Bipolar DIsorders in Pilots

Item 47: FAA Policy for Airmen with Mental Health Conditions

Apr 2014

Guidance is compiled and interpreted by professional pilots and physicians at from the 2014 AME Guide page 150, 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).

FAA Considerations - Aerospace Medical Dispositions
Item 47. Psychiatric Conditions - Bipolar Disorder

Bipolar Disorders are considered on a continuum as part of a spectrum of disorders where there are significant alternations in mood. Generally, only one episode of manic or hypomanic behavior is necessary to make the diagnosis. Please note that cyclothymic disorder is part of this spectrum. Even if the bipolar disorder does not have accompanying symptoms that reach the level of psychosis, the disorder can be so disruptive of judgment and functioning (especially mania) as to pose a significant risk to aviation safety. Impaired judgment does occur even in the milder form of the disease.

All applicants with a diagnosis of Bipolar Disorder must be denied or deferred.

This page discussed the Bipolar Disorder portion of the Psychiatric section of the Fight Physical Examination required of pilots.

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