Conditions AMEs can issue: Detailed requirements

May 31, 2013

Warren Silberman

Warren Silberman

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

Hopefully you listened to my May 30 Pilot Protection Services webinar reviewing the new conditions for which your aviation medical examiner can issue a medical certificate in the office. Now I am going to give you some helpful details on what you need to bring with you when you go see your AME should you have one of these conditions.

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Arthritis: You will need what in FAA-speak is called a "current status report." This is preferably a typewritten note from the physician who is treating your arthritis. The letter needs to state what joints are involved, whether you have any restricted movement in the joints, and if you have any other organ system involvement. I advise you to take this article with you when you see your treating doctor, so he or she knows the requirements. The letter should also include what medication(s) you are taking for the arthritis and whether you have had any side effects. And lastly, you need to provide the AME with the following lab results performed within the 90 days preceding the AME visit: complete blood count, liver function profile, and serum creatinine (a kidney function test).

Asthma: This condition also requires that your doctor provide a typewritten letter that describes your symptoms and whether you have been seen in the hospital or local emergency room with any attacks. The doctor also needs to list what medications you take and whether you are requiring any inhaler treatment to relieve shortness of breath or wheezing beyond your regular medication (this is called "rescue inhaler"). The FAA also wants the results of a pulmonary function test performed within the previous 90 days.

Hypothyroidism (low thyroid): This is a common condition. To even gain medical certification in the first place you must be what your physician calls "euthyroid." This means that your hormone levels need to be within normal range. You can neither be high nor low. Once again, you will need a typewritten letter from your treating doctor that comments on whether you currently have any effects seen in patients with this condition. You should not! The letter needs to list the medication you are taking. Lastly, you will need to present the results of a thyroid stimulating hormone level (TSH). This lab test demonstrates whether you are receiving enough thyroid replacement hormone.

For more expert advice and professional assistance with protecting your pilot and medical certificates all year round, visit AOPA Pilot Protection Services online.

Dr. Warren Silberman is the former manager of FAA Aerospace Medical Certification and a doctor of osteopathic medicine. A pilot since 1986, he is recognized nationally as an expert in aerospace/preventative medicine, and is a regular writer for AOPA’s Pilot Protection Services program.