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February 22, 1971

The "Public Interest" and the "Medically Substandard" Pilot

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Internal Medicine, University of Texas Southwestern Medical School, Dallas (Dr. Bradfield); and the Civil Aeromedical Institute, Federal Aviation Administration, Department of Transportation Oklahoma City, (Dr. Brake).

JAMA. 1971;215(8):1321-1323. doi:10.1001/jama.1971.03180210065018

In the interest of safety, a pilot known to have had a myocardial infarction is denied medical certification. Only the Administrator of the Federal Aviation Administration may allow recertification. He acts on the advice of an appointed Medical Advisory Panel. Only 25% of those evaluated are considered good risks to resume flying activities. Of a group of 124 pilots allowed to resume flying and followed up for a period of six years, 12 have died. This mortality ratio compares favorably with other longevity studies.