Can I fly after a stroke?

January 3, 2013

Warren Silberman

Warren Silberman

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

The three terms one hears when dealing with a “stroke” are cerebrovascular accident, stroke, and transient ischemic attack (TIA). In a TIA, a person has neurological symptoms lasting for several minutes up to several hours. A stroke is one of the FAA's specifically disqualifying conditions. This means that if you go in for a flight examination and you had a stroke or TIA, the aviation medical examiner may not issue you a medical certificate without obtaining written or verbal permission from an FAA physician. The FAA medical term for this condition is a “transient loss of nervous system function.” This means that you will need to provide medical records, evaluations, and testing for the FAA medical folks to review and determine whether they will grant you a special issuance.

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