BAMA Introduction

As an AOPA member, and as an employee, I am continually amazed at the scope of our Association’s outreach and advocacy efforts in promoting and sustaining the growth and viability of General Aviation, not just in the US, but around the world with our affiliation with the International AOPA, IAOPA. The depth and breadth of knowledge, experience, and expertise of our dedicated employees continue to amaze me as I occupy my small piece of the organizational chart in our Pilot Information Center medical certification group.

Many pilots, too many, have experienced delays associated with Special Issuance medical reviews by the FAA. It is frustrating, it is costly, and it is not the way it should be. AOPA is devoting significant attention to this issue, and we have also recently started up an AOPA Board of Aviation Medical Advisors (BAMA) that will provide superb expertise in advancing solutions to address long overdue reforms to the FAA’s medical certification processes. I’m happy to introduce the Board to you now!


Brent Blue, MD

Brent is a Senior Aviation Medical Examiner, Emergency Medicine and Family Medicine physician in Jackson, WY. I’ve known Brent for many years, notably from the Rubber Chicken days at Oshkosh where he and his friends threw some great parties in the north aircraft camping area! He holds an ATP certificate and is also a designated HIMS AME who works with pilots with substance abuse and dependence issues requiring a comprehensive evaluation for medical special issuance certification.

Dr. Blue was the team physician for the United States Unlimited Aerobatic Team for the World Competition in Hungary and is the Medical Safety Officer for AirVenture each summer in Oshkosh. He flies a Cessna 185 and a 1943 Nooruyn Norseman out of Driggs, ID (KDIJ).


Chuck Denison, PhD

Chuck is a psychologist with offices in Broomfield, CO and Laramie, WY and specializes in aviation neuropsychology and forensic psychology. He is authorized to conduct the specialized testing under the FAA HIMS program, including the CogScreen AE, one of the specialty neurocognitive performance evaluations required by the FAA in many medical certification cases involving neurological involvement, such as substance abuse/dependence, mental health diagnoses requiring SSRI medication usage, and head trauma. Dr. Denison also provides forensic consultation to attorneys working on aviation-related legal cases and is a certified human factors analyst.

He commutes to his offices aboard his Aviat Husky A-1B bush plane and spends much of his flying time in the bush and in back country operations, appropriately so since his back yard is the Rocky Mountains!


Ian Blair Fries, MD

Ian is one of the first aviation docs I met when I started my career at AOPA in 1987. He has been a staunch general aviation advocate for medical certification reform for decades and has been a great friend and member of AOPA. He is an orthopedic surgeon by “trade” and is a Senior FAA HIMS AME with practices in Vero Beach, FL and Brick, NJ. Dr. Fries’ aviation practice focuses on special issuances, especially those that require HIMS evaluations for alcohol and substance abuse/dependence.

He learned to fly while in the US Air Force when he served as a Flight Surgeon. An ATP with more than 6,000 PIC hours and a CFII, he holds a Learjet type rating, and is somewhat partial to TBMs after flying them for 20 years. He currently files a DAHER TBM 940.

Dr. Fries serves on the AOPA Foundation Board of Advisors, is an aviation medical consultant for the Teamsters Airline Division, a board member of the Flying Musicians Association (and has been known to demonstrate his skills on the accordion!). He is a frequent contributor to aviation publications, an aviation speaker, and a consultant for several aircraft and avionics companies. He was the former Chair of the AOPA Board of Aviation Medical Advisors and will also serve in that role with the new Board.



Sean Malone, MD

Sean practices Internal Medicine in Salisbury, NC and is a Sr. AME. He is Clinical Assistant Professor in the Department of Internal Medicine at Wake Forest University School of Medicine. He is also a FAAST representative out of Charlotte, NC.

An important part of AOPA’s outreach efforts includes our Flying Club Initiative, and Dr. Malone is the President and Founding member of the Legacy Flying Club, Inc. at Mid-Carolina Airport (KRUQ). The AOPA Flying Club Initiative just celebrated the formation of the 150th flying club, and the success of the effort is a testament to those dedicated pilots who are working to reduce the cost of flying through this important program.

Dr. Malone holds professional memberships in the Aerospace Medical Association, AOPA, EAA, National Association of Inpatient Physicians, American Medical Association, and is a Fellow in the American College of Physicians. He holds a Commercial Pilot certificate with Instrument Rating and is an active pilot in the beautiful hill country of North Carolina.


Richard Roth, MD

Rick is an Infectious Disease specialist in Savannah, Georgia. He has been in private practice and the Director of Infectious Disease Training at the University Hospital in Savannah since 1994. Dr. Roth has personally published and co-authored numerous articles and studies, and regularly lectures nationally on infectious disease topics and its aeromedical impacts. He is Board Certified in Internal Medicine and Infectious Disease and is one of the “go to” guys in the very dynamic field of infectious disease in the aerospace medicine arena, and particularly now in the COVID-19 era. He serves as the ID consultant to the FAA/NTSB and CAMI (Civil Aerospace Medical Institute) at Oklahoma City and is actively involved in compiling valuable data to better understand the implications of how COVID-19 may impact pilot medical certification policy formulation moving forward. He is a Senior FAA AME with an office on the Savannah airfield.

Dr. Roth is a 4,000+ hour ATP, is type rated in the Lear LR60 and Gulfstream GV/G450/G550 and teaches clients at Flight Safety International in the G450/G550, providing initial and recurrent training at the FSI Savannah Training Center.


Ken Stahl, MD

Ken is board certified in multiple disciplines including Surgery, Thoracic Surgery, and Surgical Critical Care, with Certificates for Advanced Cardiac Life Support, Advanced Trauma Life Support, Advanced Trauma Life Support Instructor, Advanced Trauma Operative Management, and Pediatric Advanced Life Support. He is a published author, and if you recognize his name, you have probably read some or all of the many articles authored by him in the Pilot Protection Services “Insights” online magazine as he is a regular contributor to the PPS publication.

Dr. Stahl holds an ATP certificate, and is also Healthcare Division President for Convergent Performance, a firm that provides customized assessments, tools, and human performance training solutions.


We look forward to working with this talented group of physicians to advance AOPA’s medical certification advocacy efforts!

Portrait of Gary Crump, AOPA's director of medical certification with a Cessna 182 Skylane at the National Aviation Community Center.
Frederick, MD USA
Gary Crump
Gary is the Director of AOPA’s Pilot Information Center Medical Certification Section and has spent the last 32 years assisting AOPA members. He is also a former Operating Room Technician, Professional Firefighter/Emergency Medical Technician, and has been a pilot since 1973.

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