3rd class medical deferral

Hello All,

on 11/8/21 I had a fall on a stand-up scooter owing to a pothole. I fell forward, hit my face, and apparently experienced a loss of  consciousness. An ambulance was called and I was put in a neck brace and taken to hospital to have cat scans and to be given stitches to my lip.The ambulance report states witness‘ accounts that I experienced loss of consciousness for 10-15 seconds.

I was kept in the ER for about 5 hours, had full Cat scans done from head to pelvis, administered stitches, and was sent on my way after having been given a clean bill of health. 

On 2/28/22 my medical was due, and when filling out the application I stated that I had experienced a LOC and detailed the accident. This past Friday I went for my medical and was issued a deferral letter from my AME. He cleared me as fit to fly but said that he had no discretion in the matter since I had claimed a LOC.

Item 46 on the FAA Guide for Aviation Medical Examiners

Application Process for Medical Certification - Examination Techniques

States that:

“An unexplained disturbance of consciousness is disqualifying under the medical standards. Because a disturbance of consciousness may be expected to be totally incapacitating, individuals with such histories pose a high risk to safety and must be denied or deferred by the Examiner. If the cause of the disturbance is explained and a loss of consciousness is not likely to recur, then medical certification may be possible.”


Does this mean the the AME had discretion and could have issued me the 3rd class medical in lieu of, or pending FAA review? Also, what will the process now be to get cleared for flight and how long does it usually take?

I fly a Cheyenne III, and was scheduled for recurrent training this week. Also, I will need to fly it for annual inspection in the coming months.

From what I have been reading here on the forum, I am beginning to fear I am in for a long delay. Although I do not fear the worst of all possible outcomes. 

Any and all information would be greatly appreciated.


1 Replies
1373 Posts

First and foremost, your LoC is not repeat not “unexplained”.  Going headfirst onto the pavement definitely explains it.  The FAA is concerned about folks who lose consciousness with no apparent reason, as whatever unknown thing happened to cause that might happen again while you're flying.  In your case, the FAA is a lot less concerned since absent a crash, it's not likely you'll smack your head on something hard enough to cause LoC while flying.

As for the line “If the cause of the disturbance is explained and a loss of consciousness is not likely to recur, then medical certification may be possible”, that doesn't mean the AME has the authority to issue, but rather than the FAA may issue after the AME defers it to HQ for their consideration.  Had your LoC been unexplained, the AME would have denied rather than deferred.

Finally, it may be anywhere from a few weeks to several months before you hear back – they are seriously backlogged.  For a better read on possible outcomes and time frames, try contacting HIMS AME and difficult certification specialist Dr. Bruce Chien, either by his website www.aeromedicaldoc.com or by message here.