Appeal the Denial of a FAA Medical Certificate

Appeal the Denial of a FAA Medical Certificate

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Jackson Barnett

Principal Attorney

There are a few options to Appeal the Denial of a FAA Medical Certificate. When the FAA Aerospace Medical Certification Division (AMCD) or the Regional Flight Surgeon (RFS) deny a pilot’s medical certificate application, the appeal options depend on the reason for the denial, and the division issuing the denial.

Appeal a Denial for a Medically Disqualifying Condition

If the Aeromedical Certification Division (AMCD) or the Regional Flight Surgeon (RFS) deny a pilot’s application based on disqualifying medical condition,  the denial is final and may be appealed to the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB).  

Request Reconsideration of a Denial by an Aviation Medical Examiner – AME

It is less common for an AME to deny a airman medical application at the initial, or annual exam. More common is for the AME to ‘defer’ the application to the FAA AMCD for review and decision. An airman may request reconsideration of an AME denial by contacting the Manager, FAA AMCD or an FAA Regional Flight Surgeon (RFS).

Appeal a Denial to the Federal Air Surgeon – aka Request for Reconsideration

If the AMCD or the RFS deny a medical application based on a medical condition that is not specifically disqualifying, the applicant may appeal to the Federal Air Surgeon (FAS).   This process is also called a request for reconsideration. The AMCD may issue the applicant an additional letter that accompanies the denial letter, outlining specific items they require in order for the application to be reconsidered. Oftentimes these requirements are costly evaluations.

Barnett Law Offices, review the rationale for the denial and prepare and petition for reconsideration. We conduct medical analysis utilizing experts with experience and knowledge in overcoming a denial for almost every type of medical condition, and any new medical information available to support reconsideration.  

A final denial by the FAS may be appealed to the NTSB.

NTSB Appeal Process – Administrative Law Judge

Within 60 days after a final FAA denial of an airman medical certificate, an airman may petition the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) for a review of the denial. A petition for review must be submitted in writing to the NTSB.  

The NTSB is an independent agency of the Federal Government that has the authority to review on appeal the suspension, amendment, modification, revocation, or denial of any certificate or license issued by the FAA Administrator.

Appeals are heard by an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) employed by the NTSB.

An Administrative Law Judge for the NTSB may hold a formal hearing at which the FAA will present documentary evidence and testimony by medical specialists supporting the denial decision. The airman will also be given an opportunity to present evidence and testimony at the hearing.

The attorneys of Barnett Law Offices gather the pertinent evidence, interview and retain expert physicians where necessary, and represent the pilot at a hearing before the ALJ.  The evidence often includes the testimony of expert physicians who have examined the pilot and can attest to the pilot’s fitness for flight. The ALJ then renders a decision on certification.

Following the decision by the ALJ, either party (FAA or Airman) may further appeal the ALJ’s decision to the full board of the NTSB.

Contact Us for a Consultation

Barnett Law Offices pride ourselves in providing the best appellate advocacy for our clients. Our attorneys have considerable experience with appeals at all levels. The attorneys at Barnett Law Offices are trial lawyers skilled in every aspect of trial law, procedure and Pilot’s Bill of Rights.   Our aviation attorneys deliver outstanding legal services, listen to your needs and goals, and keep you informed. 

Contact us for a consultation with an aviation attorney about your appeal options for a FAA medical certificate denial, or any other aviation related matters, please call us at (800) 578-5512 or write to us using our contact form.