Lack Of Paperwork Behind Most COVID Medical Denials


The FAA’s Federal Air Surgeon says pilots who have had COVID-19 have to come clean with their AMEs or risk losing their medicals. Dr. Susan Northrup wrote in a safety bulletin AMEs have been told to use their own judgment in determining the fitness to fly for those who have recovered from the disease but that means pilots have to be ready to furnish the medical records that will support that decision. “Unfortunately, while the vast majority of airmen can be issued a certificate by their AME right away, we have denied a medical certificate for a small number of airmen after a COVID infection,” Northrup wrote. She said most of those were the result of pilots refusing to provide the documentation.

Those who became infected and got through the illness without complications will most likely get their medicals approved routinely. But AMEs have been told to be on the lookout for those who develop issues weeks or months after their COVID-19 diagnosis because the symptoms can be disqualifying. “Manifestations include dysfunction of the cardiovascular, respiratory, renal (kidney), or neurological systems,” Northrup wrote. “You should report mental health symptoms (‘brain fog,’ depression, anxiety) or other symptoms such as fatigue, shortness of breath, cough, chest pain, headache, fever, loss of smell or taste, dizziness when standing, joint or muscle pains, or chest pain to your AME.”

Russ Niles
Russ Niles is Editor-in-Chief of AVweb. He has been a pilot for 30 years and joined AVweb 22 years ago. He and his wife Marni live in southern British Columbia where they also operate a small winery.

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    • The real numbers have been available for quite some time. If you choose to ignore them, that’s on you.

      • Rough numbers, much exaggeration because everything is logged as the ‘disease du jour’, but also omitting persons who did not get substantially ill so did not seek medical help thus were not counted.

    • I saw where a kid was shot and died during a crime.
      His death was counted as a COVID death, because of unemployment.

      • Yes, yes Richard, it’s all a big lie, no one has actually died from this disease. In fact the disease doesn’t actually exist. Pay no attention to all of the body bags, they’re actually filled with refuse. It’s all been a big ruse for the cities to get rid of all of their extra garbage

        • I know you think the sky is falling, but stop running around beating your head like it is on fire.
          Here is some news… my father died of COVID,… 5 YES, FIVE! Years ago.
          Here is more news… you are going to die, sooner or later, yes, you will die.
          Even more news… for the last 50 years of record keeping the number 3 leading causes for death is respiratory illness. Yes, people have been dropping dead every year by the literal millions.

          There is absolutely no question the numbers have been inflated to cause panic. I’ve seen the ridiculous claims made for COVID deaths.
          There is little question this variation of COVID was manufactured in China, likely with US tax dollars funding it. Even stranger… my fathers next door neighbor is with the CDC infectious disease division that was likely involved with the lab in China.

          Did people die, yea. They will continue to die of respiratory diseases as people have for hundreds of thousands of years.

  1. Flight Crew,

    There is insurance for loss-of-medical, so if you don’t have insurance and fly for a living in any capacity, get it.

  2. Why? If you pass you 6 month first class 1 physical THEN IT’S NONE OF THEIR BUSINESS if you had any previous exposure.

    I’m sorry, but this is getting nuts.

    • I agree. I have never had any symptoms, never been tested, and have been vaccinated. Next thing you know, the FAA will want everyone tested.

      • While there is some risk from any vaccine, IMJ you are not wise. Vaccines work.

        (In WA state, over 85% of persons seriously ill with COVID-19 today were not vaccinated.
        A bunch of stupids had a charity poker game in one small town in WA, 10% of the population got sick from one person, two died.)

        Yes, bureaucrats over-do and under-perform.

    • Aren’t aviation medical doctors supposed to think about problems?

      Seems to me the FAA just needs to remind doctors to grill their customer.

      Doctors are capable of testing reflexes, stability, basic eyesight, strength, ….

  3. The Yamaha engine is a little jewel; I have one on the MT-07 that I ride to the airport.

    The really cool Yamaha is the 1300cc and R1 engines that can put out 150-250hp(see Dan Johnson).

  4. I find it interesting that having read the author’s article on the issue of renaming certain aviation terms, the photo ( the male captain with a female FO) used in the title of this article is the exact item picked out as being one of the things that discourage women from becoming airline pilots. Sorry for the thread drift.

    • Exaggeration alert!

      The photo shows you can pilot an airliner as a career.

      Bessie Coleman, Marj Fane, and Gretchen Mathers wanted to fly and did, long ago.

      A huge problem in the US was pilot unions convincing the gummint that persons who flew hastily assembled airplanes and ferried them across the stormy North Atlantic before the days of good weather forecasting were not tempermentily suited to fly passengers in the controlled and supported domestic US environment.

  5. The FAA by their medical reporting policy discourages doctor visits. Avoiding doctors and paper trails, as you know, is part of the career. I don’t get swabbed every time I sneeze and I get sick on the ground and my own time. I’m looking at the panel here and wondering which instrument indicates you have the flu and which can tell the difference between that and covid. I can’t. Hmm, it’s not on the MEL so guess I’m ok to fly without it. There is NO good that can come from get tested, save your precious numbers and metrics. I’ll agree it’s innocuous in itself but combined with other hoops – a pile of bureaucracy that will not have that much effect on safety in the end. This looks a lot like optics so the FAA can say they are doing something.
    Political posturing. We can clearly tell they’re lined up on 16 Left.

  6. Susan Northrup is starting to sound like someone very familiar – oh yeah, Anthony Faucci that’s it!, One lies the other swears to it. This has nothing to do with Covid. It is about control. Faucci was caught lying about his involvement with gain of function testing but we are all supposed to pretend it did not happen. They have assassinated their credibility and now they want us to believe the medical community? I don’t think so.

    Contact your congress critters, this virus should not affect your right to fly. If your AME says anything about covid, tell them you never had it.

  7. I’m no doctor, so I don’t report anything I ‘think’ I may have or may have had. I will report what a licensed doctor has properly tested for and diagnosed without a a questioning second opinion.
    Note – once vaccinated the tests for the antibodies will come back as a false positive. So, some side of the road test isn’t valid nor should they be taken if you have had a vaccine.

    • Only if you get tested using an antibody test (which tells you if you *were* infected). If you take the PCR test (which is the one that tells you if you have an active infection), the vaccine will not cause a false positive.

      • And which test did they use when testing… some lab rat that couldn’t tell you the difference likely did the diagnosis.
        I have spent a very long time in hospitals watching over family members that were patients in hospitals over the last few years. I have very little faith in the medical community. Most I interacted with were complete idiots. I’m surprised they could find their way home.
        Yes, a few doctors did know what they were doing. But, clearly the people in the medical field are not scrutinized like the aviation field.