Citation: What medical conditions does the FAA consider disqualifying?

In the past, I recall this page having listed narcolepsy, but I find no mention of narcolepsy anywhere relevant on the FAA website anymore. Can anyone enlighten me as to whether I am just missing it somewhere, or if there is knowledge of this specifically having been changed? It would surprise me greatly if this were not a disqualifying condition, but I want to find official information on it.

  • $\begingroup$ I would hope that a condition that makes you suddenly fall asleep out of the blue would be disqualifying... $\endgroup$
    – Vikki
    Oct 11, 2019 at 6:02
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @Sean that's actually a misconception about narcolepsy- while possible, lots of people have much more mild forms of narcolepsy that only manifest as daytime drowsiness. $\endgroup$
    – Kelsie
    Oct 20, 2019 at 2:09
  • $\begingroup$ Which is still extremely dangerous in a pilot. $\endgroup$
    – Vikki
    Oct 20, 2019 at 2:49

1 Answer 1


In the FAA Guide For Medical Examiners there is only a single direct reference to narcolepsy

Under the Obstructive Sleep Apnea QA section it states

Does this process involve other sleep disorder conditions? (E.g. Period Limb Movement Disorder, narcolepsy, central sleep apnea, etc.)?

No. This process is for obstructive sleep apnea only. If it is clear that the airman suffers from a different sleep disorder, DEFER and submit any supporting documentation for FAA decision.

This would indicate that if you suffer from any sleep disorder conditions your medical should be DEFERed

Earlier in the document it states:

Medical conditions that chronically interfere with sleep are disqualifying regardless of whether a sleep aid is used or not. Examples may include primary sleep disorders (e.g., insomnia, sleep apnea) or psychological disorders (e.g., anxiety, depression). While sleep aids may be appropriate and effective for short term symptomatic relief, the primary concern should be the diagnosis, treatment, and resolution of the underlying condition before clearance for aviation duties.

Narcolepsy is a sleep disorder and would potentially fall under this definition and thus prevent your from getting clearance.

In these cases its usually best to get the advice of an FAA AME.

  • 2
    $\begingroup$ Thank you for this very direct and cited information. I really appreciate it. $\endgroup$
    – Kelsie
    Feb 28, 2018 at 3:50

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