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View Full Version : Lapsed Medical & DQ Condition


Tailwind62
08-10-2017, 06:56 AM
I was issued a 2nd class medical that has since lapsed. After being diagnosed with a disqualifying medical condition, I stopped all training and have not exercised the privileges of my license since getting the bad news (I left the college I was training at).

Since I stopped exercising the privileges of my certificates and have since let my medical expire, I did not report my condition to the FAA. Now I want to get back to flying, but I will need to get a new medical. I expect it to be a long ordeal that will hopefully end up in a special issuance.

My question is: Will I get in trouble for not reporting a condition even if I wasn't exercising the cert?

I certainly don't want to end up in jail for something like this. I did not have the condition diagnosed when the 2nd class was originally issued, so I didn't mislead the FAA in order to obtain the 2nd class. I fully intend to disclose the diagnosis when I go back in to renew the medical, and I am prepared to navigate the special issuance process if needed.

Any help is greatly appreciated.


rickair7777
08-10-2017, 08:10 AM
Relax, you have nothing to worry about. There is NO requirement whatsoever that you report medical conditions to the FAA unless you are renewing an FAA medical.

Caveat to that: If you learn you have a disqualifying condition, you are supposed to ground yourself, which you did. You're fine.

There is some grey area here...

Black & White: If you have a disqualifying condition which obviously fully resolves itself, you can generally unground yourself when you're fit to fly, no AME visit or consult required (practically speaking). Example here is a bad cold or the flu. If you didn't get any professional health care for the condition, you don't even have to report it on your next medical. AME won't care anyway.

Black and White: You get diagnosed with something serious and complicated like cancer or cardio-vascular disease. Even if you got treated and told you're cured, the FAA is going to want to hear about this before you go fly regardless.

Grey: Bad broken bone. Healed up but residual range of motion limits. Something like this could go either way. They might expect you to talk to an AME before you unground yourself, or they might be OK with you making a self-assessment that you're good to fly.

For a professional pilot, if there's any doubt at all about grey area, talk to the AME first just to CYA.

Tailwind62
08-10-2017, 09:44 AM
Relax, you have nothing to worry about. There is NO requirement whatsoever that you report medical conditions to the FAA unless you are renewing an FAA medical.

Caveat to that: If you learn you have a disqualifying condition, you are supposed to ground yourself, which you did. You're fine.

There is some grey area here...

Black & White: If you have a disqualifying condition which obviously fully resolves itself, you can generally unground yourself when you're fit to fly, no AME visit or consult required (practically speaking). Example here is a bad cold or the flu. If you didn't get any professional health care for the condition, you don't even have to report it on your next medical. AME won't care anyway.

Black and White: You get diagnosed with something serious and complicated like cancer or cardio-vascular disease. Even if you got treated and told you're cured, the FAA is going to want to hear about this before you go fly regardless.

Grey: Bad broken bone. Healed up but residual range of motion limits. Something like this could go either way. They might expect you to talk to an AME before you unground yourself, or they might be OK with you making a self-assessment that you're good to fly.

For a professional pilot, if there's any doubt at all about grey area, talk to the AME first just to CYA.

Thanks Rick,

This is pretty reassuring and I appreciate the time you took to reply. Condition was mental illness. Need to get that cleared by the doc, I assume to just say I am stable and no longer medicated. I was also diagnosed with OSA due to enlarged tonsils, once I get the followup sleep study, I hope they say that that has gone away (so I dont need to navigate that issue too when I go back in).

If I want to consult with someone about these and how it relates to my medical, would I be able to do that with an AME, or is that all on the record? I have also looked into going to the Mayo Clinic's Aerospace Medicine Cente (http://www.mayoclinic.org/departments-centers/preventive-occupational-aerospace-medicine/aerospace-medicine/services)r to go over things, but I am not sure if that is overkill.


CaptYoda
08-10-2017, 11:30 PM
I would look at the disqualifying conditions that you had and then the FAA protocol on how to report and resolve it. If you find that you are not able to do the process yourself, consider the services of AOPA Medical, AMAS, Leftseat.com or Dr. Bruce as have been listed here. They are all very good. Expect it to take time and you have to do everything the FAA requires if you stand any chance at all. The biggest issue the FAA says is folks don't provide whats asked for and in the correct format. Other than AOPA, you can expect to spend few thousand dollars for consults and tests. If you get a special issuance, it may take 6-12 months minimum. And there will be an ongoing protocol on a yearly basis.

rickair7777
08-11-2017, 08:20 AM
What Yoda said. Both mental illness and OSA are show-stoppers which will require some paperwork and likely additional evaluations. You need to get professional advice BEFORE you talk to an AME/FAA.

Hopefully the mental health issue was garden-variety anxiety/depression. History of other mental health conditions is likely to be difficult to get by the FAA.

Tailwind62
08-11-2017, 10:14 AM
What Yoda said. Both mental illness and OSA are show-stoppers which will require some paperwork and likely additional evaluations. You need to get professional advice BEFORE you talk to an AME/FAA.

Hopefully the mental health issue was garden-variety anxiety/depression. History of other mental health conditions is likely to be difficult to get by the FAA.

Yep - ready to try to tackle it. I hope that once I get reevaluated by the head doc they will say I am good. I have already been off the medication. For OSA, some other threads have talked about getting SI even with a CPAP. If it turns out I actually do need one, I hope it wont be too big of a deal to work through it.

If I should discuss this with someone before seeing an AME, who would be the best person to see that is knowledgeable about FAA medical issues and DQ conditions?

For this portion History of other mental health conditions is likely to be difficult to get by the FAA.

Are you talking about more severe conditions such as Bipolar or psychosis, etc?

rickair7777
08-11-2017, 11:30 AM
Yep - ready to try to tackle it. I hope that once I get reevaluated by the head doc they will say I am good. I have already been off the medication. For OSA, some other threads have talked about getting SI even with a CPAP. If it turns out I actually do need one, I hope it wont be too big of a deal to work through it.

If I should discuss this with someone before seeing an AME, who would be the best person to see that is knowledgeable about FAA medical issues and DQ conditions?

Perhaps AOPA, more likely an aviation medical consultant like CaptYoda mentioned. Need help from someone who knows what the FAA will require, and how to document it.


Are you talking about more severe conditions such as Bipolar or psychosis, etc?

Yes.

Tailwind62
08-11-2017, 01:01 PM
Perhaps AOPA, more likely an aviation medical consultant like CaptYoda mentioned. Need help from someone who knows what the FAA will require, and how to document it.



Yes.

Appreciate your help. I decided to give the Mayo Clinic's Aerospace Medicine department a call today. They have been great so far and have been open about the process going forward. I doubt insurance will cover any of it, but maybe if I word it carefully they will pick some cost up.

In the meantime, I'm having a free phone consult to see what my options are.

They mentioned a HIMS evaluation so I'm not sure of that process, but they gave me a website to look over. Fingers crossed.

rickair7777
08-11-2017, 01:33 PM
Appreciate your help. I decided to give the Mayo Clinic's Aerospace Medicine department a call today. They have been great so far and have been open about the process going forward. I doubt insurance will cover any of it, but maybe if I word it carefully they will pick some cost up.

In the meantime, I'm having a free phone consult to see what my options are.

They mentioned a HIMS evaluation so I'm not sure of that process, but they gave me a website to look over. Fingers crossed.

If the mental health issue is addiction/substance abuse, there's a pretty clear road-map to FAA certification for that. Perhaps lengthy, but shouldn't be too much uncertainty as to a positive outcome if you're clean and your docs agree. Just stay clean.

Tailwind62
08-11-2017, 03:46 PM
Not substance (drugs/alcohol) related. The guy on the phone said that the Feds want people who have been on SSRI medication to go through HIMS as well. Although he seemed pretty positive about the recent medication allowances on a SI (despite being grounded until you are stable on a dose for 6mo). Again - hope this won't be too big of an issue since, imo, I don't need to go back on the meds.

I'm hopeful but trying to stay realistic. Fingers crossed.

Tailwind62
08-11-2017, 03:54 PM
I would look at the disqualifying conditions that you had and then the FAA protocol on how to report and resolve it. If you find that you are not able to do the process yourself, consider the services of AOPA Medical, AMAS, Leftseat.com or Dr. Bruce as have been listed here. They are all very good. Expect it to take time and you have to do everything the FAA requires if you stand any chance at all. The biggest issue the FAA says is folks don't provide whats asked for and in the correct format. Other than AOPA, you can expect to spend few thousand dollars for consults and tests. If you get a special issuance, it may take 6-12 months minimum. And there will be an ongoing protocol on a yearly basis.

Yoda,

Thanks for the reply. I'll confess that looking over the AME flow charts for my two conditions I'm not sure if I can navigate them without help. I have a free intake call with Mayo Clinic's Aerospace Medicine dept. From there, they will suggest further action (such as an AME consult or any tests the FAA may want when the time comes).

If those costs balloon to a point I can't handle, I will go the AOPA route. The membership + medical plus service will be about $150. I'm not sure of the amount of help they provide, but just having a consult would be great.

Thanks again for your help.

CaptYoda
08-11-2017, 07:28 PM
The costs of all the tests and reports required is where the expenses can really start to add up, depending on your condition. I think in your case the mental condition will be the most cumbersome to overcome.

I did a initial Special Issuance and subsequent applications by myself without any major issues. It did cost me several thousand dollars for the specialist visits, tests and reports that were required. Many of these tests are required every year or two depending on the conditions of your special issuance. Insurance does not pay for most of them.

In the end you have to decide if it's worth it. My FAA medicals are no longer $100-150 every six months.

Tailwind62
08-11-2017, 08:03 PM
In the end you have to decide if it's worth it. My FAA medicals are no longer $100-150 every six months.

Is there ever a point where the FAA would be satisfied that a person is stable? It's sounding like even if they issue you the SI (even though they may not want to) they can still force you out due to the high medical cost of the recurring screenings (maybe I'm being pessimistic). That's a little disappointing to hear, but I will have to wait and see what the consultation lays out.

I've been fortunate to have a large portion of my mental health care covered by my previous insurance...now that I am on my employer's plan, I hope that doesn't change.

CaptYoda
08-11-2017, 08:27 PM
To some extent you are right. Many folks simply give up because of either the cost or the paperwork involved. Statistically, there seems to be a very good chance of getting certified. However, it's a bit like weight loss. It's easy perhaps to lose weight, but keeping it off is harder.

The issue with the tests is that the FAA asks for certain tests that are not normally considered required by the mainstream medical community. So your doctor will oblige you with the order but the insurance company will not pay for it, especially if the interval is short.

As an example. The FAA requires a angiogram (very invasive) 6 months after bypass surgery. It can cost several thousand dollars depending on where you have it done. Most cardiologists will wonder why you need one six months after surgery. But if you don't get it you are dead in the water for an FAA medical. Then they require a Bruce Protocol Stress Test every year and a Nuclear Stress test every two years, in addition to full blood and lipid profiles. So as you can see these can really add up. If the test is not done to their specifications (VERY VERY IMPORTANT) they will reject it and it has to be redone.

It can be done if you have the patience, determination and ofcourse the funds. I suggest you give it a good try with an initial consult and then decide further. Best of luck.

atpwannabe
08-18-2017, 09:10 AM
If the mental health issue is addiction/substance abuse, there's a pretty clear road-map to FAA certification for that. Perhaps lengthy, but shouldn't be too much uncertainty as to a positive outcome if you're clean and your docs agree. Just stay clean.


You know...I'm glad I troll APC every now & then. This is good news rickair. Don't worry though, I'm not going to throw you up under bus (LOL) and tell the FAA..."well this is what rickair7777 said!"

I reached out to the Chief Psychiatrist today. I left a message. Hopefully, he'll get back to me. We shall see!


atp

V1rotateV2
10-14-2017, 05:03 AM
You're getting good advice here, and I'll add something. Draw a solid line between "medically necessary" procedures and those required by the FAA for their protocols. Doctors not familiar with FAA standards and requirements can sometimes do tremendous damage to your FAA case by making statements and using words in a way to "help" you qualify for insurance coverage.