July 19, 2023

NBAA continues to monitor an FAA effort aimed at ensuring the accuracy of airman medical information for U.S. veterans who are pilots and may be receiving disability benefits from the U.S. Veterans Administration (VA).

The FAA recently said the investigation follows an audit by the U.S. Transportation Department Inspector General (DOT IG) that revealed potential inaccuracies in some veterans’ medical records. The investigation offered the opportunity for affected pilots to “reconcile” any discrepancies, the agency added. View the FAA’s statement.

The FAA further noted the audit determined less than 1% of the more than 600,000 certified pilots in the U.S. may have submitted incorrect or false information on their most recent medical application about certain medical conditions that qualify for VA benefits.

Of those approximately 4,800 medical certificate holders, the agency continued, approximately 2,250 cases have since been resolved due to incorrectly recorded information or administrative errors, or upon verification the pilots in question had already reported their conditions.

Another 1,250 pilots were determined to no longer hold valid medical certificates, although the FAA noted pilots still flying non-commercially under BasicMed may still require reconciliation of their records. Most of the remaining pilots with open cases may continue flying while the FAA conducts its investigation.

Mark Larsen, CAM, NBAA’s director for safety and flight operations, noted the DOT IG’s audit revealed 60 confirmed incidents in which pilots were told to cease flying while the FAA reviewed their cases.

“NBAA encourages all pilots to ensure the required medical information on file with the FAA is accurate and complete,” he said. “We look forward to working with the FAA to better understand the medical conditions for which there were reporting challenges, in order to promote a culture of compliance, ensure veteran (and all) pilots are getting the healthcare they need and better address aeromedical certification needs for all airmen.”

Those under investigation should have already received notification from the agency. Affected first-class medical holders must submit a new medical application with their Aviation Medical Examiner (AME) once their current medical certificate expires or no later than July 31, 2023, whichever comes earlier.

Second- and third-class medical holders must submit a new medical application and schedule an appointment with their AME upon expiration of their current medical certificate or by Jan. 31, 2024.

Citing the agency’s ongoing investigation, an FAA spokesperson would not comment when asked about the nature of the medical diagnoses in question, if the number of cases found aligned with the agency’s expectations or how this initiative may influence future efforts by the FAA to promote compliance with certification requirements while also ensuring those medically fit to fly are able to do so.

“The reconciliation process is still underway,” the agency stated. “The FAA continues to collaborate with the aviation community to make the medical application clearer.”