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Old 07-20-2015, 05:35 AM   #1  
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Joined APC: Dec 2008
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Default Application Questions and 2+ year Medical LOA

Greetings all,

Seeking advice/insight on how I should answer application questions along the lines of, ''Have you ever been removed from flight status, etc.''

I know the intent of those questions is to determine whether an individual every committed a faux-pas on the line that was egregious enough to warrant an FAA violation or a trip to headquarters for remedial training, however I was 'out' for over 2 1/2 years due to a severe Medical event (not self-inflicted or anything) that carries a mandatory 2 year grounding by the FAA, regardless of how quickly/completely one recovers.

When asked if I've been removed from flight status, do I need to be answering 'yes' to that question?

Furthermore, if,during a meet/greet with recruiters or an even interview, the topic of my 2.5 year hiatus comes up, is there anything in particular I should avoid saying about it?

I'll be the first to admit that I didn't handle my loss of Medical well at all. I did spend a lot of wasted time, money, and effort trying to get my Medical back at the 1 year mark (which resulted in an FAA denial), though an FAA Neurology consultant was pushing for certification at the 1 year mark.

I had zero success in the outside world in terms of finding a job. I was totally off payroll for over a year, and was even collecting unemployment because I just couldn't find anything else. As I learned the hard way, simply having a degree in ''something other than aviation'' alone does not suffice for having a backup to flying. Finding a job, particularly a decent paying one, is no easy feat -- especially with no relevant experience.

Finally I did secure a job last August in a Management/Assistant Chief-type position with my airline until recently regaining my Medical.

Now that I'm back on the line, I'm trying to get back into the game with regards to moving on with my career. I'm just looking for insight as to how I should explain the 2.5 year gap in my flight hours. Again, any advice on what-to-say/what-not-to-say and how to answer 'have you ever been removed from flying' type questions would be highly appreciated.

I guess my big concern is not looking like a Medical liability who is going to be absent on a regular basis. Prior to going out, I hadn't had a sick call in nearly 7 years. I was always striving for near-perfect attendance.

The Medical I was finally issued was an unrestricted/non Special Issuance, so maintaining certification going forward shouldn't be an issue.

35 year old (32 years old when my event occurred) RJ Captain with 11 years seniority/840 hours TPIC and back in revenue service as of last week.

Thanks in advance!!

Last edited by Starscream; 07-20-2015 at 06:08 AM.
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Old 07-20-2015, 06:53 AM   #2  
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Joined APC: Jan 2006
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No, you have not been "removed from flight status". Everybody understands in this industry (in the US) that flight certification and medical certification are separate tracks.

Honesty is probably best. It will be fairly obvious anyway since you had a flying gap but stayed with the same employer afterwards (ie, not fired). The fact that the condition is resolved and not problematic is helpful, that should hopefully put to rest any lingering concerns.

You do not have to discuss medical details with a recruiter. Whether you discuss the details or not should depend on the nature of the condition. If it was an injury which healed (ie nothing wrong with your genetics) I would probably just tell them. If it was congenital, or something which might never fully heal, you might want to be circumspect. Basically what will cause the recruiter less concern: Knowing what happened or not knowing?

Good Luck.
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Old 07-20-2015, 08:32 AM   #3  
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You were on medical leave. You indicated that you went back to the employer in management, and are now back on the line. I don't see any room for questioning. You weren't removed from flight status for cause; you simply had a medical issue. You can state that on an application for disclosure; it won't affect your eligibility or desirability as an aviator. We're human. We experience medical issues. It's that simple. You're on flight status now, so the it's a dead issue.

I was out for several months with kidney stones. I didn't realize they'd be as big an issue as they were; I was scheduled to airline to Puerto Rico in the morning to captain a flight to Abuja, Nigeria, of all places. That night, late, I ended up in the emergency room. I contacted the Chief Pilot who thanked me for the call and simply said "call me when you get your medical back." I thought he was overreacting, but he wasn't. It took three months and three operations, a number of x-rays and hoops, and the help of a union physician and my AME, to get back on duty. I was just glad it didn't happen in Nigeria.

I spent the time I wasn't flying doing other duties; I found a job turning wrenches on C-130's, and spent much of the time inside wings resealing fuel cells, in 114 degree weather. It might have been more pleasant on unemployment. It could be argued that I was removed from flight status. I was on medical leave, and I won't hesitate to tell a prospective employer about it, as it's not a negative.

Your situation is no different. You had a valid reason for not flying; medical disqualification, and you've recovered from that status and are flying again. Problem solved.
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Old 07-20-2015, 08:07 PM   #4  
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Joined APC: Nov 2011
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I'm in a similar situation. I was injured in the military while flying in 2013, resulting in my eventual permanent disqualification from high-G/ejection seat aircraft. I'm post-surgery and much better now, and hold an unrestricted FAA FC1. I've been out of flying for right at 2 years now and am finally at the point where I can transition to the civilian side. However, other than 10 hours of Piper Seneca time to get my ATP in May, I am not "back flying" in the sense that I am doing what I was doing before. I take it my situation would probably necessitate checking "Yes" on the box?
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Old 07-21-2015, 06:46 AM   #5  
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I think it's a grey area.

1) That question implies removed for cause, ie at-fault or at the very least until an investigation was completed.

2) In the civilian world pilot qualification/certification is essentially totally separated from medical certification. Employment law (in the US) really does not even allow an employer to ask a question about your past medical history. About the only exception is that an airline employer can give you an FAA 1C medical exam to verify that you meet the standards. The latter should be a pass/fail test, and the medical details should be handled by a doc and compartmentalized from the hiring decision makers, ie all they know is that you passed a 1C.

I personally would not check the box. If you did it would be very easy to explain away at an interview, HOWEVER getting called for the interview is driven by the boxes you check so it could set you back in that regard.
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