View Full Version : Requirements to conduct a Medical Flight Test

Babel Fish
4th Feb 2016, 12:21

A few months ago I was asked to conduct a Medical Flight Test (MFT) for a student who had applied for a Class 2 medical. The student's BMI was 35 or above, so was referred for a MFT by their AME and given a partially completed Medical Flight Test form (http://www.caa.co.uk/WorkArea/DownloadAsset.aspx?id=4294973570). As a FE PPL I was asked to conduct the test.

Having not conducted a MFT before I did a bit of research and the only guidance I could find other than the brief details on the Medical Flight Test form itself was the CAA's Obesity information sheet (http://www.caa.co.uk/WorkArea/DownloadAsset.aspx?id=4294973798). It states:

Regulatory Requirements
Medical Flight Test (MFT)

For Class 1 by TRE, Training Captain, or FI(E)
For Class 2 or LAPL by CFI or FI(E)

I'm assuming the "FI(E)" is an unusual way of writing "FIE". If not then I have no idea what a "FI(E)" might be.

I'm neither the CFI of the school or a FIE. To me the FIE requirement seemed suspect, not just because of the terminology but because it requires a fairly senior level of instructor/examiner, whereas a CFI may be no more qualified than a standard FI.

I spoke to my FIE, but as a FIE (and CFI) the detail of the regulation had never been an issue for them and they had no real insight into why a FIE would be required. I spoke to the AME, and they were aware of the FIE requirement which had "crept into the document some years ago" but again couldn't explain the need for a FIE. I also emailed the examiner section at the CAA, who simply forwarded my query to the medical department. This was two months ago now and I haven't received a reply.

I declined to do the MFT some time ago and it will now be conducted by the CFI. I'd still like some clarification though: "FI(E)"? Really? I realise it's there is black and white, so the obvious answer is "yes", but I struggle to see why such a senior level of instructor/examiner would be required.


4th Feb 2016, 19:45
Medical Flight Tests were always conducted by CAA Staff or FIEs. There were no written instrucrtions or any guidance documents available, those who did it discussed the requirements with the CAA Doctor and got on with it. Invariably it required the examiner to devise a test to match the specific medical requirement. It has nothing to do with obesity information sheets. In the case of BMI its simply a test of the candidates functional reach, can they reach all controls and operate them correctly i.e. they are not impaired by their size and if they are to what extent?

I think the reason it was confined to a small group of examiners was to make it easier for the CAA doctors who knew who they were dealing with, whilst those doing it didn't have to keep asking questions. If you don't know what to do, then perhaps you should not be doing it.

4th Feb 2016, 20:53
Slightly deviating from the topic... but BMI is a pointless measurement anyway.

My BMI at 22 was just under 32. "Obese" is anything above 30.
At 182cm and 105kg, the calculation took no account of physique, and my body fat was down at 8% with most of the weight coming from muscle.

A year later after 18 weeks on crutches and unable to exercise at all, I was still 182cm, but weight dropped down to 85kg, giving a BMI of 25.7... which was only just above the "Normal" category ("Overweight" is 25-30). Body fat had gone up to 14% by then.

Back up to a stable 97kg these days with body fat under 10%, and I had to get a consultant cardiologists report for my LOL insurance, because my BMI is a shade over 29... which is the upper limit for cover. Could still get covered, but would have exclusions for any kind of blood pressure or cardiovascular issues. Not a risk I was willing to take by not having those conditions covered.

They need a new industry standard for body composition measuring... I know obese people who have low BMIs and exceptionally fit healthy people with horrendously high BMIs... it doesn't account for muscle/physique, and unfairly "penalises" shorter people too

No Fly Zone
7th Feb 2016, 10:35
I think you make a good choice in declining to conduct the flight test. With Zero real guidance, what are you supposed to look for? Nuts.

If the fellow with the very high BMI can otherwise fly, leave him alone and let him fly.
When/If "Fat guys Flying," needs further review, let the FAA conduct the examination themselves. This is not the place for 'certified, contract help.'

7th Feb 2016, 11:57
The BMI thing is daft. I had a student who,although stocky, was perfectly healthy. He passed his skill test, but renewed his medical before applying for his licence. The AME pinged him for his BMI and the CAA refused to issue his licence until he had flown a further "medical flight test" to show he could fly, despite having passed a skill test just a few weeks before.

Totally daft, but no amount of logical argument would get the Belgrano to change course.

I now have a student who has insulin controlled diabetes and will require a medical flight test before we can allow him solo. The test seems to require a the pilot to administer a blood sugar test 30 minutes before landing and a few other things. Has anyone been though this situation yet?

9th Feb 2016, 08:23
The Medical Dept is the next part of the CAA to be rendered useless, at least they haven't got far to go.

9th Feb 2016, 20:54
I would have thought that if someone can physically get into a aircraft...well done you have passed.
I did one once have a girl who must have been six foot three and looked like she had 40odd inch legs in 152.
Bit like an adult in a pedal car!

9th Feb 2016, 20:58
Yes, the chap did a test on himself in flight. (Blood sugar).
What's more dangerous taking the test and not looking out or just accept the one before he took off!