I went for my 3rd-class medical exam yesterday. Why the 3rd-class, you ask? Why didn’t you spring for the 1st-class medical certificate, printed on paper made of caviar, with gold leaf lettering? Because I don’t need it! All that is required for the Private Pilot Certificate is a 3rd-class medical, which is much less rigorous an exam than a 2nd- or 1st-class. So, I headed to a doctor who has been approved as an Aviation Medical Examiner (AME), and it only took 30 minutes or so. Peed in the cup, gave it to the receptionist (bet she wished that wasn’t a part of her job description), had my eyesight checked, and got poked and prodded a little bit. I can see, I’m not colorblind, I AM ticklish, but I still passed!
The AME signed off on my medical certificate and gave me a student pilot certificate, so now I am officially a student pilot! You don’t need the certificate to start flight training, but you will need it before you can be signed off to solo, so I’m glad I already have it handy.