There’s good news for pilots with heart conditions.
A lot of readers have questions, so I thought I’d tackle some of those in this column.
I don’t care how well you think you are ready for an emergency, nothing beats professional training to make sure.
I recently had a 43-year-old diabetic pilot in my office for a Third Class Medical. My examination of the airman was unremarkable. His urinalysis was negative for sugar. He was slightly obese. Reports were provided stating he had no hypoglycemic reactions and no ophthalmological, neurological or nephrology problems. His A1C blood test, a measure of average blood glucose control for the past two to three months, was 8.0 — within FAA limits. A report from his family physician stated he was in great shape and his diabetes was adequately controlled. With the information provided, I passed the airman.
In January, a 66-year-old airline transport rated pilot went to the ER for chest pain. He was evaluated for a myocardial infarction (heart attack). The enzymes that we do when people enter the ER were negative for heart damage and his EKG was within normal range. However, his chest pain persisted.
It’s a question that even AMEs have a hard time deciding: Exactly when does a medical run out?
In the course of examining airmen for FAA medical certificates, aeromedical examiners sometimes see skin lesions of various kinds. Most are inconsequential, but we sometimes find cancerous growths. Any time the word “cancer” comes up, it is a scary situation.
A fairly common occurrence with pilots is air sickness — the nausea or vomiting associated with flying, especially when flying aerobatics.
Many years ago, an airman visited my office at six-month intervals for his Class I medical. He was approximately 35 years old, in good health and his 8500-8 was always filled out perfectly with “no’s” on all of the items, particularly on item 18 in regard to misdemeanor or felony convictions.
It’s pretty common for the family and close friends of a pilot to consider that pilot “the only one I’d feel comfortable flying with.” It’s no different with my family and non-flying friends. (Those friends of mine who do fly know better!)