Can You Be A Pilot If You Have Diabetes?

We explain how someone taking insulin and wants to fly possibly can.

[File photo: Shutterstock]

Q: I am 68 years old and I am in good physical and mental shape. I have Type 2 diabetes and am on insulin to manage it. Can I still get a third-class medical certificate?

A: Yes, you can—under a special issuance. This means the aviation medical examiner will likely need to consult with your regular doctor about your condition. Often, test results are shared, and letters of explanation written and submitted. You may want to check with the medical resources team at the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA). They have specialists who can walk you through the necessary steps. Most of the time, special issuance comes down to more tests and a certificate of shorter duration—instead of being good for two years, for example, the AME may limit the third-class medical certificate to one year.

Meg Godlewski has been an aviation journalist for more than 24 years and a CFI for more than 20 years. If she is not flying or teaching aviation, she is writing about it. Meg is a founding member of the Pilot Proficiency Center at EAA AirVenture and excels at the application of simulation technology to flatten the learning curve. Follow Meg on Twitter @2Lewski.

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