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Jedi Doc

Why Flight Surgeons Fly.

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There are two common points of confusion with flight surgeons. The first is whether or not a military flight doc is a surgeon as understood by the definition of a particular type of physician who carries privileges to perform invasive surgery. The second is whether or not flight docs are pilots. Many junior enlisted members see the flight doc wearing the same uniform, patches, and rank as a pilot and assumes since they fly, they are also pilots. There is another forum post on the pilot physician program, but this makes up only a very small number of individuals. The majority of flight surgeons are:

1. Not surgeons

2. Not pilots

The followup question typically questions why a flight doc has a requirement to fly. I've recently written a blog post on this topic to answer the question (http://goflightmedicine.com/flight-surgeons-fly/), but I really see three primary reasons for flight docs to participate in regular flying duties:

1. To better understand/experience aerospace physiologic stressors

2. To appreciate the particular demands of the aircraft and mission of the assignment flying unit

3. To build trust and social relationships with the flyers

Flying is one of the coolest parts about being a flight doc and a required duty since the position was invented during WWI. Occasionally, however, an objection is raised as to if this is really a necessary or even a good idea. I'd be interested to hear the comments from the peanut gallery!

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IMHO, I think flight docs with flight experience are more valuable when assigned as medical officers for SIBs which is related to each of the three reasons pointed out by Jedi.

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Not sure about now but at the time a lot of flight surgeons were 0-6 which rated the crew a staff car on TDY's. Also some horsepower in the event of everything from medical problems to irate locals. Oddly enough I was discussing just this subject w/ a flight surgeon this weekend who might make the jump to 0-6 but also goes from M.D. to paper pushing. Having some adult supervision is always good too.

.............One saved me just the other day when I got some Viagra dust on my tie...............

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Our Sq's Flight Doc flies all the time, really wants to be engaged with the Sq that he has his own office in thr Sq to get away from the MDG. Flight Doc's are either outstanding or horrible, there's no happy medium.

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I've flown with many Flt Docs who are there to learn how we do our job, what we stress about, and to build trust with the flyers they take care. I respect the hell out of them.

I've also flown with a few who are there to take a 3 hour nap in the back seat, collect tax free and flight pay, and leave as soon as you land...not so much.

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I've flown with many Flt Docs who are there to learn how we do our job, what we stress about, and to build trust with the flyers they take care. I respect the hell out of them.

I've also flown with a few who are there to take a 3 hour nap in the back seat, collect tax free and flight pay, and leave as soon as you land...not so much.

Like any job, you'll have good and bad apples.

Aerospace medicine is really a form of occupational med and in order to do the job well, one needs to fully understand the occupational duties of ones particular patients. And obviously the duties vary considerably depending on the aircraft, mission, etc...

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I will say that having our flight docs fly with us at home helps when they have to fly with us downrange for certain patient care situations that exceed what the PJs can legally do.

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I saw a flight surgeon accidentally drop a glove. Went straight through the left engine and caked most of it in green goo. The NOMEX didn't catch fire at least.

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I saw a flight surgeon accidentally drop a glove. Went straight through the left engine and caked most of it in green goo. The NOMEX didn't catch fire at least.

I saw a left seater touch down nose gear first. No one caught fire. What's your point?

...Regarding "points" What is the point of nomex?............

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We had a flight doc in my first ops squadron (F-15E) who became a pretty good WSO.

Did you guys put him/her thru the official WSO course or did they just learn from flying and help from the squadron?

Why do some flight docs feel the need to wow me with their list of "aircraft flown"? Really?

Why do some heavy pilots feel the need to explicitly mention to me they never actually wanted fighters? ; )

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Did you guys put him/her thru the official WSO course or did they just learn from flying and help from the squadron?

Learn as they go. Most pilots flying with the doc would talk them through the HOTAS.

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Flight surgeons are our bros, hook them up every possibility, and they will help you if needed.  Consider them a second pilot, let them fly, take them TDY.  You have no better advocate should things go terribly wrong, trust me.

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Flight surgeons are our bros, hook them up every possibility, and they will help you if needed.  Consider them a second pilot, let them fly, take them TDY.  You have no better advocate should things go terribly wrong, trust me.

100% agree on this point.  I always kept my distance from Flight Med with the exceptions of my annual physical just like every other pilot.  And then I deployed in a unit that had a flight doc who shared our work space on a daily basis due to the way the clinic was arranged.  I never realized how much flight docs actually fight to keep dudes in the jet.  It was very impressive and all of us were better for seeing the doc working tirelessly to keep bros in the air.

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