Stay healthy, keep your certificate

September 25, 2012

Some pilots may be healthy enough to fly safely, but grounded because they—and the FAA—don’t know it. Incomplete or inaccurate applications, along with incomplete or outdated understanding of how medical conditions affect flight fitness account for too many grounded pilots and aircraft.

Evolving regulations and the daunting complexity of special issuance medical certificates pose a challenge that AOPA is committed to simplify. A series of seminars and small-group discussions with experts are planned at AOPA Aviation Summit Oct. 11 through 13, covering a range of topics—from managing your health to navigating the certificate application process, which is now an online-only exercise.

Speaking of what’s new in the medical world of aviation, a briefing on the status of the joint AOPA/EAA medical exemption request will be offered Oct. 13 at 11 a.m. Thousands of commenters supported allowing pilots to fly four-seat aircraft up to 180 horsepower, with a single passenger under daytime VFR without being required to hold a third-class medical. Learn how general aviation could gain a much-needed lift without compromising safety, and how to make your voice heard. The comment period has closed, but there are still ways the aviation community can encourage an affirmative response.

A customizable online schedule will help chart your personalized course through the many offerings available:

“Live Well, Fly Well”

Medical education begins with a daily dose of “Live Well, Fly Well” presentations at 10:30 a.m., starting with inspirational words from experts and pilots who opted to “use it or lose it” on Oct. 11. The series continues with a session on how changing your brain chemistry can increase useful load (by reducing your personal ramp weight) on Oct. 12. It will be open season Oct. 13, with attendees “cleared for the option” to pick a topic.

‘Medical/Health Roundtable’

Daily roundtable sessions will cover a range of topics, including weight control, understanding how our bodies change with age and what that means in the cockpit, and how to organize your medical documents effectively for a successful application. You might be surprised to learn that a prescription for some antidepressants is no longer an automatic order out of the cockpit. It’s a complex process, but the FAA now allows pilots to fly while using certain antidepressants.

Afternoon sessions

Afternoon seminars and events will cover many topics in more depth than the hour-long roundtables, such as a panel discussion on special issuance Oct. 11 at 1:30 p.m. that will include suggestions and discussion on decommissioning some conditions that currently require authorizations, an often costly, always time-consuming process with an uncertain outcome. Sessions on Oct. 12 and 13 will cover night flying, oxygen use, and successfully completing your next medical certificate application using FAA MedXPress, an online system that is now the only way to complete the certificate application.

Register for AOPA Aviation Summit, this year in sunny Palm Springs, Calif., and plan to attend these important seminars that will help keep you healthy and in the air.