Medical Issues

Sept. 14th the Petaluma Area Pilots Association had a very informative speaker at their monthly meeting. The AME (aviation medical examiner) gave a good description of his side of the equation on obtaining and keeping our medicals. The subject is especially germain since none of us are getting any younger and loosing one’s medical must be a very sad event.

Basically the doc can pass, suspend or defer our medicals when health issues or medications get in the way of what the FAA will accept. The very best place to look up medications and or health issues is on the AOPA web site. They define what meds can fly and which can’t. If something comes up (like a cataract) and you do not pass your medical your medical will be suspended. After surgery you will need a letter from your eye doctor stating what your new vision is and that you are able to go back to flying. You must obtain these papers. The papers will be sent to Oklahoma where they will give the seal of approval.

If something comes up between medicals and you voluntarily suspend your flying, get treat- ment/cure, you still must obtain papers from your medical provider stating what happened, how it was treated and that you are safe to fly. Take these papers to your AME to back up any questions.

AGAIN- if something comes up, check the AOPA web site for medication questions. You can go back to your medical provider and insist on a different (acceptable) med to keep you airborne.
IF the unfortunate happens you can still fly ‘light sport aircraft’ as long as you don’t fail a medical. (meaning you never go back to fail a medical) ‘Light sport’ aviating only requires a drivers license. But in saying that it is all our responsibility fly safely. Options are having another pilot fly as ‘pic’ with you or flying with an instructor. The very best option, of course, is staying healthy!

Watch out for long flights, do some isometrics or stretch! Pulmonary edema is so common in long cross country flights.

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