Can I get my medical before beginning training for PLL?

Discussion in 'Medical Topics' started by Chesterspal, May 1, 2019.

  1. Chesterspal

    Chesterspal Pre-Flight

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    I'm 65 and wish to go back and complete my PLL started some time ago.

    My health is excellent, but I'd like to get cleared by am AME before plunking down $$ for training only to find out I cannot fly for some reason.

    Is this doable?
     
  2. PaulS

    PaulS Touchdown! Greaser!

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  3. Juliet Hotel

    Juliet Hotel Pattern Altitude

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    Absolutely. Find an AME and make an appointment.
     
  4. Salty

    Salty Final Approach

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    Actually, step 1 would be to review the questionnaire and see if you have any major issues.
     
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  5. Kenny Phillips

    Kenny Phillips En-Route

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    And if you have something that is "iffy", you can fly an LSA with a sport pilot license as long as you don't try and fail to get a medical.
     
  6. Capt. Geoffrey Thorpe

    Capt. Geoffrey Thorpe Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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  7. Chesterspal

    Chesterspal Pre-Flight

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  8. Salty

    Salty Final Approach

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    Yes. Particularly #18. And take notice the phrase “HAVE YOU EVER IN YOUR LIFE”
     
  9. Chesterspal

    Chesterspal Pre-Flight

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    It appears the FAA has this MedXpress system to complete the form on-line so I will go that route.
     
  10. Matthew

    Matthew Touchdown! Greaser!

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    MedExpress is the way FAA medicals are filled out.

    When complete, you can print the form. There will be an activation code at the bottom of the page. Your AME will enter that code into the "system" and your medical exam will be live. There are only two outcomes at that point: issued or denied.

    If you want, you can ask the AME for a consult. Some will do it. If that AME agrees, tear off the activation code and do a "consult" exam. Any questions that are "iffy" or that you may have answered incorrectly can be discussed. This way there are no surprises.

    If you need to change something, start another MedExpress using a different email, or just wait 60 (?) days and the current MedExpress will disappear.
     
  11. JOhnH

    JOhnH Touchdown! Greaser!

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    One suggestion might be to make an appointment with an AME first for a consultation only. People have been bitten in the past by being a little to forthcoming and then things that don't matter have to be explained,
    to the FAA,
    in FAASpeak.

    But taking care of your medical prior to spending money on lessons already shows good judgment.
     
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  12. Capt. Geoffrey Thorpe

    Capt. Geoffrey Thorpe Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    That is the route you need to go. But the instructions linked will give you what you need to be prepared to fill out the on-line form, and if you think you are going to check "yes" for anything - particularly the various questions 18, one needs to get one's ducks in order before charging into the AME and getting a deferral or denial.
     
  13. Chesterspal

    Chesterspal Pre-Flight

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    Filled out the form. Called a top AME for an appointment but, being Wednesday, he could be on any golf course in town : )

    Hope he has a short date for the exam so I can going on all this.

    Thanks for the help!
     
  14. azure

    azure Final Approach

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    As others have said, do not be too quick to schedule an FAA exam. Schedule a consultation instead, take your printed MedXPress form in but do not surrender the confirmation code until and unless the AME says he will be able to issue.

    And if the AME you called will only schedule an exam, not a consultation, then call a different AME.
     
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  15. JOhnH

    JOhnH Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Not necessarily. My wife is out getting her physical at this very moment.
    She is 62.
     
  16. Salty

    Salty Final Approach

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    The reason it is important not to give them the confirmation code is because sometimes the AME has submitted an application before the applicant wanted had the chance to get all the supporting data needed to make it go more smoothly. It's not necessarily intentional, but it has happened to people. Once you get your first medical, it gets much easier.
     
  17. Clip4

    Clip4 Final Approach

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  18. murphey

    murphey Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    Repeat for emphasis...

    Download the form, fill it out.
    Find an AME for a CONSULT. If the AME is not willing to do a consult, find another AME.
    Pay for the consult.
    If there is nothing in the consult that needs additional documentation, tests or letters, then and only then, go for the Class 3 medical exam.
    All the items on #18 are issues that can prevent you from ever flying.
    Do not lie - this is a Federal document.

    Are we being harsh? Better believe it. The FAA's attitude towards health now and in the past is unlike anything you've ever dealt with before.
     
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  19. Matthew

    Matthew Touchdown! Greaser!

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    The last two guys I talked with about getting their very first medical said the same thing, “I’m healthy. All I have is xyz and it really isn’t a problem.” It turned out to be a problem. FAA gets to decide what’s a problem, not you,
     
  20. Chesterspal

    Chesterspal Pre-Flight

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    Well, what's the consult going to do, then?

    If, say and I don't, I have heart disease, how is getting a consult going to make that go away?
     
  21. jsstevens

    jsstevens Final Approach PoA Supporter

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    It won’t make it go away. It will let you understand the odds and cost of getting a medical and whether or not Light Sport might be a decent alternative. Once the application is started (in the FAA’s eyes by the AME activating it) you either get issued (maybe after a long, expensive Special Issuance process) or denied. If you’re denied you can never fly Light Sport or use Basic Med.
     
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  22. Matthew

    Matthew Touchdown! Greaser!

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    You don’t want to go into this unless you know you will pass.

    You might have a situation where FAA wants further info, and they give you 30 days or you get denied. It might be a simple thing but you can’t get the reports in time. It could be a series of very expensive tests and you really have to consider your decision. It’s always better to do that on your own time instead of being under an FAA deadline. If you get denied, it isn’t the end of the world if you decide to give up flying. But if you really do want to fly, a denial can limit your options.

    You are 65. You will need to report and explain all visits to a “health professional” in the last 3 years. You’ll also have to report prescriptions and other treatments. Blood pressure meds? CPAP? The questions ask, “Have you ever...?”, so don’t think “...that thing 20 years ago...” doesn’t matter. Some things get handled through a Special Issuance that requires some extra effort. You won’t know about it until you get an AME consult. Then you can make an informed decision on how to proceed.
     
  23. PaulS

    PaulS Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Trip up areas:

    cardiac issues
    mental health issues
    some medications
    drunk driving arrest, even if expunged
    stroke
    eyesight issues including colorblindness

    These are some, the list is long. Many people with these issues consider themselves healthy. All people are recommending here is that you understand your issues before you apply. A denied medical will prevent you from exercising pilot privileges under sport pilot for instance, which does not require a medical cert. There are many areas to trip up, knowledge before the exam is power. You are probably fine, but going to the exam to find out you have an issue is a bad strategy.
     
  24. Sinistar

    Sinistar En-Route

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    @Chesterspal - here is another way of looking at it. Let's say a pilot named "Bill" who is age 65 decides to learn to fly (not at all uncommon). But by 65 "Bill" is on medications for high blood pressure and had 1 DUI in his past. He can go about this one of the following ways:

    Scenario # 1: Fills out the MedXpress answering NO to items listed above. If he's lucky he passes the 3rd class medical and gets to fly. But he's just broken the law. Don't be that guy...unless you are that guy :) This Bill eventually gets caught.

    Scenario # 2: Bill feels he is "healthy" and casually fills out the MedXpress answering YES to the items listed above. Goes in for the official 3rd class Medical and it is immediately denied/deferred and "Bill" has to start working with a specialist, do lots and lots of things...at Bill's expense and may or may not get a special issuance. In the meantime Bill can take lessons but CAN NOT solo or complete the PPL. If in the end the medical is denied Bill can never pilot a plane or a Light Sport Aircraft category plane...ever!. Bill is now wishing he had listened carefully to all the above posts.

    Scenario # 3: Bill listens to warnings from the members here. Realizes he has to answer Yes to stuff that is gonna trip him up. He decides he really wants to fly so he sets up a consultation only with the AME or better yet, he contacts a specialist in this area who will help him through the process. The specialist in this area will (ideally) be blunt and tell you whether its worth pursuing or not. This Bill assumes the AME specialist knows everything and he knows nothing. He does everything he's asked to do with zero deviation. This specialist will help you have everything ready to bring with you because in certain cases you might answer YES but it just might need certain test results or doctors notes, etc. Example, I had to bring a stress test report and mine was issued in the office.

    Good luck, we're not trying to be smart arses...just trying to prevent Scenario # 2 which might result in you never flying a plane when in fact you could still go off and learn to fly a Cub or Chief or Ultra Light, etc.
     
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  25. azure

    azure Final Approach

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    Worse than that: once the AME enters the confirmation code into the system there is no going back. The only possible outcomes are: issuance, deferral, denial. Yes, they can hold onto an application for a limited time to give the airman a chance to get the supporting documentation, but during a consultation the AME might discover something that can't be resolved in that limited time, and he might have no choice but to submit the application before the airman can deliver the documentation. Better to discover that with no jeopardy attached.

    And for clarity, "jeopardy" means that if the ultimate outcome is denial, the LSA route is closed off and the only route forward to fly anything as PIC (except maybe ultralights or gliders) is to get issued at least once.
     
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  26. Capt. Geoffrey Thorpe

    Capt. Geoffrey Thorpe Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    Oh, BTW. Most people don't have a problem with the exam.

    Most. But not all. And, often for reasons that they (or their doctor) do not think is a big deal medically.

    And, FWIW, flying an LSA is just as much fun as flying with an empty back seat.
     
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  27. Chesterspal

    Chesterspal Pre-Flight

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    All good advice. Thanks for the input.

    I want to get new glasses prior to going further. I have a standard eye chart and at 20' I cannot read the 20/20 (line #7) that well. Have been able to easily with new glasses and its been since 2015 since my last prescription, so off I go next week.

    Question: Does the eye doc need to give me something that says I can read 20/20 to take to the AME or will the AME test me himself?
     
    Last edited: May 2, 2019
  28. FredFenster

    FredFenster Pre-takeoff checklist

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    I got my medical out of the way first. I still remember the day, the exam was done around noon. Drove straight to the airport to talk to someone/anyone about flying lessons. By 3pm I had my first hour in the books.

    I'm pretty sure when I was talking to the FBO owner and said I had already had my medical certificate his pupils turned into dollar signs and he wanted me in the air ASAP.
     
  29. Salty

    Salty Final Approach

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    AME will test your eyesight
     
  30. UUNetBill

    UUNetBill Filing Flight Plan

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    Man, I'm glad I didn't read all of this before I went in for my exam! Mine went smoothly, thankfully, in and out in about 30-40 minutes and walked out with my 3rd Class.
     
  31. Matthew

    Matthew Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Almost all of the time this is what happens. ^^^

    Way too many students don't know what they are getting themselves into. Sometimes it's simple and a copy of a report is all that's required. Sometimes someone finds out at the AME that he's colorblind - that's something that would have been nice to know in advance so that you could get the option of a different type of test to help your chances of passing, for example. What happens a lot with young students is they don't think that Ritalin or Adderall they took in Jr High for a couple weeks will bite them, but then they find out it's going to cost $3k or more to work it out for them. For older students, like the OP, there is a whole lifetime of things that can cause a snag. Sometimes it's that DUI from high school 30+ yrs ago that pops up.

    Getting a consult the first time is just insurance against getting a bad surprise during the real exam.
     
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  32. G-force

    G-force Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Listen to these people recommending that you are positive you will pass before stepping into an AME's office. I was a couple of weeks away from my solo, so I needed to get a medical. Healthy 39 year old, zero issues ever, had a physical with blood labs with the family doc 9 months prior and everything was perfect. Went to the eye doctor to get new glasses since it had been a couple of years. "Do you have high blood pressure" she asks after looking at my eyes. "Not that I know of" I say. "You should get it checked out" I go do the free blood pressure machine at the local supermarket...160/95! Glad I didn't walk into the AME and get blindsided! Glad I persued flying instead of dying of a stroke from unknown, uncontrolled BP!
     
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  33. dmspilot

    dmspilot En-Route

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    You only need 20/40 in each eye for a 3rd class. Regardless, if it's time for a new prescription then it's time for a new prescription.
     
  34. PeterNSteinmetz

    PeterNSteinmetz Pattern Altitude PoA Supporter

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    And the link to more information about the consult and how to do it - http://tinyurl.com/AME-consult .

    Seriously as others have noted - do that first. The current FAA aeromedical process is a minefield which can easily cost you the same amount as an entire private certificate training.
     
  35. Chesterspal

    Chesterspal Pre-Flight

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    Thanks for that link. Just read it through. I am set up with an appointment on the 23rd. I will have new glasses by then. I will do as the link suggests and not provide the confirmation # untill and unless the AME says I will pass.

    I think my chances are good I will pass. No DUI's ever, no arrests ever, no BP issues ever, no heart issues ever. Weight is 155. Blood panel good. Just need to get my eyes corrected and that's coming up next Wednesday. Hope that goes well.

    This fellow is a very senior AME. His office is in his hangar at the airport. That's a new one on me. He must take his work very seriously.
     
  36. Brad Z

    Brad Z Final Approach PoA Supporter

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    That’s generally a good sign.
     
  37. Brad Z

    Brad Z Final Approach PoA Supporter

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    I’d add to that: taking a pharmaceutical advertised on TV

    Drugs that have been on the market for less than a year, SSRIs, biologics, etc., typically result in deferrals, and depending on he condition being treated, denials.
     
  38. Matthew

    Matthew Touchdown! Greaser!

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    As has been noted: the first medical for a student can be a mine field. Without doing your homework first you’ll probably be ok, but maybe not. Even a minor thing can result in 6(?) or more months because of backlogs at FAA Medical. After your first medical, renewal is much smoother. You can even do the new Basic Medical and not have to see an AME again.