L. Andrew Huff, MD, MPH
Board Certified in Aerospace Medicine
Unique Aviation Medicine & Psychiatry Experience
I am an instrument rated private pilot and a retired Air Force flight surgeon with over a thousand flying hours.
I’m board certified by the American Board of Preventive Medicine in Aerospace Medicine in addition to my board certifications in Psychiatry and Forensic Psychiatry from the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology. I’m very familiar with Federal Aviation Regulations and medical standards for certification, having evaluated nearly two hundred individuals seeking a pilot medical certificate or medical clearance to be an Air Traffic Controller. I’m also familiar with how Veterans Administration disability ratings can complicate the application for FAA medical certification.
I have a good working relationship with staff at the Federal Air Surgeon’s office, having served with several individuals during their military service. In addition, as a psychiatry consultant to the Federal Air Surgeon, I review reports submitted by other psychiatrists, as an internal check allowing the FAA to render a decision on issuance, Special Issuance Authorization, or, in rare cases, denial.
I also follow pilots enrolled in the Human Intervention Motivational Study (HIMS) program or who are taking SSRI medications on a Special Issuance Authorization. I work closely with HIMS Aviation Medicine Examiners.
What You Can Expect
Usually a pilot receives a letter saying something like, “…we are unable to determine your eligibility to hold an airman medical certificate….” Air Traffic Controller candidates may receive something similar about not meeting medical standards.
The FAA requires more than, “I saw Mr. Jones in my office today for 45 minutes. He seems to be doing well, according to what he told me. I don’t see any problems with him flying.” My evaluation requires a careful consideration of the pilot’s entire life, her level of functioning, any psychiatric history, any alcohol or substance abuse, legal problems, and any continued medication use. This usually results in a much longer evaluation appointment, culminating in a 6-8 page report with a formulation of what happened and its aeromedical risk implications.
Typically, I get information and documentation to help determine a fixed cost for your evaluation. After we agree on the cost and appointment time/date, I start drafting a report with the documentation you provide. In the office, I meet with the pilot or controller to complete a psychiatric evaluation. This takes 2 to 4 hours. In some circumstances the evaluation can be online, from locations in Virginia or Maryland. I complete the report within a week of receiving all the needed information. In some cases, I write the report while evaluating the individual—this can take 7 hours or more, but results in a completed report which the pilot reviews before I finalize it.