Medically Disqualified Airline Pilots
FEDERAL AVIATION ADMINISTRATION WASHINGTON DC OFFICE OF AVIATION MEDICINE
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Observations on the airline pilot group probably come as close to a true reflection of incidence of disqualifying disease as is possible to observe. Prescreening by airline companies before employment and the FAAs requirements for issuance of a first-class medical certificate result in this groups being essentially purged of a disease prevalence that contributes to higher rates for other groups. These individuals are also less likely to voluntarily remove themselves from followup observations for known medical conditions that could preclude FAA medical certification. This study examined medical records of airline pilots medically disqualified by the FAA over a 220-year period. Date of birth, employer, date of disqualification, and reason for disqualification were recorded for each pilot. The data represent the final action taken on each pilot for a particular examination. During this period, 842 airline pilots were medically disqualified. Cardiovascular diseases represent the highest cause for denial, with age being a major factor in the incidence of cardiovascular disease. Denials for cardiovascular reasons account for 50 of all denials in this group. FAA medical certificate denial is minimal before age 45 but increases rapidly thereafter, with cardiovascular diseases responsible for more than half of this dramatic rise in incidence of disease. Maintenance of high standards of safety requires close cardiovascular supervision as pilots grow older.
- Medicine and Medical Research