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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. 

Positioning of the seat back to the best notch and positioning & locking the pedals to the correct extension allows the student to reach instrument panel, reach the canopy, control the stick with finger pressures and wrist movements (instead of gross arm movements), increases comfort, and reduces fatigue.  This fitting of the aircraft should be performed on the first flight.

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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