In the past, we have talked about the FAA’s newer program called Conditions that AME’s Can Issue (CACI). The FAA plans to expand this program in the future, but for now, here is a second installment about conditions that require a report from the airman’s treating physician, but will not likely result in a special issuance.
If you fracture a bone, it is best for you to bring the emergency department records or office notes that explain what occurred. If surgery was required, you will also need the operative report.
A colonoscopy is a procedure in which the physician passes a long flexible scope into the rectum to view the lining of your colon to make sure that you do not have any tumors or polyps. The purpose of this screening is to discover the cancer prior to its spreading. This is a highly valuable wellness procedure that I hope all of you have, especially if you are over 50. Again, for your next physical, you would need the operative report and the results of any pathology specimens that were taken at the time of the procedure.
How about if you had treatment for pneumonia or some other infection? You should not attempt to obtain a medical certificate while you are being actively treated for an infection, especially if it is a lung infection. There could be issues with your tissue oxygenation, being able to clear your ears, etc. You should consult your aviation medical examiner or AOPA’s medical certification folks to determine the appropriate time to return to the cockpit. I suggest providing the office notes from the treating physician that include the diagnosis and recommended treatment. It is possible that if your cough is resolving and the if your temperature has been normal for 48 hours, without other upper respiratory issues, you can return to your flying.
Osteoarthritis is the arthritis that goes with aging. It is the wear and tear that occurs with use of your joints over time. Some of us develop it worse than others. Pain with osteoarthritis is generally worse at the end of a day and after remaining immobile for some time. It is usually treated with a category of medications known as nonsteroidal-anti-inflammatory agents (NSAIDS). Some common NSAIDS are ibuprofen (Motrin, Advil) or naprosyn (Aleve). If you are having discomfort as a result of osteoarthritis, you should bring a letter from your treating physician that comments where your pain is located, if you have any limitations, and what treatment you are receiving.
Hay fever or allergies is on question 18(e) of the FAA medical history form and is one of the FAA’s top 10 reportable medical conditions. If you suffer from this as many of us do, be prepared to discuss how severe your symptoms are, the frequency and time of year the symptoms are present, and any medications you take. As long as the symptoms are not severe, you are able to “clear your ears” at altitude, and are not taking a sedating anti-histamine, your AME can issue you a medical without the requirement for a special issuance. Common sedating anti-histamines that are not allowed for flying include diphenhydramine (Benadryl) and cetirizine (Zyrtec). It is OK to take loratadine (Claritin) as it is non-sedating. The FAA also accepts airmen who are receiving desensitization injections (allergy shots).
So, for any condition like this or ones I mentioned in part one, gather up the documentation when the condition occurs and have it with you when you see the AME for your next FAA flight physical.