VIRTUALLY EVERY ACTIVE PILOT
will experience an FAA medical problem and without proper handling
grounding will be the result. Most pilots realize that every FAA exam is a potentially
New medical conditions are often discovered during an FAA exam.
Sometimes the pilot is not even aware a condition spells grounding.
Even if one understands the significance of a condition, one is usually
unprepared for the lengthy evaluation and intricate paperwork which will follow.
When presented with a disqualifying
condition, the FAA requires AME’s to document the condition and forward the
application and medical certificate to the FAA’s Aeromedical
Certification Division (AMCD) in Oklahoma City within two weeks.1
FAA will process the application and the typical response is a form letter
outlining the prerequisites for certification.
The pilot has now been grounded for three to four months!
LIE ABOUT IT This is a common and sometimes even
successful approach, however, the FAA and your insurance company do have some
pretty stiff penalties for this. You could be reported via the FAA’s anonymous
toll free number. Imprisonment,
fines and certificate suspension are punitive options at the FAA’s disposal.
If you have an accident not only will the FAA get nasty but your
insurance company may not pay the claim.
I - GET A REGULAR EXAM FROM YOUR PERSONAL PHYSICIAN
am often asked if it is a good idea to use an AME as a personal physician.
While this one-stop-shopping may be handy, the AME is an agent of
the FAA and as such is obligated to report your condition.2
If you are
reluctant to divulge a potentially grounding health issue, this may be an
indication that your doctor-patient relationship is less than ideal.
Aviation Regulations only require you to report a medical condition when you
wish to resume flying. 3 Provided you ground yourself, you should wait until you
have proof you are fit to fly before presenting your condition to the FAA.
This approach will save both you and your AME time.
- PRACTICE FOR YOUR FAA MEDICAL A
pre-certification assessment is the best way to assure flight fitness.
You should establish FAA medical eligibility before your FAA
medical exam, this way if you do have a problem the paperwork which demonstrates
your flight fitness is in-hand before your FAA exam.
Pre-certification assessments virtually eliminate premature applications;
as a result,
valuable time once lost to deferred or denied applications is minimized rather
consultations are available from numerous organizations
Medicine Advisory Service
aeromedical support for ALPA, APA, IACP and FPA airline
Contact your union
Owners and Pilots Association
and a network of AME advocates for members
Medical Solutions, Inc.
and case managers which manage medical records
- HIRE A CASE MANAGER Aeromedical case manager’s speak the medical language
and some will retrieve, review, organize, and submit medical records to the FAA.
Case managers have aeromedical education and experience but most of all a
familiarity with FAA bureaucracy. Early
preparation may spare you from the frustration of a lengthy grounding period or
denial. While very few pilots are ultimately denied, many pilots
suffer needlessly because they don’t prepare or take advantage of help which
is available. PLAN for your next FAA medical exam!
1. FAA, Guide for Aviation Medical
Examiners, (Washington, D.C. : October1999),p.9.
United States Code, Title 18, Secs. 1001; 3571
United States Department of Transportation, Federal Aviation Regulations,
David Hale is a commercial pilot and Director of Pilot
Medical Solutions, Inc.
is a member of the Aerospace Medical Association, serves on the advisory board
for Spartan School of Aeronautics,
is a contributing author to numerous publications; including, the Federal Air
Surgeons Medical Bulletin.
& TURBINE | CARDIOVASCULAR CONDITIONS ARTICLE