When should I go for my medical?
Answered By AOPA
When should I go for my medical?
8 Replies
AOPA Staff Answer
It is best to see an AME for your flight physical as soon as possible. In most circumstances you will leave the AME's office with a medical certificate in hand, however there are a wide variety of situations requiring the AME to defer the decision to CAMI. This can be caused by past medical history, current medical conditions, and current medications being taken. A deferral can take the FAA approximately 3 months to review and respond to the application. It is best to get his out of the way and settled as soon as possible to avoid a delay for your solo flight. If your application is deferred, we recommend a call to AOPA medical Certification for advice on moving forward.
I recommend finding an AME who will review you “airman Copy” of you medxpress before activating it. You can print it right off the FAA website (PCs only).  That gives you the chance to prepare any documentation you might need PRIOR to committing to the AME doing the exam. FAA IMO gives insufficient time to deal with what you need to do before denying the certificate.

For example, how can you get a reassessment off of a med for which you need to be off >90 days as part of qualification, in the 60 days they give you?

DUI in your past? It’s never going to be documented in time after the AME defers your issuance, to the FAA.

If you are denied as you last interaction, you also lose the ability to use you DL as the Light Sport aviation medical qualification for that category.

Senior AME
Former advisor to Gary Crump
Co-author of the SSRI pathway (there were 4 of us)
Hi Adrienne.  I am a senior AME and I would agree that you should get it as early as possible.  You NEED it before your 1st Solo.  It helps me a LOT if you print out your form and bring it to the office so I can review it before I open up your application on the website; because once I've opened that I have to complete it.  If there is something that is going to be a delay I can tell you right away and we can work together to get your Special Issuance.  
One thing I have asked a local flight school to STOP doing is having new student Pilots come in to "see if they can get a Class 1."  (This is the physical that Airline pilots need; Private flying requires a Class 3, and Commecial flying other than Airlines needs a Class 2).   THe usual hang up is their glasses are a little old and they cannot get down to the 20/20 line; and this FAILS the 1st AND 2nd class physical, but not the third, which requires 20/40.  
Now I can change it to a Class 3, but I have to make the change and write a short explanation as to why it was changed.  Much better to come in for a Class 3 and ASK ME if you would pass a Class 1. 
So see your friendly AME who WANTS you to be up and flying, print out your form, be honest on it and work with that AME to get you cleared for your first solo!  We need all the Pilots we can get!
John, I would look at Adrienne’s other string. To avoid denial, months in FAA deferral I think immedate application is a fool’s errand. She needs her entire record, proof of discontinuation date, assessment by a HIMS trained neuropsychologist.

To apply first means waiting for two rounds of FAA progressive ask, and then before she gets the demand to  see the HIMS psychologist, we have to satisfy the getting of the now newly created FAA medical record, which has to go directly and takes 8 weeks avg to get. And it has to go “Around” Adrienne’s custody to that psychologist adding yet another delay. No FAA recognized HIMS Neuro psychologist will issue any report without the FAA record, a requirement of their appointments. 

So then meaningful (to FAA ) evaluation doesn’t occur until August 2020.

Much quicker net/net to get the private records part 504 school evaluations, and get to the HIMS neuropsychology complete with script for showing the eval. was done I’m the no-stimulant environment. Done in this way, only one round at FAA. If the NEuro-psych evaluation is strong, approval is but 3 to 4 weeks.

Also the STDS for the first issuance are identical for class 1, 2, and 3, so it is nonsensical to not ask for what is needed,  Particularly when just about any part 141 school is going to require the First class before accepting her tuition. Then you have created a SECOND application round, this time for the upgrade which is ENTIRELY unnecessary if you already have it.

one of four petitioners for the SSRI Protocol, adopted 2010
Former advisor to Gary Crump (BAMA)

Bruce, you are correct in assuming I did not see the other string; was not aware there were Depression issues.  I just saw a potential student pilot on Cymbalta and I walked him through what he needs to get through before he can get his special issuance.  I handed him the AME guide page and the page for the Airman.  
I had a discussion with a Flight Surgeon at the Guard Bureau in my Military role as a Flight surgeon about this issue, pointing out that I can return a Heart Attack patient to the cockpit in 6 months but a mildly depressed individual who is well controlled on an SSRI is done flying . . why?  She pointed out that there are all kinds of objective data I can measure in the ASCAD patient to come up with a reasonable prediction of future events, but there are no such objective data in depressed individuals.  
I had no answer for that.  But I am hoping we can expand the therapies to a broader category of treatment options for our flyers.  
Richard, that's not true.  The Student Pilot is allowed to log Dual Received without a Medical certificate.  They have to have the Medical before they can Solo.  So someone working on a Special Issuance can still initiate their pilot training and work through the syllabus until they have to take the aircraft up themselves.  
I would think that a creative flight instructor could continue working throught cross countries while waiting for the issuance; then solo the pilot when they get the medical.  
It took us 5 years to get the SSRI protocol considered and adopted.  Cred also to AOPA's Crump and Luis Guitirrez and Ian Blair  Fries. We wrote it very narrowly to make it even considera-able. It took until 2010 (from  2005) to get it adopted, and it was narrowed by the agency in 2014 by addition to the AME guide.  Good luck with more. Get on to the FAA's HIMS list  (the psychiatry AMEs)- you'll get more insight.

The advice to Adrienne to apply now is....well not thoroughly considered.
The problem, is Adrienne’s issuance can take a year, and the CFI in me knows that
(1) pilots’ learning is much different one the have solo-PIC’d
(2) maintaining skills for that long is going to be pricey....