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Medical Examination Question

Old 04-18-2017, 08:31 AM
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I am a 20 year old college student and an aspiring major airline pilot. I'm planning to start flight training within the next year. However, I've had some health issues in the past that I've read may affect my ability to obtain a medical certificate.

Background: About a year and a half ago, I suffered a brief psychotic episode which required a hospitalization and subsequent medication management. However, this has been completely resolved.

This winter, I was prescribed a low dose of Lexapro for a depressive episode and later added Abilify. I am currently tapering off Abilify and considering coming off of Lexapro at some point.

Is there a chance that I can still receive a first class medical? Will these health issues severely affect my ability to get hired at an airline in the future? Finally, should I consider a different career all together?
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Old 04-18-2017, 09:40 AM
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It is not necessarily going to be an easy road and you may have to jump through quite a few hoops. There is every chance that you will be able to obtain and keep a Class I medical (perhaps a special issuance). And it will probably cost a few thousand dollars to obtain by virtue of testing required.

Here is the FAA link that might help you. I strongly suggest you join AOPA and consult their medical team although there are other out there as well (e.g leftseat.com)

https://www.faa.gov/about/office_org...tidepressants/

Once you have a Class I, there should be no issue with any airline (even with a special issuance). The challenge is maintaining that Class I throughout your career.
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Old 04-18-2017, 10:54 AM
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Originally Posted by Austin W View Post
I am a 20 year old college student and an aspiring major airline pilot. I'm planning to start flight training within the next year. However, I've had some health issues in the past that I've read may affect my ability to obtain a medical certificate.



Background: About a year and a half ago, I suffered a brief psychotic episode which required a hospitalization and subsequent medication management. However, this has been completely resolved.



This winter, I was prescribed a low dose of Lexapro for a depressive episode and later added Abilify. I am currently tapering off Abilify and considering coming off of Lexapro at some point.



Is there a chance that I can still receive a first class medical? Will these health issues severely affect my ability to get hired at an airline in the future? Finally, should I consider a different career all together?


I think you are doing the right thing by asking people about it. And my first bit of advice, get this issue resolved before you start flying. You risk wasting thousands of dollars with no guarantee you'll pass a medical. While my situation was not the same, I was on meds for years to help make it through grade school. But when I started flying right out of high school and went for my physical, I DQ'd. I went cold turkey off the meds and started what I remember being a 6 month process of seeing a couple different doctors. Oklahoma City is a rather slow city and lots of letters sent back and forth.

So if you think you can't live life without the meds, I personally don't think its going to work. If some school is pressuring you to start trying without a medical and they think you'll pass, they're probably trying to scam you.

Find something that is going to act as therapy for you. If you run or like to exercise, that might be good. And when you get a real job and are stuck out on the road for what feels like an eternity, it'll give you something to do.

Hope this helps.
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