1 year later I get a letter from the FAA

renkenj2001

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PPL-2120
Hey Everyone, I just wanted to get some thoughts and feedback on what to expect from the FAA in my case.

Last year on March 2019 I was interested in getting my PPL. So I did some research not knowing anything about aviation and where to begin, I figured the best place to start was to get my medical to insure that I was good to go and wasn't going to waste my time and money with issues down the road. I found out that some people start training and then try and get their medical down the road which sometimes results in a denial from the FAA. This is something I did not want to happen is I took care of this right away.

Well.... 13 months later, PPL cert in hand, 200hr logged, 2 airplanes purchased, and 90% done on my instrument training, I get a letter from the FAA saying they need more information.

22 years ago I was convicted of possession on Marijuana, It was a felony possession since it was over 2 ounces. I did everything the courts asked of me and was even monitored for 3 years. Never touched or seen the stuff since that day. I put that behind me a long time ago.

8 years ago I was arrested for DUI. After pulling the court records I noticed that it was over the .15 threshold which has lead to sleepless night ever since due to the fact that I'm so scared of loosing my medical over it.

With the help of my lawyer, I was able to gathered all of the necessary things that the FAA has requested of me. It did take awhile to gather all the information, and we did have to ask for an extension due to the fact that some of this stuff was so long ago, but the information has been submitted.

My question is.....I did disclose all of this on my medical application, and the doc said that the FAA may request more information but he didn't see that I should have and issue since it was so long ago, but..... I fear otherwise. This is the whole reason I wanted to make sure in the beginning before I went full scale into this thing.

Why did they wait so long? It was over a year before I got the letter.

Truth is is that I no longer drink anymore and have no desire to ever drink again. I also read that sometimes they may require monitoring in which I have no issues with. They can call me at anytime to get tested if they want. I'm willing to do whatever they ask of me to prove that I am a safe pilot.

Has there been anyone else out there that has had a similar issue? and just curious as to what I may expect from the FAA concerning this issue.

Thanks everyone..!!
 
Renkenj2001, a few questions:

1. Did the AME defer your application for a medical certificate? He should have with a measured BAC of >0.15%

2. You say "after pulling court records" and "worried about losing your medical" in the same sentence. I assume this means you never had cause to pull your court records before you received your medical. Did you disclose the DUI on your initial application?

3. Assuming deferral, did the FAA approve your medical application based on the stuff you and your attorney put together?

Based on the fact that you received a PPL, you were issued a medical certificate at some point. How this came to be and what you've already received from the FAA will impact the answers you get on this thread concerning what to expect.

The most general answer about what to expect with >0.15 BAC is a dependence diagnosis and lifetime engagement with a HIMS AME. What that engagement looks like longterm still remains to be seen as it is a rapidly changing situation. Short-term (<6 years), 6 month visits with AME, random urine testing, and a variety of recovery activities.

Others feel free to correct any misinformation. Figured I'd give it a shot.
 
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I did not receive a deferral at the time, although after doing some research once all of this came up, it appears that the AME probably should have at the time. I walked out of the office with Medical in hand.

That is why this is so concerning. I though I was good to go and why I went full steam ahead in training. It wasn't until 13months after the fact that i received the letter. 4 months after I got my PPL.

I have not received anything back from the FAA yet on all the stuff we submitted. The first time we submitted they sent a letter back saying that they need more stuff. We have gather that info and re-submitted. This is where we are at now, just waiting to hear back. Havent been able to think or sleep since...
 
I did not receive a deferral at the time, although after doing some research once all of this came up, it appears that the AME probably should have at the time. I walked out of the office with Medical in hand.

That is why this is so concerning. I though I was good to go and why I went full steam ahead in training. It wasn't until 13months after the fact that i received the letter. 4 months after I got my PPL.

Gotcha. Yeah, the AME made a mistake. And why so long? The FAA takes a while, which you're probably about to find out. Things are probably about to get expensive (medical professionals, evaluations, etc.). The most important thing in this whole process however, is that you've already given up alcohol. None of this procedural stuff matters if you continue to drink, even responsibly and every now and then. If you're already doing that and are willing to follow instructions carefully, it's just a matter of time before you're back flying should they choose to revoke your medical.

@bbchien will be a great resource if he's willing to reply to this scenario. It'll be interesting to see how this is handled.
 
I understand and appreciate your response.

I have no issue with doing whatever they ask of me to prove I am a safe pilot. Even without this being a concern for the FAA, alcohol is a thing of the past in my life. I feel very fortunate to have been able to fly this past year and have enjoyed every minute if it. I just wish that I could have taken care of all of this a bit sooner is all. Now I’m just scared to death of them taking it from me. Being able to fly truly has been a blessing.
 
I have no issue with doing whatever they ask of me to prove I am a safe pilot.

You've heard the phrase "trust, but verify?" FAA CAMI ditches the former and forces the latter. I'm a safe (student) pilot, too, and with my colorful background (a DUI from >20 years ago with no recorded BAC and periodic drug use from back in the day), regardless of how long it's been since I've been sober and drug-free(>19 years), the FAA will likely still have me on the same kind of random UA and twice/year HIMS AME visits for as long as I want to keep my 3rd class medical.

Based upon what I understand of the FAA medical process, your AME screwed up by issuing your medical in-office and they only recently caught it. At least they haven't grounded you completely until it's all sorted out. Regardless, keep us posted.
 
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First off.... Congrats on your sobriety for over 19 years!! Thats fantastic

And I do understand that I have made a very bad mistake regardless how long it has been since I did so. I also understand that this brings my judgment into question with the FAA.

This is why I have no issues with them monitoring me as long as I have my medical and am able to fly. I know they will need prof and I am willing to do what they need to satisfy that for them.
 
AME should have deferred you. This may end up needing a HIMS psychiatry evaluation. To the AME of record, bad call!

"Truth is that I no longer drink anymore and have no desire to ever drink again. I also read that sometimes they may require monitoring in which I have no issues with. They can call me at anytime to get tested if they want. I'm willing to do whatever they ask of me". The key here is if you can substantiate the preceding assertions with letters from folks in a position to know...such letters need to read just like job recommendation letters- "valued member of the team", "can be left alone" "self starter" "doesn't cancel at the last moment" ….all of which are not drug and alcohol behaviors. You're not quite out at 10 years where the preceeding sentence, if the witnesses were of sufficient detail, might close the case.....

AME of record cannot possibly be a HIMS AME. I wonder if he even did the drug and alcohol status report....
 

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Is it too late to switch to BasicMed since he currently has a medical?
 
AME should have deferred you. This may end up needing a HIMS psychiatry evaluation. To the AME of record, bad call!

"Truth is that I no longer drink anymore and have no desire to ever drink again. I also read that sometimes they may require monitoring in which I have no issues with. They can call me at anytime to get tested if they want. I'm willing to do whatever they ask of me". The key here is if you can substantiate the preceding assertions with letters from folks in a position to know...such letters need to read just like job recommendation letters- "valued member of the team", "can be left alone" "self starter" "doesn't cancel at the last moment" ….all of which are not drug and alcohol behaviors. You're not quite out at 10 years where the preceeding sentence, if the witnesses were of sufficient detail, might close the case.....

AME of record cannot possibly be a HIMS AME. I wonder if he even did the drug and alcohol status report....

Hey Bruce,

Your right, I don’t think he was a HIMS AME, as a matter of fact I know he isn't because lately with all this going on, Knowing that I may have to go see one, I was looking for one that may be close to where I live. Unfortunately there isn't one anywhere close to me. I may have to travel a pretty good distance to talk with one.

As far as that form goes. This is the first I have seen of it. We never did go over that while I was in the office. It was a pretty standard process. I happen to also have my CDL and also have to take a physical for that every 2 years The process was very similar.
Actually.... While I hold my CDL and due to the fact that I work in the oil and gas industry, I have to be tested at random whenever they call me in. Its been that way for about 6 years. I did call the offices that do the testing and tried to gather all of the results for the last 6 years but they told me they only home the records for 30 days. I was able to obtain 1 teat result though since i did recently go in.
 
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Is it too late to switch to BasicMed since he currently has a medical?
Actually.... That is a good question.

The only issue is that I was hoping to obtain my CFI rating one day, actually next year. That was what I was working towards before all this happened. BUT... If there isn't a chance for me to obtain that goal and basic med will at least allow me to fly GA, of course I would be happy with that.
 
I do not know the answer to my question about whether you can switch to BasicMed, but according to the BasicMed info graph on AOPA and FAA websites, you can be a CFI on BasicMed, you are just limited to planes and flight restrictions for BasicMed.
 
First congrats on your sobriety. Second if flying is that important to you, which it appears it is you would be wise to hire someone like Bruce and and good Aviation Attorney to be your advisor and advocates. If that is the route you go do what they say, don't question just do. Best of luck to you.
 
In theory, maybe. But at some point, unless the FAA is satisfied, they will revoke the third class medical, at which point the BasicMed option will disappear.
Question: When was your medical issued (don't post the actual date here)? and when does it expire (i.e., good for 2 years or good for 4 years)? How much time between when it was issued and when it expires remains? Does the FAA revoke expired certificates if the medical itself expires before the final decision is reached? **I believe** that if the 3rd class expires before revocation from the FAA, then the BasicMed stays as valid. Consult your Lawyer to make the actual determination.
 
BasicMed is not an option. He either has to satisfy them or they'll revoke the medical and likely the pilot certificate as well.

He's now "under investigation". If he tries to relinquish the medical they'll refuse to accept it and revoke it. If he doesn't respond by the time limit provided they'll revoke it. If he doesn't respond before it expires they'll revoke it. If he responds in a manner that indicates he was not medically eligible, they'll revoke it. It's also possible that they'll revoke the private pilot certificate on the basis that he wasn't a qualified applicant when he took the check ride. They could also perform an emergency revocation of the pilot certificate on the basis of a risk to the public and aviation safety.

If there were factual misrepresentations on the medical application, revoked medical or pilot certificates are the least of his worries.

Like other threads that are similar to this topic, the answer isn't to try and game the system or find a loophole. It's to play within the rules and resolve the concerns appropriately so you don't have to worry about them for the rest of your aviation life.

Unfortunately it sounds like the OP's AME failed to provide him with accurate guidance. This is why we all say it over and over to anyone with a DUI or drug history. Pay a HIMS AME to review your medical records before you take an FAA medical exam.

@renkenj2001 : Don't listen to anyone trying to tell you ways to avoid this situation. You either need to respond, or be prepared to have the medical and most likely your pilot cert revoked. Get in touch with a HIMS AME that's willing to consult with you before you send anything else medically related. Furthermore, it's impossible for us to say if you've created a legal situation for yourself based on your answers on the medical application. Get an AVIATION attorney and pay them to discuss the situation (create attorney client privilege), then do what they tell you to do. Realize that any statements or information you provide at this stage can have significant legal and medical consequences.

Stop posting things on a public forum on the Internet that could get you into further problems.
 
Get an AVIATION attorney and pay them to discuss the situation (create attorney client privilege), then do what they tell you to do. Realize that any statements or information you provide at this stage can have significant legal and medical consequences.

Stop posting things on a public forum on the Internet that could get you into further problems.

Two bits of advice here. I agree with ThatOtherGuy about not posting too much in public. The good news is that you're doing so anonymously. The bad news is that it probably wouldn't be too difficult for the FAA to figure out who you are.

Where I disagree with ThatOtherGuy is the part about retaining an attorney. IMHO, you should retain Dr. Bruce Chien (www.aeromedicaldoc.com), who has already posted above, or Dr. Lou Fowler (https://flightphysical.com/dr-fowler). Both are experts at helping applicants with "issues" navigate the FAA medical process. I think you'll be better served by having one of the docs take you by the hand and help you navigate the minefield that awaits you. Hire one of them, and then follow instructions to the letter. They will give you the best odds for a good outcome, but be prepared for it to take awhile and require that you jump through more hoops than you can imagine.

Good luck, and keep us posted!
 
BasicMed is not an option. He either has to satisfy them or they'll revoke the medical and likely the pilot certificate as well.

He's now "under investigation". If he tries to relinquish the medical they'll refuse to accept it and revoke it. If he doesn't respond by the time limit provided they'll revoke it. If he doesn't respond before it expires they'll revoke it. If he responds in a manner that indicates he was not medically eligible, they'll revoke it. It's also possible that they'll revoke the private pilot certificate on the basis that he wasn't a qualified applicant when he took the check ride. They could also perform an emergency revocation of the pilot certificate on the basis of a risk to the public and aviation safety....
I was under the impression that revocation of pilot certificates was reserved for people who lie on the application, which as I understand it is not what happened here.
 
I was under the impression that revocation of pilot certificates was reserved for people who lie on the application, which as I understand it is not what happened here.

I'm not saying he lied. 14 CFR 67.403(b) calls out for all (pilot, medical, SODAs, SIs etc) certificate revocation if the misrepresentation is intentional. 14 CFR 67.403(c) calls out medical certificate revocation if the statement is "incorrect". 67.403(c) is interpreted as unintentional misrepresentation.

There's no way for any of us to make a determination as to whether there was a factual misrepresentation on the medical application (intentional or otherwise). It doesn't sound like there's any way he would have known the medical wasn't valid or that the FAA has concluded it isn't valid. They're investigating whether the AME acted within his delegated authority to issue the medical. If they determine the AME overstepped his bounds (which it's pretty obvious he did) they could come to a final conclusion that the medical certificate is invalid and request it be returned or just flat out revoke it and demand the return. I suspect the most likely outcome would be to revoke the medical and steer him into HIMS due to the high BAC on the DUI and past marijuana substance abuse. Looks like Dr. Chien has already opined.

If the medical is deemed invalid, it sets up a problem as he wasn't qualified to take the check ride. The FARs are very clear that an applicant taking a practical test must hold a valid medical certificate. It wouldn't be a far stretch to justify a pilot certificate revocation on someone that took a check ride with a medical certificate they shouldn't have been issued and a history of felony drug possession and high BAC DUI.

14 CFR § 61.39 (a)(4):
(a) Except as provided in paragraphs (b), (c), and (e) of this section, to be eligible for a practical test for a certificate or rating issued under this part, an applicant must:
...
(4) Hold at least a third-class medical certificate, if a medical certificate is required;


The law gives the FAA broad authority to revoke certificates.

49 U.S. Code § 44709(b)(A):
(b)Actions of the Administrator.—The Administrator may issue an order amending, modifying, suspending, or revoking—
...
(A)the Administrator decides after conducting a reinspection, reexamination, or other investigation that safety in air commerce or air transportation and the public interest require that action; or


The real odd ball result of the medical being invalid is that all his hours would still count. He'll have solo hours (sole operator in an aircraft) that were technically illegal as, unbeknownst to him at the time, his medical was invalid.
 
Sure, the law gives the FAA broad authority, but I haven't heard of them claiming that a medical certificate was invalid BEFORE it was revoked through no fault of the applicant. People joke that the FAA's slogan is "We're not happy till you're not happy," but I've never heard of them going THAT far in punishing someone for SOMEONE ELSE'S mistake. That would be truly venal, in my opinion.
 
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Sure, the law gives the FAA broad authority, but I haven't heard of them claiming that a medical certificate was invalid BEFORE it was revoked through no fault of the applicant. People joke that the FAA's slogan is "We're not happy till you're not happy," but I've never heard of them going THAT far in punishing someone for SOMEONE ELSE'S mistake. That would be truly venal, in my opinion.

I'm thinking of all the pilots in the last few years who had to retake checkrides, at their own expense, due to DE's who had their privileges' revoked...
 
I'm thinking of all the pilots in the last few years who had to retake checkrides, at their own expense, due to DE's who had their privileges' revoked...
A fair point, but in this case, the qualifications of the DPE are apparently not in question.

Also, revoking the OP's pilot certificate because his AME screwed up would be analogous to revoking the medical certificates of the pilots whose DPEs screwed up, and I don't think the FAA did that.

As far as alleviating any supposed danger to aviation is concerned, going after BOTH his pilot certificate and his medical certificate would be unnecessary, because invalidating either one would be sufficient to ground him.
 
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Where I disagree with ThatOtherGuy is the part about retaining an attorney. IMHO, you should retain Dr. Bruce Chien (www.aeromedicaldoc.com), who has already posted above, or Dr. Lou Fowler (https://flightphysical.com/dr-fowler).
The most common advice when I have been consulted on a medical certificate issue has historically been, you never want to change a medical problem into a legal one.

But I did not see @ThatOtherGuy's post as suggesting an attorney instead of a HIMS AME or to do battle with the FAA. We know very little about this situation (and should probably know even less), but I saw the post as nothing more than suggesting a consultation to determine whether there are also legal risks in the anonymous OP's situation.
 
Question: When was your medical issued (don't post the actual date here)? and when does it expire (i.e., good for 2 years or good for 4 years)? How much time between when it was issued and when it expires remains? Does the FAA revoke expired certificates if the medical itself expires before the final decision is reached? **I believe** that if the 3rd class expires before revocation from the FAA, then the BasicMed stays as valid. Consult your Lawyer to make the actual determination.
Aside from questions of the applicability of FAR 68.11, are you assuming the once the FAA raises questions about a medical certificate, the FAA will follow a timeline which delays acting on it and allow it to simply expire in its own?
 
If there is still a question of whether or not BasicMed will be an option in the future, it might make sense to get the physical done now before the FAA takes further action.

I've no idea if that will be ultimately be useful, but for $100 give or take, it would be an insignificant cost relative to what the FAA is going to be asking for.
 
Sure, the law gives the FAA broad authority, but I haven't heard of them claiming that a medical certificate was invalid BEFORE it was revoked through no fault of the applicant. People joke that the FAA's slogan is "We're not happy till you're not happy," but I've never heard of them going THAT far in punishing someone for SOMEONE ELSE'S mistake. That would be truly venal, in my opinion.

I agree that it wouldn't be "fair". Just because we haven't heard of them doing it doesn't mean it hasn't/won't happen. I'm not saying it's a certainty, but it IS a possibility. If I were the OP and it was a legally possible outcome I would want to know about it.

We don't have any way of knowing it was "through no fault of the applicant", and our opinions of "fault" don't really matter. If the FAA believes there was a misrepresentation on the application that's all that matters. That's why he needs to speak to professionals.

I'm thinking of all the pilots in the last few years who had to retake checkrides, at their own expense, due to DE's who had their privileges' revoked...

My thoughts as well on the 709 rides.

Who is "we"?

"We" is the group of people that have an understanding of how the FAA deals with drug/alcohol issues with regard to medicals.
 
I agree that it wouldn't be "fair". Just because we haven't heard of them doing it doesn't mean it hasn't/won't happen. I'm not saying it's a certainty, but it IS a possibility. If I were the OP and it was a legally possible outcome I would want to know about it.

A person could go nuts worrying about the infinite number of possibilities that exist. The ones for which there is precedent are usually more likely.

We don't have any way of knowing it was "through no fault of the applicant", and our opinions of "fault" don't really matter. If the FAA believes there was a misrepresentation on the application that's all that matters. That's why he needs to speak to professionals.

If we change the scenario to something other than what was presented, it seems the me that we're not really answering the question that was asked. However, it's certainly true that we may not have all the facts, and in any case I agree that getting professional advice is often beneficial.
 
Aside from questions of the applicability of FAR 68.11, are you assuming the once the FAA raises questions about a medical certificate, the FAA will follow a timeline which delays acting on it and allow it to simply expire in its own?
In the original post, the poster stated he had an aviation lawyer. He also stated that they received at least one extension and had been through at least one official submittal cycle with more information requested, so yes, I was asking if the OP's Class 3 was a 2 year or 4 year medical since it looks like he is really close to reaching the 2 year part. The FAA Legal council has already stated they do not actions against expired medicals. So if his medical expired, I was asking if he was able to switch to basic med since as of yet he had a valid medical (Thee FAA has not yet invalidated it), and it expired before they took action. I am not remotely suggesting the airman falsify information or attempt to not follow the laws or regulations. But looking at the BasicMed requirements, if he has a 2 year medical he may meet them.
 
In the original post, the poster stated he had an aviation lawyer. He also stated that they received at least one extension and had been through at least one official submittal cycle with more information requested, so yes, I was asking if the OP's Class 3 was a 2 year or 4 year medical since it looks like he is really close to reaching the 2 year part. The FAA Legal council has already stated they do not actions against expired medicals. So if his medical expired, I was asking if he was able to switch to basic med since as of yet he had a valid medical (Thee FAA has not yet invalidated it), and it expired before they took action. I am not remotely suggesting the airman falsify information or attempt to not follow the laws or regulations. But looking at the BasicMed requirements, if he has a 2 year medical he may meet them.
You are still not looking at the possible effect of 68.11.
 
You are still not looking at the possible effect of 68.11.
Which effect? His original application reported everything. The pilot has met his obligations under 68.11. What effect if his medical expires before FAA takes derogatory action? Right now the FAA has just asked for more information and not suspended or revoked his medical, which he is complying with. If his current medical expires before the FAA review is done, what medical does he have to deny or disallow?

And I am genuinely asking these questions related to the OP. I am not suggesting the airmen do anything against the rules. And the only way to fix loopholes is to understand where/if they exist.
 
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But what about 61.23.c.3.E.ii.C ? "The most recently issued medical certificate -- "Cannot have been suspended or revoked".

I think that means that while the OP could presently obtain BasicMed, if the current medical certificate is revoked, then BasicMed no longer works.
 
But what about 61.23.c.3.E.ii.C ? "The most recently issued medical certificate -- "Cannot have been suspended or revoked".

I think that means that while the OP could presently obtain BasicMed, if the current medical certificate is revoked, then BasicMed no longer works.
In seven months (assuming he's over 40) he won't have a medical to revoke. Think this could drag on that long?
 
In seven months (assuming he's over 40) he won't have a medical to revoke. Think this could drag on that long?

I can easily believe it will drag on that long. Will depend on if the FAA asks for another round of documents or just decides to revoke.

I don’t know there is anything preventing them from revoking an expired certificate, just that they don’t normally do it.

The FAA could also send him a letter even after his certificate expires stating that their review has determined that he has a medical condition which does not allow them to issue a certificate. One would then be in legal terra incognito of whether that constituted “reason to know” that would prevent him from self certifying under Basic Med or Sport Pilot.

If the OP wants to continue flying, I suspect he is in for a Special Issuance, one way or another. Big question will be whether there will be a gap without medical or whether a $5-10k neuropsych and psychological exam (so called P&P) will do it.
 
So the FAA can ask for information about the DUI even if he is on Basic Med. What's the effect of that?
It hasn't been tested but one possibility is the FAA can use information to determine safety is compromised by a medical issue and preclude exercising pilot privileges. Nothing in the reg says it has to be new information and nothing says it has to be one if the specific conditions whuch would require an SI. I don't have an answer but unless one thinks a DUI can't be used by the FAA to exclude BasicMed I think it's a real question.
 
Actually there is documentation from the FAA indicating that If it's expired, there's no certificate to suspend or revoke. The document deal with the situation in which an SI still has time to go but the underlying medical has expired.
https://www.faa.gov/about/office_or...ngo-AFX-1-2 - (2018) Legal Interpretation.pdf

Very interesting. So it seems like if his medical certificate expires and he obtains Basic Med, he would be on fairly good grounds to continue operating, unless the FAA makes a request under 68.11 for more information.
 
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