In this new blog, we will talk about the physical and psychotechnical tests of pilots. All those tests you have to pass to get your license. We will emphasize each test that must be passed, all the details of the process and what are the cases that may be suitable and those that would be unfit.
How are the physical and psychotechnical tests of the pilots?
With its premiere in 2006, Little Miss Sunshine surprised critics with the story of Dwayne, a poor rebellious teenager who sees all his dreams of becoming an airplane pilot shattered after discovering that he is color blind, an anomaly in the perception of color that doesn’t has treatment and that prevents obtaining the medical certificate necessary to obtain the license. And it’s that being a pilot, without requiring exceptional physical conditions, nevertheless involves the need to meet some physical and mental requirements aimed at determining that the applicant is a person capable of piloting an airplane.
It is essential to bear in mind that every aspiring pilot must not present relevant problems or anomalies both physically and mentally.
In order to fly an airplane:
As with any other type of vehicle, it’s mandatory to have a license, and to obtain it, medical tests must be passed to obtain a certificate that proves that the person is qualified to do so. Depending on whether it is a professional license (CPL, ATPL) or recreational (PPL), the type of medical review will be more or less exhaustive. A class II certificate is required for a PPL, while professional licenses require a Class I. It should be noted that these tests are carried out solely and exclusively in aeronautical medical centers authorized by the AESA (State Agency for Aviation Safety) and that the Medical certificate must be renewed once a year (in the case of Class I) at least. From the moment the pilot reaches the age of 60, he must renew his medical certificate every six months.
But what are the physical and mental tests that you must pass to be a pilot?
First, it is necessary to distinguish between a permanent and a temporary unfit. It is the cause of a definitive denial, for example, a heart injury, suffering from epileptic seizures, or color blindness. Instead, high cholesterol, anemia, or any other reversible circumstance results in a reviewable temporary denial.
Physical and mental tests
All people who want to be a pilot should not suffer from any type of illness or disability that could make piloting an airplane difficult in any way. For this reason, not only diseases or injuries are taken into account, but also the secondary effects that derive from them as a preventive measure, since the safety of many people is under their responsibility.
For this same reason, special attention is paid to the psychological profile of the applicant. A depressed, panicky, unstable or paranoid personality will determine an irreversible unfit.
Thus, the following aspects are analyzed.
Regarding the cardiovascular test, by means of an electrocardiogram an analysis of the heart rhythm is carried out in order to detect any abnormality. This test is repeated every five years in those pilots who are up to 30 years old; every two years if you are over 40 years old; and every year when the pilot is over fifty years of age.
People with a heart or lung transplant, with vascular alterations or an aneurysm would not be considered suitable for obtaining the medical certificate, either Class I (professional pilots) or Class II (Private pilot), since heights intervene in the voltage change.
Since the flight activity is carried out in the upper layers of the atmosphere, and although the aircraft cabins artificially maintain an atmospheric pressure higher than that of the outside and similar to that lower levels, it is essential that the pilot does not present anomalies in your respiratory system. The aspiring pilots with some pulmonary alteration or with some respiratory difficulty will also be exempt from being able to practice as pilots.
It should be noted that, for some specific ailments, such as asthma, for example, more specific tests are required to analyze and accurately determine the extent of the insufficiency in each specific case.
Psychiatric and psychological tests
Acute or chronic psychic pathology illnesses also result in an “unfit” for flight activity. In this section, tests are also carried out to control all kinds of disorders that may be related to alcohol or the use of narcotic substances.
When evaluating the psychological profile of the aspiring pilot in this section, people with a history of depression, bipolarity, personality disorders or a history of self-harm will be declared unfit. Nor are those who suffer from epilepsy or a neurological disorder considered eligible for obtaining a pilot’s license.
Hearing and sight
As we mentioned at the beginning of this blog, vision or hearing difficulties could also qualify us as unfit to drive. Thus, anomalies such as color blindness or severe myopia can leave us beating the race to be a pilot. However, the regulations admit a certain degree in anomalies such as myopia, astigmatism or presbyopia. In this case, it is highly likely that our medical certificate indicates that we must fly wearing glasses.
As regards the sense of hearing, hearing acuity is also analyzed, which will be checked every five years for all those pilots who are under 40 years old, and every two for those who are over 40 years old.
All people with a gastrointestinal problem or a related illness will not be able to pilot an airplane. In this specific case, a medical certificate is made proving that the person does not suffer from a disabling hernia or, for example, that he or she has a chronic intestinal disease.
In order to fly a plane, it is also essential not to have any infectious disease that could put the rest of the crew or passengers at risk.
In case of pregnancy, all those who are pregnant may pilot only until 26 weeks of gestation, that is, at six-seven months of pregnancy, always under the care of medical authorities who approve of being able to continue to exercise as a pilot during the period. gestation.
Although in order to fly a commercial or airline plane, a specific physical complexion is not required, for those pilots who work in the Air Forces, in addition to all these tests, they must also meet the minimum physical requirements of height and length of arms and determined legs. This is due to the fact that the dimensions of the cockpit of a fighter jet are quite small, and in an emergency the pilot’s body must not offer obstacles to the ejection system of the aircraft in case of emergency. Otherwise, there is a risk of serious injury to the limbs or head.
In all cases in which the reason for the refusal is susceptible to correction or treatment, a second test may be requested once the problem has been corrected.