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Physiological Training Courses for Civil Aviation Pilots


General aviation airplane soaring through the skies

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Add These Training Courses to Your Aviation Safety Checklist:

  • One-day aviation physiology course with altitude chamber and vertigo simulator demonstration
  • One-day survival course


from the FAA Civil Aerospace Medical Institute in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

FAA Aeromedical Training Programs for Civil Aviation Pilots

Physiological Training Course. The FAA Civil Aerospace Medical Institute (CAMI) offers a 1-day training course to familiarize US civil aviation pilots and flight crews with the physiological and psychological stresses of flight.

Why Is Training Necessary? Pilots who are knowledgeable about physiological phenomena encountered in the aviation environment are better prepared to deal with such potentially fatal in-flight events as:

  • loss of cabin pressure
  • hypoxia
  • spatial disorientation
  • trapped gas problems
  • decompression sickness
  • acceleration forces leading to gray-out, black-out, or even unconsciousness
  • noise, vibration, and thermal stress
  • self-imposed stresses that can magnify any of the above physiological events.

Flying Above 10,000 Feet? The US Code of Federal Regulations, Title 14, Part 61.31 (g)(2)(i), indicates that high altitude flight physiology training be attended by a person acting as a pilot in command of a pressurized airplane that has a service ceiling or maximum operating altitude, whichever is lower, above 25,000 feet MSL. Contact your local Flight Standards District Office (FSDO) to identify all training requirements to comply with this regulation. Gyro trainer for demonstration of pilot's vertigo

For these reasons, CAMI offers physiological training for civil aviation pilots, FAA flight crews, and FAA aviation medical examiners at our facilities in Oklahoma City, Okla. In addition to the basic academic contents, this course offers practical demonstrations of rapid decompression (8,000 to 18,000 feet AGL) and hypoxia (25,000 feet AGL) in a hypobaric (altitude) chamber, as well as a safe, practical demonstration of spatial disorientation in the General Aviation Spatial Disorientation Demonstrator.

For a Training Site Closer to You. The FAA's aviation physiology course is offered to civil aviation pilots at some US Air Force and the US Army physiological training facilities across the US. Individuals wishing to attend an aviation physiology course can attend the training at the following locations:
Map of contiguos United States and training site locations

  • Andrews AFB, MD
  • Beale AFB, CA
  • Brooks AFB, TX
  • Columbus AFB, MS
  • Fairchild AFB, WA
  • Ft. Rucker, AL
  • Holloman AFB, NM
  • Langley AFB, VA
  • Laughlin AFB, TX
  • Little Rock AFB, AR
  • Moody AFB, GA
  • Offutt AFB, NE
  • Peterson AFB, CO
  • Randolph AFB, TX
  • Shaw AFB, SC
  • Tyndall AFB, FL
  • Vance AFB, OK

Scheduling. CAMI's Airman Education Programs obtains a current list of training dates available from each base and makes them available to those interested in the training. You can access these dates by calling (405) 954-4837. To schedule the training, we need the following information:

  • Full Name
  • Social Security Number
  • Date of birth
  • Mailing Address
  • Daytime phone number
  • Date & class of FAA medical held
  • Gender
  • Primary aircraft type
  • Country of origin (If other than U.S., include passport number)
  • Driver's license number and issuing state
  • If driving your vehicle to training, list vehicle year, make, model, color, tag number, and licensing state

Applying. When you are assigned a training date we will mail you an application and a notification letter. The application must be completed and mailed to the address provided no later than 14 days prior to the scheduled training, along with the fee, made payable to the Federal Aviation Administration. Take the notification letter, along with your current medical certificate, to the base on the day of training. There is a course fee, which is non-refundable and is not transferable.

Restrictions. Participation in an altitude chamber flight will not be permitted if the applicant:
Altitude chamber interior at CAMI

  • does not hold a valid class I, II, or III medical certificate
  • has an acute respiratory and/or systemic infection
  • has a beard
  • has been scuba diving within 24 hours
  • has donated one unit (500 mL) of blood within 24 hours or donated more than one unit of blood within 72 hours of the scheduled training
  • has consumed any alcoholic beverage within 8 hours or is under the influence of alcohol
  • has not completed the required academic portion of the aviation physiology course
  • is less than 18 years of age

Certificate: Upon completion of the course, students receive a certificate noting that they have completed the FAA's Physiological Training course. No logbook annotation is made.

Note: While it is not necessary to be a pilot to attend the training; an FAA medical certificate of any class is required to participate in the altitude chamber flight.

Basic Survival Skills for General Aviation Pilots. CAMI's Aviation Medical Education Division offers a free survival course for general aviation pilots at its facilities in Oklahoma City, Okla. Topics included in this 8-hour introductory course:

  • basic knowledge and skills to cope with common survival scenarios.
  • psychology of survival
  • hotland and coldland environments
  • signaling and fire starting methods
  • how to easily assemble and use a personal survival kit.

Practice sessions are conducted using a thermal chamber, a ditching tank, and an emergency smoke evacuation aircraft simulator.

About the CAMI physiological training staff. The training team has extensive military and civilian experience in aviation physiology, survival, first aid, and SCUBA diving.

How to Contact Us

To attend a physiology or survival class in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

  • Voice mail (405) 954-4837
  • Fax (405) 954-2305

To inquire about aviation physiology courses conducted at military facilities:

  • (405) 954-4837

    Demonstration of"Pilot's Vertigo" in a Safe Environment.

    Spatial disorientation simulators at CAMI

Airman Education Personnel

Other useful telephone numbers

  • Aerospace Medical Certification Division (405) 954-4821
  • Kathy Wade, CAMI Librarian (405) 954-4398; Kathy.Wade@faa.gov
  • Gail Gentry, Shipping Clerk (405) 954-4831

For more information about our training courses and to view aviation survival tips, visit our Web site at the Civil Aerospace Medical Institute—http://www.cami.jccbi.gov/AAM-400/index.html

(Click on either Global Survival Training or Physiological Training).

Information you can use from the CAMI Web site:

  • Looking for an aviation medical examiner? See our on-line database for an AME near you— http://ame.cami.jccbi.gov/
  • Unable to attend a course in person? View information about an informative 13-part videotape series on aviation physiology— http://www.cami.jccbi.gov/AAM-400/videoseries.html
  • Health information Just for the Health of Pilotshttp://www.cami.jccbi.gov/AAM-400A/FASMB/HOP/HOP_index.htm

Medical Facts for Pilots
Publication AM-400-01/1
Written by: Larry Boshers
FAA Civil Aerospace Medical Institute
Aeromedical Education Division
AAM-400, P.O. Box 25082
Oklahoma City, OK 73125


Revised 9/11/2002

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