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United States Department of TransportationUnited States Department of Transportation

Deaf Pilot Frequently Asked Questions

Medical Certification

Are there special medical requirements for the deaf pilot?
Yes, a deaf pilot is required to submit the results of a hearing exam to the medical examiner or the FAA in order to satisfy the medical exam. He or she must also take a Special Medical Flight Test in the later stages of flight instruction to demonstrate the following:

  • Recognition of engine power loss or engine failure by a change in vibration and by instrument scan;
  • Recognition of approaching stall by aerodynamic buffet and visual cues; and
  • Recognition of retractable gear emergencies by observation of gear warning lights (if applicable).

Upon the successful completion of the Special Medical Flight Test, the FAA will issue a second-class or third-class medical certificate and a Statement of Demonstrated Ability (SODA). This can be done at a Flight Standards District Office (FSDO) of choice.

Are there limitations placed on a deaf pilot's medical certificate and SODA?
Yes, Both the medical certificate and the SODA will have the limitation "Not valid for flying where radio use is required." Additional limitations may be placed on the medical certificate and SODA by the Aeromedical Certification Division as appropriate to the class of medical certificate.

When is a medical examination required?
All student pilots must obtain at least a third class airman medical certificate from an FAA Aviation Medical Examiner (AME) before the first solo flight, except for gliders and balloons, which do not require a medical certificate.

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