Psychiatric Conditions | FAA Medical Certification

Wellbutrin XL 300While the FAA does not routinely evaluate the behavioral health of pilots, they do require applicants to voluntarily report all mental issues since birth. Despite widespread miss-interpretation by many pilot associations, the present FAA policy effectively prohibits the use of most psychotropic/mood ameliorating medications.  The FAA has approved approximately fifty (50) Class-One airmen and less than 200 pilots in any certification class have been approved under the FAA’s antidepressant protocol.

In early 2010 the FAA announced isolated approval of four(4) antidepressants known as Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRI’s) such as  Celexa (Citalopram Hydrobromide), Lexapro (Escitalopram Oxalate), Prozac (Fluoxetine Hydrochloride), Zoloft (Sertraline Hydrochloride).  The FAA has stated that Wellbutrin (Bupropion) will be added to the list as another antidepressant which may also be acceptable on a case by case basis. Other medications not specifically listed may also be favorably considered by the FAA. While these medications may be approved, this rarely occurs and is generally not allowed if there is a significant medical diagnosis which requires medication to assure safe function and behavior.

The initial presentation of any psychiatric/psychological issue requires an evaluation irrespective of medication use.  This should be performed for the FAA by a private physician and reviewed confidentially by an expert to establish eligibility for FAA medical certification.  This includes but is not limited to:

  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Attention Deficit
  • Psychosis
  • Bipolar
  • Personality Disorder
  • Substance Dependence or Abuse and the use of any psychotropic medication.

FAA psychiatric evaluations must be accomplished in compliance with specific protocols. Before documentation is sent to the FAA it should be reviewed by an aeromedical document expert.

Authorization must be obtained from the Aeromedical Certification Division of the FAA in Oklahoma City. Aviation Medical Examiners (AME’s) are not authorized to approve certification for airmen with the aforementioned behavioral-medical history and they will defer the application to Oklahoma City FAA. The deferral process usually takes 4-6 months without our service.

We can help!

We have helped thousands of pilots with this process. We have developed proprietary psychiatric fitness strategies and work directly with your physicians and the FAA to assure compliance with FAA medical protocols and to resolve complex aeromedical certification issues quickly.

Contact us at 800-699-4457 or via E-Mail to confidentially discuss the details of your case and to establish your eligibility for FAA medical certification.

There is no charge for an initial consultation.


Herbal Preparations  |  Psychiatric Fitness  |  FAA Statistics  |  SSRI’s & Pilots  |  ADD & Bipolar



2 replies
  1. James F
    James F says:

    I have been flying for 25 years. I used to fly every day but over the last few years I fly much less. I am much less comfortable flying into certain areas and under certain circumstances which I used to routinely fly. It is not hard to see why the FAA doesn’t want someone with a compromised mental status to fly. It will be interesting to see how many accidents occur now that Basic med and sport pilot are out there since private physicians will not balk at the use mental medications.

    • admin
      admin says:

      There is no question that pilots can safely fly on some psychiatric medications. The difficulty is determining which pilots can fly safely and which are potentially unsafe. The system is designed to assure no false negatives. In other words, the FAA doesn’t want to certify a pilot who appears to be fine only to learn through tragedy that the airman was not fit.

      The key to all medical certification issues is providing the FAA with objective information which indicates essentially normal mental functionality. Anything less is deemed jeopardizing.
      For more see:


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