Aviation Medical Examiners, Flight Medicine, & the Airman’s Medical Certificate
· What is an Aviation Medical Examiner (A.M.E.) and how does one become designated?
Under the Federal Aviation Act of 1958 (as amended), the FAA Administrator is authorized to delegate to qualified private physicians the conduct of medical examinations and the issuance of medical certificates to qualified applicants. Aviation Medical Examiners (AMEs) are private physicians, trained and authorized by the FAA to perform airman medical examinations, and to issue medical certificates. New AMEs are designated based upon the local demand for aeromedical certification services.
Demand is determined by considering the total number of airmen in a particular location in relation to the number of available AMEs. The FAA has approximately 4,800 civilian AME’s located in 9 regions, 410 international AMEs located in 91 countries, and 400 federal AMEs (military, U.S. Coast Guard, NASA, and other agencies). These AMEs perform approximately 450,000 medical examinations every year in fulfilling the aeromedical certification needs of about 17,000 air traffic controllers and 640,000 pilots in the U.S and abroad. (source:www.flightphysical.com)
Some AME (like myself) are board certified in a specialty then attend a two year fellowship in aerospace medicine In the Military (and civilian programs we are customarily called RAMS (Residents in Aerospace Medicine)
· What is Flight medicine? How is it different than regular medicine?
Aviators operate in a unique environment that can change terrestrial based traditional medicine and conditions and physiology. Altitude, vestibular conditions, zero gravity and heavy gravity loads are just a few examples. The video at right illustrates an extreme example as the aviator experiences gravity induced Loss of Consciousness. (G-LOC)
Here are some useful links on aviation medicine certification and hot topics about keeping flyers healthy and safe. These and other topics will be further discussed in this site’s Avaition Medicine Blog.
The FAA MedXPress system allows anyone requiring an FAA Medical Certificate or Student Pilot Medical Certificate to electronically complete the FAA Form 8500-8. Information entered into MedXPress will be transmitted to the FAA and will be available for your AME to review at the time of your medical examination.
Using MedXpress will be a real benefit and helps you as well as the AME. The data is stored and can be used for the next application. There is a 24 hour hotline for any issues you may have with the program: (405)954-7272.