Tips for FAA Medical Exams

Aviation International News » June 2005
October 16, 2006, 6:37 AM

1. Establish a long-term relationship with an aviation medical examiner (AME) so he gets to know you and will be comfortable answering all your questions, even on the phone.

2. Select an AME who is both knowledgeable about aviation medicine and willing to work with you, your treating physician and the FAA regional and national offices to help you retain your medical certificate.

3. Take your physical examination early in the month it’s due. If anything requires further documentation, you have time to obtain it from the treating physician before the expiration of the previous medical certificate.

4. Do not take a physical exam if you are not medically qualified. A pilot who is sick, recovering from surgery or has a temporary medical condition may not be issued a medical certificate if that condition falls outside the standards. It is better to wait until your health has returned so the AME can issue a certificate at the time of exam.

5. Bring appropriate documentation. If you have had a medical evaluation or treatment since your last FAA physical examination, bring documentation of the treatment and resolution of the condition to your examiner. This might help to avoid delays in the certification process.

6. Bring glasses, contact lenses or hearing aids if required. Pilots are allowed to use these devices to document their ability to meet the FAA standards for hearing and vision. Pilots not meeting the standards at the time of the examination may not be issued a medical certificate. Note: monovision contact lenses are not authorized for near vision.

7. Prepare physically for the examination. You should be well rested and avoid high-sugar meals, caffeine, tobacco or stimulant-type medication before the examination to avoid abnormal test results.

8. Understand reporting responsibilities on your FAA medical examination. A current medical application requires pilots to report all medications (prescription and non-prescription) and all visits to healthcare providers within the past three years. Unknowing or intentional omissions may not cause a problem at the time of the exam, but the development of a condition that requires reporting and medical documentation may reflect that treatment was sought previously but not reported on the FAA medical examination. At that point FAA reviewers may question the pilot’s truthfulness in disclosing medical conditions on subsequent exams.

9. Remember to check all the blocks on the form, including drug and alcohol offenses and legal encounters. Failure to check blocks for alcohol- or drug-related motor vehicle actions or any non-traffic misdemeanors or felonies may result in adverse pilot certificate action by the FAA Securities Department. Additionally, if there is an ongoing medical issue, the medical certificate may be suspended or revoked. The FAA performs a 100-percent review of the National Driver’s Registry on every medical application it receives. It is unwise to conceal any alcohol-related motor-vehicle action on the medical application.

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