This month I want to continue my discussion about student pilots seeking their first FAA medical.
- If you wear contacts or glasses, see your eye care specialist before you see the aviation medical examiner. Also, remember to bring your eyeglasses or wear your contacts! I can't tell you how many times even experienced airmen forget to bring their eyeglasses. The FAA only requires that you correct to standards in each eye.
- If you have been hospitalized for a medical condition or had surgery, it is a great idea to get copies of the admission and discharge summaries from the hospitalization or the operative report and bring them along when you see the AME. It is also a great idea to search AOPA's medical certification Web resources or call to find out the specifics of your particular condition. I recently spoke to an airman who was asking about a medication, and when I asked more questions, he finally explained that he had had cancer and was still being treated!
- Quick teaching fact: Federal aviation regulation 67.401 (Part 67 contains the airman medical standards) states that airmen who have a medically disqualifying condition must demonstrate to the federal air surgeon that they are safe to fly for the duration of time that the medical certificate is valid. A statement of demonstrated ability (SODA) is a waiver for conditions that do not change over time. An example of this is a person who has lost vision in an eye. An authorization for special issuance is a different kind of waiver given to an airman for a condition that can change over time. An example of this is someone with diabetes mellitus or who has had a heart attack.
- A common condition in a school-age student is attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Many young student pilots have this condition and are taking medications. The condition and all stimulant-type medications for treatment are disqualifying and an aviation medical examiner cannot issue a certificate. The FAA will require completion of an extensive testing battery to determine if you are qualified for a medical certificate. We are seeing an increasing number of young people who are being treated with these medications and who are unaware that both the condition and the medications are disqualifying.
- One final tip—if you are ill the day of your scheduled FAA flight examination, it may be better to call and reschedule your appointment when you are feeling well.