We offer first, second, and third-class medical examination clearances for pilots. Our physician is a certified Aviation Medical Examiner (AME) and is trained in evaluating airline pilots for substance and alcohol-related conditions or mental health issues.
COMBI provides all levels of FAA physical examinations for pilots, including performing and transmitting EKGs for Class 1 physicals. To help ensure that you understand your role in the FAA physical process, please become familiar with all of the steps outlined below.
Appointments are recommended for FAA physicals and can be made by calling 813.246.4277, ext. 221. We’re conveniently located near Tampa Executive Airport and Tampa International Airport.
Before Your Exam: Electronically complete FAA Form 8500-8 Medxpress, which has been required since October 1, 2012. The actual format follows the FAA form 8500. For pilots in the HIMS program, many of the positive answers can be answered with “see personal statement,” which allows much more room to address the questions of concern. At the completion of the electronic submission, the pilot will be given a numerical code that can be sent to Dr. Bohnker. He will access the record and complete the physical examination. Additional information can be mailed or faxed to the FAA as needed, but there is no way to attach any material to the FAA electronic submission except the EKG.
Dr. Bohnker, AME 21551, is a HIMS Qualified Aviation Medical Examiner and Independent Medical Sponsor (HIMS AME/IMS). Dr. Bohnker prefers to have telephone discussions with pilots who desire HIMS services, though emails are also workable. This allows him to better understand the background of the case. He also must review any letter(s) from the FAA asking for more information, either via fax or a scanned and emailed copy. He will provide an email and letter response to such requests. He tends to be very interactive with these cases by email and/or telephone. He may ask for a copy of the FAA files for the pilot as well, which the FAA will provide at the request of the pilot by calling 1.405.954.4821, option “1.”
The FAA sponsored HIMS program is an occupational substance abuse treatment program, originally for commercial pilots, that coordinates the identification, treatment and return-to-work process for affected aviators. It is an industry-wide effort in which managers, pilots, healthcare professionals and the FAA work together to preserve careers and enhance air safety. It has been expanded to include pilots seeking to return to flying while taking anti-depressants (SSRIs) and general aviation pilots with complicated medical problems. More information is available: www.himsprogram.com
As a Human Intervention Model qualified Aviation Medical Examiner (HIMS/AME), Dr. Bohnker will review your records and provide a letter with an assessment of the case and plan for submission of FAA paperwork for the Special Issuance (SI). This includes setting up a medical record and agreement by Dr. Bohnker to be your independent medical sponsor (IMS). Some forms will be provided electronically for completion and filing in your record.
For an uncomplicated SSRI SI, this could be your regular psychiatrist. For more complex cases, we recommend several psychiatrists who have experience in FAA matters and expectations.
This testing is used to document the neuropsychological status of the pilot/applicant by the FAA. It can cost well over $1,000. You may consider any psychologist, though for complex cases we generally recommend one of several psychologists who have experience with FAA matters and expectations. The FAA provides guidance on what they consider to be adequate testing.
Pilot’s Personal Statement
The pilot’s personal statement is very important, since the FAA medical team reviews it to ensure that you as a pilot understand your medical situation. You should demonstrate self-awareness/acceptance of your medical condition, commitment to ongoing treatments and understanding of the FAA concerns. Pilots should explain any uncertainties in the record. The personal statement can be 2-3 pages for the basic SI for SSRI medications, and much longer for more complex SI requests.
Copies of all treatment records for the condition(s) of interest to the FAA.
Submission Package Preparation
An important part of the HIMS/AME IMS role is to help the pilot acquire all pertinent information for the FAA to review. This is an expansive requirement, and more is better than less. The pilot should avoid giving the appearance of trying to “hide” anything from the FAA. Any adverse material that is presented later will be more difficult to explain. This information is generally collected before the FAA physical is performed.
FAA Paperwork Review: After the paperwork is submitted to the FAA, the pilot can expect 2-3 months for the material to be reviewed, both in Oklahoma City and in Washington, D.C. This is a multi-level review process by several different medical professionals. Completeness in the preparation and submission process oftentimes precludes additional requests for information.
After the FAA has granted the SI, there is generally an ongoing requirement for monitoring. This includes review of reports from psychiatrists and psychologists, drug and alcohol testing results and other interactions. As part of that monitoring, we expect to continue to perform FAA periodic flight physicals. These cases commonly include conditions that require AME Assisted Issuance (AAI) which may have other periodicity.