As of August 30, 2023, the FAA has created a new path to FAA medical certification for pilots called ADHD Fast Track. This new pathway is only applicable to pilots or applicants who meet the following criteria:
- Have not been on ADHD medication for the last four years; AND
- Have not had ADHD symptoms in the last four years; AND
- Have not had instability in academic/occupational or social functioning in the last four years; AND
- Have no history of any other psychiatric condition
Pilots or applicants who do not meet this criteria will be under the Standard Track. The Standard Track is what the process has been for pilots for quite some time. We talk about it in our article on ADHD and Pilot Medical Certification.
What are the differences between the FAA ADHD Fast Track and Standard Track?
The biggest change that sets the Fast Track apart from the Standard Track is the neuropsychological evaluation. With the Fast Track, pilots will still need an evaluation from a neuropyschologist or psychologist at the doctoral level, i.e., PhD or PsyD. This evaluation is simply an interview, whereas the Standard Track has 6-8 hours of cognitive testing. When pilots on the Standard Track run into trouble, it is typically a result of poor cognitive testing. Now with the Fast Track, there will be one less hurdle.
The next change is that an Aviation Medical Examiner (AME) can now issue a first time FAA medical certificate to an applicant with a history of ADHD. Under the FAA ADHD Standard Track, the AME was required to defer the pilot’s FAA medical certificate application. The pilot then had to wait for the FAA to make a decision on the pilot’s application, which takes at least several months. With the FAA ADHD Fast Track, the pilot can skip the waiting portion, which is probably why it is called the Fast Track.
What do I need to provide?
The FAA ADHD Fast Track, like the Standard Track, requires the pilot to present the following records for review:
- Pharmacy Records in the last four years
- Medical records related to the diagnosis and treatment for ADHD
- Any other evaluations or treatment records related to ADHD or learning issues
- Any medical records related to use of ADHD medication, even if not for ADHD
- Driver’s license records from all states where the pilot has held a driver’s license for the last four years
- Academic Records: All transcripts, 504 Plans, and any Individualized Education Programs (IEP)
- A Personal Statement
For many pilots and applicants, disclosing all of these documents may feel invasive. However, the FAA requires these documents for both the FAA ADHD Fast Track and the FAA ADHD Standard Track, with some differences.
How can a law firm help?
- The personal statement and framing your story
- Correcting errors in your medical records
The personal statement is what the pilot can control the most throughout this process. The personal statement is how the pilot tells their story to the FAA, the AME, and the neuropsychologist or psychologist. Now, a lawyer can never tell you to lie. If a lawyer does that, they will lose their license to practice law. However, there are many ways in which you can tell a story. Some ways you tell this story are better for you than others. Barnett Law Offices has its own in-house story-teller: Case Manager, Jackson Barnett. Mr. Barnett was classically trained in Russian Literature from his time at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Crafting a good story is his specialty. And our legal advice regarding your personal statement ensures that you are only disclosing the appropriate information.
Many pilots and applicants, including members of this law firm, do not have a great idea of what is in their medical records. In the medical profession, there is something known as GIGO, which stands for Garbage In; Garbage Out. Many medical records contain repeated errors throughout the entire file, such as false statements of fact or even incorrect diagnoses. Barnett Law Offices works with clients each day that have glaring errors. We help clients correct their records under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). Under HIPAA, any person has the right to amend an error in their medical records. This is accomplished through 45 CFR § 164.526. When a record is corrected, a pilot can avoid having to disclose a medical condition. This helps keep a pilot eligible for the FAA ADHD Fast Track by potentially allowing a pilot to not disclose an inaccurate history of a psychiatric condition in addition to ADHD.
Who will be helping me?
Attorney Talbot Martin is a first officer on the A320. Case Manager Jackson Barnett holds a doctorate in law from Washington University in St. Louis, one of the top law schools in the county. The combination of Mr. Martin’s professional aviation expertise and Mr. Barnett’s top-tier training creates the best team in the country for FAA Medical Certification.