An Introduction to Disqualifying Conditions

Updated: 6 days ago

Aviation and Aerospace medicine are, by necessity, defensive medicine. When faced with the unknown and how it may affect the body in an abnormal environment, discretion is deemed the better part of valor. The Civil Aerospace Medical Institute (CAMI) is the medical arm of the FAA. Because of the nature of certifying people to fly aircraft, particularly commercial operations that may be holding hundreds of people, CAMI adheres to the overall defensive nature of the industry. Light Sport and Basic Med are not included here as they have their own set of rules governed by federal regulations. As we have started to discuss with regard to Conditions AMEs Can Issue in a previous article, CAMI and the FAA are able to take on new information as it pertains to certain medical conditions. This can allow for some people to fly who previously may not have been able to.





Despite this, there are things that even CAMI, or the FAA at large, must follow. Specifically, the Code of Federal Regulations. In 14 CFR 67 there are 14 medical conditions that have been named as disqualifying:


  • Angina pectoris

  • Bipolar disorder

  • Heart valve replacement

  • Coronary heart disease

  • Diabetes mellitus

  • Loss of consciousness without explanation

  • Epilepsy

  • Heart replacement

  • Heart attack

  • Permanent heart pacemaker

  • Severe personality disorder

  • Psychosis

  • Substance abuse or dependence

  • Loss of neurological function without explanation


While these conditions are disqualifying per CFR, that doesn’t mean all hope is lost. Your examiner may deny you at your physical exam, but they may also defer your exam to the FAA for further disposition. Regardless of if you are denied or deferred, there may still be hope. The FAA can award a Special Issuance to someone with one of the above conditions provided that CAMI is satisfied the condition has been successfully treated, the pilot is currently without symptoms, and the risk of further danger from the condition is low enough. Dr. Monlux has even discussed one already in our article about diabetes and insulin.


If you have one of these conditions and are looking to get your first FAA medical, or have been diagnosed with one since your last medical, you are going to want to ensure you are working with an AME who can handle your case appropriately. Or you can contact us and we can help guide you in the process.


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