faaLetter from BFA President, Pat Cannon



It has been over a month now since the final date was set for the requirement for a second class medical for pilots holding a commercial LTA certificate that intend to use that certificate for compensation or hire. During that period of time, I have fielded numerous phone calls, texts and emails from pilots with questions about specific medical conditions they may have, and how that might affect their ability to obtain the required medical. I have been able to refer some of those to AMEs that I know that can help them determine their course of action. However, in several cases, I have heard the same question, and that is “What happens if I fail the medical? Will that affect my pilot certificate, even at the private pilot level?” This question brought about a need to seek advice directly form the decision makers at the FAA, which was done right away. The answer that I received was that even if you are not able to obtain the medical, your privileges as a private pilot or as a commercial pilot, will not be affected. You do not lose your pilot certificate in any case.

This brings about a few other interesting comments that relate to the core issues behind both the question and the answer.

First, you should not under any circumstances simply fill out an application and attempt to pass the medical exam if you have any questions regarding your health. Certainly, you need to review your medical history and compare it with the requirements to obtain a second class medical. Several weeks ago, we published a link to an AOPAs article (see below) which outlined most, if not all, of the types of medical conditions that might hold you back from obtaining a medical. If you identify any item with your health that either falls outside the stated medical limitations, or that you are being treated for, then consultation with your health provider first and then a casual conversation with an aviation friendly AME is in order prior to beginning the process. Only fill out the Med Express application and make the appointment after you are sure what the process will entail for your particular medical issue and subsequent application for the medical. Also be aware that each question on the medical application must be answered fully and accurately. The FAA has access to both your medical and driving records and as has already been discovered, will find information regarding your health and driving record that you may have long forgotten, so be absolutely sure that what you put on the application is accurate and truthful. Lying, omitting, or providing inaccurate information on your medical application can be punishable by a revocation of both medical and pilot certificates. Harsh, but a reality and there are already examples of this happening.

The BFA is working directly with the aeromedical branch to publish an advisory document that will help outline the meaning and requirement of each item of concern on the medical application and the implications of each. We expect to have a PowerPoint program ready in mid-January that will assist in the medical process. We will make that available, on-line as soon as it is available. If you attended Dr. Alan Kozarski’s presentation at the BFA convention, you will already have heard some of this program.

As we march rapidly toward May, we will continue to keep you informed of any new information that we may receive. A full article will be published in next months Ballooning Magazine that will contain details of our efforts to help you during this sometimes difficult process.

Be careful out there. And Happy New Year!


Cannon Pat

Pat Cannon, BFA President

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FAA Med Express: https://medxpress.faa.gov/medxpress/

FAA Allowed Medications: https://www.aviationmedicine.com/medication-database/

AOPA Guide to Medical Certification: https://www.aopa.org/training-and-safety/students/presolo/special/pilots-guide-to-medical-certification