August 22, 2011
“Covert Ops” is how many pilots approach their medicals. They do not want to know if they have any medical issue, large or small. Even more so they certainly do not want their AME to know they have any medical issues for fear that they will not have their FAA medical certificate when they leave the doctor’s office.
Often pilots go in for their every two-year third class medical hoping that the doctor turns a blind eye and a deaf ear to any problems. But what if pilots saw their AME as some one who tried to keep them in the cockpit verses trying to keep them from flying?
The Pilot Wellness program at AVMed 51 is proactive about keeping pilots doing what they love, flying. Dr. William Busch believes that working with the pilots as a check pilot for their medical proficiency is what an FAA Aviation Medical Examiner can do to keep not only pilots healthy but in the cockpit.
Dr. William T. Busch joined Stallion 51 in 2005 bringing with him a unique skill set.
He retired from the US Navy as a Captain and a Dual-Designated Naval Aviator-Flight Surgeon. He has accumulated over 5000 hours of flight time in over 30 different types of military aircraft and is a Board Certified Ophthalmologist, an Airline Transport Rated Pilot and a Senior FAA Aviation Medical Examiner (AME). Dr. Busch’s unique background and perspective has proven invaluable as an aviation and aero-medical consultant.
Dr. Busch and Stallion 51 president Lee Lauderback have developed the Pilot Wellness program to serve the large aviation population in central Florida. Florida is home to a plethora of Flight Schools turning out young new pilots at a feverish pace. These new young pilots can see their first AME experience as daunting or as a partnership to ensure that they will have many years safe flying ahead of them. AvMed51 strives for the later to educate young pilots on what will keep them healthy and flying for many years to come.
Florida is also home to the aging baby-boomer population. Many of the pilots today are part of that generation and facing medical issues that might prevent them from flying into retirement. The baby boomer generation of pilots are some of the most fearful of the AME and what they might find. Instead they should be partnering with their AME to ward off medical issues before they force them from the cockpit or worse shorten their lives.
The Pilot Wellness program works with aviators with preventative pilot maintenance, sort of a progressive annual, so that minor issues do not become major issues. Once those medical issues become major, Dr. Busch works as a tireless advocate to help with the FAA special issuance paperwork. Facing the FAA can be intimidating but with AVMed 51 assisting with the proper forms, procedures and examinations even some of the most daunting of prognosis can be overcome. Dr. Busch and AvMed 51 “have your six” when dealing with special issuances and possible problematic medical issues.