Pilot Medical Certification Questions and Answers

How does the appeal process work?

In our letters denying airmen medical certification, we inform applicants that they have the right to appeal. An applicant whose medical certification is denied by an AME may request reconsideration of the decision by the Manager, FAA Aerospace Medical Certification Division (AMCD) or an FAA Regional Flight Surgeon (RFS). If the AME simply defers issuance of a certificate, the AMCD or the RFS, as appropriate, automatically will review the application and inform the applicant of the decision.

If the AMCD or the RFS deny an applicant based on a medical condition that is specifically disqualifying as set forth under Part 67, the denial is final and may be appealed to the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB). If the AMCD or the RFS deny an applicant based on a medical condition that is not specifically disqualifying then the applicant may appeal to the Federal Air Surgeon (FAS). An unfavorable decision by the FAS may be appealed to the NTSB.

As appropriate, an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) will schedule and conduct a hearing on the question of the applicant's eligibility for certification. If the ALJ's decision is unacceptable to the applicant or the FAA, the matter may be appealed to the full board. If the full board affirms the denial of certification, the applicant may seek review by a U.S. Court of Appeals. From an adverse decision by a Court of Appeals, the applicant may ask for review by the U.S. Supreme Court.

Last updated: Thursday, June 23, 2022