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Flight Physicals


All aviation flight physicals are performed by Dr. Michael Epstein, a certified aviation medical examiner.  Appointments can be made by calling the offices of Digestive Disorders Associates at 410-224-4887, or you can request an appointment online here.

Most exams are relatively straightforward, but if you have a medication condition, it could potentially cause delay or deferral in receiving you certificate.  To expedite your medical certificate or student pilot medical certificate, please fill out your medical history on the FAA website and bring it to your appointment.

We have provided the following checklist to ensure that your medical exam goes smoothly.

  • You must bring
    • government issued photographic ID
    • old FAA medical certificate (if applicable)
    • current airman certification
    • date of your last FAA medical examination
    • your social security number
  • Contact lenses must be taken out at least 2 hours before you arrive at the exam site
  • Bring glasses (or contact lenses) for near or distant vision, if applicable. NOTE: The use of contact lenses, bifocal, or unifocal specifically for the correction of near vision is inappropriate for aviation.
  • If you have seen an ophthalmologist or optometrist within the past twelve calendar months please bring a written report, as it may be helpful for review at your physical examination.
  • Your total pilot time and your pilot time in the last 6 months

Please contact us if you have a history of serious medical conditions, particularly those listed below:

Bladder cancer
Breast cancer
Colon cancer
Prostate cancer
Renal cancer
Testicular cancer
Renal stones
Hepatitis C
Heart valve
Atrial fibrillation
Mitral/aortic insufficiency
Paroxysmal atrial tachycardia
Migraine headaches
Chronic lymphocytic leukemia
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease
Diabetes mellitus Type 1 or 2
Lymphoma and Hodgkin’s disease
Sleep apnea


1st and 2nd class distance vision – 20 or better in each eye separately with or without correction

3rd class distance vision – 20 or 40 or better in each eye separately with or without correction

All classes near vision – 20 or 40 or better in each eye separately with or without correction

Intermediate vision – 20 or 40 or better in each eye separately with or without correction at age 50+



Please be aware that there are specific protocols that require additional detailed documentation for use antihistamines, cardiovascular evaluation, coronary heart disease, diabetes including diet controlled diabetes, hypertension, implanted pacemakers, peptic ulcers, human immune-insufficiency virus (HIV), renal transplant, history of substance or dependence abuse, stroke, pulmonary embolism, and cardiac valve replacement.



Airmen with a history of cardiac disease must include a current physical examination from your primary physician or cardiologist including blood chemistries, fasting blood sugar, and total cholesterol, LDL, triglycerides performed within the last 90 days.  For coronary heart disease the requirements include a current maximal exercise tolerance test or myocardial perfusion test.  IF cardiac catheterization or coronary angiography has been performed, all reports and the actual films must be submitted for review.  Any information on hospital admissions must be provided including a clinical cardiac and general physical exam, functional capacity, modifiable cardiovascular risks, motivations for any necessary change, and blood chemistries as outlined above.  There must be at least a six month recovery period after an event such as angina, infarction, by-pass surgery, angioplasty, or stenting.  Periodic follow-ups for cardiovascular evaluations will be required if cardiac disease is present.



The applicant must have no recurrent episodes of hypoglycemia in the past year and none in the preceding years that resulted in loss of unconsciousness or seizures.  Copies of all medical records as well as any accident or incident records pertinent to diabetes must be provided including two measurements of glycosylated hemoglobin total A1 or A1c concentration and laboratory reference range separated by at least 90 days.  The most recent measurement must be no more than 90 days old and specific reference to the applicant’s insulin and dosage on a complete medical examination preferably by a diabetic specialist.  Reference should be provided to the presence or absence of cerebrovascular, cardiovascular, or peripheral vascular disease and neuropathy, confirmation by an eye specialist of the absence of clinically significant eye disease, verification of diabetes education, and if the applicant is older than 40 a report of EKG tracings of a maximal graded tolerance test.  This report should include the ability of the patient to be knowledgeable and to perform blood glucose levels using a glucometer.  For Type 2 diabetes the initial authorization and recurring certification requires a report from the treating physicians containing a statement regarding the medications used, dosage, absence or presence of side effects, and clinically significant hypoglycemia, and indication of satisfactory control of diabetes.  The results of the hemoglobin A1c within the past 30 days, the presence of cardiovascular, neurologic, renal and ophthalmologic disease must be reviewed.

There are additional requirements for subsequent medical certification of diabetes and monitoring actions required during flight operations.  Please discuss this with your AME.



A current (within the last 6 months) cardiovascular evaluation by the applicant’s attending physician or cardiologist with pertinent personal and family medical history including risk factors for coronary artery disease, a clinical exam including at least three blood pressure readings separated by at least 24 hours each, a resting EKG, and a report of fasting plasma glucose, cholesterol, LDH, HDL, triglycerides, potassium, and creatinine levels.  An electrocardiograph exercise stress test should be accomplished if indicated.  Specific mention must be made of medications used, the dosage, presence, absence, or history of adverse events.



For implanted pacemaker, renal transplant, peptic ulcer, or other conditions please contact your AME.



Bring information for any conviction or administrative order for drugs or alcohol.  Please include the     state and jurisdiction, date of conviction or administrative action unless previously reported and no changes.

Bring information on all visits to healthcare professionals within the last 3 years, including name and address of physician, type of physician, dates and reason for visits.   If additional reports, tests, or specialty reports are required, you must provide these to us at the time of examination or well within the 14 days required to transmit your information to the FAA. Otherwise we may have to defer your examination.


If your FAA exam is deferred by the AME and additional information is required by the FAA, you will receive a letter from the FAA.  You will need to respond directly to the FAA, Medical Appeals Section, PO Box 26200, Oklahoma City, OK, 73125-5063.  The FAA will process your application after you have received your letter.  The only communication your AME receives from the FAA at the time is a copy of the letter you receive.  We would like you to keep your AME updated on any communications you receive.

In order to process your aviation medical exam we request you complete the history form on the FAA website  Once you log onto the site, you will be emailed a username and password.  You may then go online and complete the front portion of your 8500-8 history form.  Upon clicking the submit button you will receive a confirmation number.  You will then print a copy of the 8500-8 (which in in the PDF format) and bring it to our office for your physical.

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