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Quarterly Aeromedical Newsletter
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2019 Vol. 19 Issue 1
Clear Skies Ahead
President's Corner  ⋅ FAA Policy & Personnel Update  ⋅ FAA Medication Updates  ⋅ Airmen & Controllers - "Ask the Doc"  ⋅ Welcome AMAS Clients

President's Corner

Vision for 2019

The New Year’s pundits and articles write extensively about a New Vision for 2019.  I will not be so bold or profound, but rather focus on what pilots can do to help their vision for 2019 and beyond with a few simple wishes.

Read More>>>>>>>>>>


FAA Policy & Personnel Update

Hails - Dr. Randy Geogemiller, PhD joins the Federal Air Surgeon staff to assist with the volume of complicated Psychological evaluations reviewed in Washington DC.  Dr. Geogemiller has a long history assisting airmen and controllers with aeromedical certification, and AMAS welcomes him back to civil aviation assessments.

Farewells - The Deputy Southern Regional Flight Surgeon (RFS), Dr. John Barson, is retiring in January.  John has a long history in aviation medicine through the Army and especially working air traffic medical issues.  The Eastern Region assistant RFS, Dr. Jordan, has also left that position.  Both will be missed.

Human Intervention and Motivational Study (HIMS) - Basic training dates have been tentatively set for 22-25 Sept 2019 in Denver, CO.


FAA Medication Updates

Opdivo (nivolumab) is a newer immunobiologic medication used for advanced lung cancers.  The FAA requires a four month observation period off of this medication before they will consider recertification with Special Issuance.

Now that “Cold and Flu” season is upon us, AMAS wants to remind airmen and controllers about limitations for many popular over the counter (OTC) medications.  May OTC meds have several different formulations so it’s important to check the active ingredients as policy is based on the individual medications in each.  Guaifenesin which is an expectorant and pseudoephdrine, a decongestant, are allowed if the underlying condition is well-controlled.  Note that controllers have to clear any medication including OTC drugs with a supervisor or the Regional Flight Surgeon before return to controlling duties.  Anticough preparations such as dextromethorphan require at least 48 hours observation after last dose.

The FAA allows the use of nonsedating antihistamines such as loratidine and fexofenadine.  Other sedating antihistamines which are commonly found in OTC medications require waiting at least 5 times the half-life after the last dose before returning to flying or aviation duties.  For Benadryl (diphenhydramine) the FAA requires a 60 hour wait after the last dose.  Some OTC sedating antihistamines have an even longer half-life such as chlorpheniramine with up to a 43 hour half-life requiring 9 days for medication clearance.  You can find more information about common medications on our website.


Airmen & Controllers - "Ask the Doc"

Question:  I was just diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease.  Is that something I can fly with?

Answer:  The FAA will allow you to return to flying with a Special Issuance (waiver) regardless of class of certificate as long as your symptoms are mild and/or well controlled.  You would need to petition for the Special Issuance prior to returning to flying.  Unfortunately, the FAA has a blanket prohibition on many medications for Parkinson's such as Permax, Comtan, Mirapex, Eldepryl, and Tasmar.  The agency is willing to consider waivers for the use of Sinemet, and this is the only medication currently allowed.  Your treating Neurologist will be the best source of information as to whether or not this medication will be effective and appropriate in your particular circumstance.  Depending on the FAA interpretation of the severity of your symptoms, they could require a Medical Flight Test to show your symptoms are not a safety risk.  The FAA may also require baseline cognitive testing.  An AMAS physician would be happy to discuss the waiver process for Parkinson’s in detail.

Question:  Is the FAA considering further extensions to the “Age 65” rule?

Answer:  AMAS has received this inquiry from many airmen and the FAA Office of Aerospace Medicine has confirmed that they are not currently considering any change in the age 65 restriction for part 121 operations.  In 2009, the FAA issued its final rule after Congress raised the age limit from age 60 to age 65 in the Fair Treatment for Experienced Pilots Act.  Note that there is no restriction from getting a first class medical beyond age 65.  You just cannot perform as a commercial airline pilot in the U.S.


Welcome AMAS Clients

AMAS welcomes our Newest Clients:

Cook Canyon Ranch Aviation, Executive Jet Management, Stratus Management

AMAS is pleased to announce our clients who have renewed service with us:

Atlantic Coast Aircraft Services, Inc., Wilks Brothers, LLC, National Air Traffic Controllers Association, New York Power Authority

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