Frequently Asked Questions
With over 2000 qualified AMEs throughout the country, we cannot always personally recommend one where you live. However, we have created a companion site, PilotDoctors.com, specifically to address this question. PilotDoctors.com is the premier AME listing database that is easily searchable and allows you to filter specifically for what qualifications you want or need. Additionally PilotDoctors.com displays PIREPs from other pilots as well as Google Reviews.
The duration of your FAA medical certification is based on your age on the date of your exam and the class of certification that is issued unless you have a special issuance that specifies something different.
If you were younger than 40 on the day of your exam: First Class and Second Class certificates are good for 12 months and Third Class certificates are good for 60 months.
If you were 40 or older on the day of your exam: First Class certificates are good for 6 months, Second Class certificates are good for 12 months, and Third Class certificates are good for 24 months.
After a First or Second Class certificate expires, it is still valid for performing the next lower class of airman privileges for the time periods listed above.
Contact us. We’ll walk you through it. For a new medication, you can use our free reference to get a rough idea about the FAA’s policies, but you should discuss it with us or your AME before flying. For a new medical condition, 14 CFR Part 61.53 states that you should stop flying if you know you have a medical condition or you’re taking a medication or receiving treatment that would prohibit FAA medical certification. There are exceptions if you’re dealing with a CACI condition, but you should still consult us or your AME before you continue flying.
14 CFR Part 67 list 15 disqualifying conditions. They are angina pectoris, bipolar disease, cardiac valve replacement, coronary heart disease that has been treated or, if untreated, that has been symptomatic or clinically significant, diabetes mellitus requiring hypoglycemic medications, disturbance of consciousness without satisfactory explanation of cause, epilepsy, heart replacement, myocardial infarction, permanent cardiac pacemaker, personality disorder that is severe enough to have repeatedly manifested itself by overt act, psychosis, substance abuse, substance dependence, transient loss of control of nervous system function(s) without satisfactory explanation of cause. You can still get an FAA medical certification with most of these, but it takes some work.
There are also 20 CACI conditions that require you to provide additional information to your AME, but won’t delay your certification if you and your AME handle it correctly.
There are also some conditions that are considered disqualifying, but that are not included in 14 CFR Part 67. If you have any questions about how one of your medical conditions might affect your FAA medical certification, contact us to get more details.
Try to avoid this by preparing for your exam ahead of time. If it does happen, all is not lost. You have time to provide additional information to the FAA and appeal your decision, but it can take a while and you want to make sure you get the process right. This is one of our specialties.
Nothing. Absolutely Nothing. Not only that, we don’t even provide FAA medical exams. If you have an AME that knows the certification process and is willing to put in the time to prepare a complex certification request, STICK WITH HIM/HER! Send holiday cards, remember birthdays. If you can’t find one that inspires confidence, that’s where we come in. We specialize in complex FAA medical certification, have spent years of training and practice to develop our expertise, and put in the time and effort to make it happen smoothly. Your FAA medical certification is not the time for guesswork or inattention.
No. We focus on assisting pilots with complex FAA medical certifications.
Your entire case will be handled by one our residency-trained aerospace medicine expert physicians who also happen to have decades of professional pilot experience. No part of your case preparation will be delegated to case managers or administrative staff and we only accept new clients when we have time to dedicate our full attention to keeping you flying.
Our entire medical staff began their careers as professional pilots. Collectively, we have served in combat in the F/A-18, provided TOPGUN adversary support, flown from Navy ships in jets and helicopters and crossed the globe in transport aircraft. We are all airplane or helicopter commercial pilots and our additional ratings include Air Transport Pilot, Single Engine CFI, Multi-engine CFI, and Instrument CFI.
Unlike most AMEs, we are all residency trained in aerospace medicine and have trained or worked with the FAA, NASA, and all branches of the U.S. military. We’ve helped thousands of airmen to maintain their flight medical certification and specialize in complex FAA medical certification.
The FAA uses a system called MedXPress to process applications for medical certification. It requests a variety of detailed information about your aviation experience, health and arrest history, and previous medical certification. You can preview the MedXPress application on our website and choose to have one of our medical staff review it with you using our MedXPress Simulator.
The FAA’s latest guidance to AME’s can be found on their website. Not all information is published online and some information published by other sources is out of date. Contact us if you need more information.
You’d be surprised. The list of medications the FAA will allow for pilots is constantly changing. For our most up-to-date summary of their current policies, search our interactive medication database.
I had a medical condition that I didn’t report on a prior aviation medical exam. Can I seek amnesty? What should I do?
Yes, you can seek amnesty. How to do it depends on your situation. How the FAA will deal with it depends on the circumstances and how you address it. One constant is that if you have a medical condition, it’s always best to treat it and report it to the FAA. Without addressing the safety implications, concealing a medical condition from the FAA is a federal offense. Contact us for help if you need it.
Submit your contact information here for a detailed list of our services and pricing information for individuals and pilot groups. Custom services and pricing are available depending on your circumstances.
CACI stands for Conditions AME’s Can Issue. The list of CACIs has grown substantially over the past several years. It includes common conditions like arthritis and high blood pressure along with some that might surprise you like heart valve repair and certain cancers. What makes them different from more complicated special issuance certifications is that your AME can issue your certificate on the same day of your exam if you provide the right documentation. Needless to say, you want to make sure to bring that documentation to your exam and have an AME that knows the process.
The FAA is surprisingly flexible. If you can show that you’re safe to keep flying, they don’t have any interest in keeping qualified pilots on the ground. “Special” issuance certificates can be issued when you don’t meet the “standard” qualification requirement. They can be granted for most disqualifying conditions listed in 14 CFR Part 67 and are also required for certain other conditions. The process takes longer than it does for a CACI, but with the right preparation you can reduce the associated down time dramatically. Helping pilots to navigate the process is our stock in trade.
Our entire staff is dedicated to providing the best possible service for our customers. If you are not satisfied with your results, let us know. We won’t accept you as a client if we don’t believe you’re safe to fly. If we can’t convince the FAA, we haven’t done our job. You deserve your money back and you’ll get it.
If you lose your medical certificate, you must request a replacement directly from the FAA or repeat your medical exam to obtain a new one. Your AME cannot issue a replacement without a new exam.
If your AME defers your exam to the FAA, you can check the status of your medical certificate by using the Airman Inquiry Search Page or calling 405-954-4821. You can also write for information to the following address:
Aerospace Medical Certification Division, AAM-300
Federal Aviation Administration
Civil Aerospace Medical Institute
P.O. Box 25082
Oklahoma City, OK 73125
If you still need help, your AME may be able to assist you and your welcome to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org with any additional questions.
The FAA doesn’t care very much about your VA disability rating. Whether you rating is 0 or 100% doesn’t figure into the FAA decision making at all. What they do care about is what conditions you claimed with VA and how well they’re controlled. They also care if you’re lying.
In other words, if you have a 80% disability rating from the VA for an assorted list of things like low back pain, tinnitis, knee pain, and obstructive sleep apnea, but all those conditions are well controlled and you’ve reported them to the FAA, you’re in the clear (plus or minus some document submission).
If you have the same disability ratings for the same conditions, but you didn’t report any of them to the FAA on your last MedXPress application or during your AME visit, that’s a problem. If you’ve also been telling VA that you can’t get out of bed in the morning or play with your kids because of those conditions, you in an even worse predicament.
The best approach to keep you FAA medical certificate after you start claiming VA disability is 1) DON’T LIE to the FAA; 2) Talk to your AME before your visit for your aviation medical exam; 3) Only schedule your exam and provide your MedXPress confirmation code after you understand the process.
Feel free to contact us if you’d like any more detailed information. This is a very common situation that we deal with routinely.