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Lesson 1b - Aeromedical Factors Discussion

Lesson Objective

During this lesson, the instructor will have a candid discussion with the student/candidate with regards to Medical, Psychological, and Physiological factors related to safe aviation. Glider pilots are not required to have any medical certifications, but this does not mean that a pilot can fly gliders while under the influences of certain medications or while suffering from certain physiological issues.  

The discussion with the instructor MUST include a review of illnesses, congenital, acute and chronic; as well as a discussion of the pilot's current medications. This should be done early in the pilot's training program. 

Regulatory Requirement

  • All pilots:§61.53 Prohibition on operations during medical deficiency.
  • Private Pilot Test Candidate: PTS Area of Operation I(E)


  • Altitude and motion sickness
  • Prescription and illicit drugs
  • Alcohol use
  • Hypoxia (Hypoxic, hypemic, stagnant, histotoxic)
  • Carbon Monoxide poisoning
  • Pre-existing medical conditions that make the pilot unfit to fly
  • Pre-existing mental conditions that make the pilot unfit to fly
  • Anti-Depression Medication
  • Effects of absorbed gasses when scuba diving.

Completion Standards

When complete, the student will:

  • Understand and explain all of the topics above
  • The pilot will personally review his medications against the lists below. 

Prerequisite Study

Other Resources

The FAA has a list compiled of approved and non-approved medications. This list can be viewed on the AOPA website  (limited to AOPA members only). A free list can be found at http://www.leftseat.com/medcat1.htm . The SSC Instructor corps HIGHLY recommends that you compare these lists with your current medications early in your training program.   
The Soaring Society of America (www.ssa.org) has a safety presentation on this topic:

15 disqualying medical conditions: 



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