Real Answers from Real Pilots

Flight Physical

So my question is… I am in the Army and can’t get an ups lip to fly helicopters because I have minor TBI from being blown up a couple of times while I was in Iraq. I get headaches a few times a week. So will this be something that could prevent me from getting approved to fly as a commercial pilot?

Hello Joe,

First thank you for your service and I’m of course sorry for your injury. Let me also say that neither I nor anyone on this forum is an AME (Aviation Medical Examiner) and for a definitive answer you should obviously speak to one. Here’s what I do know, while TBI is not an immediate dequal it is of course a serious concern. The 2 factors that seem to be key are the severity of the condition and whether or not the symptoms still exist. You say you get headaches a few times a week and that’s what concerns me as the symptoms are ongoing. You’ll need a First Class Medical to fly for an airline so that’s the question. What typically happens is you visit with an AME and depending on their assessment (they can stop the process if they believe the condition is severe enough) but if there’s a chance they’ll request a waiver and the case will be reviewed by the FAA. Again I strongly recommend you contact an AME for the facts.

Good luck

Adam