How to gain certification following a disqualifying medical condition
Much of the work of an aviation medicine specialist is concerned with assessing whether a pilot or air traffic controller can either take up or return to flying or controlling after an illness. This means assessing the risk of that pilot or controller suffering a sudden or subtle incapacitation which could jeopardise flight safety. The specialist must therefore have a thorough knowledge of the progress and outcome of disease, and also knowledge of the range of working (and recreational) environments that pilots and controllers inhabit.
The basic medical “rules” which determine whether a pilot is fit are contained in Annex 1 to the Convention on International Civil Aviation published by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO). These, however, are very high-level standards. Most aviation regulatory authorities have developed their own more detailed requirements and, as part of the European Union (EU), the UK complies with Commission Regulation (EU) No 1178/2011, Annex IV Part-MED, Implementing Rules (IRs) and associated Acceptable Means of Compliance (AMCs).
The European Class 3 medical requirements for Air Traffic Controllers can be found on the Eurocontrol website.
If a certificate holder becomes aware of a decrease in their medical fitness due to injury or illness, which may render them unable to exercise the privileges of their licence, or becomes aware that they are pregnant, they must inform their Aeromedical Examiner (AME) or CAA Medical Department. In the case of the LAPL either the AME or GP who issued their medical certificate should be informed. They will then be assessed as ‘unfit’ and will be advised on the procedure for recertification.
The UK CAA Medical Department recognises that additional guidance material is sometimes required and it can be difficult for applicants and their doctors to interpret the requirements in a particular condition. This site contains explanatory notes for a set of common medical conditions which might affect pilots and air traffic controllers and protocols or algorithms with guidance on the type of tests and reports that may be required in particular circumstances.