Hints for Passing FAA Exam

Hints for your FAA Medical Exam and Keeping your Pilot Certificate

Pilots who have a medical examination should be well rested and avoid high sugar meals, caffeine, tobacco, and stimulant type medications, including allergy medications, before their physical. Meals high in sugar may cause an erroneous result in the urinalysis that raises the suspicion of diabetes.

Pilots using glasses or contact lenses should bring them to the physical examination to optimize their chances of passing those respective tests. Likewise, pilots using hearing aids should bring them to the exam.

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If you have had medical evaluations or treatment since your last FAA physical examination, bring documentation of the treatment and the resolution of your condition to your physical. This may help avoid any delays in issuing a new medical certificate if all the aeromedically relevant questions are answered. If you had minor surgery or hospitalization, the hospital discharge summary and a signed, dated, follow-up note from your treating physician indicating that you can return to full activity is usually sufficient. Some more serious conditions such as cancer, heart disease, neurological, and psychiatric conditions require additional documentation and review by the FAA. In general, the more documentation available, the easier it is to make a favorable certification decision.

Pilots are required to report all prescription and nonprescription medications. If this is your first time reporting the use of the medication, be sure to include a statement about the absence of any side effects, if true. Over-the-counter vitamins or nutritional supplements are not reportable

Remember to fill out the information regarding drug and alcohol offenses and other legal encounters accurately and honestly. An isolated “explainable” event will typically not result in a denial of your certificate. Repetitive offenses will require some really good explanation. It is inadvisable to conceal any moving violation involving the use of alcohol or illegal drugs, as the FAA computer cross-links with the traffic computers to check for these infractions.

Do not take a physical examination if you know you are not medically qualified. There is no adverse consequences with the FAA of allowing your medical certificate to lapse. As long as you are not operating an aircraft without the appropriate class of certificate, the FAA is not concerned with the currency of your medical certificate. If you do take a physical and have a disqualifying condition, the medical examiner is obligated to deny or defer your application. This can result in significant administrative delays even if your medical condition resolves while awaiting a letter from the FAA. When your condition has resolved, bring the appropriate documentation from your treating physician to your physical and present it to your medical examiner after noting the treatment on the front of the application. You may then expect to leave the office with a new medical certificate in hand.