Go Back  Airline Pilot Central Forums > Pilot Lounge > Pilot Health
VA Sleep Apnea and FAA >

VA Sleep Apnea and FAA

Notices
Pilot Health FAA medical; health topics

VA Sleep Apnea and FAA

Old 12-23-2017, 07:20 PM
  #1  
New Hire
Thread Starter
 
Joined APC: Nov 2017
Posts: 8
Default VA Sleep Apnea and FAA

Very recently retired USAF.

I had mild OSA 4 years ago. I took another sleep study 3.5 hours ago and then I magically was below the theshold for OSA. Based on guidance from a VA counselor we listed OSA as one of my service conditions and he said they would schedule me for a sleep study. Well, the VA rated me for OSA without another sleep study.

I am scheduled for my FAA medical in a couple of weeks. I am thinking I need to go get another sleep study before my FAA medical appointment or could I just let things ride and if questioned and just produce my most recent sleep study from 3.5 years ago?

Please PM if you have any insight. I am not sure how quick the FAA pulls VA records. I am going to get another sleep study either way (sleep doctor can't get me in for 8 more weeks, late February to be exact) to cover my bases.

I am worried about the timing issue. Pre appointment or post appointment sleep study. I don't want to get in trouble with the FAA.
MarineHarrier is offline  
Old 12-23-2017, 09:39 PM
  #2  
Gets Weekends Off
 
Flyinlynn's Avatar
 
Joined APC: Jan 2016
Position: Cessna 172 CFI
Posts: 269
Default

I don’t think the FAA pulls anyone’s medical records it is up to the applicant to be honest under risk of $25,000 fine I believe is what is listed on the application that you sign to acknowledge. If the FAA should find out you have a diagnosis of apnea that you failed to disclose that would not be a good thing.

Here is an FAA info sheet on OSA
https://www.faa.gov/news/fact_sheets/news_story.cfm?newsId=18156
Flyinlynn is offline  
Old 12-24-2017, 04:43 AM
  #3  
New Hire
Thread Starter
 
Joined APC: Nov 2017
Posts: 8
Default

After no sleeping all night thinking about this I decided to move my FAA medical appointment to after meeting with the sleep doctor. I will disclose then. I am pretty sure the FAA doesn't actually pull from VA records but honesty is the best policy.
MarineHarrier is offline  
Old 12-24-2017, 08:24 AM
  #4  
Gets Weekends Off
 
tomgoodman's Avatar
 
Joined APC: Feb 2006
Position: 767A (Ret)
Posts: 6,013
Default

Originally Posted by MarineHarrier View Post
After no sleeping all night thinking about this I decided to move my FAA medical appointment to after meeting with the sleep doctor. I will disclose then. I am pretty sure the FAA doesn't actually pull from VA records but honesty is the best policy.
You have made a very wise decision. 👍
tomgoodman is offline  
Old 12-26-2017, 05:22 AM
  #5  
Prime Minister/Moderator
 
rickair7777's Avatar
 
Joined APC: Jan 2006
Position: Engines Turn Or People Swim
Posts: 31,139
Default

DO NOT lie to the FAA. For deliberate falsification of a serious disqualifying condition you will go to jail. You'd have to lie twice, because there's a checkbox for VA disability on the FAA form.

The FAA has previously cross-checked federal social security disability benefit records, those pilots went to jail.

The FAA has access to all federal records. I have not heard of them checking VA records probably because of the optics of witch-hunting veterans during a war. But that doesn't mean they'll never do it.1

You're in a tough spot, now that you're getting VA bennies for OSA you'll have a very uphill battle with the FAA. There are many things you can have a VA rating for and still hold an FAA 1C but OSA is not one of them.

You may need to resolve the OSA, or you may be able to fly using one of those portable forced-air contraptions to sleep at night.
rickair7777 is offline  
Old 12-26-2017, 06:15 AM
  #6  
Gets Weekends Off
 
Cujo665's Avatar
 
Joined APC: Feb 2014
Posts: 2,569
Default

I recently heard that a few guys have been having great success using one of those sleep tracking apps for the smartphones. It uses the microphone to establish a baseline on your snoring, the motion sensors for wrestlessnes, and one of the versions even has a small finger pulse monitor.
I know one guy who the MD told him that had he not provided the data and explained the app, he would have been sent for the sleep study.
Cujo665 is online now  
Old 12-26-2017, 06:40 AM
  #7  
New Hire
Thread Starter
 
Joined APC: Nov 2017
Posts: 8
Default

Originally Posted by rickair7777 View Post
DO NOT lie to the FAA. For deliberate falsification of a serious disqualifying condition you will go to jail. You'd have to lie twice, because there's a checkbox for VA disability on the FAA form.

The FAA has previously cross-checked federal social security disability benefit records, those pilots went to jail.

The FAA has access to all federal records. I have not heard of them checking VA records probably because of the optics of witch-hunting veterans during a war. But that doesn't mean they'll never do it.1

You're in a tough spot, now that you're getting VA bennies for OSA you'll have a very uphill battle with the FAA. There are many things you can have a VA rating for and still hold an FAA 1C but OSA is not one of them.

You may need to resolve the OSA, or you may be able to fly using one of those portable forced-air contraptions to sleep at night.
I talked with my AME. It didn't seem that difficult. Do you have some kind of insight into this "very uphill battle"?
MarineHarrier is offline  
Old 12-26-2017, 02:31 PM
  #8  
Prime Minister/Moderator
 
rickair7777's Avatar
 
Joined APC: Jan 2006
Position: Engines Turn Or People Swim
Posts: 31,139
Default

Originally Posted by MarineHarrier View Post
I talked with my AME. It didn't seem that difficult. Do you have some kind of insight into this "very uphill battle"?
If you tell the FAA you don't have OSA, you'll have to give up the VA pay. You can't have OSA for one federal agency, but not have it for another.

If you want to have OSA for VA purposes, you'll need to show that you can mitigate the condition to the FAAs satisfaction. If your AME has it under control, great. But the FAA has upped their scrutiny of OSA for some reason. Lots of guys getting benched right now. A high BMI can get you a presumptive diagnosis from the FAA, which you then have to disprove.

Probably more of a time and money issue than an uphill issue.
rickair7777 is offline  
Old 12-28-2017, 08:49 AM
  #9  
Banned
 
Joined APC: Apr 2016
Posts: 488
Default

https://www.oprm.va.gov/privacy/cma.aspx

Rick,

Have you heard of even 1 case where the FAA knew something that was in a veterans va records? Just one. Could they get that information if they had a court order? Sure. Do they pull from VA records for every medical? No.

Honestly is the best policy because it is the people closest to you that will turn you in, not some phantom computer scan at the FAA.

If I am wrong then show me an example, just 1.
sherpster is offline  
Old 12-28-2017, 09:36 AM
  #10  
Prime Minister/Moderator
 
rickair7777's Avatar
 
Joined APC: Jan 2006
Position: Engines Turn Or People Swim
Posts: 31,139
Default

Originally Posted by sherpster View Post
https://www.oprm.va.gov/privacy/cma.aspx

Rick,

Have you heard of even 1 case where the FAA knew something that was in a veterans va records? Just one. Could they get that information if they had a court order? Sure. Do they pull from VA records for every medical? No.

Honestly is the best policy because it is the people closest to you that will turn you in, not some phantom computer scan at the FAA.

If I am wrong then show me an example, just 1.
As I said, it is known and public knowledge that the FAA has accessed a limited sample of federal social security disability records and cross-referenced them to pilot medical apps. This was not targeted at a pilot based on any sort of suspicion, it was dragnet. A number of pilots went to prison. My understanding is that this was a "trial run" of bigger things to come in the future.

I know of no cases where VA records have been accessed. I suspect the FAA does not want to go there, and appear to be picking on war-time vets... no good publicity or politics would come of that.

But times change, they might do it in the future. Can they do it without your consent? I suspect they can, because it's all federal records, and the FAA can make a case that they have a need to review medical records of pilots.

But whether they can do it unilaterally is beside the point... they can easily get your consent. The medical form has changed at least a couple times recently, and not for the better. All they need to do is add language to the effect that by signing this form you athorize the FAA to access your records from other federal agencies? Don't like it? Afraid of what they'll find? No worries, don't sign the 8500 form.

The main thing to be concerned about is the fact that your federal records never go away. And there's no guarantee that they won't be accessed at some point in the future. You probably don't want that hanging over your head. I assume there's a statute of limitations for criminal charges, but the FAA can shred all your pilot certs any time they want.

There's already a checkbox for disability benefits (that came about after the aforementioned dragnet).

Last edited by rickair7777; 12-28-2017 at 09:46 AM.
rickair7777 is offline  
Related Topics
Thread
Thread Starter
Forum
Replies
Last Post
sleepdoclv
Pilot Health
199
10-03-2018 11:32 PM
MusicPilot
Pilot Health
358
04-15-2014 11:21 PM
ForeverFO
Pilot Health
2
11-21-2013 11:24 AM
TurboDog
Pilot Health
28
12-10-2011 05:11 AM
Pirate
Pilot Health
2
12-07-2011 03:32 AM

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are On


Thread Tools
Search this Thread