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.”