Updated: 5 days ago
The best way to keep your medical certificate is to avoid illness or injury. Avoiding illness is not the same thing as minimizing your symptoms or hiding things from your flight Doc/AME or yourself. It doesn’t matter when your medical was last issued, if you have any reason to believe that you can’t pass a flight physical today, it is your responsibility to stop flying.
14 CFR § 61.53 prohibits anyone with a FAA medical certificate from acting as either the pilot in command or as a pilot flight crew member if they no longer meet the requirements for their medical certificate due to either a medical condition, medication, or treatment. (I am of course paraphrasing, and it is worth your time to follow the link and read the regulation yourself.) This regulation applies to the disqualifying conditions discussed in Dr. Roxo’s last post. However, it also applies to any condition that you think could impair your ability to meet the standards for your certificate. For example, suppose you were issued your 3rd class certificate one year ago, but today you were diagnosed with obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). Your medical certificate has not expired but you know the FAA has some very specific guidance on OSA. Maybe you are good to go and maybe you aren’t but either way, your fitness is in question.
If you have been diagnosed with any medical condition since your last flight physical, have started a new medication or have started a new therapy/treatment for anything that your AME or the FAA doesn’t already know about, we recommend you stay out of the cockpit until you have talked with an AME. If you have any reason to question your ability to pilot an aircraft safely and/or legally, it is best to err on the side of caution and not fly. If you have any questions about new medications please follow this link or feel free to reach out to us here at Wingman Medical.