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Old 11-20-2019, 11:57 AM   #1  
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Default Self Grounding?

What is the deal with Self Grounding?

The FAA considers a diagnosis of cancer to be disqualifying and expects the pilot to self ground under FAR 61.53.

Quote:
61.53 Prohibition on operations during medical deficiency.
(a) Operations that require a medical certificate. Except as provided for in paragraph (b) of this section, no person who holds a medical certificate issued under part 67 of this chapter may act as pilot in command, or in any other capacity as a required pilot flight crewmember, while that person:
(1) Knows or has reason to know of any medical condition that would make the person unable to meet the requirements for the medical certificate necessary for the pilot operation; or
(2) Is taking medication or receiving other treatment for a medical condition that results in the person being unable to meet the requirements for the medical certificate necessary for the pilot operation.
(b) Operations that do not require a medical certificate. For operations provided for in 61.23(b) of this part, a person shall not act as pilot in command, or in any other capacity as a required pilot flight crewmember, while that person knows or has reason to know of any medical condition that would make the person unable to operate the aircraft in a safe manner.
So, I can't get a medical until my thyroid cancer has been successfully treated... So how is that self grounding, if they say I can't fly with said condition?


This all makes dealing with the disability people fun. So, your doctors say your cancer is no big deal so you can go to work. But the FAA and your AME will not issue you a medical, and they won't put anything in writing until I request to get my medical back... but they said I can't request it until my treatment is complete...

ugh...
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Old 11-20-2019, 06:47 PM   #2  
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Originally Posted by Texasbound View Post
What is the deal with Self Grounding?

The FAA considers a diagnosis of cancer to be disqualifying and expects the pilot to self ground under FAR 61.53.



So, I can't get a medical until my thyroid cancer has been successfully treated... So how is that self grounding, if they say I can't fly with said condition?


This all makes dealing with the disability people fun. So, your doctors say your cancer is no big deal so you can go to work. But the FAA and your AME will not issue you a medical, and they won't put anything in writing until I request to get my medical back... but they said I can't request it until my treatment is complete...

ugh...
If you really need proof, write them a letter and ask if you can fly since your treatment is going well. That should get a snappy and clear-cut response.

Or you could reference the FAA medical policy guides which AMEs and the FAA uses for policy guidance.

Most generic disability programs have an "own occupation" clause which applies for some period of time maybe 1-3 years, after that you're expected to flip burgers or whatever.

Pilot-specific disability programs are intended for this sort of thing, and you can get them for own-occupation to age 65.
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Old 11-21-2019, 08:55 AM   #3  
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Thanks, I got it taken care of. Once I told them my medical had expired and sent them the letter from ALPA aeromedical saying what I needed to do to get it back they were satisfied.

For clarification, this was not the company doing this, this was the company the company hires to handle short and long term disability claims. They are so far removed I am not even sure they know what an airplane is.

I just find the entire process ridiculous. Seems no one was to say you can't work for fear of being sued. So they come up with the term "self grounding".
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Old 11-21-2019, 12:50 PM   #4  
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I just find the entire process ridiculous. Seems no one was to say you can't work for fear of being sued. So they come up with the term "self grounding".
Oh the FAA will say you can't work if you ask them formally.

Self grounding just means you're responsible for self-assessing between AME exams.
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Old 11-22-2019, 09:48 PM   #5  
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Around 2004 the FAA considered any form of cancer grounding until they reviewed the diagnosis, treatment, and prognosis. Don't know if it's still that way.

I had a malignant melanoma on the top of my head that was discovered early just by pure dumb luck. This happened about a month after my FAA Medical exam. Melanoma was cut out and sent in to confirm they got it all, which they had. Simple procedure done by a plastic surgeon. I was there less than an hour. Could have been bad but again I got lucky with the early catch.

Fast forward 5 months and I call to schedule my next medical. Ask how to report this incident and they say to call AMAS, which I did. The Doc there informed me I had been flying illegally I had to stop flying even though I was perfectly healthy, fill out a bunch of forms, get my Doc to fill out a bunch of forms, then wait months until I got cleared to fly. I also got a nastygram from the FAA about adhering to regs in the future. Common sense has no place in the FAA bureaucracy
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