The Blue Sky Blog

An ongoing series of informational entries

 Effective Oct 1 2020, I will office at 5070 S Collins St  Suite #208. This is in the Harrison Aviation Building at Arlington Municipal Airport - KGKY

I am still a one man shop. Please use the online scheduler.

Questions? Call me 2146936075

AME Medical Brief- How to improve night vision

Days are getting shorter and daylight savings change is here. So how to see better at night?

The Rods are the photoreceptors in our eyes that primarily help with night vision. They are concentrated at the periphery of the retina. This gives us a night-blind spot in our central vision. You will see better at night if you if you look at objects off center. Using your scan, you will see things better in the periphery.

Night vision adaptation takes 30 minutes. That’s why the movie theater looks so dark when you walk into it. Avoid bright white lights. Close one eye temporarily when seeing another planes taxi light. Turn off the strobe light when taxing. Prepare the cockpit lighting. Turn the panel lights down. Don’t forget the IPAD! Red lights are friendly to the rod photoreceptor so use a flashlight with a red bulb or filter.

Review aircraft lighting. Is that plane coming or going? Red on left, Green on right!

Review the visual illusions- An over bright runway lights or approach lights will give an illusion of less distance so turn the lights down. Did you preflight/brief the airport lighting? Another illusion is auto kinesis- staring at a single light in a dark background causes it to move. Prevent this by continuing your visual scan.

Using Oxygen at night when in the 5k to 12K altitude range will improve night vision. It will reduce fatigue as well.

See the eye doctor yearly. Class 3 vision standards only require 20/40 vision. Your vision might improve to 20/20 with glasses. Do you have an early cataract?

A healthy diet matters. Yes, those carrots have Vit A. Those fried onion rings? - not so much!

Fly Safe!

Drew Sambell MD AME questions? 214 693 607five At KGKY in the Harrison Aviation Building

Reminder- You are grounded for 48 hours after receiving a CV-19 vaccine. Booster included. 

Our Latest Blog Entry 1/05/2019

Cognitive decline and the Aging Pilot

  This is a very complicated issue. Its very hard for AMEs to assess this during a single visit. An excellent article on the subject can be found at

Some points to consider

- Its a serious problem as very few pilots self report any cognitive decline

- Most Cognitive decline is gradual and insidious

-Some older pilots with mild decline can adapt and use their vast flying experience to survive in routine conditions. However rapid problem solving in a stressful environment will be compromised.

-Please consider the following 

  -Talk privately with your physician. There may be a treatable cause making you look old!(sleep apnea, hearing loss, vision issues)

   -Get plenty of sleep

   -Raise your personal minimums

   -Consider giving up flying at night

   -Practice emergency procedures more often. Always use a checklist.

   -Fly with a partner. Yes, Get a copilot!

Stay Healthy in 2019.  Blue Sky!

Drew Sambell MD AME

10/7/18 Flu season and the pilot   

I encourage you to talk to your Dr. about the benefits and risks of the flu shot. Personally, I get the flu shot every year. I also believe in vaccinating my kids. So, I am pro- vaccines.

As a pilot, be aware you can have mild arm soreness for 1-2 days after the vaccine. Also, a low-grade fever is possible. You can’t get the flu from the vaccine! There is no official grounding period from the FAA. However, if you are a professional pilot, I would use personal judgement on receiving a vaccine and leaving on a working trip within 24 hours. The vaccine takes 2 weeks to stimulate your immune system and grow antibody’s. That’s why October is a big month for promoting the vaccine. Flu season can start early in November. Some of you travel all around the country and sit near sick people. I suspect most of you would benefit from the flu vaccination.

For more info the CDC has a great website at

As always, call me for your questions

Stay Healthy.

Blue Sky!

August 12, 2018

 The Approach to  65

Are you turning 65 soon?. That usually means you will sign up for medicare insurance. Its complicated but a pretty good source for information is available at However, please pay attention to this "NOTAM"

A significant number of primary care physicians wont accept new medicare patients. However most of them will keep you as a patient when you switch to medicare. So before you approach 65, get established with a good primary care doctor and you will have far less trouble finding a doctor who takes medicare.

Stay Healthy. 

Blue Sky!

Drew Sambell MD AME