I recently went to the hospital for alcohol intoxication, will that cause any issues getting my first class medical exam this week? I live in the US, I am a college student and I have rarely drank before; this was mostly a case of not eating and not drinking often. And trust me I don't even want to touch a bottle of alcohol for a very long time.

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    $\begingroup$ This is more a comment than an answer to your question, but, if you're in the U.S., AOPA offers advisory services to members regarding how various factors may effect getting a medical and the best strategies to pursue. Contacting them before trying to get a medical would be a good idea if you have any sort of issue that may raise red flags for an FAA medical (of which this most definitely is one.) $\endgroup$
    – reirab
    Commented Mar 15, 2021 at 5:23
  • $\begingroup$ Search for HIMS and alcohol on PilotsOfAmerica.com They have a couple of specialist AMEs who frequent the site. Pay one of them for a consult. You will almost certainly need to spend 10s of thousands of dollars and several years to convince the FAA that you should be issued any medical, let alone a First Class. And you can never touch a drop of alcohol again. It’s doable but difficult. $\endgroup$
    – JScarry
    Commented Mar 16, 2021 at 23:26

3 Answers 3


Possibly, but not necessarily.

First, nobody here is an AME, and a message board is the wrong format, if any of us were, to ascertain all the relevant facts.

Second, you'll need to put that hospitalization on the form you fill out for the exam. To omit it would be a criminal offense, so don't do that.

There are at least two things the AME will consider about what happened. First, is there any lasting damage from that incident? Second, does this indicate enough of an issue with alcohol that it has to go to OKC for their consideration? Both of those questions turn on the specific facts of your case. If both are "no" then your chance of losing the medical may be pretty low. Otherwise... it's all about how your case stacks up with the FAA rules and procedures.

Your best answer may be to consult with one AME to whom you are NOT applying for the medical, and get his expert opinion. Then, with that knowledge, apply (or don't) to your AME for the Class 1.

But please don't substitute internet forum opinions for professional medical advice from an actual doctor.

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    $\begingroup$ In addition to seeing an AME without the application for the medical in place, seeing an addiction counselor to obtain documentation affirming there isn't a pattern of abuse would be helpful in case the AME may have concerns. They don't want to be the sole decider without a separate expert opinion I would assume. $\endgroup$ Commented Mar 14, 2021 at 21:30
  • $\begingroup$ IMO for the sake of this site be as helpful as possible, this question should be answered in such a manner the answer(s) covered more than one jurisdiction. So answers for FAA, EASA etc. $\endgroup$
    – Jpe61
    Commented Mar 15, 2021 at 12:23
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    $\begingroup$ @Jpe61 Answering medical questions completely and correctly for even one country is a challenge. I agree FAA and EASA answers would be most useful to future readers, but SE’s layout would need a specific question for each. $\endgroup$
    – StephenS
    Commented Mar 15, 2021 at 13:07
  • $\begingroup$ I have to agree with you more than with me 👍 $\endgroup$
    – Jpe61
    Commented Mar 15, 2021 at 13:24
  • $\begingroup$ Ok, but the consultation with an AME would enable the prospective applicant to know ahead of time more precisely what that would look like in this case and what sort of timeframe & ballpark cost to expect in this case. The salient point remains, go talk to an AME about the specifics of your case, rather than relying on one-size-fits-all/most/somebody advice from an internet message board as the last word. $\endgroup$
    – Ralph J
    Commented Mar 15, 2021 at 17:47

First of all, do not go through with an “exam” at this point. Change it to an “eval” appointment with the AME. The fee will likely be the same, but if you get bad news, it won’t go on your record.

Second, ask your AME if he would issue a medical for an applicant with your recent history (and any other unrelated medical conditions or history you might have). If so, then you can make another appointment for an actual “exam” without the uncertainty you face right now. Unfortunately, this is quite unlikely.

Your AME will probably tell you that your application would be deferred. This means he could not issue you a medical and would be required to forward your application to OKC for a decision, where it will eventually be denied and you will be told to reapply through the HIMS program. And you will have a long, difficult and expensive road to travel, but the sooner you get started, the sooner you will be flying.


In all honesty a few words of advice:

You really have to ask yourself a couple of questions:

  • how why did I get so wasted?
  • why did I get so wasted?
  • what is the pattern of my drinking?

Tendency to consume alcohol habitually mixed with aviation is like alcohol & ammo. Risky at best.

AME will ask questions about your incident for sure. Don't put your life and the lives of the others at risk and lie or tell alternate facts about your drinking. If you have a problem, it'll come out sooner or later. If you don't, best of luck with your medical.

  • $\begingroup$ Just to be clear, I'm not suggesting OP has a drinking problem, we all make one-off mistakes in life. However, if he has, it really does not matter where he lives and thus under which aviatory jurisdiction he falls under. Alcoholims and aviation do not mix, even if one with such tendencies might be able to get a medical. The real problem is, ask 10 alcoholics if they have a drinking problem, 8 will say no. The heaviest drinkers may be caught with appropriate blood test, but this is not 100% sure. Aviation is such a high status activity it attracts all kinds of weirdoes. Believe me, I know... $\endgroup$
    – Jpe61
    Commented Mar 15, 2021 at 6:26
  • $\begingroup$ ... and again, I do not suggest OP falls into this category, just saying ppl who should not fly sometimes go to great lengths to get a licence. More often than not, it ends badly. $\endgroup$
    – Jpe61
    Commented Mar 15, 2021 at 6:28
  • $\begingroup$ I am well aware my answer misses the target set by the question. However, I do have a habit of stretching the boundaries of ASE where I see clear justification for such action. Correct, question was not about whether there is a drinking problem or not, and we of course are not able to answer that here. OP must consider that oneself. Fact of the matter is, there was at least a single occasion of drinking problem, one does not get hospitalized for alcohol intoxication if a consumption related problem did't exist. Regulators have good grounds for their strict attitude towards substance abuse. $\endgroup$
    – Jpe61
    Commented Mar 15, 2021 at 15:14

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