Real Answers from Real Pilots

Pilot Health

(Wyatt Parks) #1

I have a concern about me going into an aviation career and obtaining my medical certificates. I have anxiety, although I do not take medication for it at all. I have every once in a blue moon, a panic attack. They usually last for about 3-4 minutes. I also have other minor conditions that intertwine with my anxiety, such as misophonia. I am not diagnosed, but depression runs in my family and I’m sure that I have minor to moderate depression from time to time. Could things like these keep me from getting my first class medical certificate? Lastly, is it possible I will be asked about conditions such as what I have stated during a examination?



I would assume that these conditions would raise a flag during a medical examination. After all, you need to be fit to fly passengers, and a 3-4 minute panic attack at 30,000ft is not ideal. But as I am not a medical expert, I recommend you ask an AME to get an accurate answer.




You will DEFINITELY be asked about these things on the FAA medical application and the AME will want more information and may require additional testing before issuing you a medical certificate. As Yarden said you really need to speak with an AME before proceeding.


(Wyatt Parks) #4

Thank you Yarden. I was wondering because they are well controlled I feel but do experience these conditions from time to time. I’m also not diagnosed from a doctor with these conditions. Does that make a difference? Also, I would NOT do this as it puts lives in danger, but is it possible for someone with similar conditions that is not diagnosed to not bring it up to the examiner and lie?

(Wyatt Parks) #5

Thank you Adam. So, you say additional testing may be required for say, anxiety. What are some examples of that additional testing? Also, do you know any pilots who have minor anxiety issues that were cleared to fly. Like I stated, the anxiety attack are fairly short, and happen maybe 3 times a year.

(Wyatt Parks) #6

I would also like to add, I have not passed out from these, but have come VERY close. My last attack was out in the water and that was SCARY.



You really need to talk to a medical examiner about these issues, none of us are qualified to give you any medical advice beyond that recommendation. I would say this though, I would not lie to your examiner for two reasons. First of all it is lying, which is wrong and they will eventually find out. Second of all, it sounds like you have some significant medical concerns that really need to be addressed. Speaking strictly on a personal level, your mental and physical health is far more important than any career, covering up any issues could lead to bigger problems down the line.

I suggest that you seek professional medical help for your situation, both in the form of an FAA medical examiner and a licensed psychologist. Figure out exactly where you stand on those issues, then start making career choices.




To second Chris none of us are doctors or are qualified beyond recommending that you contact an AME. That said it’s time for me to get preachy. While I can completely understand your passion for aviation and your desire to make it a reality, this is not something to be taken lightly. People literally put their lives in our hands and you need to appreciate that responsibility. Scary on the water is one thing, imagine being locked in an thin metal tube at 40,000’ over the Pacific with no land for 3000 miles. You can’t pull over like in a car or even stop the boat. I cannot stress the importance of you speaking to a professional and addressing this issue.


(Wyatt Parks) #9

Chris, I am going to call the AME examiner in my area tonight and get some guidance from him about what my options are and some complications I may have. Thank you Chris for your time. Finally, what purpose would the psychologist serve? Helping to control the anxiety?

(Wyatt Parks) #10

Thank you again. I am taking this seriously as you and see by the questions I am asking. I have set up to talk to an AME tonight. Like I said, the panic attacks are few are are short. I don’t think this would be an issue if it happened while I was flying, unless I passed out. I am just concerned about how it affects me getting my medical certificate



I’m really not trying to dissuade or discourage you BUT the fact you “don’t think it would be an issue if it happened while flying” clearly demonstrates you’re not understanding what we do as pilots. While flying is incredibly safe bad things do happen and when they do they happen VERY quickly. If you were to suffer an attack at the same time as an emergency you’d be essentially leaving the other pilot to aviate, navigate, communicate AND diagnose and secure whatever the emergency was by themselves with 300+ passengers in the back. Not to mention what if the emergency is the other pilot having a heart attack. The passengers are on their own? This is not a video game with a pause button.




A psychologist would be able to help you deal with your anxiety and depression issues. I would recommend you ask the FAA doctor to give you a recommendation as they will likely know the best person in your area.


(Wyatt Parks) #13

That’s what I figured you meant, but just making sure. Thank you Chris.


Make that a psychiatrist, not a psychologist. My mistake.

Let us know when you have a resolution to these issues. Good luck with your appointment.

(Wyatt Parks) #15

I realize know what I just said.Yes it could be bad. I know your not a AME examiner, but if I received medication from a doctor for anxiety, do you think I would have a better chance of being passed?



We are going to have to pause the conversation here, none of us can or will provide medical advice. Go see your AME and let us know what he says. We will be happy to help you once you have that information.


(Wyatt Parks) #17

No problem. I will Chris. Many Thanks.

(Wyatt Parks) #18

I understand. I’m going to speak to my local AME tonight. I will let you all know what he says.

(Mendgy moise) #19

I also have a question regarding heath condition. I have ventricular Septa defect, (small whole in the heart). After going through some tests. My doctor said that the whole is very small, therefore I can be enrolled in any physical activities and it should not cause me any problem. however, I am still worried about my condition stopping me from getting my medical.

(Wyatt Parks) #20

This link should help you out.

Also, you can contact an AME over the phone and ask. Link for AME in your area is