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Medicals from Hell
Second Page Beginning Case 20 at bottom
Well, I have heard from the AME who is handling (or not handling) my third-class certificate that my portfolio has been deferred to the FAA in Oklahoma City, and I should hear from them directly "in a few weeks". Not that it will be resolved then, mind you, just that I'll hear from them and they will ask for any additional information they might need.
I agree with 99% of the FAA mandates that I have read, but it seems ridiculous to delay my flight training for a minimum of several weeks simply because I have a degenerative eye condition (glaucoma) that is currently under control with FAA-approved medication. I have been logging 3-4 hours per week since I started training two weeks ago and have been expecting to solo in the next two weeks sometime, but since I need the medical before I can solo I may be out of luck for a while.
This is a completely different situation. My husband had a kidney stone. He went to get his medical in July, 97. He had the stone in January '96. Because of this, the AME had to send his information to OKC. He received his medical in the mail in Dec, 97. And get this, they put the issuance date as July, 97! So he lost 5 months off his medical and student pilot certificate.
Anyway, got home this evening and found a letter from the FAA Aeromedical Cert. Div.! As some may remember I have a long raft of (mostly minor) medical issues. I have PVC's, poor hearing and other problems so cert. was deferred by the AME. Medical records were sent to the FAA 1 Feb 00 and I have called twice in recent weeks.
I was apprehensive about opening it.... was I denied? Would
I have restrictions?......
I unfolded the letter and out dropped a yellow sheet! My very own 3rd Class Medical Cert.!!!! No limitations!!!! Signed and dated back to the first exam (oh well, can't win them all). The letter said I was now legit but needed to present the letter to the examiner next time around and that I am prohibited from flying if my symptoms get worse or medications change etc. (essentially self-regulated). Other than that I can fly!!!
Wow, it took little over six months to get it and I was getting suspicious that it wouldn't be issued. So now I am off to really work on those TnG's. Will probably solo in a week or so - what excitement!
For those still waiting to hear from the FAA on your deferral, I would recommend that you call them after a period (maybe 4-6 months). They seem to have at least two bins that hold your records: The first one is called 'Applicant hasn't called yet', where the files sit with no attention (not even entered into their computer database). After you call the records apparently get moved to the bin labeled 'Applicant has called' and finally they are reviewed and acted on.
-- Just kidding, but it sure seemed that way. I can tell you that I called three weeks ago and they didn't have my records listed as "received" in their computer (they were sent the first week in Feb.). Then I called a week later and they were suddenly listed in their computer. Then today I got my cert.
Don't give up hope, if *I* can get a third class medical, just about anyone can :-).
Well I am 41 now and still waiting for the 3rd class medical. It has been six months so I called them: First time they said they didn't have the medical records but did have the form. Second time I called (a week later) they said they had the records listed in their computer (the person actually listed all five of them). Wow, after six months the most powerful government in the world was actually able to confirm that they received a set of medical records! The old Soviet Union would be proud...
So I asked, "now what?". The response, "we will send you a letter after your records are evaluated". Yeah, right. I will call every week until something happens and may get an intermediary to help (lawyer?) after the 1 year mark.... I suspect though that I will get my 3rd class medical 1 year 11 months after the initial exam and have to do it all over again!
Meanwhile I've been ready to solo for the last 10 hours of
dual or so. For now I am just planing some sight-seeing
tours until I hear from them - cost a little more but
touring is what flying is all about. I figure I will have over
100 hours of dual before getting the medical...
Finally called the FAA about my 3rd class medical. They have a phone number for checking: (405) 954-4821 and ext 5 is for status checking. Took 15 minutes of waiting to get a person and then of course they wanted my SSN up front (why can't I remember that you ALWAYS need your SSN when dealing with the Feds...). Found that and read it off. Then the person just disappeared for 5 minutes :-). I thought they had a stroke or something and died so I kept saying "are you there?.. Are you all right?". Finally the person comes back and says, "you had some kind of heart problem - or something?". Nice. "It is PVC's and that is only one of several squawks - the reports were sent to you in mid-February",
I said. "Oh, well I have the form but can't find any documents for your condition". Great, they probably lost the test results, yada, yada, yada....
Then this person says, "I will have to talk to the doctor about this and will get back to you no sooner than the middle of next week". Four working days just to figure out if something got lost!!! Then a deadline that is open-ended (I mean what would be the LATEST they could get back to me). With the Feds operating like this, how the heck did we win all those wars?
Anyway, there is little hope of getting the waivers before the end of the year at this rate and it looks like I will have to do what so many do - call then every day until it gets resolved.
Case 59 (This is a continuation of a prior case)
I've always had borderline high blood pressure, usually 135-40/85-90. Since my injury and inactivity, it has been steadily creeping upward this year. I've been seeing my personal physician (who is also my AME) and he didn't like that one bit.
We both agreed that the reason it was going up was stress from my inability to work, the injury, and inactivity, but he didn't like the trend and prescribed a medication that is FAA approved. That helped a little, but not as much as he wanted so he prescribed a second one rather than increasing the dosage. That did very good things. My average is now 115-120/78-85.
My medical isn't due until next Jan. 2001, and we sat down and had a long talk about it. Here are the important points that he stressed to me.
1) Get it taken care of. If you have borderline high BP, it will NOT get better over time (presuming you're already reasonably fit and in good general health already).
2) Most medications are approved, but work with your AME to make damn sure the one(s) you're on are on the approved list.
3) Keep a history on your own. I go in every two weeks (for other things) anyway, so they do a BP and I take a summary of daily (at least when I remember to take it) readings of my own. He puts these in my file. When my medical comes up we'll have almost a year of history on my readings to support the issuance of the medical.
4) Often, BP readings are not taken properly. Make sure they put the cuff at heart level, on bare skin. Although some tell you that taking it through a shirt or T Shirt doesn't matter, it does on me. Make sure your arm is relaxed and supported. A good nurse or doctor will see to it that it is.
Don't rest it on an armrest that puts pressure on a single point on your arm and don't just let it dangle. If they don't support it, rest it in your lap. Before the test, take a couple of deep cleansing breaths, then breath slowly and normally as the test is taken. It drops my BP 5 points if I close my eyes and "space out". (no kidding) Make sure you're not involuntarily clenching either fist. It's common to do that in the arm not being tested. Lay your other arm on your lap and relax it. Try to relax your entire body, you can practice this at home in a chair.
5) If you do have problems, the time to NOT find them out is at the exam. If your BP is too high, and the medical gets referred, welcome to medical hell from the FAA. Get it lowered and stable BEFORE the exam. Take supporting statements from your doctor (if different from your AME) with you that it's under control and they have a history to prove it when you go in for the medical exam.
6) If this is your first medical, by all means see your personal doctor and find out what it really is in the office and what you can do about it before you go in. Make the appointment. It might save your life.
Above all, you need to find out what's going on and get it taken care of. My dad has a history of hypertension and my grandma did as well. This was another red flag my AME didn't like and was a substantial factor in our decision to go on medication. If you have a family history of it, then the odds are REALLY bad that it will ever get better on it's own.
To tell you the changes it made, I really DO feel better now on a day to day basis. I was having a lot of blood work done from the injury so we also did lipid studies and PSA tests at the same time. My PSA was OK, but my cholesterol was over 300!!! And I was already on a low cholesterol diet.
I'm on lipitor and watch the dairy products and my cholesterol is now 162. My blood pressure is now normally 120 or less over 85 or less. I'm not a big fan of medications in general, but in this case I think the results speak for themselves.
Started flying lessons first week of August, 1999. Racked up enough hours by early September that it was time to schedule my medical. Had my medical exam the last week of September. Bad news times two. One: high blood pressure. It had been normal prior to this physical. Two: AME found a lump under my right jaw in the neck. [A little background: I have Horner's Syndrome, diagnosed in 98. It means my right eye does not dilate, the eye lid droops very slightly and I don't sweat on the upper part of the right side of my face. It is usually caused by damage to a nerve that travels from the chest up through the neck to the brain, eye, sweat glands (one nerve on each side). The damage can be from several kinds of tumors, or carotid artery problems, etc. Generally, nothing good. After a number of tests, MRI, etc. they found no cause. It's a permanent condition, but not particularly difficult to deal with.]
Needless to say, my third-class was deferred to our friends in OKC. And I was off for a visit to my personal physician. He ran me through the typical cardiovascular work up, blood work, EKG, etc. And put me on Zestril to control the HBP. He was unable to feel the lump the AME found, but sent me to a specialist for another look.
The ear, nose, throat specialist took one quick feel of my neck and said the AME made a good catch. He did a fine needle aspirate biopsy and scheduled a CT scan. The biopsy came back inconclusive, the CT showed a mass the size of your little finger from the tip to second nuckle. Surgery was scheduled for early November. Surgery went well, lump removed, lump benign. Tumor was also cause of the Horner's Syndrome, mystery solved.
It's now early December '99. I'm back in the cockpit flying. But, no word from OKC. I finally got my first letter from the FAA in early March 2000. Send BP readings for 3 days and medical records first week in April (delayed by getting medical records). Info sent. 5 weeks later, 2nd letter from the FAA. "Oh, you're on medication for HBP. Send us a cardiovascular workup that has been done in the last 6 months, and a prognosis from the tumor surgery.". It's now been 7 months since the initial cardio workup. Back to the doctor for a $300 visit to satisfy the FAA. Sent it all to OKC, express mail.
That was 4.5 weeks ago. I called today to check on the status of my medical. It has been sent to typing. I'll have it within a week. That would be about July 20th or so. If my calendar math is correct that will be approximately 10 months. Since i'm 38 years old now, this medical would ordinarily be good for 3 years. However, mine will be good for 2 years, 2 months.
First off, stop worrying so much, or you'll need another prescription. I was in the same boat as you. Was starting a new business, thyroid decided to do a nosedive, chemical balance in the body got screwy, large-scale bad event occurred and WHAM!! Pass the prozak, please. This happened about 5 years ago and was an isolated incident, only putting me into so called funk for about 10 days. But, it DID happen, and as a result I too was very apprehensive about going to the AME for my medical.
I kicked myself in the butt, went to the AME, was HONEST on the form, and waited for the failure. AME was very polite and asked if everything was alright now. Told me he couldn't in good conscience issue the med. cert. without a letter from the doctor. Told me to get it and come back. I drove across town, got the letter (said I was fine and no reason I couldn't fly) and returned to the AME. He issued the 3rd Class, and told me if FAA had a problem they would contact me. They sent me a letter stating "okay" as long as there are no problems in the future.
As for the FAA being 40 years in the past, I disagree. The last thing I want as a pilot are for other pilots flying who may be emotionally unstable. You are making the process much more difficult than it is. The biggest problem is that you seem to be unwilling to DO IT. I understand your fear, but waiting won't help you. And stop worrying about being "blacklisted". You're either eligible, or you're not. How's that for a kick in the ass? You're not the only person who has been in this situation. Decide to conquer your fears.
Back in late 1999, I decided it was time to quit watching the planes fly over my house and join them. I figured that my blood pressure was close enough to being high that I should do something about it. I went to the doctor and was put on a low dose of Ace Inhibitor. Several hours into lessons, I called a local AME and asked what I needed to bring with me for my medical. I got blood tests done, and medical history gathered and was off to the doctor with all that was requested. He issued the medical to me in late January. The certificate says that the FAA has 60 days to challenge the medical.
That brings us to today...
Five months later, I have received a letter saying that the FAA requires an EKG from me. Somewhat frustrated, I was off to the doctor to get the EKG. A very young nurse came in and said "I thing we can apply these without shaving", and stuck the probes on my chest. They weren't sticking as well as they should apparently, because she was holding one of them on during the test. The test came back "Borderline Abnormal - Unconfirmed Analysis". Now I am going for an echocardiogram in late June. One problem is that I am not sure I am going to have the test results back by the time the FAA wanted my EKG.
Should I send the Borderline EKG back with an explanation and follow up with the echo results later, wait to get everything back to send it, or is there some way out of this mess since they waited so long to ask for the extra info?
I have about 27.5 hours in and went on my first cross-country today in a new 172 that didn't have its first 100 hours on it yet. I'm having the time of my life, and am EXTREMELY fearful that this isn't going to work out. I hear about people who have all kinds of extreme problems who are able to fly. I'm young and healthy other than a bit of a blood pressure issue. What happens next? Advice from the crowd would be extremely appreciated. I am not yet an AOPA member, so I can't call them... Could they help with anything?
Date: Mon, 12 Jun 2000 14:26:26 -0400
Here you go, it took a while for it to all play out, and I wanted to give you the complete story. Hopefully I'll be taking my check ride early next month, time money, and weather cooperating!
On Wed, 05 Apr 2000 05:01:21 GMT, you wrote:
Could you write a time-line account of how your medical has not moved. I would like to put it in my 'Medical from Hell' section of my web site. Gene Whitt
Sure, It's not nearly as traumatic as some I've read on your page, but annoying none-the-less. I've racked up quite a few dual hours waiting on this, including flying an IFR plan from Nassau to PBI last week, (of course, my father-in-law was PIC)
09/20/1990 - I underwent a cornea transplant in my left eye to treat a condition known as keratoconus. The operation was a complete success and I put it behind me until that fateful day 10 years later when I truthfully listed the operation on my application for my 3rd class medical.
10/20/1999 - The local FAA doctor said I was fine until he
looked at my application and recoiled at the sight of "MAJOR
EYE SURGERY" Even though he thought my eye looked fine and
I offered to to let him talk to my eye doctor, he said that he
"has no choice but to defer my application." My guess
is that his choice was not to jeopardize his bread and butter
income from 15 minute FAA exams. The doctor assured me that he
had a way to send the application in that would take 30 to 60
days at the most. I went to he surgeon who did the transplant,
he examined me and wrote a letter explaining that my eye was
perfectly healed and would in no way hinder my flying ability.
The FAA doctor sent it in and I started the long wait. Oh well
I had to knock off the ground school stuff anyway.
11/20/1999 - I finished up the ground school and passed the written (92%),but the flight school said that it wasn't "their policy" to do any flight instruction, even dual, until I had my medical in hand.
12/13/1999 - I found another school and started flying!
12/20/1999 - 60 days are up, no word from the FAA, the local FAA doctor told me that it was out of his hands, and to just wait until after the holidays.
1/11/2000 - Got the AOPA on the case. They are very nice, but said that they could only submit status requests in bulk once a week, and I just missed it for this week, rats!
02/15/2000 - Finally got through the FAA's "call long distance and press buttons until you get a busy signal" system and talked to Trish. Amazingly, their computers were up, or at least she was typing away on a keyboard, she could have been playing Tetris for all I know ;-) Anyway she said they had my paperwork and it was "waiting for review." No hint on what that means, or how long it will take. At least they acknowledged my existance.
2/24/2000 - I called the FAA again, talked to Fuscia. She couldn't tell me anything, but said that she would put a note on the reviewer's desk saying I called. I asked if she could check where I was in "the pile", since she was going to the reviewer's office with a note anyway. She said the reviewer was "out" and she couldn't do anymore.
3/17/2000 - Made my weekly call to the FAA. Fortunately I have free long distance on my cell phone! Spoke to Ladonna. She was sympathetic, but couldn't offer me much hope. They really need someone to do "triage" and sort out the simple cases, like mine, and get them out quickly. I have the impression that they take them in order, and if it takes weeks to sort out the guy with quintuple bypass and a wooden leg, then so be it!
3/20/2000 - Joanne from AOPA called, they had word from the
FAA that my case had been
reviewed "favorably", and that I should receive my paperwork in a week!
4/05/2000 It's been over a week, I called the FAA and talked
to Ladonna again, this time on the newly discovered toll free
number (800 350-5286), this time I got right through! Ladonna
acknowledged that my certification had been approved, but on
4/3, not 3/20. It will take a week to 10 days through typing.
I wonder if this a "real" or a "government"
week. If I could log flight hours using the same time scale as
the FAA, then I'd be a commercial airline pilot by now!
4/14/2000 Still no certificate, so I got back on the phone to the FAA. This time I talked to Melanie. I confirmed my mailing address with her and she said that I should have received my certificate by now. She said to give it another week or so and if it still didn't come then they would send me a duplicate. In the mean time she would see about sending a fax confirmation. Later... The FAX came, I'm legal!, at least for the next 2 months.
4/28/2000 Still no mail from OKC. I talked to Ladonna again, she said that they mailed my certificate 3 weeks ago. I asked if they knew this for sure, but they don't keep any records of what they send and, once again, there's nothing they can do. I asked for a duplicate, but apparently that's beyond their powers too. She said to call back if it doesn't arrive before my FAX expires. I'm not sure what good that will do, if they aren't capable of issuing a duplicate certificate...Meanwhile, 20+ kt gusting crosswinds on EVERY flying day are pushing my solo date futher into the future (Spring in Ohio, gotta love it!)
5/5/2000 I called the local FSDO and explained the situation. I talked to one of the inspectors, Richard Leister. He said that he could issue my student pilot's certificate, but the medical part was out of his area of authority.
He said he will call OKC and get back to me. Later he called back and said that OKC said that it had been processed and mailed weeks ago, I guess I'll just have to wait and see.
5/8/2000 My medical/student pilot certificate came in the
mail today! Interestingly enough, the postmark was May 5th. Coincidence?
Maybe, but I'm betting that the call from Mr. Leister woke them
up. At any rate, I'm legal (and soloed, on to the cross-countries!)
It is indeed possible to get a medical with a history of kidney stones. I had one in 1990 and another in 1997 (removed via lithotripsy).
The AME did grant my medical, but the FAA send a letter a few weeks later requesting supporting information to show that I was "stone free". That ended up entailing a couple of IVPs, some renal tomograms, and other expensive tests. But eventually I submitted enough paperwork that the FAA gave in. I was told by the AME that they may ask for additional proof of being stone free when my medical comes up for renewal. And, of course, if I suspect I may have a stone, I have to ground myself.
I'd suggest you don't give up. AOPA will have some specific
advice. Your case is a little different, because instead of just
a history of stones, you have one right now, small as it may
Though I wouldn't wish the FAA medical certification nightmare on my worst enemy, I can't really begrudge the FAA the caution with which they treat kidney stones--the pain they can cause is serious business (i'm referring to both the FAA and the stones). :)
I had an experience with a stone some years back. I was actually on final at night in a P51 when the attack hit me. It felt like a knife sticking in my side and a very angry man twisting it. As I sit here I can't even begin to describe the pain, it was that bad. The doctor compared it to natural childbirth without any medicine to dull the pain.
Needless to say I made it ok, as I'm still here to tell the tale, but I reported it on my next medical. The medical was denied and I spent six months fighting with the FAA to have it reinstated. What a damn mess that was.
It's a double edged sword with these things. As a responsible pilot you should report anything that might affect you physically in the air. I was asked on the medical form about kidney stones and I told the truth. I also told them I had passed the stone and the problem was over. To my surprise, the doctor denied the medical. The problem is that once into the system, it's hard to have this kind of thing reversed, even if the symptom has been corrected or relieved. In my case, I passed the stone, but the FAA treated the matter as an ongoing problem...and it was a royal bear to fix it. I really don't know what to advise pilots who ask me about this type of problem. As a flight instructor, I must tell you officially to always tell the truth on a medical form.....but I really hope the FAA someday corrects the stupid way they can handle these things with pilots.
I reached a point on Monday where my CFI tells me that I should slow down my training a little until my medical comes in. I'll explain. I started in early January and was denied medical due to migraines 5 years ago (have not been treated since). All of my stuff was sent off to Oklahoma and a few weeks ago I got the "please send us your medical records" letter. I know that they will approve me, but I also know that it will take them more time for "review" before I can get my medical cert.
Well, I went for my third third-class medical exam today. Was the first one I've been to since the last one three years ago, and the first one since I got a SODA for Defective Color Vision. I didn't quite know what to expect, but went with my copy of the SODA from the FAA to show the AME.
Went through all the vision stuff with the nurse until she said "tell me the numbers in the circles". I just said: "we don't have to... really". Reminds me of that dr.'s office scene in the movie "Fletch"...hahaha! Ever serve time, doc?
Anyway, I showed the SODA to her and the doc and on went the
exam without any further questions -- and I still don't believe
there are any numbers in those circles... it's all just a trick.
For anyone else who is wondering or has yet to go through a new
medical after having gotten a SODA for color vision, there's
is no required color identification part to the exam at all.
Just make sure that you remember to keep your copy of the SODA
safe and bring it with you. Also, the SODA's are issued effective
only for the class medical that you had/have when you took/take
the SODA. I asked about upgrading even to a first class, and
the AME said that the
SODA test will carry through up to the higher classes. To get an upgrade, a letter must be sent requesting such before the visit to the AME. Then the FAA can send a letter authorizing the upgrade of the SODA class without the need for a test re-take.
I received my third class medical yesterday!!!
I applied for it almost 3 months ago. I have eye trouble in my right eye and have had several surgeries to correct the problem, but I am still just past the minimums. I sent of a letter to the FAA with my app. I was told by several pilots and instructors that it would be no problem. They would send someone out to fly with me to make sure the problem didn't interfere with my flying. Well, yesterday I got the letter and and they cleared me without any problems. I couldn;t believe it! There it was in the letter, my third class medical. I was shouting for joy! Now I know why they use gold paper, it's as precious as gold!
I've always had a minor problem with acid reflux, as have most male members of my family. It would flare up with mild symptoms for a couple of days, make me uncomfortable, then go away.
In between medicals a few years ago, it got considerably worse, with the symptoms lasting 3 days or so and every other week. I went to my doctor and had an upper GI done, as well as other tests to confirm that I didn't have any ulcers or other problems and after a couple hundred dollars of lab work and another couple hundred dollars of consultations, everybody decided that yes, I indeed had acid reflux that two over-the-counter Pepcid AC's taken daily controlled very nicely.
When I got ready to renew my medical a couple or three months later, I got copies of the upper GI, consultation reports, and a letter from my personal physician that summarized everything, course of treatment, results and prognosis.
The AME made a note of this in his own letter that accompanied my medical application to OKC, kept the stuff I brought him in his files in case OKC wanted it, and gave me my medical certificate. I never heard another word about it.
If you have ANY problems, you need to plan ahead before you go if you want to avoid delay. I'm already working with my AME after my back injury and blood clots to get all my ducks in a row, and I don't have to take the medical for another 8 months. But when I do, I expect it to be a non-event because I'll be ready.
The absolute WORST thing you can do is to show up with an undocumented problem or to have the problem (high-blood pressure, bad ear, etc.)discovered at the medical. If this is your first, I strongly recommend you make an appointment with your regular doctor FIRST for a thorough physical before you take your flight physical. If you don't, you're playing a form of Russian roulette.
I had a minor problem surface with the OKC folks after my medical last year. I called the local FSDO and they took care of calling OKC for me immediately. I had my medical back the next day.
One person hired a medical consultant prior to each medical to assure compliance with the FAA regulations. One opinion
was that an AME is only required to transmit the application to the FAA. There is no requirement to submit a history.
The AME should have conferred with the regional flight surgeon's office, in which case the certificate would have been issued immediately. The FAA keeps the EKG's and compares them with the most recent.
Even after oral approval for his medical the airline pilot
received from the Medical Certification Division a form letter
stating that he was ineligible for a medical and that this applied
to all classes of medicals. he was issued a 6-month certificate.
This letter was a burecratic screw-up since he had been cleared
by the FAA Review Board that there was nothing wrong with his
On further review the FAA was unable to find any records. Once again through his doctor he was assured that
everything was cleared and that he would be receiving a letter saying so. Four weeks later the identical form letter arrived stating that he was ineligible for any class of medical. Again the doctor contacted Dr. Silberman, the Manager of the Aeromedical Certification Division who a week later send him a letter stating that the special issuance was not required and enclosed his first class medical certificate.
I received my permanent certificate a few days after I called the FAA in OK City and spoke to a FRIENDLY mature woman who had a handle on things. It had been 62 days by then.
Apparently I'm stuck in this mess now, too. I was concerned about a minor incident before my medical, but everything went well and I got my certificate. The rules state the FAA has 60 days to deny a medical, and after 60 days, I thought I was home free. Well, five months later (a couple weeks before my checkride), I've been asked to submit all sorts of medical paperwork. I imagine the FAA will wait another five months to realize food poisoning is not a "history of abdominal pain" as they state in their letter.
I am currently training and loving every minute of it, but I have had some problems with the medical. I checked that I was treated for migranes over three years ago. I have no problem being honest and know I did the right thing by answering, but I never dreamed that it would take so friggin long to get it cleared. I took the medical in early January and have been bugging the FAA since mid March. Monday I received a letter from them that I needed to get with the M.D. that treated me three years ago and send in a copy of my medical records from that episode. What I would like to know is if anyone else out there has been through a similar ordeal and knows how long it takes
After I send in those records. I am more than ready to solo, but cannot until this thing is cleared and the wait is driving me nuts. In the mean time, I continue to fly once or twice a week with the instructor doing more advanced things on the checklist for PPL.
The big problem that you'll be facing is getting OKC to the point where they have everything they need. Once they have all the records from you (even records you've sent twice!) it should take them about a month to get it reviewed and approved Then about another month to get your certificate in the mail. I have gone through the same thing, and that is what they took with me.
Here is a rundown of the dates:
6/1999 - Took Physical and sent straight to OKC
7/99 - 2/2000 - OKC sends out to consultant, needs more records, lost records, etc ...
3/6/00 - Back to consultant last time
3/29/00 - Finally approved. Letter will be sent (right)
4/4/00 - No letter, Now there is no record of me being approved (I am really pissed now!)
4/5/00 - Email Silberman for confirmation of my approval
4/6/00 - Silberman responds confirming approval
4/10/00 - Have OKC fax me a confirmation (Came on the same day. Couldn't believe it)
Today - Still haven't received certificate, but my fax will do.
In a nutshell keep on them every day. Keep copies of everything that you send them. They lost more than on piece of info from me. Here's the 800 number if you don't have it: 800-350-5286. Also ask to talk to the next level up in management. They all work together, but I had a lot of luck by talking to the next level up. Keep being persistant and it will come through. My situation was a little more complicated, medically, so hopefully your's should go a little bit smoother. Good luck.
Hate to tell you, but I've been in the system since September 1999. Between FAA's logjam and screwups in my doctor's administrative office, I'll be lucky to solo before September 2000.
It took six months to finally get a Special Issuance Medical Certificate. I joined AOPA, mostly info. I joined EAA. They have lists of Medical Examiners that will work with the applicant. They'll help in getting the necessary medical reports and will send the complete package to FAA for you. In my case, I had to do all the work after the examiner merely referred my application to FAA in Oklahoma City.
10 years ago I had colon cancer. I just received a letter requesting a detailed report from the attending physician to include history, diagnosis, laboratory studies, medication required, and prognosis. The attending physician is dead, and the surgeon who operated has alzheimer, and I can't get the medical records staff to return my calls.
To those who answered my previous post, Thank You. Unfortunately a routine CT Scan indicates that I now have 2 kidney stones in my left kidney. One is definitely to large to pass. My urologist is going to set up a trip to the
lithotriptor to crush the stones and run tests to determine the cause and possible medication to prevent further occurrences. I do have a past history of kidney stones and had no indication of new ones for 10 years before the CT Scan. I really did not expect to have any show up as I drink on average 5 quarts of water a day. My questions are after this treatment and a subsequent IVP to show the kidneys are clear will I be able to obtain my 3rd class medical, assuming no other medical
Will the FAA be likely to require I be tested on a regular basis to insure no future occurrences and how often?
Well, that is a good question.... as far as my AME manual, I summarized what information I am given. If you have a history of anything more than a remote history of renal stones, then you have to prove your renal system is free of stones. After the lithotripsy, (a unique experience in pain, by itself!), a repeat study that is clean will allow you to qualify for a medical. However, considering your water intake, a part of your standard carry on luggage should be a porta-potty.
In addition to the comments by B, I would add that we frequently
don't find a cause for recurrent renal stones. However, when
no specific cause is identified, treatment with a thiazide diuretic
to decrease calcium excretion is
very effective in preventing recurrent stones. I would make sure that you get placed on such treatment (assuming no other specific cause is identified). When on this treatment you are still eligible for a medical (as long as your serum potassium is normal).
Thanks to C and B for your input. It is good to know that there is still hope and there may be options open to me to try to prevent further recurrences. As to the porta-potty, I'm definitely going to have to do something about that obvious problem. At this point I'll be satisfied to take that one on when I overcome this latest problem. Thanks again for your info.
Thank you for your reply.
I've now received the "letters of recommendation" from the two doctors that (presumably) need to provide input on my behalf for my medical. I still have not heard from the FAA, but I know where the paperwork is supposed to go to, so I am about to send.
I will heed your suggestions and send a copy to that fellow you mentioned. You suggested that I send them my letter to you, so I would like to send them a copy of your response back to me (which includes my letter to you). I would like your permission to send it (it appears at the end of this message).
Just an update to my 3rd class medical ordeal. I had my third class physical the last week of September 1999.
Unfortunately, my medical was deferred because of a history of Horner's Syndrome* with an undetermined cause and a finding of hypertension. I visited my personal physician and was prescribed an ACE inhibitor for hypertension and sent to a specialist to look at a lump in my neck the AME found.
The specialist sent me for CT scan where a growth was discovered in my neck near the carotid artery. Surgery was indicated and scheduled for the second week in November. Surgery went fine, benign tumor removed (Schwanoma). Tumor was the cause of the Horner's. The tumor has no known cause, and my chances of another forming are the same as anybody else's. All's well, recovery normal, prognosis normal, hypertension under control.
Fast forward to March 2, 2000. I recieved a letter from the FAA requesting medical records regarding Horner's Syndrome and morning and afternoon blood pressure readings by doctor for 3 days. And I thought that landing a plane was difficult! I'll update the group when I get my records sent to OKC, and we can start the clock on part II of this fun.
* Horner's Syndrome is a collection of symptoms that indicate damage to the sympathetic nerve chain. In my case, my right pupil is permanently constricted (won't dilate), my right eyelid droops very slightly (not obvious), and I don't sweat on the right side of my forehead or cheek. It usually indicates some significant cause, such as a tumor in the chest, neck, or brain. Or some other trauma to the sympathetic nerve chain. Horner's is almost always permanent, even if the initial cause (in my case a benign tumor) is removed.
I just renewed my class III last week, after having passed ONE stone just over 2 1/2 years ago. I went in to hospital, was flushed out, passed the stone, and went home to go on vacation about 2 hours later.
The AME asked general questions about it, and issued the medical. I'm sorta hoping it doesn't get sent back from OKC with them asking for more documentation, but we'll see what happens. Apparently the AME has some discretion in the matter. I can't imagine that with 10 years since the last episode that you have anything to worry about, but you could call the AME and ask him what he might want ahead of time if you are concerned.
The way the reg's read for an AME is that if someone had a history of "isolated kidney stones", then you can issue. With recent or multiple episodes, you will probably have to have a study documenting no remaining stones in the kidney, waiting to pass, causing pain and incapacitation.That study is an IVP, intravenous pyelogram. If you want to do it right, have your physician order the test, then bring a copy of the results in to your AME. If someone did that w/ me, and the IVP was normal, then I would issue the medical on the spot. This medical condition doesn't require a special issuance.
Those of you who have had the patience to listen to me bitching for the last few months can relax. It's over. After taking my physical in late September, sending the follow-up paperwork (glaucoma) in very early October, playing phone and e-mail tag with the FAA during November-January (only to discover that the FAA had no record of my paperwork), and finally getting confirmation that all the proper paper was in place in mid-January, the bloody med/student pilot certificate still had not arrived by last Saturday (2/5/00).
So this morning I called the FAA and waited on hold for the requisite 20+minutes. After speaking to a person I went back on hold for another 5 or so. When she returned she said the letter went in the mail on the 2nd.When I got home from work there it was! Date stamped the 5th but postmarked the 4th (things are strange in Oklahoma).
There must be something that can be done about this problem with the Medical Certification Division of the FAA - I have been waiting since mid-September - close to five months - I tried contacting Senator Gorton's office - he is one of my senators and the chairman of the Aviation Subcommittee of the Department of Transportation oversight committee. His staff has so far been unable to get a response from them. I am seriously considering filing a Writ of Mandamus in the local Federal Court - this is a procedure by which one asks a court to compel a government agency to act. I am frustrated - I am angry - I now have over 22 hours and I am, and have been, ready to solo for some time now. When I have been able to get through to the MCD on the phone they are unresponsive and rude and demonstrate an uncaring attitude and ineptness and incompetence.
Update. Good news! My 3rd class medical is in the mail! Can't believe it. After joining EAA and sending a copy of my medical records to AOPA's Medical Certification Dpt, I decided to call FAA to get a little more info about the the reason for my denial. I talked to a very nice lady who after a few minutes discussion said she'd talk to the doctor and call me later. In less than an hour she called back with the news that I was going to get the special issuance certificate. That's it. I'm waiting for the certificate/student pilot permit and making plans for flight training. Now I'm thinking about how I'll pay for it. Heck, it's worth it! Thanks for all the encouragement I received from the newsgroup. I'll post my progress/
lack-of as time goes by.
By the way, after five long frustrating months I finally received my medical certificate from the FAA - Oklahoma City Clown Division. So, any day now I will go solo.
In August of 1999 I posted to this newsgroup asking if I had a chance to get a Third Class medical, given my age and medical history. I received good advice, especially from Bob Gardner who suggested that I put off any flight training until the medical was resolved. Once again, I'm going to ask for your input. But first the story: I'm 61 years old, never had flight training. My medical history:
- Heart attack 1993- Heart bypass surgery 1994- Type II diabetic. No insulin dependence- High blood pressur- Carotic artery surgery 1998 ( occlusion).
I applied for the medical in August 1999 and was of course, promptly deferred to FAA in Oklahoma City.
6 weeks later FAA responded saying they needed hospital records, test results, and doctor's evaluations. The materail a\was sent Mid-October 1999 and was promptly lost by the U.S. Post Office. A second set of documents was sent via FedEx ( I learn!) and was received and signed for on November 12th. December 6 I called FAA and was told they were 4 months behind, but the lady agreed to try and expedite.
Today, January 7th, I received the long awaited reply. I was
denied.The bottom line of the decision to deny was evidence of
left ventricular dysfunction and occlusive carotid atherosclerosis.
I was told that I can appeal to the NTSB within 60 days.
The evaluation of my carotid atherosclerosis by my doctor is that it has stabilized; the damage to the heart 6 years ago was minor, though apparent. I can pass a tread mill test with flying colors. As a matter of fact I feel better and healthier now than in the past 20 years.
My choices as I see them now is:
- Give up, forget about it, and find something else to get involved in.
- Appeal to NTSB; Nothing to lose, and might get to fly after all. I'm inclined to appeal.
Thanks to someone in r.a.s for prodding me to keep nagging the FAA about my medical (can't solo because I am treated glaucoma and don't have student certificate because FAA must review, etc, ad infinitem).
Spoke to FAA a week ago and got a promise they would call me with status, but hadn't heard from them in a week; so, since I had 30 minutes between meetings at work yesterday I dialed them up at their starting time (twice) and went on hold while I worked at my desk. After about 10-15 minutes I got connected with a person who once again confirmed that my "medical was in the system and waiting review" but nothing was attached.
Since the medical documentaion should have been there in early October, and no one there has been able or willing to tell me if it was, I pressed the case that I really needed to know if all the forms from my doctor were there.
She apparently actually went out and checked and returned to tell me that they didn't have them. Since I personally put them in the mail either the post office or the FAA lost them. I can understand this but why is it so hard to find out that they are not where they are supposed to be? Next time I'll be sure to send by return receipt or something. Anyway. I called the eye hospital, and they faxed the docs to the FAA (if I'd known a fax was OK I would have gone that route in the first place).
As written in the December 1999 issue of Flying, Mr. ---- lost his medical due to a defective EKG test. It took the FAA Medical Certification Division l31 days to finally accept that the initial EKG was in error and adequately replaced by multiple additional EKGs and medical reports.
Government agencies like to shuffle papers. The paper-shuffling makes the agency look busier. The "busier" they are, the more man-hours they charge to the job at hand. More man-hours translate to asking for more money in the next budget. The agency tries, and often succeeds, in spending all the money in the present budget. If they don't spend all the money, the surplus is cut from the next budget, so they don't get as much money as they think they need.
It appears that every time Mr. --- responded to a Medical Certification Division request for additional information, his new material moved his entire case back to the bottom of the sequence pile. There is no effort to prioritize files on a first come first serve basis.
I am a student pilot, and because of my medical certification delays... (FAA does quite a job) I my CFI switched me from part 61 to 141. Given that I finished all requirement dual flights, and all I have left is solos.
Obviously I can't accomplish that without the medical. It has been already a few months of waiting, and I have been flying once a week (or once in 2 weeks) just to keep my proficiency in the level I already have. Duals beyond the requirements are great, however it is a little impractical moneywise. So, my question is should I continue flying, or just stop and start again when my medical arrives? Should I expect to lose all my skills, I've collected yet? Any thoughts on this matter will be greatly appreciated.
As somebody else who was "standing in line" with you in OKC waiting on a medical, I just wanted to drop you a line and say that I FINALLY got mine today. Hooray! It took 2 months.
I'm a student pilot with 39 hrs who still hasn't flown solo.... During the wait, I got so discouraged about everything that I ultimately said "to hell with it" and decided to give up my pursuit for a PPL. The FAA won round #1. I was bummed big-time - bummed BEYOND what most people could imagine. Nowhere in their equation do they account for the BENEFITS that are derived when honest folks like me and you fly. When I fly, I'm happy. That means nothing to them.
BUT, and here's the good news, when I got that medical today EVERYTHING seemed to fall back into place.... I felt exactly the way I did 2 months ago before the FAA threw a wrench into my life/desires. I'm PUMPED again and intend to resume my training next week. I know that I'm pumped and ready to resume my training because I'm doing all of the other things I used to do while I daydreamed about flying again - listening to my scanner, scheduling lessons, reading the FARs, listening to DFW on the internet, reading the newsgroups, etc. I'm BACK and it sure does feel good! Yee-haw!
My only regret is that I let the !@#$%^ FAA affect me so much. In the end, they DIDN'T win. I did, by God. I can't wait to go up again.... Hooray for both of us for getting these !@#$%^ medicals! Keep up the good work on alerting the public about the BIG problems we (taxpayers) have in the OK City.
Makes just as much sense as when the glasses are for reading only. I know someone whe gets his medical from the AME with a limitation "Must have corrective lenses available". A few months after his physical, he gets a "corrected" medical from OK City with "Correvtive lenses must be worn during flight". The catch is, with the glasses, he can't see more than 10 feet. They are only for reading! Without them he can see fine outside the airplane, just has a little trouble reading the small print on the charts. Now that's the logic of the Federal Anti-Aviation Administration.
Assuming that the FAA is satisfied with the report from your doctor, you just may see that mail in the next week or so.
Mine took just a little over six weeks after being defered because of headaches treated with Imitrex. I wrote a personal letter, plus had a complete history sent along with the medical. I also had an AOPA attorney push it through (or at least she said she could speed it up, whatever it was, it seemed to work)
I was resigned to the fact that it would be a long time, if at all, by the tiime I got the certificate in the mail, so I was very pleasantly surprised.
Have about 20 hours and am finally getting it (landings) together to the > point that my cfi says I am ready to solo. Problem is that I have glaucoma (mild) and my medical went to Oklahoma City followed shortly by an FAA 8500-14 filled out by my opthomologist.
I e-mailed the FAA last week to ask if all the paperwork had gotten there OK, and all they would say was "it will probably be at least six weeks, depending upon who is working on it".
It's been almost five weeks now, so I'm hoping to see something soon. Does anyone in the group have any experience with this? Is six weeks likely to be reality? Does nagging the FAA do any good (or harm)?
I don't know if "nagging" helps, but keeping in contact can. I had to have my stuff sent into Oklahoma. After not hearing anything for three months (I was in college at the time and not planning on taking lessons for a while) I called up the FAA. The conversation went something like this:
FAA: "Haven't you received a letter from us?" Me: "Letter? What letter?" Turns out my medical records didn't get sent in with my application. If I hadn't called who knows how long I would have waited to find out. (Who has to go into the doctor Tuesday, 5 months after getting my medical, so he can report my migraines are the same as before...)
Subject: Medical From Hell, oh so long ago...
I ventured back to your page for "misery-loves-company" assuaging. It's been now almost seven months since my exam, and I still haven't received any contact from the FAA acknowledging my case. I've called them several times, and only the last time (about a month ago) was someone there able to tell me that my file is indeed "in the computer" and showing it's "in the review process" (previously, their computer was "down", as they were in the process of setting up a new computer system, they said).
The FAA representative repeated what I'd heard before--that I must wait for a letter from them requesting that I provide further documentation to them before I can do anything. Several of your other "cases" state that "after you send documentation to them, that's when the wait REALLY begins"--could this process really take another several YEARS?
Several of your "cases" seem to be closed up in a matter of weeks, and several have taken a number of months to complete (from exam to certification). Is it unusual for a case to drag on like mine (again, SEVEN MONTHS since my medical exam, and I still haven't received any mail from the FAA!)? And it's not like I've just sat on my laurels--I've called them at least half a dozen times to say: "HELLO!? I'm here, I'm interested, I'm waiting--what's up?".
Should I find some professional help to assist me with this? I checked out that website you mentioned, "www.aviationmedicine.com", and didn't immediately see how they could help me.
Any effective suggestions will be greatly appreciated. BTW
-- is your case still open, or are you a happy pilot again?
Thanks greatly again for all the great work you've put into this site. When (if?) I get back into the air, I'll be sure to use your site to help me to get back up to speed for my check-out flight!
I never had any problem with the US FAA, but it took me a wee while to deal with the British CAA, and I did learn a thing or two about dealing with 'the authorities'; in short: I am paraplegic (well, technically it's called a post-traumatic partial paraplegia or something like that; meaning that I was once dumb enough to break my
back, but lucky enough to recover quite a bit: i.e., I can walk albeit with forearm crutches and drive and fly without any special equipment though some kind of rudder pedals don't agree with me, i.e., there are aircraft I probably won't be able to fly, but then not much different from, say, someone who is too tall, or too short, or too fat or whatever); ah yes, I am also colour blind and wear glasses :-)
Now when I started the process of trying to get a medical to get a private pilote license (it's called >a license over there), I was flying gliders (known as sailplanes over here) without any problem; thing though is that soaring is a self regulated activity in UK/Ireland, and the CAA doesn't really take such experience into consideration (though one would think that someone who can fly gliders has demonstrated good enough control of the rudders, but it doesn't seem to be the case); anyway, to make a long story short (took me over 4 years of paperwork before I could even seat in a powered aircraft; once I did that though, took me less than 3 weeks to complete the PPL syllabus; twould have taken less than that, but I had to wait one week for the specially appointed examiner
for the 'medical flight test'):
i) What I found out is that 'special cases' tend to be handled by either a very small team or even, as was the case *only one person*; anything that might antagonize this person can stall the process indefinitly;
ii) Another thing is that something like the CAA HQ is a tightly knit community of civil servants who know each other and will NOT want to be seen contradicting a colleague once a decision is made;
iii) NO is by far a much easier answer than anything that said civil servant might have to justify later on; once I understood that, and once the guy who I first antagonized eventually retired, I was able to go through with the process....
I was surprised and pleased to see my medical story on your web site. Now I'll relay another.
I have 3 daughters and I am a second generation pilot. My dad taught me to fly and I've been fortunate enough to share my passion / affliction with my kids. This story is about my oldest.
She is now 26 years old. When she was born, she was premature and only weighed 4 1/2 pounds. At a year old, she was only 12 pounds. When she was in 3rd grade the school called us and said she was having difficulty keeping up and suggested that she be placed in a special ed. program. She was classified Learning Disabled and Emotionally Disabled and spent the rest of grammar school in special ed programs. When she entered Junior High, she had progressed far enough to be mainstreamed back into the regular classes.
Part of that success was her involvement with aviation. I was towing and instructing for a glider club and she would come along and run wings, wash gliders, cut the grass . . . in exchange for her flight training. She was doing quite well and soloed on her 14th birthday, a cold windy December day. Shortly after that, her mother and I split up and after a few months she came to live with me. Since this required a move and a new school, she was the outsider and knowing what kids can do to each other, I know she had a hard time fitting in. Unfortunately, when she was 15, she met a boy and fell in "Love". (the downfall of all kids) The group she hung around with were not the ideal citizens and I suspected some amount of drug use. As fate would play out, they broke up and Katie took it very hard. Within a very short time she was in a deep depression and I had her going to a shrink. The doctor had prescribed antidepressants and as luck would have it, Katie made a suicide attempt.
After a month in the hospital, She was out and appeared to be doing OK. The school district we lived in had a program at the vocational school where, in the junior and senior year, kids would be given the chance to have ground school and flight training to get them ready for their private ticket. She was accepted into this program and the possibility of flying was the major force behind her desire to move on. She completed the junior year with good grades and was almost to the point of solo, about mid way in her senior year. It was time for the FAA Medical! She came to me the night before her appointment and asked "Dad, what should I put on the application?" Knowing full well what she was referring to, and trying to be a good father I couldn't tell her to lie, so I said, "Mark down what's in your heart." She went for her physical, told the truth on the application, and was issued a third class medical. That week she soloed and was working on her cross countries when the letter from Oklahoma City came.
The Aeromedical branch found that she was not fit to hold a third class medical and had to return the certificate without delay. She was crushed! She managed to hold herself together until she graduated High School that spring. Within a week after graduation, things went downhill.
I found some pot on the back porch and confronted her with it. I made some very liberal punishment but she had already decided that "life sucks" and said she no longer lived with me. Shie moved out that day and lived on the streets for the next two years.
After several attempts to help her, rehabs, enrolling her in college, back and forth, she was out on the streets again. She finally came back one time, blew up and became violent. We had to have her arrested. That was the hardest thing for me to do in my life but I knew it was the only alternative. After she was released from jail, she was on the streets again for another couple years. Finally about 3 years ago, she woke up one day strung out on heroin with nowhere to go and no chance for her next fix. She called a social worker and checked herself into rehab. She spent almost two years in rehab this time and has been out now for about a year. She holds down a job and has managed to stay straight.
She has a lot of psychological problems, some genetic, some because she was a preemie, and some brought on by the use of drugs and alcohol. But some have also been brought on by a bureaucracy that wouldn't allow a kid a chance because of mistakes she had made. There is no reason for the FAA to deny a medical to an at risk youth provided that youth is monitored in a reasonable fashion. I'm angry with the system for what has happened to my family as a result of this. I know the FAA doesn't bear all the fault, but if she had the ability to pursue her dreams and fly, she may have stayed on the straight and narrow.
I saw your post to rec.aviation.student, and could use any words of advice regarding the process of obtaining my medical certificate from the FAA.
My AME says I need statements from a Neurologist (about my infrequentbut severe headaches) and a psychologist (about a diagnosis that included the term "mild depression" that I was given when I was going through a relationship crisis). However, an FAA representative in my area this morning said that they won't accept letters from psychologists--only psychiatrists--so I might need to find a shrink and have an evaluation. This is crazy! I feel I was way too much "by the book" when answering those questions!!
I'd be curious to hear about your experience with all of this.
Are any of your issues similar to mine? Do you know other people
that could help me to "learn the ropes" about dealing
with the FAA for my issues?
I'm still trying to accept what I've done to myself by being so "honest"; I see that it really wasn't the right thing to do in this case--I wish I'd seen your webpage BEFORE I visited the AME!!! But my CFI, who's been teaching for 4 years, has never seen a problem like this. He didn't even warn me to get my exam early--I was to solo last Friday so he reminded me to do the test a week previous, and didn't expect any problems. Do most CFI's know to warn their students about the test, and how "strict" the FAA is if you check any of the boxes as "yes"? He should have done a "trial run" of the FAA form with me. Could you do something like that on your site--or would it be illegal (silly, but likely!)?
Anyways, thanks very much for all of the effort you do to try to get this information "out there"--it really helps us to share our pain. I understand, from reading the other cases, that I probably won't see my certificate (assuming I get and send them satisfactory "explanations" for my headaches and why I'm in psychological therapy) for another 2-5 months. That will probably double my training cost (the medical bills plus the "review" flights and ground lessons to stay "current"...
This is just a big opportunity to practice responsibility (for answering like I did), and acceptance (instead of being angry with the AME or the situation); it won't help...
Here's hoping you're successful in getting through the the Monroney Maze and get certified. I have both Type II Diabetes and Chronic Lymphocytic Lukemia and my medical certification requires an annual "hoop-jumping".
In the several years that I've gone through this mess, I've found the AME is key. The last AME I went to made all the difference and I walked out of his office with my 2nd class in hand .. the previous AME made me wait for an OKC issuance (which resulted in a 9 month medical).
Gene, you are not alone!
I have held 1st and 2nd class medicals for the last 20 years. About 15 years ago I started to develop resparatory problems (runny nose and dificulty breathing). I never saught treatment till about 10 years ago. Went thru the whole alergy screening and came up with nothing. Went to an ENT and has a submucus resection (sp?) without any relief. Finally went to a pulmanary specialist about 6 years ago and found out I had asthma! I was still getting 1st or 2nd class medicals up until 2 years ago when I moved and went to a new AME. He decided that he couldn't issue my medical in the office and that he would have to send it to Oklahoma City. When I left his office, I called Oklahoma City and was told there was no reason it couldn't have been issued in the office and that the asthma condition was properly documented and ok'd in my records. I also called AOPA and they told me about the same. I canceled payment on my check to the first AME and went to a second AME and had the medical issued in the office. I thought all was well but it wasn't. Since the first AME sent the application in to OKC, I got a letter from Dr. Silberman stating that I had to supply him with all my records relating to my "condition". Keep in mind that this "condition" is under control with medication, has never warented an emergency room visit, and if I hadn't gone to a doctor and had it diagnosed, all I would have had is a runny nose and sneezing. I obtained a 2nd class medical for at least 5 years with the symptoms not being diagnosed. The moral of thestory is, DON"T GO TO THE DOCTOR if you want to fly! Or else don't put the information on the application and if it ever comes up, "I forgot!"
It is readily apparent that the FAA's policy on alcoholism is a major contributing factor as to why we have drunk pilots in U.S. airspace! I have come to the conclusion that the FAA is either too painfully stupid to realize what kind of problem they are causing or they couldn't possibly care about drunks piloting aircraft as long as said pilots keep their drinking problems to themselves.
Four years ago in my naiveté I proudly told the FAA that I had been treated for alcoholism and that I had two months of sobriety under my belt. I thought that they would look at my application for a medical certificate and see that I had done something positive about my drinking problem, possibly run a couple of background checks to see if everything was on the up and up and grant me my medical. I was quickly and firmly kicked in the teeth for telling the truth. My medical certificate was flatly denied and I was told that I could apply again in two years given that I stayed sober. The FAA then told me that I could apply for a special issue medical certificate. This would entail taking a battery of psychological tests that are very expensive and I would be monitored on a probationary basis. I was also told that I probably wouldn't get the certificate anyway because of my short sobriety time.
Every pilot I have talked to since has looked at me with baffled amusement and asked me why I would do such a thing in the first place. How embarrassing! I have not been able to find one pilot who would tell the FAA anything about drinking or anything else they could possibly hide since.
After obtaining my two years of sobriety I did in fact get
my medical certificate only to find that the atrocity mentioned
above was merely the tip of the iceberg in the FAA's propensity
for idiocy. I have since given up on any hope of flying for enjoyment.
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