AMEs can reissue special issuance medicals for certain cancer conditions

December 26, 2005

AMEs can reissue special issuance medicals for certain cancer conditions

A pilot who is diagnosed with a complex medical condition is no longer automatically grounded indefinitely. And now, it is even simpler for a pilot with bladder cancer, melanoma, renal (kidney) cancer, or breast cancer to renew his or her special issuance medical certificate.

"Under the AME Assisted Special Issuance (AASI) program, these four conditions can now be cleared by the aviation medical examiner after the FAA has initially authorized the special issuance," said Gary Crump, AOPA director of medical certification.

The addition of these four conditions to the AASI program is part of the expansion of AME privileges that AOPA announced December 14. Soon AMEs also will be able to reissue special issuances through AASI for cardiovascular conditions, including coronary artery disease, bypass surgery, angioplasty, and stent placement. AOPA has been pushing for these expanded privileges since 2001.

"However, the reissuance will be contingent on the pilot presenting the FAA letter of authorization to the AME, plus a current status report from the treating physician confirming continued stability with no adverse changes in the condition," said Crump. "These and all other medical conditions included in the AASI program pose a relatively low risk for incapacitation, and are therefore eligible for AME reissuance once the FAA has issued an authorization."

The FAA's letter of authorization will, in most situations, be valid for six years. Each year, the pilot will have to present a new status report from the treating physician and a copy of the FAA authorization letter to his or her AME for the issuance of a new one-year certificate.

Authorizations for special issuances are required for 15 mandatory disqualifying conditions detailed in FAR Part 67. However, there are many other conditions that the FAA considers for certification under "time limited" authorizations.

To find out how the AASI program can help you, call the medical certification specialists in AOPA's Pilot Information Center (800/USA-AOPA) weekdays from 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. Eastern time.

December 26, 2005