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Bozeman Health News

Section: Employee News

Clear to Fly: Check


David B. King, MD, isn’t seeing many general patients at Bozeman Health Belgrade Clinic these days, but recently he added a major contingent to his patient load. Dr. King now is one of two physicians in the area certified as a Federal Aviation Administration senior medical examiner who can clear commercial airline pilots to fly.

When Dr. King founded the clinic back in 1984, patients who also were pilots told him there were not enough FAA medical examiners in this part of the state for all the pilots needing medical clearance to fly. He took the FAA training, and has been performing pilot examinations for more than 30 years.

Until recently, though, he was limited to Class 3 and Class 2 pilots, or those who fly just for fun or small businesses such as crop dusting, respectively. Last month he was named a senior medical examiner and can now assess Class 1 commercial airline pilots who require such clearance every six months.

“The exam is like an annual physical, but identifies conditions that may need further attention for a pilot to fly,” Dr. King said. Those can include mental illness, cardiovascular disease, certain cancers, kidney stones, drug or alcohol dependence and use of sedating drugs.

Dr. King also keeps busy these days performing firefighter and immigration physicals, and as medical director of two nursing homes and a hospice facility, stating “I do it because I enjoy meeting new people.”
Categories: Employee News