Filing Flight Plan
Apr 23, 2016
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Ok, first a bit of background - I'm 15, US citizen, but live in Moscow, Russia, for family reasons. I'm looking into getting a PPL at seventeen/eighteen and then working up to eventually getting an ATPL at some point. Hopefully.

First of all, is it worth doing things like the summer flight training program at Embry-Riddle? It seems interesting and the hours are loggable but should I do it?
And secondly, and very importantly, I have found through my research that FAA Medicals are required for pretty much everything talked about above. The Class 3 is accepted for the Embry-Riddle thing (well duh, its the one required for PPL), however would it be better to receive a Class 2 or even Class 1 from the start and renew it, instead of having to 'upgrade' (is that a thing when talking about medical certificates?) when it comes to it?
Also, relating to the whole FAA Medical question, is there any way to get one in Russia? The official site - the one with the 'find an AME' thing - says that there are no AMEs here. Would that mean having to fly somewhere to get an FAA Medical?
On the medical, you might as well make sure you can pass a first class. It won't make renewing it any easier (you really don't renew, just get a new one). And the first class will turn into a second class and then a third class as the time expires on the higher class medical. Nothing lost by going for a first class first.
Once you get to the US, or wherever you can get a medical exam, it's all done from start to finish in less than 45 minutes. You walk out the door with the paper certificate. So, I'd say there is no big hurry to get it any earlier than necessary.
Thank you for your replies! I did not know that it doesn't expire, only lowers in class...in that case, I'll be getting the Class 1. The only problem is that I can't locate any AMEs in Russia. One of the many drawbacks of living in Moscow. Would flight schools that train for everything up to ATPL and do type ratings usually be able to organize an FAA medical exam? The closest to me is the Baltic Aviation Academy in Lithuania, but they have a representative office here in Moscow...I wrote to them asking if they could get me in contact with anyone here who can do it or organize a medical exam, but they haven't replied yet...
There is really no reason for you to get anything higher (lower?) than a Third Class medical. You get no benefit from being a student pilot with a Second or First Class medical.
I would certainly give them a call to see if they know anyone that could give the FAA exam, but if you are coming into the US, then like @write-stuff said, it's really a very quick process.
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There is really no reason for you to get anything higher (lower?) than a Third Class medical. You get no benefit from being a student pilot with a Second or First Class medical.

Other than if his goal is ATP to be sure that he can pass and maintain a First Class with no issues before he heads down that expensive road.

...plus he would have a better understanding of what could be disqualifying as life happens and what needs to do/not do to maintain that First Class along the process to ATP.
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If you plan to be in the States for flight training, just do the medical when you get here. If it's something you really want to do, get a few books or a ground school course and start some studying.
My problem is that the next time I will be in the States is late June, and that's too late to apply to the ERAU program I'm looking to do. I've located an AME in Vilnius, so I might fly there for a few hours (ridiculously short and relatively cheap flights) to do the medical.
If you're generally healthy, nothing standing out, not color blind, just apply to Riddle now. Check the deadline for refunds. It's likely you'll be fine with a medical. Go get a generic eye test locally if need be.

If something comes up, there should be a window for a refund, up to a certain point. You may not have to pay until Aug anyway, if you start in the Fall. Yes, there may be a portion you wouldn't get back.