Pilot Advocate AME's

'Ad-vo-cate' -- Definition: 

  1. one that pleads the cause of another
  2. to plead in favor of syn - support


No, I am not leaving town permanently. That being said, realistically, I have reached the  point of slowing down significantly.  (I mean 80 brings a little entitlement to a slower pace, I think)

I have set a goal of identifying a network of “advocate’ AME’S and publishing that list on my web site. This list is aging a bit and needs refreshed.  Please help us and fellow pilots out!

Carole and I cannot accomplish this alone. You guys and gals can help tremendously by letting us know of a positive experience you may have had getting your FAA medical exam elsewhere.

I encourage you to talk with your fellow airman in an effort to identify potential candidates and then stick your neck out and go for your next appointment in that office. Follow that experience up with an email critique to me of your experience.

Ideally the AME’s will be from all over the country / world and I can feel completely comfortable with eventually referring pilots, especially professional pilots, to them.


To Start:

  1. Go online to
  2. Search for an AME in the area you are considering. 
  3. Check to ascertain they are a ‘Senior’ AME (able to do 1st Class physicals). Then check if they are a flier themselves.

You will be looking for:

  1. A doc who spends time with any questions you have.
  2. If you have a Special Issuance, were they willing to ‘work the issue’, guiding and directing you through the process? They did not simply check off “deferred to the FAA” and sent you on your way to wait for a letter from the feds telling you what to do next – even as the weeks / months tick by. 
  3. An office that is easy to reach by phone (no convoluted answering machines, etc.) and will make an appointment on ‘short notice’ or even off normal schedule, so you are able to continue working.
  4. Staff: Are they pleasant, seem to be competent with FAA paperwork and under no circumstances, trying to be intimidating? Does everyone seem to understand the regulations / standards? Just how smoothly did the exam go?
  5. Does the AME fly himself and better yet, own his own airplane? A word of caution here; I’ve known AME’s who list themselves as “student pilots” on the FAA web site for years because they know it will help bring airman in! This last point is certainly not an unbreakable rule, however, in my personal experience; I have never known an AME who was a true advocate that wasn’t also a flier!

Every AME office gets an annual report from OKC in late October. It lists the number of exams completed and the number of errors made among other things. Some things to ask and certainly you are entitled to know, from any office you are considering: Ask the personnel on the phone

  1. About how many exams did they do last year? If they do 100 or more, you are likely going to find extra experience and knowledge.
  2. About how many “Special Issuances” (the name when there is a serious medical matter involved) do they do a year?
  3. Unashamedly ask how many errors they made. One percent or less is excellent! 
  4. If they do not want to answer your questions and don’t refer you to someone else to answer them, don’t go there! At least I certainly would not! Believe me, ALL the staff has read the report!

After you follow up with your critique and all looks positive, I will contact the Doc and tell him or her exactly what we are trying to do. If they need some help or encouragement in understanding how to ‘work’ Special Issuances’ I would be delighted to mentor them. On the other hand if you ‘can’ them and advise me that this is one to avoid – I promise to duly note that as well!

We plan to update this list on our web site. I also want you to know the powers that be in OKC and Region are fully aware of my plan and intents and have given me the unofficial nod.

Every professional airman knows their job is on the line at every physical. Having a few alternative AME’s that you are comfortable going to is always a good idea. Again, we plan on being available on a limited basis so a “Plan B” never hurts and it’s going to take every bit time to accomplish our collective goal. 

I urge you to talk among your colleagues, print out and share this request. I would be delighted to hear from any professional pilot, whether I’ve seen them or not. With your help I slow down knowing I haven’t abandoned you.


Who Can I go To?

Here is a pdf list of the current Advocate AME's. I would not hesitate to walk into the office of any one of these Doc’s.

Updated Nov 8, 2016