Arthritis Checklist: FAA AME Guide Arthritis Worksheet

Item 43: Musculoskeletal: Arthritis Checklist

Mar 2014

Abbreviated Briefing:

Even if you have Arthritis (Joint Pain / Inflammation), you might still eventually pass an FAA Flight Physical and be eligible for Airman Medical Certification if you meet these 6 criteria:

  • Condition is Stable
  • Mild to Moderate symptoms without significant limitations
  • Your arthritis is 1 of these types:
    • Rheumatoid
    • Psoriatic, or
    • Osteoarthritis
  • Medications used to treat the condition are on the acceptable list
  • Normal Blood Tests within 90 days (CBC, LFTs, Creatinine)
  • If Plaquenil (hydroxychloroquine) is used, must have separate, normal eye evaluation


Guidance is compiled and interpreted by professional pilots and physicians at from the 2014 AME Guide page 114, FAA and FDA web data ( &, instructions specified in the Aeronautical Information Manual, Federal Air Surgeon Bulletins from 1999-2015, and 14 CFR Part 61 and Part 67 (the FARs).

The AME must review a current status report by the treating physician and any supporting documents to determine the applicant's eligibility for certification. If the applicant meets ALL the acceptable certification criteria listed below, the Examiner can issue. Applicants for first- or second- class must provide this information annually; applicants for third-class must provide the information with each required exam.

Arthritis Checklist

Derived from FAA Arthritis Worksheet, 2014 AME Guide, page 114



Treating physician finds the condition stable on current regimen and no changes recommended

[ ] Yes


[ ] None or mild to moderate symptoms with no significant limitations to range of motion, lifestyle, or activities

Cause of Arthritis

Acceptable causes are limited to:

[ ] Rheumatoid (limited to joint no systemic disease), psoriatic, or osteoarthritis

Acceptable Medications

[ ] One or more of the following:

  • Oral steroid which does not exceed equivalent of prednisone 20 mg/day (see steroid conversion calculator),
  • Methotrexate,
  • hydroxychloroquine (Plaquenil - see mandatory eye evaluation requirement below),

Complete blood count (CBC) and complete metabolic panel

[ ] Within 90 days

[ ] Normal CBC, Liver Function Test, and Creatinine

FAA Report of Eye Evaluation

FAA Form 8500-7 is required if hydroxychloroquine (Plaquenil) is used.

[ ] 8500-7 Favorable and no concerns (or)

[ ]N/A (ie, not on Plaquenil)

AME MUST NOTE in Item 60: AME Comments on History and Findings one of the following:

[ ] Airman meets certification criteria for arthritis.
[ ] Airman had a previous Special Issuance for this condition and now meets the regular issuance certification criteria for arthritis.
[ ] Airman does NOT meet certification criteria for arthritis. I have deferred this exam. (Mail the supporting documents to FAA identifying which criteria were not met.)

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Reminder: use 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