Ten Stupid Things
There is a surplus of books that begin with those three enticing words, followed by “…women do to mess up their lives.” Or “…men” or “…couples.” Get the picture? What about pilots? Well, in reviewing information on what causes pilots to fail their aviation medical it became apparent to me that maybe there could be a book with the title “10 Stupid Things Pilots Do To Sabotage Their Medical.” Well, maybe not a book, but what about a session at the AOPA Aviation Summit, the annual meeting for pilots, taking place this year in Hartford, CT September 22 – 24. Your wish, our command.
Last year in Long Beach I had the pleasure of chairing three Fly Well morning sessions on health issues for pilots and that privilege has been afforded to me again. The aforementioned title is to be one of those sessions. This particular component of the meeting will feature a doctor playing the role of an Aviation Medical Examiner (AME) and another of our pals will play the unsuspecting pilot. Our bold aviator will present for his check-up only to discover he has made one of the Ten Stupid Mistakes and he will then hear the “D-word” – denied or deferred. A panel of very smart folks will then educate the breathless audience how they can avoid a similar encounter.
We also have a session that tips the hat to Monty Python, in name if not humor. Me doctor, you pilot; you pilot, me doctor will focus on saving your life. That got your attention! I am a big advocate of applying the principles of good planning in aviation to one’s health. For instance, how our bodies are affected by altitude – every pilot knows about explosive decompression, but simply put that is just not relevant to the majority of us who do not fly pressurized aircraft. There are many other dangers lurking in the thin air up there and we are bringing in Dr. Paul Buza to discuss this topic – Paul is an expert on the subject and runs a superb facility in Melbourne, Florida that allows pilots to experience a range of low oxygen environments while flying a simulator and talking to ATC. He will be joined on the panel by medical experts who will broach other topics to keep you breathing.
The third session shows respect to that staple of scifi, Star Trek and is titled I’m just a doctor, Jim.” We will be addressing the various screening tests available nowadays and making some recommendations to our audience. Along those lines, please check out the article on screening technology below.
Now I have mentioned panelists in rather glib fashion, but when you look at who we have assembled I hope you will be impressed. AOPA’s very own Gary Crump, Director of Medical Certification and doyen of all things AME will join Bruce Landsberg, President of the Air Safety Institute. Bruce is an expert on safety and is also the King of the one-liner! From the FAA we have Federal Air Surgeon, Dr. Fred Tilton and Dr. Warren Silberman, Manager of the Aerospace Medical Certification Division. I am sure you have some questions you would like to ask them. We are also to be joined by Dr. Scott Parazynski, ER doc, mountaineer and five-time space shuttle astronaut, as well as NASA’s Chief Medical Officer Dr. Rich Williams. Last, but definitely not least we have Duke Naipohn, paratrooper, pilot and guru of all things relating to fatigue and sleep problems.
So fire up those pistons – or turbines – and join us at Summit!
May 17, 2011