Business Aviation Insider - July/August 2014 - (Page 10)
how Pilots should View the special-issuance
Time With Proper
One of the most common reasons
for a delay in receiving a specialissuance medical certificate is the
pilot's failure to provide the proper
and complete documentation when
petitioning the FAA.
Although the breadth of documentation required by the FAA will
be specific to the patient's medical
condition, the following items are
generally required in most specialissuance situations:
» A copy of the physician's
comprehensive clinical Summary
(also termed an FAA "current
Status Report") regarding their
current medical status as evaluated by their treating physician.
» copies of all documents related
to the diagnosis, evaluation and
treatment of the pilot's medical
condition. These include any
exam, clinic visit and hospitalization reports, and admission history
and physical (H&P) summaries, if
» Supporting documents, such as
pathology, operative or laboratory
reports; copies of films from X-ray,
cT or MRI scans; and any additional studies conducted through
the course of their treatment.
» Any additional documents recommended by the AME.
10 | Business Aviation Insider
Pilot apprehension over a required visit to
an aviation medical examiner (AME) may
lead to unnecessary delays in receiving an
otherwise standard waiver for an underlying
"There's a paranoia in the pilot community
that any condition is cause for disqualification," said Dr. Quay Snyder, a former AME
and president and cEO of Aviation Medicine
Advisory Service. "When someone goes
in for a medical exam, the AME has three
options: issue or deny the certificate, or the
intermediate option of deferral, which leads
to certification delays when the pilot provides
inadequate information regarding a medical
condition that occurred since the last exam."
Among the most common conditions leading to a deferral are cardiovascular disease,
cancer and other "dynamic" illnesses requiring scheduled check-ups following treatment.
In situations where the AME cannot grant
approval during the initial visit, the case is
deferred either to the FAA's regional medical
authority, or to the agency's primary aeromedical office in Oklahoma city, OK.
Dr. clayton cowl, senior AME and chief of
aerospace and transportation medicine at
the Mayo clinic, cites a "fear of the unknown,
or the need to stand down for purely bureaucratic reasons" for much of the reluctance
among pilots to reveal their complete medical history.
"The pilot/AME interaction is truly a trust
relationship," continued cowl. "In reality, very
few pilots out there - a 10th of 1 percent -
are actually denied a medical certificate.
Of the approximately 375,000 pilots who
visit their AME each year, roughly 10 to 20
percent will have a medical issue leading
to a period of time in which they'll need to
stand down to establish medical stability."
"In many cases, the medical condition is
not disqualifying, or is easily waiverable,"
Snyder added, "but the AME cannot do that
without documentation. So, it goes to Oklahoma city, where the case may languish for
one to three months. Meanwhile, the pilot
isn't flying when they probably could be."
As in many other aspects of aviation,
proper documentation minimizes the risks.
"Rather than any particular medical condition, it's the reporting terminology and lack
of documentation that most often leads
to deferrals," Snyder noted. "AMEs have
greater latitude to issue a certificate, but
they also are under greater scrutiny to
ensure they have made an aero-medically
A pilot must also be forthright and honest
with their AME, while mindful of the correct
"Should an airman experience chest
discomfort leading to an emergency room
visit, where testing shows it to be a simple
case of reflux properly treated by an antacid,
that's fine," Snyder explained. "When they
later tell their AME they visited the ER for
'chest pain,' though, that sets off warning
bells. The airman must be ready to provide
documentation showing the issue was
treated and resolved."
Both physicians stressed the importance
of seeking appropriate medical care, regardless of any apprehension about their medical
certificate. "Overall, the process works,"
cowl concluded. "It's important to remember
that a flight physical is not a comprehensive
medical evaluation, though.
"We want pilots to get screening that isn't
required by the FAA, so they not only have
healthy careers in the industry, but also
healthy lives well into retirement." ✣
for MorE iNforMATioN
Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Business Aviation Insider - July/August 2014
Business Aviation Insider - July/August 2014
Regulatory Hot Topics
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Go/No-Go Decisions: Unique Challenges for the Owner-Pilot
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Business Aviation Insider - July/August 2014
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