Pilots and pilot candidates may be referred for psychological or neuropsychological evaluation as part of their Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) medical certification. This is often a complex evaluation looking at numerous factors including cognitive processing capacity (e.g., attention, memory, thinking speed, etc.), psychiatric/emotional factors (anxiety, depression, personality style), and behavioral factors (e.g., substance use). This is typically an anxiety producing experience which we understand and attempt to take into account. However, the purpose of the evaluation is to evaluate for potential neurocognitive or psychological difficulties which may interfere with flight performance or flight training.
Our office provides such testing with the full understanding of all the tests and criteria required by the FAA. We also are licensed to provide the CogScreen® Aeromedical assessment if required.
The assessment involves a comprehensive interview which includes questions about family history, developmental history, medical history, academic/educational history, social and marital history, vocational history, and psychiatric and substance use history. The interview requires approximately one hour followed by about 4 to 6 hours of face-to-face testing. Some of the testing is computerized, some paper and pencil, and some of the testing is simply question and answer. Some of the testing is easy, some hard, some of the tasks start off easy and progress in difficulty, and some of the tests are simply quite boring. Your job is to put forth your best effort no matter what type of task you are presented with. Please note that since the tests are normed with many variables to consider (age, educational level, ethnicity, and even the type of airline route you fly), we never know the exact scores until they are entered into our computer programs after you have completed the evaluation.
Typically results are completed in approximately 2 weeks although there may be some variability depending on the complexity of the circumstances, the amount of records to be reviewed, and the amount of collateral information required to be obtained.
In some cases, you may also be required by the FAA to obtain a urinalysis on the same day as the testing. Our office can assist with an in-house urinalysis or help you to find medical laboratories that are conveniently located nearby.
As the focus and purpose of this personnel-type of evaluation relates solely to your capability to perform your flight responsibilities rather than the type of evaluation requested by a physician for clinical diagnostic purposes, it is fraudulent for us to send a bill to your insurance company, even if we are in-network providers.
We have 2 neuropsychologists who have training and familiarity with this type of specialized assessment:
Dr. Geoffrey Kanter, Ph.D., ABN, ABPdN
Board Certified Neuropsychologist