate an ACCEPTABLE piece of document for a pilot to operate an aircraft?" Per 61.3.(c).(1), the person must hold the medical certificate AND have the certificate in his/her physical possession. Is a copy of the certificate also a certificate? No. Hence in the eyes of the FAA, a photocopy is NOT an acceptable documentation for flight ops.
That all makes total sense. Thank you for clarifying validity and acceptability.
 

Nhyrum

New member
I don't understand what the point of this thread is. It's a tiny piece of paper. Mine is folded and tucked behind my pilot's license. Most, if not all of us carry a flight bag and/or a headset case that is way heavier and bulkier, so the addition or subtraction of the medical cert shouldn't be a factor.

Did you lose your original and you're trying to argue that you don't have to be grounded until you get a replacement?
The point is, I always HEAR people saying certain things are required, not allowed, etc. For example, laminating the medical is 100% allowed, but you'll still hear people talk about how is not because "well... It's just what i was told" so... I've been TOLD that the medical you carry HAS to be the original, and I could not find any official statements upholding that. It's fine if it is indeed correct(and it is, from what I've heard) but I don't like saying something is required or not required, without having concrete proof from an approved source. So, the point here is to find the official source for that claim. That's all
 

MsHighAltitude

Active member
The point is, I always HEAR people saying certain things are required, not allowed, etc. For example, laminating the medical is 100% allowed, but you'll still hear people talk about how is not because "well... It's just what i was told" so... I've been TOLD that the medical you carry HAS to be the original, and I could not find any official statements upholding that. It's fine if it is indeed correct(and it is, from what I've heard) but I don't like saying something is required or not required, without having concrete proof from an approved source. So, the point here is to find the official source for that claim. That's all
I think it's great you aren't going with it just because. I believe in "trust but verify." 👍
 

MsHighAltitude

Active member
I don't understand what the point of this thread is. It's a tiny piece of paper. Mine is folded and tucked behind my pilot's license. Most, if not all of us carry a flight bag and/or a headset case that is way heavier and bulkier, so the addition or subtraction of the medical cert shouldn't be a factor.

Did you lose your original and you're trying to argue that you don't have to be grounded until you get a replacement?
It's more about interpreting the regulation haha. I wonder about random stuff all the time too.
 
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