10 Tips for a Smooth Medical
1. RELATIONSHIP: Help us help you by developing a sharing, comfortable, and lasting relationship. There is a high likelihood that at some point in our lives many of us may develop a medical condition that could impact our medical certificate. The more we know about you and your medical history, the better we’re able to assist. Our initial appointment will be more in-depth, but once we have an understanding of your medical history, we’ve got an open slate. As we continue in our relationship we’ll have all of the correspondence and documents with the FAA for your medical certificate. Our appointments should never be a source of anxiety for you - we’re on the same team!
2. FAA AME OUTCOMES: Understand the possible outcomes of the FAA medical Process:
a. Certificated - 92% of you will be provided your medical certificate on the spot! It is possible that the FAA will, within a few weeks and depending on your exam findings, contact you for additional information, but you’ll continue flying the whole time.
b. Deferred - Complicated or concerning issues may be deferred to the FAA. You can keep flying on your current medical until the expiration date. Don’t wait until the week before your medical expires to schedule your next exam!
c. Denied - It would be exceptionally rare to be denied your certification outright. This is reserved for cases where there is a clear safety concern that would warrant an immediate grounding.
3. EKG: If you will have an EKG, remember that lack of sleep, alcohol consumption, and/or excessive caffeine can have an adverse impact on the heart rate and rhythm. Get a good night's rest and avoid caffeine prior to your EKG.
4. MEDICAL STANDARDS: Be sure that you currently meet FAA medical standards for the medical certificate class you are requesting. Do you wear glasses? Have you seen an optometrist in the last 3 years? If you are worried about meeting the vision standards, see your optometrist for a check-up before your flight physical. You can review a summary of the standards under "Useful Links" to the right.
5. MEDICAL DOCUMENTATION: Please bring all required documentation. Are you on a special issuance? Do you have diabetes, or take thyroid medication? In most cases the FAA will expect you to bring a status report form your treating physician and/or lab work to your flight physical. For example, if you take Synthroid for hypothyroidism, a recent TSH level must be submitted with your FAA medical. If you have high blood pressure, a blood pressure log will be important to document control. The AOPA has a terrific public medical site: http://www.aopa.org/Pilot-Resources/Medical
6. PLAN AHEAD: Do you have a new diagnosis or medication? Call me first to discuss what is needed for your flight physical. For example if you are newly diagnosed with high blood pressure and being treated with medications, we may need a status report form your doctor, an EKG, and certain laboratory studies. Newly diagnosed sleep apnea requires a sleep study with a Maintenance of Wakefulness test (MWT). If you have had a recent operation, a copy of your operative report and a status report from your doctor is helpful in preventing delays with your certification. All problems are different. You’ll be one step ahead by doing your own research before your appointment. By providing as much information as possible, you greatly increase the likelihood of satisfying FAA reviewers and can avoid the need to provide additional information at a later date.
7. ALCOHOL & TROUBLE WITH THE LAW: Do you have a new conviction for a DUI or refusing to take a blood alcohol test? Pilots must report each alcohol-related event, conviction, or administrative action. Each incident requires a separate Notification Letter within 60 days. The FAA requires all court documents to be submitted with your medical exam. A blood alcohol level of greater than .15 or refusal to submit a blood sample requires deferral to the FAA for further evaluation.
8. BE READY TO SEND ADDITIONAL INFO TO THE FAA: Occasionally an FAA reviewer in Oklahoma City feels additional information about your medical condition beyond what we discussed is required. When this occurs, you will receive a letter from the FAA after I have issued you your medical certificate. The letter states that the FAA is unable to determine your eligibility for a medical certificate based on incomplete information regarding your medical condition. The FAA will specifically request information and/or further studies to be submitted prior to an eligibility determination. Usually there is a 30-day window from the date of the letter to make the submission of additional information. If it is not possible for you to complete this requirement prior to the 30-day deadline, call the FAA Aviation Medical Certification Division (AMCD) at 1-405-954-4821 to request a 30-day extension. You may continue to operate an aircraft with the current medical certificate issued by the AME pending a final determination from the FAA. It is critically important to comply with this request, as failure to do so will result in revocation of your medical certificate.
9. SPECIAL ISSUANCE: If you have a condition that will require specific medical testing for a special issuance, have the testing done well in advance of your medical and comply with all of the requests documented in your special issuance letter. Also remember to bring your special issuance paperwork with you for your appointment.
10. CALL US: When in doubt, or if you have any questions, give us a call: 512-843-5559. Please understand that data entered into MedXPress is valid for 60 days and that once an AME uses your confirmation number and opens your MedXPress file, it will take 90 days before you can have another examination. If you have concerns about your pending exam, please let me know BEFORE we enter the FAA system.
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