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Aerospace Medicine Technical Reports

FAA Office of Aerospace Medicine
Civil Aerospace Medical Institute

Report No: DOT/FAA/AM-21/13

Title and Subtitle: 2018 Aerospace Medical Certification Statistical Handbook

Report Date: April 2021

Authors: Skaggs VJ, Norris AI


Introduction. The biennial Aerospace Medical Certification Statistical Handbook reports descriptive characteristics of all active U.S. civil aviation airmen and the aviation medical examiners (AMEs) that perform the required medical examinations. The 2018 handbook documents the most recent and most widely relevant data on active civil aviation airmen and AMEs.

Methods. Medical certification records from 2013-2018 were selected from the Document Imaging Workflow System (DIWS), which is the Federal Aviation Administration's (FAA's) medical certification database. All medical data were abstracted from the most recent medical examinations, except for medical conditions that were historical and current. Only those with a non-expired medical certificate remained in the dataset.

AME records were selected from the Designee Management System (DMS). Each AME's status was determined as of December 31, 2018, retaining only those with an active status. Airman variables include age, issued and effective medical classes, height, weight, body mass index (BMI), gender, select medical conditions, special issuances, and FAA region of residence. AME variables include AME type, age, gender, medical specialty, senior examiner status, and region.

Due to the implementation of BasicMed legislation starting in May 2017, a Section III was added to this biennial report to demonstrate changes in airmen trends among the third-class airman population after this period.

Results. Airmen: As of December 31, 2018, there were 540,725 medically certified airmen age 16 and older, and 42.9%, 19.2%, and 37.9% were issued a first, second, and third-class medical certificate, respectively. Across all medical classes, the average age was 41.5 years, 92.8% were male, and 7.2% were female. . The mean BMI for both females and males was 24.1 kg/m2 and 27.1 kg/m2, respectively. Nearly 6% of issued certificates required a special issuance. The most commonly reported medical condition was hypertension with medication, at 8.3 Aviation medical examiners: Of the 2,962 active AMEs, 92.9% were civilian, 1.0% federal, 5.9% military, and 0.1% other. Of these, 47.1% reported their medical specialty as family practice. Their average age was 61.2 years, 87.4% were male, and 12.6% were female.

Summary. This report contains widely requested data on the active U.S. civil airman population. This report is updated biennially and is used by the aerospace community, including FAA leadership, aerospace researchers, advocacy groups, legislative staff, and the general public.

Key Words: Pilot Medical Certification, Pilot Demographics, Pilot Medical Conditions, Pilot Statistics, Aviation Medical Examiners

No. of Pages: 48

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