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Old 03-03-2021, 10:51 AM   #1  
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Hi there, can anyone enlighten me on how one goes about taking the risk of getting back into flying professionally after losing their medical? Iím mid 20s and had health issues that essentially boiled down to having multiple brain surgeries and a shunt placed. Iíve been out of flying since August of 2020 and am just having a hard time fathoming taking the leap back into flying when I have now experienced how quickly everything can be taken away. I miss it big time. Is there anyone that can share their experience and/or advice? I appreciate it. I wonít be able to re -apply again for a medical for quite some time but am just looking for some input.
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Old 03-03-2021, 12:33 PM   #2  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rhoads287 View Post
Hi there, can anyone enlighten me on how one goes about taking the risk of getting back into flying professionally after losing their medical? Iím mid 20s and had health issues that essentially boiled down to having multiple brain surgeries and a shunt placed. Iíve been out of flying since August of 2020 and am just having a hard time fathoming taking the leap back into flying when I have now experienced how quickly everything can be taken away. I miss it big time. Is there anyone that can share their experience and/or advice? I appreciate it. I wonít be able to re -apply again for a medical for quite some time but am just looking for some input.
Step 1 - contact your nearest AME.
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Old 03-03-2021, 02:56 PM   #3  
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Step 1. Go see your regional flight surgeon.

It isn’t that he/she can give you a special issuance, because they can’t, but they can look over your history and make a call to OKC to the neurology and/or neurosurgical consultants and then give you an estimate of the likelihood of you EVER being cleared for 3rd, 2nd, or 1st class of medical just based on the history to date. They can also let you know how long you are going to have to go seizure free with a normal neuro exam before they would even consider you for a SI.

Reported incidence of seizures after shunt placement in the medical literature is all over the place, from 5% to about 60%. The longer you go without one, the less likely it is to happen, but there are few predictors other than history which just plain takes time.

Almost one in four shunts need to be revised in the first four years after placement which restarts the clock altogether.

Don’t get me wrong, I love to fly too, but try to understand going into this the hill you will need to climb, the time it is going to take, and the probability of success. Get that information up front, before you commit to tens of thousands of dollars and years of effort.
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Old 03-03-2021, 04:02 PM   #4  
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Never say never. However...

This situation sounds risky for certification, will likely require a Special Issuance, and may well be risky for further issues down the road. Obviously the underlying condition matters too (cancer, benign tumor, congenital defect, injury, etc), hard to even guess without knowing that.

I'd suggest that you need some competent aeromedical advice to determine both your odds of getting a medical, and your odds of keeping one. You may be able to find an AME who is experienced in or specializes in neurological issues, or you could also pay an aviation medicine consulting firm (typically ex-AMEs who no longer have an obligation to the FAA). Definitely want professional advice to even know where you stand.

All that said, it doesn't sound like there are going to be any guarantees, so if you pursue professional aviation I'd keep a backup career on a slow boil on the back burner and resign yourself to the fact that you'll probably need it eventually. If you make it to 65, that's a bonus. Understandably that may be too much to cope with... unfortunately your situation does not appear to bode particularly well for career prospects.

Like I said, you need the medical advice before you can really assess the career aspect.


Good Luck
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