Special Medical Flight Tests

SMFTs vary from the simple to the complex, and a full explanation of how they work cannot be fully explained here. If you have made an application through the Federal Air Surgeon for an SMFT, it will be best to contact me, and we will discuss your needs and plan accordingly.

In the past, when conducting SMFTs as an ASI employed by the Agency, I found it very beneficial to have a conversation with those who submitted an application for such a test. If I know exactly what you need, I can advise you properly on how to best prepare for the event. It is not unethical, immoral, or illegal for me to do so. I’m not training you. Someone else is but it is completely acceptable for me to provide guidance on what specific training may greatly assist you in your endeavor. Be clear, it is the intent of you, myself, and the FAA to see you be successful.

There are many questions that I simply can’t answer here, but they range across the spectrum from concerns such as “if I fail the medical test, does this disqualify me forever?” That is a hard question to answer, but most of the time it does not.

However, allowing me to provide advice for preparation generally will lead to a successful outcome. I’m pleased to say that of all the tests I’ve conducted, no one failed because they properly prepared for the event which is what should happen anyway.

There are a few other items to mention. First, you will need to have some sort of pilot certificate before being allowed to do the test. This can be simply a Student Pilot Certificate, so this isn’t difficult, but you’ll need to get that at the very minimum.

If you are a student pilot, you can combine the Private Pilot Practical Test with the SMFT. This will save time and money. I have conducted those types of tests several times.

On a combined test, you can have a Disapproval issued for the practical test yet still pass the SMFT. The reverse isn’t possible, however. If you fail the SMFT, you cannot pass the practical. I really don’t like talking about “failing” with all the negative connotations, I just feel it’s something that needs to be clearly pointed out.

My experience has led me to realize the bulk of the SMFTs conducted is for varying degrees of Color Blindness. Many times an AME will identify this on the airman’s physical examination and annotate the medical with “Not Valid for Night Flying or by Color Signal Control.” This doesn’t prohibit you from still attaining a Private Pilot certificate, but it will limit you on what you can do. This is one instance that you can still fly with a limiting medical condition. This can only be removed with an SMFT. The good news about color vision issues are they normally are easily negotiated and are rarely failed.

Again, there is too much to attempt to put in this document so if you are finding yourself in need of an SMFT and choose to contact me for my services, it will be best to set aside some time to have a quality conversation regarding your specific needs and how we will best get you prepared to meet the challenge.

As a final statement, please trust that we will only talk about those specific issues outlined in the LOA sent to the local office by Aero Medicine. I will not ask anything more than what I read on the LOA and I will never share any information about yourself or your condition with anyone at any time for any reason! Our medical health is our business and no one else.