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Can I become a pilot if I have Diabetes?

It depends on what pilot license you want to have and where you want to fly.

There are 3 types of Medical Certificates: Class 1, Class 2, and Class 3. Class 1 is the highest medical certificate and allows one to have the maximum privileges. Between these medical certificates, it is most likely that people with Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes will only get a hold of the Class 3 Medical Certificate through a special issuance procedure. The aspiring pilot or pilot must prove that they have controlled their blood glucose levels for at least six months. With the Class 3 Medical Certificate, you may fly private, as a student, as a flight instructor, as a sports pilot, or for recreational operations. The aspiring pilot or pilot needs to get regular health exams to maintain their license.

In most cases, if you have Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes, then you cannot possess a class 1 or class 2 medical certificate that allows you to become a commercial pilot but there are exceptions. The main reason is the concern that pilots with diabetes may suffer an episode of high or low blood sugar in flight that could lead to an emergency. This rule may also vary depending on where you are in the world. For instance, the United Kingdom and Canada allow pilots with diabetes to fly commercially if there is a second pilot in the cockpit. Recently, the Federal Aviation Administration also announced that the United States will also allow pilots with insulin-treated diabetes to fly for commercial airlines.

With medical advancements, proper protocols, and years of insulin-dependent pilots safely flying, highly qualified pilots with diabetes are able to fly commercially.

Check out our other FAQ questions related to health and physical:

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