Aviation Medicine Services
Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Aviation Medical Examiners (AMEs) are the link between pilots and the FAA. The Palo Alto Medical Foundation (PAMF) is one of the largest and most experienced medical clinics to offer FAA medical certification. The mission of PAMF's Department of Aviation Medicine is ensure the health and fitness of pilots and to assist pilots in any way possible to obtain certification.
Dr. Straw provides FAA examinations for many airlines and provides services for the Japan Air Lines training center in Napa.
Functions of the Department of Aviation Medicine at PAMF:
- To examine pilots of all flying classes (1, 2 and 3) to determine their overall fitness and fitness in specific conditions (such as different oxygen levels and altitudes) for medical certification required by the FAA.
- To assist with the special issuance of medical certification for pilots with medical disabilities who do not meet flight standards. Examples include pilots who have developed significant high blood pressure (hypertension); pilots with evidence of coronary artery disease; pilots with history of myocardial infarction (heart attack), angioplasty or coronary artery bypass surgery; or pilots with well controlled non-insulin-dependent diabetes.
- The FAA-mandated physical exam for medical certification is similar to any thorough physical exam, with an increased emphasis on vision and hearing testing. This examination should not take the place of periodic examinations by the pilot's personal physician.
The Aviation Medicine Department is a resource for any pilot with questions or concerns about his or her ability to pass the medical standards.
When pilots lose their eligibility for medical certification, it is most often for health reasons. For example, a pilot who loses a leg in an auto accident would lose his or her certification. Medical certification could be reinstated if the pilot can be tested for and demonstrate the ability to operate the flight controls, get in and out of the aircraft without assistance and pass a medical flight test.
While PAMF does not in any way advocate unsafe medical certification, we are very familiar with the conditions under which a special issuance can be made that meet standards of flight safety. Even though pilots may be disqualified by not meeting a specific FAA standard, we can order appropriate testing and conduct further evaluation that can lead to a special issuance after submission of the results to the FAA in Oklahoma City as long as it is felt their health conditions do not impair flight safety.
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