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Drew1024
02-10-2016, 08:44 PM
Hello, I am new to this forum. I apologize if this posted twice, I was having trouble with posting earlier. I am currently a new flight student with only a couple of hours in a Cessna 172 and super decathlon. I've only been up twice, and aside from seeing my daughter arrive into this world, it was the most amazing experience of my life. My flight instructor gave me a good deal on a total of 55 hours paid up front, and he is eager to get that money. My problem is that I have a history with substance abuse and I don't want to pay all of that money to find out that I wasted it. It all started when my wife left me a little over 4 years ago when I was in the Air Force. At that point I started using oxycodone and hydrocodone recreationally. I know it was a stupid choice that lasted about 3 years. I am now a little over a year clean and I couldn't be happier with how my life is going now. I did see a drug treatment therapist for my substance abuse, and he put me on suboxone for a while to help wean me off. I have never failed a drug test. I also have a few law violations that occurred before my sixteenth birthday, I am now 27. I got in trouble for curfew, underage drinking and my mom calling the cops on me for not following her rules. I know that my juvenile criminal record is sealed, so I'm not sure I can provide that info to the physician. Either way, it's petty stuff anyways. The air force even let me enlist when I disclosed all of that info. I was also on probation until I was 17. I have not been arrested since I was 15 years old. I also have had a few trips to the ER due to my knee and back hurting, most recent being last year when I was rear ended pretty hard. I also had to see a chiropractor for my back. My knee and back feel fine now, and I can function normally. My flight instructor told me that I only needed to provide the last 3 years of dr and ER visits. Do not worry, I will NOT lie on my FAA medical exam, honesty is a big part of my recovery, and I absolutely don't want to ruin this for myself in the long run by lying. I am worried that I will be permenatly disqualified from becoming a pilot due to my past. If that happens, I will have wasted a ton of money on flight school, not to mention my dreams will be crushed. My instructor seems to think I'll be fine if I'm up front and honest about everything. He also wants me to wait until I'm ready to fly solo to do my medical exam. Like I said, I am in a good place right now. I have an awesome new wife, new baby and a great job that pays excellent. I know I made a few mistakes, but I turned my life around for the better. Does anyone here have any experience with this, or at least have some good advice for me? Any helpful feedback would be greatly appreciated. Thank you


LRSRanger
02-10-2016, 09:16 PM
Well, I'm no expert on substance abuse and medicals, but I would NOT give your CFI a 55 hour block of change until you have medical certification. I get that he needs to pay his bills, but the fact that he is eager to get a giant chunk of change when there are doubts about your medical is suspicious. Personally, I would not accept a dime from my student till I am sure he has the ability to get a medical. To do otherwise seems unethical to me. Plus a 55 hour block is huge, I've never heard of someone paying in blocks that large. 10 or 15 maybe, but 55?!?

Have you shopped around? A CFI is a large investment, you might go talk to a few others and see who you like best. This guy might be just fine, but it sounds a little fishy from afar.


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Drew1024
02-11-2016, 09:18 AM
Well, I'm no expert on substance abuse and medicals, but I would NOT give your CFI a 55 hour block of change until you have medical certification. I get that he needs to pay his bills, but the fact that he is eager to get a giant chunk of change when there are doubts about your medical is suspicious. Personally, I would not accept a dime from my student till I am sure he has the ability to get a medical. To do otherwise seems unethical to me. Plus a 55 hour block is huge, I've never heard of someone paying in blocks that large. 10 or 15 maybe, but 55?!?

Have you shopped around? A CFI is a large investment, you might go talk to a few others and see who you like best. This guy might be just fine, but it sounds a little fishy from afar.


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Yeah you're right, that's a pretty big gamble for me to pay all of that right now. I'm going to hold off until I figure this out. he does 55 hours because that is the average success rate of his students for a private certificate, and he drops the overall price if paid in full vs paying per lesson or smaller blocks. It would be almost $3k less if paid in full. However, he does not gaurantee that I'll have my certificate within that time. Now I'm just going to have to figure out this medical business so I'm legal and good to go. I really do want this more than anything right now.


LRSRanger
02-11-2016, 10:22 AM
Wait, a savings of 3K?!? What's his hourly rate?!? I charge 50/hr X 55 hours = $2750 Total. To give you a drop of 3 grand on 55 hours his starting rate must be insane. Unless it's including airplane time as well. But to give a $55/hr discount for accounts paid in full his profit margins must be off the chart at his normal rate, even with an airplane involved. I'd shop around. Something isn't right.


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AC560
02-11-2016, 10:23 AM
Yeah you're right, that's a pretty big gamble for me to pay all of that right now. I'm going to hold off until I figure this out. he does 55 hours because that is the average success rate of his students for a private certificate, and he drops the overall price if paid in full vs paying per lesson or smaller blocks. It would be almost $3k less if paid in full. However, he does not gaurantee that I'll have my certificate within that time. Now I'm just going to have to figure out this medical business so I'm legal and good to go. I really do want this more than anything right now.

I would ask to speak to a couple of his previous students and check around airport for some feedback on him before writing a check. A lot of horror stories out there involving block time and people losing money or getting stuck in bad situations.

I would ensure you can get a medical before doing anything further though. AOPA forums has a medical section where you can post anonymously and there are couple of AME's that will offer rough guidance. Do not fill out any paperwork to discuss with AME, once you fill medical form out they cannot guide you. You can discuss in a hypothetical non-request for a medical with an AME though (i.e. office visit not a FAA medical appointment).

Twin Wasp
02-11-2016, 11:08 AM
While there is a section of the medical application where you list all medical visits in the last three years there is also a section that asks "HAVE YOU EVER IN YOUR LIFE BEEN DIAGNOSED, HAD OR DO YOU PRESENTLY HAVE ANY OF THE FOLLOWING - (Yes, the FAA form is in all caps.) One of the boxes is "Substance dependence or failed a drug test ever: or substance abuse or use of illegal substance in the last 2 years." So while your CFI is right you only have to report the last three years of vists you also have to report a lifetime history of medical conditions. So now you're getting into the definition of abuse versus dependence. That's way above my pay grade. There are several services that will consult on a FAA medical. As pointed out above you could see if you could talk with a FAA AME. You may want to talk with an AME who works with the HIMS program.

AC560
02-11-2016, 11:30 AM
While there is a section of the medical application where you list all medical visits in the last three years there is also a section that asks "HAVE YOU EVER IN YOUR LIFE BEEN DIAGNOSED, HAD OR DO YOU PRESENTLY HAVE ANY OF THE FOLLOWING - (Yes, the FAA form is in all caps.) One of the boxes is "Substance dependence or failed a drug test ever: or substance abuse or use of illegal substance in the last 2 years." .

Cannot stress enough do not fill out this form until you have a conversation with an AME about hypotheticals and get guidance. Once you fill out the form you have started down a path to which there is no turning back, so ensure you have guidance on how/what to do by an actual expert in these matters before proceeding.

By experts I mean somebody other than the Internet/your CFI. AOPA medical would be a good start.

LRSRanger
02-11-2016, 12:17 PM
Are you planning on flying professionally, or simply personally? If it's personal you might look into light sport, as you don't need a medical for that. However, if you are denied a medical you can no longer fly LSA, something to keep in mind


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Drew1024
02-11-2016, 12:42 PM
Thank you, the AOPA was helpful. I did call the AOPA number and talked to a medical specialist. He did say that I would have to wait 2 years after I stopped taking drug, and wait one year after completed treatment for the drug before I can receive a medical. Which is not a problem considering that I'm a little over a year clean and I want this to be as legal and legit as possible. Nothing to come back at me and bite me in the arse. Plus, I completely understand FAA regulations concerning substance abuse. So it does not bother me that I have to jump through some hoops to get there. The AOPA medical specialist also told me pretty much the same thing you guys did about having to pay all up front. I am new to this, and I apreciate the advise. I still want to fly, but I will be paying at the beginning of each lesson instead of all up front. That way I can't get screwed out of any money. I thought about getting a sport certificate to start. I do eventually want to become a CFI, so the medical is important to me. Maybe I should just get my sport certificate and later apply for a medical when more time has passed. Maybe that will show the FAA that I am on the right path and that I am fit for flying.

Drew1024
02-14-2016, 07:57 AM
[QUOTE=LRSRanger;2067001]Are you planning on flying professionally, or simply personally? If it's personal you might look into light sport, as you don't need a medical for that. However, if you are denied a medical you can no longer fly LSA, something to keep in mind


Thank you. I looked into the sport pilot license after you said something, and that's something that I can see myself enjoying. I found a company that specializes in sport aircraft, and I made an appointment for an intro flight next week. I was unaware of the different types of aircraft I can still fly as a sport pilot. I literally thought I was limited to air trikes or something lol. That is not the case. I can also become a CFIS without a medical as well. And who knows, I read an article stating the FAA might make it so pilots can get my private certificate without a medical someday soon. I apreciate all of the advice. You guys may have saved me from losing my chance to enjoy flying.

Flyhayes
02-14-2016, 03:37 PM
Wait, a savings of 3K?!? What's his hourly rate?!? I charge 50/hr X 55 hours = $2750 Total. To give you a drop of 3 grand on 55 hours his starting rate must be insane. Unless it's including airplane time as well. But to give a $55/hr discount for accounts paid in full his profit margins must be off the chart at his normal rate, even with an airplane involved. I'd shop around. Something isn't right.


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Some instructors own their own airplanes... Just saying.

But yes, I would be leary of paying anyone more than 10hrs at a time.

LRSRanger
02-14-2016, 07:33 PM
Some instructors own their own airplanes... Just saying.



But yes, I would be leary of paying anyone more than 10hrs at a time.


Very true, but even including the plane being able to discount $55/hr and still turn a worthwhile profit must mean he is making an absolute killing at whatever his normal rate is. I'm used to seeing 5-10% discounts for buying block time, but that seems excessive. That's at least a 30% discount, and then he wants 55 hours up front?!? Of course I'm paranoid and generally start by assuming I'm getting screwed... I have been taken a time or 2 and that was enough for me.


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Drew1024
02-15-2016, 03:54 PM
Very true, but even including the plane being able to discount $55/hr and still turn a worthwhile profit must mean he is making an absolute killing at whatever his normal rate is. I'm used to seeing 5-10% discounts for buying block time, but that seems excessive. That's at least a 30% discount, and then he wants 55 hours up front?!? Of course I'm paranoid and generally start by assuming I'm getting screwed... I have been taken a time or 2 and that was enough for me.


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He does own a few aircraft. His normal rate is a little over 10k for 55 hours, plus ground school, tail wheel endorsement and some other stuff. He is running a special for about 7.5k, so not quite 3k in savings, but close. Im in Northern California (won't say where) and he seems to be the only instructor here to offer giant blocks of time like that. I have decided to go with another instructor that does not require that I pay in blocks unless I choose to do so. I found a company that specializes in sport and private certificates and I have decided to go with getting my sport certificate for now. I can worry about my medical exam when the time comes. Thank you for that suggestion.

Helipilotiswhf
09-19-2017, 02:40 PM
I have a stressful problem and need answers. Last year the FAA denied my third class medical because they saw records that I was smoking marijuana for a while due to my phychiatrist putting down that info in my history while I was visiting her. I'm only 20 years old and working on my private pilot certificate. I have done my solo back in 2014 and haven't flown since today September 19. I've been sober since may of last year due to this problem. The FAA just sent out a letter saying I have to take a 5 panel drug screen in the next 48 hours and see a HIMS/AME psychiatrist and be in a drug abuse program for a minimum of a 12 month period and do 14 random drug test for abstinence. The problem that is stressing me out is will I be able to continue my training while seeing the HIMS and doing he program at the same time ?or do I have to Waite 12 months and complete the program and then start flying?

tomgoodman
09-20-2017, 12:38 PM
Here's a link to find a HIMS/AME near you. Consult one of them, and carefully follow their instructions. Personally, I would not spend more money on flight training until I had a medical certificate. Good Luck!

https://www.faa.gov/pilots/amelocator/

MedicalTruth
11-15-2017, 09:32 AM
Here's a link to find a HIMS/AME near you. Consult one of them, and carefully follow their instructions. Personally, I would not spend more money on flight training until I had a medical certificate. Good Luck!

https://www.faa.gov/pilots/amelocator/

What is a 767A?

Are you referring to a KC-767A?

Edit: To Drew, stay on the ground if you wish to live. You just do not have what it takes to survive in the air.



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