Six medical tips for the student pilot

Over the past months that I have been performing FAA aviation medical examinations, it has become clear to me that many student pilots are woefully unprepared for their first FAA examination! So, I am going to give you pointers that you will want to consider before you see your aviation medical examiner (AME).

  1. Don't forget you must now complete the FAA MedXpress application online. This is the medical history portion of the flight examination and must be done prior to seeing your AME. It can be done up to 60 days prior to your flight physical.
  2. Make sure when you complete the application that you check the box for airman and student pilot examination, or at least inform the AME that this is your first FAA examination.
  3. Above all, be truthful when you provide the information on the application. The FAA takes very seriously any intentional falsification of a federal legal document, and that includes the airman medical application.
  4. If you are taking any medications, check the AOPA online medications database to see if the medication is acceptable. If it isn't acceptable, or you don’t see the medication listed, call the AOPA Pilot Information Center's medical certification specialists.
  5. If you have ever heard me speak publicly, you will know that it is not necessarily the medication that may be a problem but the condition for which the medication is taken. So, check in advance what the certification issues are with any medical condition you have.
  6. One of the most important questions and the one that provides potential pitfalls for many airmen is question 18(v). This question asks if there have ever been any alcohol or drug-related events that resulted in an arrest, conviction, or administrative action. Be sure to answer truthfully, and if the answer is indeed yes, make sure you are aware of the additional documentation that may be required.

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