Civilian Aviation Medicine
Volanti Subvenimus - We Support the Flyer!
In the United States, civilian aviation is regulated by the federal government in the form of the Federal Aviation Association (FAA). Specialized medical professionals who have completed the FAA’s specific training are called Aviation Medical Examiners (AME’s). AME’s are authorized by the FAA to conduct airman medical examinations and to issue medical certificates communicating fitness for aviation-related duties.
Internationally, the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) is a specialized agency of the United Nations, which among other things dictates a basic set of medical rules, which determine a pilot’s fitness for flight. Most nations use their nation’s specifics set of medical standards in addition to or in substitute for the ICAO’s regulations.
Pilot Education: LASER Exposure & Eye Injury
LASER exposure continues to be an increasingly frequent problem in both military and civilian aviation. Typically, these exposures arise from people pointing green commercial LASERs directly at flying aircraft. The FAA has been tracking the number of LASER incidents since 2005. This number has been increasing every[...Click Below to Read More]read more
Become an Aviation Medical Examiner Today!
Last weekend, I attended a medical seminar held by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) in Denver, CO. The seminar was a refresher training seminar for Aviation Medical Examiners (AME). Although I had not yet been designated an AME, my experience and training as a USAF flight surgeon allowed me to[...Click Below to Read More]read more
‘Fitness for Flight’ – Mental Health & Antidepressants
The recent Germanwings tragedy has called commercial aviation’s concept of ‘Fitness for Flight’ into question. In case the reader has just returned from a week long hike in the wilderness and missed the news headlines – on 24 March 2014 an Airbus 320 carrying 150 passengers destined for Dusseldorf, Germany from[...Click Below to Read More]read more
Ground Collision Avoidance Technology
On a recent flight in a Block 40 F-16 with our squadron’s weapons officer I was introduced to the new pilot-activated recovery system (PARS). Starting at about 20,000 feet (FL 200) we rolled inverted and started a rapid 30 degree nose-low dive. The pilot pressed a button initiating the PARS. Immediately the[...Click Below to Read More]read more
Aviation Podcast “Slipstream Radio” Features GFM
In January 2014, F-22 Raptor driver and creator of TallyOne, Rob “Shotz” Burgon partnered with commercial aviator Brent Owens of iFlyBlog to create a unique podcast for aviation enthusiasts called Slipstream Radio. This past week, Slipstream Radio discusses topics relevant to aviation medicine and featured GoFlightMedicine during an interview with GFM creator, Rocky “Apollo”[...Click Below to Read More]read more
Investigating Pilot Error in Plane Crashes: A Human Factors Analysis
Although horrific plane crashes continue to make the headlines and the media seems to agitate the public by suggesting otherwise, traveling by air remains the safest form of transportation. Period. According to data compiled by the Bureau of Aircraft Accidents Archive, there were 265 fatalities during air travel in 2013[...Click Below to Read More]read more
KLM-Panam Tenerife Disaster
The Boeing 747 was first introduced in 1970 by Panam Airlines. The 747 was the first aircraft to earn the moniker ‘Jumbo Jet’, which has now become synonymous with all large passenger aircraft. Even after more than 3 decades, this incredible double-decker aircraft remains one of the largest in the fleet today.[...Click Below to Read More]read more
Dietary Supplements in Aircrew
“Ok, I got this nailed- Vitamin M, dip, coffee, Jack & Coke. That’s what makes a fighter pilot” ~ Anonymous Fighter Pilot Although this may be the typical formula that fighter pilots from decades past relied on for optimal performance, the modern combat aviator tends to take a much more sophisticated[...Click Below to Read More]read more
Galactic Cosmic Rays (GCR’s) are considered a threat to aviators, flight crews and frequent air travelers. This risk to astronauts is even greater (possibly even lethal) and continues to pose a significant obstacle to long expeditions into outer space. Cosmic radiation is comprised of high-energy subatomic particles from all of the natural elements[...Click Below to Read More]read more
Ebola Risk & Response for Airlines
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) maintains a webpage dedicated to providing updated recommendations to airlines on high-interest infectious diseases. The current website offers guidance to airlines on the measles, flu, cholera, and Middle-East respiratory syndrome (MERS). On August 11 2014, they added airline guidance for Ebola. Ultimately, the CDC’s recommendations emphasize[...Click Below to Read More]read more
Aeromedical Standards & Fitness for Flight
Aerospace Medicine is essentially a branch of occupational medicine. Unlike traditional medical disciplines where a patient in a normal environment experiences abnormal diseases and pathology, occupational medicine often provides medical services to patients of normal health and physiology in an abnormal environment. There are a variety of industries in which workers[...Click Below to Read More]read more
Hypoxia in Aviation
Before becoming a flight doc, I often felt skeptical as the flight attendant showcased what appeared to be a yellow Dixie cup connected to an empty IV bag prior to takeoff on commercial airliners. This darting glance wavered as my attention faded. Then, it was back to a few precious final minutes[...Click Below to Read More]read more
Decompression Illness in Aviation
Before English chemist, William Henry, took his own life in 1836, he discovered a simple physics law to explain how gas behaves in solution. This gas law, now appropriately known as Henry’s Law, together with Boyle’s Law, form the basis of the pathophysiology and treatment for Decompression Illness. Henry’s Law[...Click Below to Read More]read more
Pulling G’s – The Effects of G-Forces on the Human Body
“After dinner, the weather being warm, we went into the garden and drank thea, under the shade of some apple trees…he told me, he was just in the same situation, as when formerly, the notion of gravitation came into his mind. It was occasion’d by the fall of an apple,[...Click Below to Read More]read more
Spatial disorientation (commonly referred to as Spatial-D) is the inability to determine one’s position, location, and motion relative to their environment. Spatial-D along with G-induced loss of consciousness (G-LOC) are two of the most common causes of fatality from human factors in military aviation. Spatial-D regularly affects pilots in all aircraft, whereas only[...Click Below to Read More]read more