Can I fly with a pacemaker or implantable defibrillator?

June 15, 2012

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Warren Silberman

Warren Silberman

  • Former Manager, FAA Aerospace Medical Certification 
  • Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine 
  • Expert in Aerospace/Preventive Medicine 
  • Pilot since 1986

The FAA allows airmen with implanted cardiac pacemakers to fly under all classes of medical certification! I am not going to get into a long medical discussion on the indications for a heart pacemaker but these devices are surgically implanted in one's heart after the person suffers some symptom that makes him or her prone to passing out or suffering some mental status changes when the person’s heart rhythm is such that the electrical impulse is not proper enough for blood to reach the brain. As of the end of 2010, there were 57 first-class, 59 second-class, and 322 third-class airmen who had been granted medical certification with a permanent pacemaker. 

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