A growing number of aviation medical professionals are questioning pilots’ reliance on their required annual (or, in the case of first-class medicals, six-monthly) medical examinations as their primary source of personal health monitoring.
The International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) has extended until March 5, 2009, the deadline for U.S. airmen (including pilots, engineers, navigators and control tower operators) to replace their airmen certificates with ones that include the ICAO language proficiency endorsement. The FAA already requires U.S.
For aviators and their passengers, oxygen means life at the high altitudes traversed by modern aircraft. True high-altitude passenger flight wasn’t really practicable until large-cabin pressurization was introduced during the halcyon days of aeronautical development surrounding World War II, most notably aboard the Boeing 307 Stratoliner and Lockheed Constellation transports and Boeing B-29 bomber.
Suppose your aviation medical examiner (AME) gives you the little piece of paper that proclaims to the FAA that you are fit to fly, but the paperwork never reaches the agency’s Aeromedical Certification Branch in Oklahoma City. Are you legal? Are you liable? While certainly not routine, the situation has cropped up more often than one might think.
A proposed AD calls for inspections of the front and aft surfaces of the pressure dome on Pilatus PC-12s for cracking and other damage that would have to be repaired. The proposal is based on 19 reports of nicks and scratches on pressure domes on the turboprop single caused by drill or rivet tools. The FAA said the damage could lead to rapid decompression. The AD would apply to 280 U.S.-registered PC-12s.
In the last 10 years, the odds of facing an in-flight medical emergency haven’t changed much, but thanks to the development of aviation telemedicine, the odds of surviving such an event have gone up considerably.
RAYTHEON BEECH KING AIR B200, WERNADINGA STATION, QUEENSLAND, AUSTRALIA, SEPT. 4, 2000–Investigators were unable to find the cause of the pilot’s apparent hypoxia incapacitation.
Twenty medical conditions that are serious enough to require special issuance (SI) first- and second-class medicals can now be cleared by an aviation medical examiner (AME) after an initial review by the FAA. This means that once the FAA issues an SI medical certificate, pilots can then go to their AMEs for a renewal, provide all of the necessary medical reports and, if the condition has not changed, leave with another valid SI medical.
The good news about the proliferation of new high-altitude airplanes–turbocharged piston or turbine–is that they offer users the chance to experience the increased efficiency of an engine that likes flying where the air is thin.
The Transportation Department’s inspector general told the House aviation subcommittee in July that possible extensions to the durations of medical certificates and the planned raising of the airline pilot retirement age underscore the importance of the medical certification process.