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Home > Medical Examination > Can I be a pilot if I have mild epilepsy?
Can I be a pilot if I have mild epilepsy?
Pilot Career - Medical Examination
Monday, 03 September 2012 18:22

Understanding Epilepsy (No 1)

Hi Captain,

I was recently diagnosed with a case of epilepsy. It is a milder form of fits called JME. See here

It has been my life long aspiration to be a pilot. I’m now wondering if I will still be able to fulfil it with this condition in tow. I’m currently on medication for it and the medication has been effective so far.

Right now I’m just wondering whether I will still qualify as a potential candidate if I were to sign on. I seek your advice on this.

Kind Regards,


Hi Ned,

If you aspire to be a pilot and fly commercially for any airlines, the rules are more stringent than if you were to fly as a private pilot. In UK, epilepsy falls under Neurological/Psychiatric illness (see here). It states that,

“Patients with controlled epilepsy can generally fly safely. However, they should be made aware of the potential seizure threshold-lowering effects of fatigue, delayed meals, hypoxia and disturbed circadian rhythm. Care should be taken that medication should not be omitted inadvertently when travelling through different time zones.”

“In the United States, (see here) the Federal Aviation Administration often prohibits anyone with epilepsy from being issued a pilot's license, even if the seizures are controlled by a medication or have completely ceased.

The only epilepsy patients who may be issued a license are those who have had seizures during childhood, but have been seizure-free since, and have a normal EEG. Those with Rolandic seizures may be allowed to fly if seizure-free for at least 4 years. Children who have suffered a febrile seizure prior to the age of 5 may fly if off of all seizure medication for at least three years. Regardless, all medical records must be submitted to the FAA.”

Please consult an Authorised Medical Examiner as I am not qualified to give any specific advice as regards to epilepsy and flying.

PS. To check for any latest updates or postings, you can follow my new Twitter at @CaptKHLim

Understanding Epilepsy (No 2)


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Comments (10)

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Hello Captain Lim, It's been my dream to be a pilot since young. Can I be a pilot when I am a Thalassaemia minor (Thalassaemia trait)? Please advise. Thanks.
Tommy Seah , 30 Oct, 2012
My Dream
Hi Captain,

I am From India I Want To Clear My doubt That Iam A epilipsy Patient. Signs Of My Decease Are If I Dont Take Tablets COntiniously For 2 Days Then I Became Un consious, But Only If I Dont Take Tablets.
Can I Be A Pilot In Indain Air Force Or Any Other Country As A Private Pilot.Or Can I Be As A Captain Of A SHip Or MArine Engineer.
PArker , 03 May, 2013
epelypsay and driving are possable.because i drive combine harvesters,motorcycles,graders
my name is chris and I have my graders license and motorcycle license and so flying is ok as long as they are controlled like mine,which only happen at night.

This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it , 07 Jan, 2014
epilepsy and pilots
i have nocturnal epilepsy and mine are rare so you should be medically ok for a private plane or maybe a cargo or ocean cruse ship might be a option
chris , 30 Nov, 2014
epilepsy and be a captain
People with nocturnal epilepsy can become pilots and captains if their epilepsy is under control and they can also become submarine pilots if fully controlled. I have a friend and she also has nocturnal epilepsy and she drives cargo ships
Chris , 03 Dec, 2014
epilepsy and being a ship captain or pilot
People with nocturnal epilepsy can become a ship captain or aircraft pilot.as long as there fits are fully controlled and meets medical criteria.
stepstowardselizabeth@gmail. com , 03 Dec, 2014
can mild epileptics be pilots
hi my name is chris .i have very mild epilepsy and as i currently hold a articulated dump truck license,car license ,boat license and motorcycle license i suspect that i might be medically sound to be an airline pilot as i am medically sound to hold licenses for all other vehicles with my mild medical condition
chris , 17 Dec, 2016
can mild epileptics be pilots of any aircraft
considering that i have mild epilepsy and still i currently hold my articulated dump truck license,car license,boat license and motorcycle license i suspect that i might be medically sound to hold a pilots license giving that i am medically sound to hold 4 types of licenses
chris , 17 Dec, 2016
can i be a pilot if i have mild epilepsy
hi i have mild epilepsy and i was just wondering if i would medically pass as i pilot or if not would i medically pass as a ground control worker eg baggage handler or baggage cart driver or plane tractor driver as i currently hold my car,truck,motorcycle license and so would i be eligible to operate airport vehicles
chris , 19 Dec, 2016

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