Diabetic Pilot Introduction

Discussion in 'Medical Topics' started by Moose Fly, Jul 27, 2016.

  1. Moose Fly

    Moose Fly Filing Flight Plan

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    Jim
    I Recently Got My Medical back April 2016. And this is and old letter I wrote for another forum the Cessna 170 Association of which I am a member.
    I am absolutely Jazzed by the new changes happening concerning 3rd class medical reform.
    I was looking for other information on other diabetic pilot experiences when I found the Pilots of America board.

    I have been without a medical now since February 2014. (old news) I had had weight Loss surgery in September 2013. I have been a Type One Diabetic since I was 22 years old in 1975. I was only 139 lbs. when I was diagnosed. Being Diabetic is one of the reasons I flew Gliders. I have owned three different gliders in the past. I could self-certify my medical condition. I had a Private Pilot glider rating with a Motor glider endorsement. I have been an Aircraft Mechanic now for 45 years and flown every conceivable type of aircraft from helicopter, fighter jets, single and multi engine turbo prop and commercial aircraft such as the Boeing 767 just not as pilot in command. When the FAA Started allowing Insulin dependent Diabetics to get a medical on Dec 26th 1996, I already had 10 hours in the Citabria because I was building a Marquart charger Bi-plane and was going to fly the thing in-spite of not having a medical and so I needed a tail wheel endorsement. In any event I had my medical before that became necessary. I did not need the endorsement as much as I needed tail wheel time.

    In September 2013 I had bariatric weight loss surgery. Prior to my weight loss surgery I had to have a sleep study performed before the weight loss surgeon would perform the surgery. I was diagnosed with mild to severe sleep apnea. After I recovered from the surgery I had a 3rd class medical in 2014 which was to expire in February 2015. I had all of the required paper work submitted in November 2014 which should have given the FAA plenty of time to review it and get my medical back to me by February of the following year 2015. It took them several months longer to review the paper work and my medical lapsed. As has happened about 1/2 the time since I first got my medical in 1997. In march 2015 the FAA started considering that a diagnoses of sleep apnea is an automatic grounding condition and as I already had the previous diagnosis the FAA noted from the earlier medical records regarding my weight loss surgery and so I received a denial for my 3rd class on the bases of the earlier diagnoses even though I had had a subsequent 3rd class.

    The only way I could remedy the situation was to have another sleep study performed and either have a diagnosis that I no longer had sleep apnea or start using a CPAP machine. I had lost 80 lbs. My new diagnoses showed that I now had Mild Sleep apnea the previous diagnoses being Mild to Severe. In either case I could not get a medical. I could not tolerate the CPAP machine, it actually made my sleep worse than if I were not using it. So I went to see an ear nose throat specialist to see if there was anything that could be done. On June 5th 2015 I had surgery for a deviated septum. And then after recovering from that surgery had yet another sleep study performed and now I could tolerate the CPAP machine.

    I had to show a minimum of 30 days use of the machine demonstrating a minimum of 75% of the sleep periods showing at least 6 hours of use per night. I was able to provide all of that information in early November 2015 the required date for the issuance of a medical in February of this year 2016. However the FAA was not timely getting that done and so in mid-February I received a denial notice requesting more Sleep study data and A1c glycosylated blood sugar information to cover the period between my submissions in November 2015 and the date of the FAA’s review. Don’t get me started. Oh well I guess I already have. I provided that information as I already had it. They have had the information for over four weeks.

    I just received notice yesterday (early April 2016) that the FAA has written a letter allowing the AME to issue a 3rd class medical. And so now I will be able to fly my new Super Cessna 170A/210 solo. However as I am now out of Bi annual and I work for Boeing Test and Evaluation and have numerous Flight instructors at my disposal. The ongoing Flight test data flights will continue in the 170A/210 dual pilot and I will get my Bi annual done in the course of the ensuing flights.

    Well that’s my story,
    Third class medical reform is going to make my life much easier. I have been diabetic for 42 years this coming September 4th. I have never been hospitalized due to Diabetic complications.. I have had a pilots license since 1989. Received my PPL single engine land August 1997 other than lapses due to the FAA I have had a medical since earlier in 1997.

    Jim
     
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  2. OzPilot

    OzPilot Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Awesome to hear and enjoy the flying!
     
  3. rk911

    rk911 Pre-takeoff checklist

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    congratulations! hoping you have many happy hours aloft.
     
  4. AdamZ

    AdamZ Administrator Management Council Member

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    Welcome to Pilots of America Jim! Enjoy the board!
     
  5. RotorDude

    RotorDude Pattern Altitude

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    You are a glider pilot? That's all that matters... You rock!
     
    Last edited: Jul 28, 2016
  6. Dear Fellow Pilots,

    I have insulin controlled diabetes and Crohn's disease. I am 67 years old and have loved airplanes and flying since I can remember. I have about 50 hours in powered aircraft from 40 years ago and would like to fly gliders. I have seen conflicting information on whether diabetes is disqualifying for a PPG license. Some of the club questionnaires and some FAQ answers imply it is disqualifying. Other places, no. I feel perfectly healthy and safe enough to fly but would not consciously mislead or be dishonest with a CFIG. Do you think I do so? Any recommendations? The 3rd Class route is just over the top. Steve shughey@bellsouth.net
     
  7. bbchien

    bbchien Final Approach

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    The IDDM initial SI is a long list, but actually is a piece of cake, if you have been getting care every 90 days and your HbA1cs are reasonable. I have originated 37 of the 1200 or so who are flying. And, with FESSA (AC 68.1) you only need to get it ONCE.
     
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  8. Gloria Wu MD

    Gloria Wu MD Filing Flight Plan

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    Gloria Wu, MD
     
  9. Gloria Wu MD

    Gloria Wu MD Filing Flight Plan

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    hi Jim
    That is so inspiring! I learned about patients who were pilots at the Joslin Diabetes Center and there are pilots who have had 50 years of type 1 diabetes with perfect vision! So this is so fabulous! I do think pilots as a group do an excellent job of controlling their diabetes! Gloria Wu MD
     
  10. Gloria Wu MD

    Gloria Wu MD Filing Flight Plan

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    Gloria Wu, MD
    Hi Steve,
    As a retinal specialist with many years of treating severe diabetic patients with eye problems--you should be proud of your efforts!!!

    I have seen the medical records of pilots who have had 50 years of type 1 diabetes and outstanding vision --these pilots kept flying til retirement. This was in the "bad old days" when pilots did not tell anyone that they had diabetes ( 1970's, 1980's). These pilots kept tight control of their blood sugars without things like fitbit, insulin pumps etc.

    Gloria