What happens if a Pilot catches Covid-19?
I'm sure it may have crossed your mind, at some point during this infamous pandemic, about what happens if a pilot catches Covid-19.
"What happens to my medical?"
"Is it the end of the road in terms of flying?".
Well, we are here to shed some light and provide some clarity on these questions, and hopefully put your worries to rest.
The guidelines (accurate at the time of article publication) which are to follow are those that the UK CAA have outlined in terms of the process of returning to flying duties, not in how to treat Covid. We would like to state that we are in no means qualified to administer medical advice, as we are not medical or healthcare professionals and that we are not personally outlining medical guidelines. We ask that you ensure that you comply with the latest government guidelines.
The UK CAA have provided a flowchart on their website, which starts with the stage of being either suspected with or being tested positive for Covid-19, culminating in the final stage of being fit to fly. The link will be placed in this article and we do advise you to check this for further peace of mind.
- Suspected or Confirmed case of Covid-19, which means that one must cease flying/controlling duties immediately and go into Isolation and recover at home.
- Also seek NHS advice.
- Having considered all of this, proceed to Stage 2.
- A full symptom recovery and no enduring treatment is made, in which case proceed to Stage 3 (Flying sign off procedure)
- The recovery incomplete and/or ongoing treatment is being taken.
- Hospital admission required.
* Stages 2b & 2c: *
- Requires the seeking of AME approval. Any unresolved cases require further medical examinations and discharge documents to be provided.
- Class 1 & 3 with enduring impaired lung function require referral to the CAA.
- Upon satisfactory assessment at your AME, proceed to Stage 3.
Stage 3: Fit / Follow-Up
- Pilots who made a full and uncomplicated recovery do not need a follow-up, BUT must abstain from flying/controlling duties for a minimum of 7 days from full symptom resolution. However, They must follow Government Public Health Guidance regarding infection control procedures.
- Pilots/ATCOs who have significant illness and/or respiratory impairment and remain under clinical follow-up should copy the reports of their medical reports and tests to their AME, who will then advise accordingly.
So as you can see, if a pilot catches Covid-19, it isn't the end of the world, but the start of a thorough and structured process to get them back undertaking their duties again.
At any time that you are unsure regarding your health or ability to safely operate an aircraft/ATC service, please seek advice from your AME, NHS, CAA and your Operator. Also, notify any persons with whom you may have come into contact with where possible.
The link to the CAA Flowchart is below. The attached document can be found at the bottom of the page of that link, and also at the bottom of this article. Please print the CAA document and take to your medical advisor.
We hope this helps.
Thank you for reading and stay safe,