Flight Surgeon

Keep aircraft and spacecraft crews in healthy condition.

What does a Flight Surgeon do?

Thirty thousand feet in the air is not the best place to get sick. Neither is 300 miles above the Earth while orbiting in outer space. A Flight Surgeon is trained to evaluate and treat military personnel on airplanes, and to medically prepare NASA Astronauts for their journey into space.

Despite the title “Flight Surgeon,” performing surgery rarely lands on this medical professional’s daily agenda. When you’re a Flight Surgeon, you instead practice preventive medicine, which means you try to spot a health or safety problem before it starts. During routine exams, you monitor a crew for any signs of illness or mental problems, such as depression or significant stress.

Other duties depend on what type of flight crew you’re working with. You fly on aircrafts from time to time to monitor crew performance, make notes about safety violations, and examine team morale. Identifying potential causes of stress or health and safety violations improves working conditions and treatment plans.

When it comes to Astronauts, you won’t be riding on the space shuttle with them. That’s why it’s essential that you teach each crewmember the first aid needed to treat everything from a mild burn to a heart attack.

Of course, your job includes the duties of a standard Doctor too. You treat sick crewmembers during flight and, if necessary, get them further treatment. Your job gives you a sense of pride for helping others, and nothing compares to the adrenaline rush of parachuting a patient out of a plane to receive help below.