Frequently Asked Questions

Why use Aviation Medicine Advisory Service (AMAS)?
Can you tell us a little more about your background and experience?
Why is AMAS different than other aeromedical resources available?
How many clients do you assist each year?
How do you handle cases? Are all handled by physicians?
How are clients charged?
How do I get an answer to my particular FAA certification problem?
Do you perform FAA medical exams?
Why not work just through my regular AME?
If I use AMAS to review my records for aeromedical completeness, can I then work through my AME?
Will you provide me and my treating physician with the specific FAA evaluation requirements for my particular condition?
Do you have specialists outside your group that you refer or direct pilots to for further assessment?
What services does the AMAS staff provide?
What advice can you give to someone needing assistance with their medical?

 

1) Why use Aviation Medicine Advisory Service (AMAS)?

The Aviation Medicine Advisory Service (AMAS) has been providing Aeromedical consultation to the nation’s largest airline unions since 1969. AMAS has seven physicians board certified in Aerospace Medicine and typically one or more fields such as Family Practice, Psychiatry, or Occupational Medicine. Because of the growing demand to offer services to friends and family outside the unions, the group formed Virtual Flight Surgeons® Inc in 1997 working out of the same offices with Quay Snyder, MD as President and Keith Martin, MD as Vice President. The two companies have merged and continue to offer the nation’s premier aeromedical services as AMAS.

The physicians at AMAS have many years experience working with pilots regarding FAA medical certification issues. This is our primary line of work and expertise. Our entire physician staff is composed of national board certified Aerospace Medicine physician specialists with greater than 100 years of combined experience in aeromedical certification. We deal with the FAA Aeromedical Certification Division in Oklahoma City on a daily basis, assisting thousands of pilots yearly with problems and questions. From the most difficult of FAA medical certification issues to a simple question related to health and flying, AMAS has the expertise and the answers to assist all pilots.
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2) Can you tell us a little more about your background and experience?

Currently AMAS employs seven board certified aerospace medicine physicians, two case managers, a FAA liaison team, as well as administrative specialists. Our physicians have years of flying experience in both military and general aviation (several private pilots, FAA certified flight instructor and one Designated Pilot Examiner). Our Case Managers have years of professional experience.
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3) Why is AMAS different than other aeromedical resources available?

Unlike other aeromedical resources, AMAS is staffed exclusively by physicians who are board certified Aerospace Medicine specialists with a wealth of commercial and military aviation medicine experience. Because AMAS expert physicians do not perform physical exams on pilots or act as their AME, we do not require visits to our offices, nor do we have any reporting obligations to any federal agency. Our service is confidential and risk-free, providing you the expertise you need. We stand ready as the only physician group providing services on a full-time basis.
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4) How many clients do you assist each year?

AMAS represents over 100,000 professional and private pilots and air traffic controllers. On any given day, the offices receive several hundred phone and email inquiries through our web site www.AviationMedicine.com and guarantee response within 1-2 business days. However, the vast majority are returned within minutes to hours. Approximately 9,000 aviation professionals a year seek the direct assistance of our staff physicians. Many more use the extensive free resources on our web site.
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5) How do you handle cases? Are all handled by physicians?

Unique to the Aeromedical consultation business, AMAS Physicians prepare all cases, thoroughly review to address all of the Aeromedical concerns, and then subsequently present directly to the FAA physician staff on an as needed basis. All of our clients may speak with one of our aerospace medicine physicians each time they call.
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6) How are clients charged?

Client consultation is typically covered through corporate or association proactive agreements focusing on pilot health and aviation safety. For individual clients not covered by contracts, fees are based on the complexity of the case and are clearly outlined during initial discussion with our physician staff. This covers complete records review by a physician clarifying any potential Aeromedical issues, physician to physician liaison with your clinical specialists as needed, drafting an Aeromedical summary, submitting to the FAA and expediting the review process, and one on one physician advocacy with the FAA Aeromedical Certification Division as necessary. The first renewal of the Special Issuance is typically included at no additional charge.
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7) How do I get an answer to my particular FAA certification problem?

Many of your questions will be answered in the information resource sections of our website. If you want a specific, direct, confidential response, you can submit a question through a Confidential Questionnaire. Once submitted, you will receive a telephone call or email from a physician within 2 business days. Either way, AMAS is your one source for aeromedical assistance and we have the answer.
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8) Do you perform FAA medical exams?

No. Although all our physicians have the aeromedical experience of long time FAA medical examiners, our expertise is working with your doctors to obtain expedient resolution to your certification problems. We are not representatives of the FAA. This allows us to maintain your complete confidentiality. Once issues are resolved, normal certification can occur through your regular FAA aviation medical examiner (AME) at your next scheduled physical examination, if necessary.
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9) Why not work just through my regular AME?

That, of course, is always an option. However, most AMEs do not have the experience in dealing with the types and numbers of unusual medical cases that we handle through our office. AMAS physicians assist thousands of pilots with complicated medical certification issues each year. Less than 6% of all AMEs are residency trained, national board certified aerospace medicine specialists, and many of these are military flight surgeons who do not see civilian pilots. Most AMEs are comfortable with routine exams, but when a problem is somewhat unusual, their experience and knowledge may be lacking.

Many AMEs and their staff also simply don’t have the time within their busy clinical practice to devote that time necessary in dealing with the FAA on such issues. Our ability to provide fast, accurate review and tenacious follow-up can save many weeks or months in obtaining an FAA decision. For most pilots, this time savings can be substantial. Our goal is to provide pilots with written clearance from the FAA for the AME to issue a medical certificate at the time of examination. This also allows the AME to save time and perform more physicals while maintaining their good relationship with the pilot.

Finally, AMEs conducting FAA medical examinations have a legal obligation to report pilots’ medical conditions that they are aware of to the FAA. By not performing FAA examinations, AMAS physicians provide pilots with a confidential source of knowledgeable aeromedical information. The pilot who has accurate information based on freely given complete medical data may better plan their aviation activities and medical evaluations. Discussion of ALL medical issues with a qualified aviation medicine expert is critical to receiving accurate advice. See our section on Privacy Policies to learn more about how AMAS protects your personal health information.

AMAS encourages all pilots to develop a good relationship with a knowledgeable and pilot-friendly AME. This relationship is invaluable and may allow pilots to avoid costly delays in medical certification. See the AMAS articles on Tips for Passing Your FAA Medical Exam for suggestions on interacting with a good AME.
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10) If I use AMAS to review my records for aeromedical completeness, can I then work through my AME?

You have complete control within this process. Our office will not contact the FAA, or anyone else for that matter, without your written expressed permission to do so. If you would like our staff to review your specific medical information prior to you taking it to your AME for action, we will gladly do so. AMAS insists on having complete, unedited medical records for submission to the FAA as credibility and integrity with the pilot and the FAA is the cornerstone of our practice.
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11) Will you provide me and my treating physician with the specific FAA evaluation requirements for my particular condition?

Yes. This information alone can result in a faster resolution of your case and earlier return to flying or controlling. Submission of incomplete information to the FAA causes delays of several months in obtaining a certification decision from the FAA.
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12) Do you have specialists outside your group that you refer or direct pilots to for further assessment?

AMAS maintains an international list of specialists recognized as leaders in their respective fields of medicine. The specialists have worked with and often are accomplished pilots in many cases. Through their relationship with AMAS, these specialists understand the aviation safety concerns and can provide the extensive documentation needed to document a pilot or controller is ready for certification.
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13) What services does the AMAS staff provide?

If you have a specific question regarding your medical certification, you can submit a specific question through our Confidential Questionnaire. For assistance in reporting treatment for and obtaining clearance from the FAA to fly with these conditions, we provide services on a fee-for-use basis. Fees are based on complexity of medical event and the class you are attempting to obtain. Please contact AMAS for current pricing.
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14) What advice can you give to someone needing assistance with their medical?

Pilots should approach maintenance of their medical with the same attention to detail that they use in maintaining their pilot certificates. The following questions are important to ask of any of the groups, free services, associations, or even your Aviation Medical Examiner (AME) when you have an aeromedical certification issue:

  1. How many of my type of case have you handled?
  2. What are the costs up front if any?
  3. Who will handle my case (e.g. physician trained in aviation medicine, technician, admin staff)?
  4. Will I have direct access to this person and will they be my advocate throughout this process?
  5. If my personal physicians have questions while completing the necessary clinical documentation and evaluation, who will they be able to talk with?
  6. If direct physician advocacy is needed with an FAA medical reviewer, who will do that on my behalf and what is their training/qualification to do this effectively?

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AMAS is one-stop shopping when it comes to quick, expert information. It’s staffed exclusively by doctors who are experienced in aerospace medicine. They are quick and confidential. NATCA members can trust them to get the best advice.
Victor Santore, Southern Regional Vice President, NATCA
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