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27roberts
12-19-2017, 09:12 AM
I have a rather busy medical history with most of it being rather minor. (I.e. tonsillectomy, broken nose, skin graft for 3rd degree burn).

I was diagnosed with Wolff-Parkinson-White syndrome (electrical issue in the heart causing episodes of rapid/irregular heartbeat) when I was young and have had several ablations to take care of it (2 of those being accompanied by ER visits). The first two were unsuccessful but the technology has come along and my Cardiologist is satisfied with the outcome of my most recent ablation. Hopefully I wonít have any issues for the rest of my life but there is always a chance however slight that it could present itself again in the future.

I have aspirations of eventually flying for a major airline so my question is this: are airlines standards more strict than the FAA when it comes to medical condition? If I get approved for an unrestricted 1st class medical certificate could my past medical problems still keep me from ever being employable?

I completely understand that this isnít something that can be answered definitively over the internet. Just looking for input. Thanks!


chignutsak
12-19-2017, 10:22 AM
In general I would say that most airlines are only interested in the piece of paper you present from your AME. I am not aware of any airlines that still deep dive into your medical past.

Your problem may be with getting the certificate in the first place. I'll let someone more knowledgeable than I comment on the special issuance process in regards to cardiac issues such as yours, but any good senior AME would be happy to consult with you before you actually apply to counsel you on what obstacles you may face.

It is worth mentioning that when you do apply for your medical, be complete and be truthful on that federal form. There are severe penalties for not doing so.

rickair7777
12-19-2017, 10:39 AM
The FAA cares about sudden incapacitation, and any medical changes which might occur between FAA medical exams (every 6 or 12 months for airline pilots).

With what you're describing, they are going to evaluate two things...

1) Are you more likely than the average person to have a cardiac event?

2) Is the condition likely to worsen in less than 6-12 months?

If the answer to 1) is yes, you may have a problem and at the very least will need to get some specialty consultations.

If the answer to 1) is no, but 2) is yes, you might get a special issuance medical with a shorter validity, ie perhaps 90-180 days. That would be a nuisance, but would probably still be acceptable by many airlines (maybe all if ADA is in play).

This is just speculation, before you talk to the FAA or an AME you should get help from an aviation medical consultant. AOPA has that service, and AMAS is a popular one as well.


27roberts
12-19-2017, 11:32 AM
The FAA cares about sudden incapacitation, and any medical changes which might occur between FAA medical exams (every 6 or 12 months for airline pilots).

With what you're describing, they are going to evaluate two things...

1) Are you more likely than the average person to have a cardiac event?

2) Is the condition likely to worsen in less than 6-12 months?

If the answer to 1) is yes, you may have a problem and at the very least will need to get some specialty consultations.

If the answer to 1) is no, but 2) is yes, you might get a special issuance medical with a shorter validity, ie perhaps 90-180 days. That would be a nuisance, but would probably still be acceptable by many airlines (maybe all if ADA is in play).

This is just speculation, before you talk to the FAA or an AME you should get help from an aviation medical consultant. AOPA has that service, and AMAS is a popular one as well.

Iíve already submitted the electronic medical form to the FAA and talked to an AME. He said that since Iíve had an ablation that he will defer to the FAA for a decision and they will send me a letter requesting the paperwork they will need.

My concern isnít really with the condition itself because 95% of ablations result in the patient being ďcuredĒ for life and from what I have read the FAA is pretty reasonable about these sorts of things. My concern is the fact that Iíve needed 3 due to the problem being in a difficult area of the heart to preform the procedure on. They might see me as a lost cause as far as being curable. I figured Iíd just provide them with anything and everything they need and hope for the best while understanding that there is a possibility of an unfavorable outcome.

Will all this considered, IF I am able to obtain a 1st class certificate from the FAA, I should be good to go with the airlines as well? They arenít going to hold me to a higher medical standard than the FAA would in other words?

Thanks for the reply!

rickair7777
12-19-2017, 05:20 PM
My concern isnít really with the condition itself because 95% of ablations result in the patient being ďcuredĒ for life and from what I have read the FAA is pretty reasonable about these sorts of things. My concern is the fact that Iíve needed 3 due to the problem being in a difficult area of the heart to preform the procedure on. They might see me as a lost cause as far as being curable. I figured Iíd just provide them with anything and everything they need and hope for the best while understanding that there is a possibility of an unfavorable outcome.

It's in their hands now. If they reject you, might want want to try the consultants... they know how to present your case to OKC.


Will all this considered, IF I am able to obtain a 1st class certificate from the FAA, I should be good to go with the airlines as well? They arenít going to hold me to a higher medical standard than the FAA would in other words?

10-20 years ago airlines would hold you to their own standards, often of the astronaut variety. Today they have backed way off of that, and many majors just want to see an FAA 1C certificate. A few I think still do a medical, but I understand that it's only to verify your eligibility for an FAA 1C... without the benefit of a "helpful" AME.

Not sure how they feel about an SI... historically that would let you keep a job, but not necessarily get a job.

fooled2x
12-19-2017, 08:49 PM
Have you done a stress test yet? Expect to do the Bruce protocol. If you can't pass that one you can expect a nuclear stress test.

27roberts
12-20-2017, 08:27 AM
It's in their hands now. If they reject you, might want want to try the consultants... they know how to present your case to OKC.



10-20 years ago airlines would hold you to their own standards, often of the astronaut variety. Today they have backed way off of that, and many majors just want to see an FAA 1C certificate. A few I think still do a medical, but I understand that it's only to verify your eligibility for an FAA 1C... without the benefit of a "helpful" AME.

Not sure how they feel about an SI... historically that would let you keep a job, but not necessarily get a job.

Thatís what I was looking for. Thanks! Iím going to postpone my AME exam and seek consultation.

27roberts
12-20-2017, 08:31 AM
Have you done a stress test yet? Expect to do the Bruce protocol. If you can't pass that one you can expect a nuclear stress test.

I have done a stress test before but not for this. I should be able to pass any test with flying colors. Unless you looked at my medical history you couldnít tell Iíve ever had any issues.

AirBear
12-20-2017, 01:39 PM
Since the American with Disabilities Act passed airlines had to back off on the "Astronaut" physicals. Basically the ADA as it applies to pilots says an employer can't impose stricter standards than the FAA does. They could give you a 1C physical thou I think, but nothing more than what has to be checked in a 1C.

At my corporate aviation employer we had a pilot come back from Medical LOA with a 30lb lifting restriction. He had been out for some serious back issues that required multiple surgeries. Since we load pax bags (some felt like they were full of gold bars) that was a problem for the company and they didn't want to let him return. But he won in the end because of the ADA. Employer would have had to prove it was an "unreasonable" accommodation. Since there's another pilot and 99% of the time line guys who can load bags they couldn't prove that.



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