Can You Pilot an Aircraft While Wearing a Cast?

FAR 61.53 prohibits operations during a medical deficiency, but a student pilot could still do dual lessons.

Question: I am a student pilot and have been flying several times a week. I was just about to go solo, then last week I broke my right wrist and thumb in a skateboarding accident. My instructor won’t let me fly until the casts come off weeks from now. Is this an FAA rule, or is my instructor making up rules?

Answer: FAR 61.53 prohibits operations during a medical deficiency. It can be argued that having broken bones and a cast constitutes a medical deficiency that would prohibit you from acting as pilot in command (PIC), ergo, no solo flight. Your CFI probably doesn’t want to risk the liability. However, you could still do dual lessons, provided you have the strength and dexterity in your right arm and hand, and you’re not in pain or on medication that affects your faculties. On dual flights the CFI is the PIC, so you would not be breaking the rules.


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