Who can you contact if you have questions about the use of prescription and over-the-counter drugs? Who do you call if you’re facing a potentially career-threatening health issue? ALPA's Aeromedical Office—the Aviation Medicine Advisory Service—connects pilot members with licensed flight physicians who understand the nuances of FAA medical policy and certification, and who work closely with the Agency’s Office of Aerospace Medicine in Oklahoma City, Okla.
Aeromedical physicians work with ALPA members to carefully review detailed information about their medical problems as they potentially relate to health, continued employment, disability, and FAA medical certification. When necessary and with the pilot's permission, Aeromedical staff communicates directly with the FAA, serving as advocate to address specific concerns. And the advice flight physicians provide to members is just that. Pilots ultimately decide whether to follow Aeromedical recommendations.
Experts on Call
An ALPA member typically contacts the ALPA Aeromedical Office by phone and speaks with an administrative assistant who secures the pilot’s name, airline, ALPA member number, and general reason for calling. Typically within two hours, an Aeromedical flight physician responds to discuss the case and answer any questions.
The Aeromedical staff can advise a pilot about how best to prepare a case presentation to the FAA and the most expeditious way to successfully resolve the situation. The doctor may recommend separate diagnostic evaluations by an outside physician, which the pilot would be financially responsible for. When the pilot is referred to an outside physician, Aeromedical typically recommends a specialist who is well acquainted with aviation medicine principles. In addition, the office carefully analyzes all available data to ensure that appeal cases are properly and completely documented.
Busy private physicians and clinics do not always have the time or interest to prepare the detailed paperwork that the FAA requires. Problems can arise in FAA certification based on inadequate or improper outside medical management. For these and many other reasons, Aeromedical is a treasured pilot asset. Plus, access to the Aviation Medicine Advisory Service is provided at no charge to ALPA members in good standing.
In addition to pilot advice, the Aviation Medicine Advisory Service also administers the ALPA Human Intervention Motivation Study contract, which is funded by the FAA and identifies, treats, and helps return to the line pilots suffering from alcoholism or substance dependence. Since 1973 and with the cooperation of the FAA and almost all of the airlines in North America, more than 4,000 airline pilots have entered this unique program to save their flying careers and, in many cases, their lives.