Pulse (Heart Rate) : What to Expect at the Flight Physical

Item 56: FAA Policies on the Airman Medical Exam

Apr 2014

Abbreviated Briefing:
  • AME records Resting Heart Rate (Pulse) in Block 56
  • There is no FAA specified maximum or mininum.


Guidance is compiled and interpreted by professional pilots and physicians at FlightPhysical.com from the 2014 AME Guide page 181, FAA and FDA web data (www.FAA.gov & www.FDA.gov), instructions specified in the Aeronautical Information Manual, Federal Air Surgeon Bulletins from 1999-2015, and 14 CFR Part 61 and Part 67 (the FARs).

Legal Reference: The medical standards do not specify pulse rates that, per se, are disqualifying for medical certification. These tests are used, however, to determine the status and responsiveness of the cardiovascular system. Abnormal pulse rates may be reason to conduct additional cardiovascular system evaluations.

II. Examination Techniques for the AME The pulse rate is determined with the individual relaxed in a sitting position.

III. Aerospace Medical Disposition If there is bradycardia, tachycardia, or arrhythmia, further evaluation is warranted and deferral may be indicated (see Item 36. Heart). A cardiac evaluation may be needed to determine the applicant’s qualifications. Temporary stresses or fever may, at times, result in abnormal pulse readings. If the Examiner believes this to be the case, the applicant should be given a few days to recover and then be retested. If this is not possible, the Examiner should defer issuance, pending further evaluation.

This page discussed the Pulse (Heart Rate) portion of the Cardiovascular section of the Fight Physical Examination required of pilots.

Reminder: use FlightPhysical.com to familiarize yourself with aviation medical regulations and guidelines, but always discuss your specific situation with one or more AMEs before dedicating resources toward expensive clinical workups. Find an AME now