I had a minor road traffic accident in November 2014, since then I cannot smell through my right nostril, where my left nostril is working normal. I am looking to know if you know any pilot you have met with who has no sense of smell or lost it due to any event like accident in my case and is still flying.

I am interested in FAA and DGCA India regulations.

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    $\begingroup$ Welcome to aviation.SE! Which country's medical standards are you asking about? $\endgroup$
    – Pondlife
    Aug 26 '20 at 16:56
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    $\begingroup$ There are commercial pilots who are blind in one eye, missing an arm, and have history of heart disease. Getting a waiver for this should be no problem. $\endgroup$
    – Ron Beyer
    Aug 26 '20 at 17:01
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    $\begingroup$ @StephenS The FAA medical form pretty well requires disclosure of all known issues; to intentionally withhold relevant information would be a criminal offense. $\endgroup$
    – Ralph J
    Aug 26 '20 at 17:25
  • $\begingroup$ It's about commercial pilot career irrespective of country specific standard like FAA, USA or DGCA India. However, as I will be applying for FAA and DGCA, so you can take these two as specific for you to answer. Thank you $\endgroup$
    – app
    Aug 26 '20 at 17:44
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    $\begingroup$ @StephenS There are broad "ever admitted to the hospital" and "any surgery" questions that would probably catch the genesis of what's being discussed here. The additional test they've ordered (see OP's comments on my answer below) sound like they're interested in other ramifications of the trauma that led to the loss of smell. Having reduced sense of smell by itself may be less their concern than what else may be out there & not fully realized. $\endgroup$
    – Ralph J
    Aug 26 '20 at 18:13

We aren't medical professionals here, and no Aviation Medical Examiner (AME) posts on this board as far as we know.

The best answer is to schedule an appointment with an AME and have him review your case. If the answer is "yes" you can get the medical, this is a cost you'll be paying anyway (and I'd suspect that is the answer you're likely to get). If the answer is "no," better to get it from an authority, rather than an internet message board.

AOPA can help you locate an AME who specializes in "interesting" cases, some of whom may well be able to review everything over a phone call or video chat, at least to the point of recommending your best course of action.

Go with an AME's answer, rather than ours. Best of luck to you!

  • $\begingroup$ Thank you for answering, I have already submitted FAA Form 8500-8 way back, currently it is differed to FAA for issuance where they have asked for more neuropsychological testings which I will be taking. I wanted to know if there are pilots with anosmia you know about any already flying out there with airlines. $\endgroup$
    – app
    Aug 26 '20 at 17:38
  • $\begingroup$ That will be the definitive answer, then. Hopefully the other test can confirm "no other issues" and you'll be good to go. Sadly, nothing any of us can post here has much chance of overriding their need to see more tests. That said, I've seen plenty of guys who went thru some bad stuff & had to take a lot of tests (to rule out rare but serious 'other conditions' that might show up later), but got their medicals back when it was all done. The FAA is cautious & thorough like that, but not draconian. "Yes" is still an entirely possible answer for you. Best wishes! $\endgroup$
    – Ralph J
    Aug 26 '20 at 17:47
  • $\begingroup$ It would be very bizarre to deny a Cat 1 because of lack of smell on one side when there are Type 1 diabetics flying airliners in Canada and UK. $\endgroup$
    – John K
    Aug 26 '20 at 17:49
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    $\begingroup$ @nick012000 I expect AME is Aviation Medical Examiner :) $\endgroup$
    – Llama
    Aug 27 '20 at 7:31
  • $\begingroup$ @JohnK A sense of smell may be needed to avoid disasters. Things like a smell of burning or fuel can be VERY bad signs. Also, does this loss of smell also means reduced "airflow" through the nostril? At high altitude, will that reduce the oxygen levels to dangerous levels where brain function may be impaired? I think this is the sort of questions they may ask and the tests they may do. This is my guess, and in no way,s ahpe or form based in deep knowledge of aviation. $\endgroup$ Aug 27 '20 at 12:00

FAA Regulations for First Class airmen describe the medical requirements for ear-nose-throat related conditions in §67.105 Ear, nose, throat, and equilibrium.

Ear, nose, throat, and equilibrium standards for a first-class airman medical certificate are:


(b) No disease or condition of the middle or internal ear, nose, oral cavity, pharynx, or larynx that—

(1) Interferes with, or is aggravated by, flying or may reasonably be expected to do so; or

(2) Interferes with, or may reasonably be expected to interfere with, clear and effective speech communication.

(c) No disease or condition manifested by, or that may reasonably be expected to be manifested by, vertigo or a disturbance of equilibrium.

There are explicit requirements for visual acuity, but not for olfactory ability. Still best to consult with a professional examiner to be sure, but I've not heard of pilots being tested for sense of smell.


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