Getting an FAA Flight Physical

12:38 PM Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Part of being a pilot is the flight physical. Any of you who actually know me, know that my body type is not that ideal (aka: fat). Well being fat doesn't disqualify you to fly and I am otherwise pretty healthy so I didn't think this was going to be an issue.

Well, I have had issues with my blood pressure over the years (damn heredity and being fat). All my tests fall within the FAA standards so I thought I was golden. However, the FAA requires a note from my doctor that states that she thinks I am ok to fly given that I have had blood pressure issues in the past. No problem...or so I thought. My doctor says she has no problem giving the note but that she needs to see me first (first available appointment 1 week out) and then it will take 2 days to get the note after that. The FAA needs the stuff within the week, now I am faced with a conundrum. I have pushed my doctor to get it done ASAP, so now all I can do is cross my fingers that it all works out! I will keep you posted, it would suck if they deferred my license because my doctor couldn't write out three lines of information and fax it to a number.

For those of you interested in what happens during a flight physical (3rd class) here it is. You fill out a bunch of paper work. You talk to the doctor (hearing test). The doctor listens to your heart and lungs. The doctor checks your feet (diabetes I assume). The doctor gives you a color blind test and a couple of other vision tests. You pee in a cup. Blood work may be required depending on medical history. Then you are on your way. Pretty simple and nothing to worry about.

Oh, I almost forgot the most interesting part of my flight physical, the location. There are not very many doctors that perform the exams required by the FAA (I am going to assume it is because of the amount of paperwork involved), so I didn't have too many choices. I chose the guy closest to me. When I arrived at his office I walked in and immediately felt like I had walked through a time warp. Everything was from the 70's. The chairs, the counters, the carpet, everything! I almost stepped back outside to see if the rest of the world jumped back in time too. As I progressed from the waiting room to the back area, it was even more apparent that this office needed an update. Nothing was electronic, there were not even computers anywhere that I could see. They had weird wooden benches between counter tops that you sat on. I even passed through a secondary waiting room that had orange shag carpet and wood paneled walls. By the time I left, I really was convinced that everything outside the office would be 1970's as well.


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