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Senior AME offers tips to protect yourself from coronavirusSenior AME offers tips to protect yourself from coronavirus

Dr. Brent Blue, an AOPA Pilot magazine contributor, FAA senior aviation medical examiner, and airline transport pilot with more than 9,000 hours of flight time, offered several measures to help keep pilots and passengers safe in general aviation aircraft during the coronavirus pandemic.

Photo by Chris Rose.

GA is not immune to the effects of COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus that prompted the World Health Organization to declare a pandemic on March 11.

Blue said if pilots “are sick for any reason, they need to do a self-analysis of their readiness to fly.” (AOPA offers a free Medical Self-Assessment online course to help pilots better understand how to assess their fitness for flight.)

He also suggested that if a pilot transports a person “who is sick or becomes sick shortly after a flight,” it’s important to wipe down the aircraft’s interior surfaces “including headsets and mics. If they have a foam mic cover, it should be taken off the mic and rinsed in a 10 percent Clorox solution and dried thoroughly before reinstalling.” He also reminded pilots to clean the underlying microphone with a disinfectant wipe, and any touch screens, too.

Blue said to be mindful that altitude can adversely affect sick people. He said to thoroughly clean or discard oxygen masks or cannulas if a sick person used one of the devices, because “the virus is attracted to lung tissue.”

This illustration, created at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), reveals ultrastructural morphology exhibited by coronaviruses. A novel coronavirus, named Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), was identified as the cause of an outbreak of respiratory illness first detected in Wuhan, China, in 2019. The illness caused by this virus has been named coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). Graphic courtesy of CDC.
David Tulis

David Tulis

Associate Editor Web/ePilot
AOPA Associate Editor Web/ePilot David Tulis joined AOPA in 2015 and is a private pilot with single-engine land and sea ratings and a tailwheel endorsement. He is also a certificated remote pilot and co-host of the award-winning AOPA Hangar Talk podcast. David enjoys vintage aircraft and photography.
Topics: Pilot Health and Medical Certification

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