Your FAA medical denial is not the end of the road for your flying career. Did you know that most FAA medical denials are not “final denials?” In other words, most FAA medical denials are subject to considerable “reconsideration” and potentially even review by the National Transportation Safety Board. To that end, not all FAA medical denials are created equal. In essence, there are three types of FAA medical denials to look out for:

  • “Failure to provide” medical denial: the FAA’s Office of Aerospace Medicine will issue a “failure to provide” denial when information that they have requested has not been received. In other words, if the FAA requests medical documentation from you and you don’t provide it, you may be denied because the FAA didn’t receive the information believed necessary to establish your eligibility for medical certification. Such a request is usually made pursuant to 14 C.F.R. §67.407 and may be made at the time of application or in the event information is received by the FAA which provides a reasonable basis to question your eligibility to hold an airman medical certificate.
  • “Non-Final” medical denial: the FAA’s Office of Aerospace Medicine can also issue an interim denial of an application for medical certification. This type of FAA medical denial is subject to reconsideration by the Federal Air Surgeon. Simply put, a “non-final” medical denial occurs when cursory review reveals that you may not be eligible for medical certification, but the reviewing staff physician does not have the authority pursuant to 14 C.F.R. Part 67 to issue a “final” denial.
  • “Final” medical denial: a “final” FAA medical denial is where the Federal Air Surgeon or, in certain cases, the Manager of the Aeromedical Certification Division or Regional Flight Surgeon has reviewed your file and determined that you are not eligible for medical certification or further reconsideration. Do not be fooled by the verbiage of this denial – a FAA medical denial is almost never legitimately “final.”

So, what to do when you receive any of the above FAA medical denials?

  • “Failure to provide” medical denial: you can always provide the information that has been asked for – even if it is after you’ve received the denial! Keep in mind, however, that the FAA’s request must be necessary. So, there is good reason to engage an aviation attorney to assess whether the FAAs’ request is overreaching and/or aid you in gathering and presenting your records to the Office of Aerospace Medicine.
  • “Non-Final” medical denial: a “non-final” FAA medical denial should always be challenged. The FAA typically offers the opportunity for reconsideration of such a denial. Requesting reconsideration, often times, must be done with an eye for arguing the facts of your eligibility and, perhaps, gathering and submitting additional medical information to establish your eligibility.
  • “Final” medical denial: as mentioned above, you can always submit new information and applications for medical certification following a “final” medical denial. After a “final” medical denial, however, you also have an opportunity to petition the National Transportation Safety Board for judicial review of the FAA’s denial. Oftentimes, this is a great opportunity to pursue.

If you’ve received a FAA medical denial, it is not the end of the road for your interest in aviation. There are almost always opportunities for reevaluation by the FAA and even the National Transportation Safety Board. There are also considerations of special issuance authorization and revocation of your medical certificate, which are not addressed herein. If you have a FAA medical denial, call for a consultation with your FAA medical denial attorney at The Ison Law Firm today. Learn more here: