Failed Medical - Options Advice?

Discussion in 'Pilot Training' started by ATL-Steve, Mar 29, 2013.

  1. ATL-Steve

    ATL-Steve Pre-Flight

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    Hello, all.

    So, my dreams of being a pilot have been dealt a blow. I filled out all of the info for my medical and being the honest man that I am I gave them every single detail they asked for thinking nothing I mentioned would be a big deal. I was wrong.

    I took some adhd drugs[prescribed :)] for about a year before discontinuing them about 6 months before applying for my medical exam. I didn't like them. I took them off and on. I stopped taking them and I take nothing to this day. However, this set off all kinds of alarms at the FAA. They wanted a bunch of documentation from my doc. I provided that. Now they want some adhd neuropsychological exam done. I had no problem with that till I found out the exam will cost me $2000 and there's no guarantee I'll get my license after that's completed anyway. Otherwise I'm in perfect health. No HBP, no substance issues, nothing.

    So, keep that in mind, ladies and gentlemen, when applying for your medical in the future. I certainly don't want to promote lying to the FAA or anyone else for that matter. But it's hard to think that had I simply said nothing on my application I'd be holding a license in my hand as we speak. Oh, and added bonus, even if I decide 10 years from now that I want to readdress getting my PPL, I'll still have to have that neuro test done. There's no statute of limitations.

    So, to my question. I would like to be able to fly a plane by myself. Do I have any options? Can I still get a light sport license? Experimental planes? Or am I going to have to either plunk down $2000 for a chance at a license or give up the dream?

    Any advice?
     
  2. bbchien

    bbchien Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Well if you had lied, the first time you called any attention to yourself, it would have been discovered (via prescription databases)and your ill gotten pilot cert. would be revoked (not just your medical).

    So you need to have a neuropsych profile, and get the diagnosis disabused, then reapply. Be sure to get a forensic urine on the day of the evaluation. The ageny wants that- even a small amount can bugger the results. This should be a guy recognized by the FAA (a HIMS neuropsych Ph.D + residence of 2 years after). These are pricey- about $1,500 and the federal spec sheet is attached.
     

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  3. ATL-Steve

    ATL-Steve Pre-Flight

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    Yup. That's the exact page they sent me. It was surprisingly difficult to find a "licensed clinical psychologist who is either board certified or “board eligible” in clinical neuropsychology." And the first one I found quoted me $1900-$2100 for the exam.

    I'm actually not that averse to getting the exam but there's no guarantee of anything. I had my initial physical done then they asked me for more info. I provided that info to them and then they asked for this test. I'm afraid of the unknown. If I plunk down $2000 for this latest request and they then come back with "hey, thanks. Now the next thing we need is.............." I'm not gonna be happy.

    I don't have a burning desire to fly any passengers. I just want to be able to fly by myself. Does anyone know of any options for me?
     
  4. bbchien

    bbchien Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Nope. You can't fly LSAs either, now. You Can do" under 256 pound" part 105 ultralights, that's about it.

    The two neuropsychs in Chicago are $1,500 for this.
     
  5. ATL-Steve

    ATL-Steve Pre-Flight

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    I forgot to say thank you for the advice you gave. Thank you. :) I just found out about this a few minutes ago so I'm still a little flustered. But, as much as I hate this saying...."it is what it is." One way or another I'll get past it. Thank you again for your advice.
     
  6. dell30rb

    dell30rb Final Approach

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    Keep us posted. A good friend of mine is in the same boat.
     
  7. MAKG1

    MAKG1 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    If you want to be able to fly at night, above 10,000 feet (mountains -- it's a lot to give up), outside the US, in a high performance aircraft, over clouds or sufficient haze to obscure the surface, or to get yourself to a business meeting, you have to have the exam.

    If you haven't actually been denied the medical, the sport pilot route is an option. But the restrictions on that are pretty substantial.

    Frankly, if $2000 is scaring you, aviation is going to make you pass out. You're likely to spend more than that just getting your landings down.

    Bruce Chien is a really good source for this sort of thing. I don't know if you know who he is...Google him.
     
    Last edited: Mar 29, 2013
  8. ATL-Steve

    ATL-Steve Pre-Flight

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    [smile] Yeah, after I replied to him I clicked his sig link and saw that the person offering me advice was not just "anybody." It's actually comforting to know that others are in the same boat as me.

    If I'm understanding Dr. Chien properly it appears that I will have an official "declined" on my record and will therefore, not be eligible for a LSA. Had I just went straight to LSA then I wouldn't have had to get a medical but since I did get a medical and failed it I now no longer qualify for LSA.

    $2000 doesn't scare me. I'm not rich but I'm not broke either. I believe I have a good handle on the economics involved in GA as a hobby. However, spending $2000 only to find out that I don't qualify or that there's then some OTHER test I'll need, is something I'd like to know now so I can make an educated decision on whether to continue now, continue later or just discontinue the dream altogether. I mean, c'mon, do you know HOW MUCH ADHD drugs you can get for $2000?!?!?!?!?! :)

    If I get past this test do I then have to get it done every year or every certain number of years? That will have an impact on my decision as well.
     
  9. ronnieh

    ronnieh Cleared for Takeoff

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    Steve, you already know who Bruce is. You need to contact him directly by email. He can tell you exactly what to do and the likely outcome. His rates are very reasonable. Warning, he does not suffer being untruthful in anyway. Just pay him a small consultation fee and lay it out for him. Follow his advice to the letter. This is the best you will be able to do.
     
  10. Geico266

    Geico266 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    You are mostly correct, but the 10,000' thing no longer applies over mountains. I believe it now says 10,000' or 1,000'. Something like that. :D

    So mountains are in for sport pilots. :D
     
  11. Capt. Geoffrey Thorpe

    Capt. Geoffrey Thorpe Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Correct.

    The ADHD testing should only have to be done once.
     
  12. MAKG1

    MAKG1 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    It's 10,000 MSL or 2000 AGL, whichever is higher.

    You're right that that doesn't eliminate mountains altogether, but it is limiting. You can't do Tioga Pass for instance, as you are required to be 2000 AGL over Yosemite National Park.

    I also prefer to climb early, which that seems to forbid, as that prevents the box canyon accident.
     
  13. ClimbnSink

    ClimbnSink Ejection Handle Pulled

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    Bummer you didn't know. You still have denied medical options, ultralights as mentioned, gliders, balloons, hang/paragliders, and skydiving are all medical denied options in the sky. Most of those are more fun then regular Cezzna flying anyway....
     
  14. comanchepilot

    comanchepilot En-Route

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    assuming it was a diagnosis of ADHD and the drugs you took were for ADHD, prescribed for ADHD and all of the diagnosis codes and medical records say ADHD, and if you think them wrong, then my advice would be to read:

    https://www.msu.edu/course/cep/888/ADHD files/DSM-IV.htm

    And when you take your neuropsych eval be able to disabuse the evaluator that ANY of the criteria apply - you will need to provide examples. Several examples.

    The diagnostic criteria for this are pretty well established - and you need to have a coherent explanation for why the prior docs got it wrong. The burden is now on YOU to prove you do NOT have ADHD.

    I don't have ADHD, I just get bored very easily.
     
  15. LDJones

    LDJones Touchdown! Greaser!

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    I struggle with the quick diagnosis of ADHD these days, with accompanying pharmacological solutions. Seems like the safest course to recommend to young people these days is, no matter what happens to you try to tough it out without medical assistance and whatever you do, avoid getting any prescriptions for anything if you ever want to meet federal standards for being in "good health."

    One of my newest students just ran up against this with a prescription she'd been on briefly for something or other. She went to her Dr to get approved to discontinue its use, which now starts the clock ticking on her reapplication process. We'll keep training, but definitely puts a fly in the ointment.
     
  16. bordman

    bordman Pre-Flight

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    lol dont we all! I started a thread in the medical section about my past migraine problems. I used to be on the drug maxalt for it. Do you know if this could have the same outcome as what as happening to the OP? I dont mean to take away anything from this thread but your post seemed as if you know a bit about these sort of situations.
     
  17. Jim Logajan

    Jim Logajan En-Route

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    Yes you do have a valid option - per 61.23 anyone with a glider rating with self-launch endorsement would allow you to fly gliders and self-launch (motor) gliders. Medical denial does not preclude that option (i.e. neither 61.23(a)(3) and 61.23(c)(2)(iii) apply; just 61.23(b)). One example of a lower cost motor glider that you could still fly: http://www.sonexaircraft.com/aircraft/xenos.html

    Ultralights have also been mentioned, but balloons are also an option.

    Lastly, since aviating is expensive anyway, consider $2000 just another part of the bill.
     
  18. ATL-Steve

    ATL-Steve Pre-Flight

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    I agree. At the time I didn't think much about it. I said "Doc, I'm having some work issues." The doc said "Here, try some of this and see if this helps." I did. It didn't. I should have said I was not interested but I didn't. My fault and now I must pay the price.

    Couple things to discuss though. First, is having ADHD SOOO bad that you shouldn't be allowed to fly a Cessna for your own amusement if you have it? I can see them being ultra-careful for any sort of commercial license but for some 40-something dumbass who wants to fly around once in awhile? Seems extreme. But, then again, we are talking about a government entity so I probably set my expectations too high.

    And secondly, do you think that the rules they have in place cause more people to either lie about their medical history or, even worse, will it cause people to not seek treatment when they truly need it because of their fear that they will no longer be able to do something they love? I think the Law of Unintended Consequences comes into play here.

    Yeah, if I can reasonably assure myself that this is the final step in getting my medical approval I think I'll go ahead and move forward. I was really ****ed off when I first got the $2000 price tag but now that I've had time to think about it it's not the end of the world.
     
  19. RJM62

    RJM62 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Frankly, I think the problem more often lies with the adults than with the children. There was a time when being full of energy, easily bored, prone to daydreaming, and generally mischievous were all in the job desription of "normal child." Nowadays, not so much.

    I also suspect that the facts that school districts can often receive extra funding for ADD/ADHD children, and that the children themselves can qualify for SSI with the right coaching if their conditions are sufficiently serious, also have more to do with the high number of diagnoses than they should.

    -Rich
     
  20. AggieMike88

    AggieMike88 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Now offering reverse discounts.
    As said before, it will be worth it to contact Dr. Bruce directly and contract with him to be your guide in this process.

    If certification is possible, he will provide you the straight line to walk and what to do along the way. He also knows many of the who's who for this task and will provide the list of who you should go see.

    Finally, if you followed all of his guidance, he is the right AME to take the packet of info and go to bat for you with the folks at OKC.


    By the tone of your writing, it sounds like you're ready to step up to this challenge. Bravo for that! Adding Bruce to your team will increase your chances of success.
     
  21. MAKG1

    MAKG1 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Actually, you're considering a hobby where inattentiveness at the wrong time can kill you and anyone else unlucky enough to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. There is much more to this than driving. Quite a lot of accidents and incidents happen because of badly timed distractions. As part of flight training, we have to learn to manage the distractions safely.

    Take this seriously. Flying is a lot of fun, but it requires significant concentration at key times to get it done. If you have trouble doing that, a crowded airport with several inexperienced students with their heads down in the pattern may be a bad place for you.

    If you don't have ADHD, you got caught in an unfortunate trap -- and the issue is the doctor shotgunning solutions, not the FAA.
     
    Last edited: Mar 29, 2013
  22. ClimbnSink

    ClimbnSink Ejection Handle Pulled

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    excessive focus on minutia can kill you just as dead. Why isn't OCD disqualifying?
     
  23. bbchien

    bbchien Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Since a third class medical lets you fly a 707 (Travolta) I think this arguement carrys no water.
    Not so much. Your diagnosis codes and pharmacy codes are not part of the medical record and are not protected. So most have realized that a lie can very easily be found out...in a few minutes at the agency...
    Attaboy. At this point you have a denial so you have noplace to go but up. Really, you should have done some more spadework before bombing on into an AME office....That's what really is going on here :( :(
     
    Last edited: Mar 29, 2013
  24. Matthew

    Matthew Touchdown! Greaser!

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    First of all - good on you for being honest on the medical.

    Second - if you have already started flight training, I wish your CFI would have given you a heads up on this. This is a pet peeve of mine.

    Third - you have already learned to trust the advice of the good doctor.

    Finally - good idea or not, FAA considers ADHD a life time thing. You either have it forever or you don't have it and never did. Now you have to prove, one time, that you don't have it. This can be done, I've seen it work. But it only works if you really don't have it.
     
  25. ATL-Steve

    ATL-Steve Pre-Flight

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    Correct. With that in mind, I'm now off the clock, yes? I got the initial letter asking for the ADHD test and given a 30 day timeframe before they automatically fail me. I asked for a 30 day extension and they granted it. Now it doesn't really matter, correct? I can get the test done immediately or I can help my wife out with her new business for the next couple of months and start over at that time? Or will I have to start over from scratch?

    Hindsight is 20/20. I had no idea the physical was at all difficult. I thought it was more of a 20 minute "eyesite, heart attack, seizure, turn left and cough" type of thing. Similar to when I first considered taking flying lessons and imagined that the planes all looked like Lear jets and then showed up for my discovery flight and was like "I ain't gettin' in that tiny 50 year old piece of shart!!!!" I just didn't know what I didn't know. :(
     
  26. ATL-Steve

    ATL-Steve Pre-Flight

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    Duly noted.

    I'm just thinking that maybe they should have a separate medical for weekend warriors who only fly out of small airports in perfect weather. Perhaps that's not feasible.
     
  27. Henning

    Henning Ejection Handle Pulled

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    You can fly Pt 103 Ultralights with no medical and no license, it's fun flying and inexpensive to boot. You can buy a used one for less than the cost of getting a Private Pilot certificate. When/if you get your medical squared away, you're good to advance. Another option is gliders, the motorized self launching gliders fit into this category as well. Although typically the cost is considerably higher than with ultralights, there are options for taking a passenger. Good luck.
     
  28. MAKG1

    MAKG1 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Yeah, I think you have it in hand.

    But keep in mind that most midair collisions happen in exactly the conditions you describe.

    And my own experience flying into a really nice airport (KHAF) on a really nice weekend day supports that. I've seen quite a few "weekend warriors" make straight in approaches (not advisible) with blinders on, and had one near miss from an illegal pass. The other guy was flying a much faster airplane than I was, and I don't think he ever saw me. In most airplanes, you can't see behind you.
     
  29. Henning

    Henning Ejection Handle Pulled

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    You and a bunch of people. Reality is you had three options to fly with no medical at all, Ultralight, Glider, and Sport Pilot, the last covering exactly your stated mission. Your own impulsiveness and lack of research eliminated the last.
     
  30. ktup-flyer

    ktup-flyer Pattern Altitude

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    This is why I got all the ADD stuff taken care of BEFORE I filled everything out and got my medical
     
    Last edited: Mar 29, 2013
  31. douglas393

    douglas393 Pattern Altitude

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    Dr. Chein other than allowing him to go the LSA route, which may not be what he wants to do anyhow, would he not have to go through the same evaluations anyhow. So other than being prepared for the process, would he be in any different of a situation now?
     
  32. poadeleted20

    poadeleted20 Deleted

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    Yes. He might have showed up with all his ducks in a row and have been deferred and then approved rather than being denied. Now, no matter what else happens, he will forever have to check that "have you ever been denied" box "yes," with all the annoyances and expenses appertaining thereto.
     
  33. dell30rb

    dell30rb Final Approach

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    Its not his fault.

    Remember he only has a few hours in airplanes. He didn't know squat about the FAA or medicals.

    And ADD is quite common
     
  34. douglas393

    douglas393 Pattern Altitude

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    Makes sense. Thanks.
     
  35. Jeff Oslick

    Jeff Oslick En-Route

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    The FAA is going to need to come to terms with the fact that ADD/ADHD has been massively over-diagnosed over the last couple decades, and that even in cases where maybe it was "real", it is gradational and may have nothing to do with a person's ability to fly safely. Do they really think that pilots haven't been flying with this "condition", probably since 1904? I was often a bored, troublesome kid in elementary school, and if I was born 10-15 years later I suspect there is a good chance a psych pill-pusher would have tried to experiment on me. A lot of things bore me silly, flying isn't one of them.

    It would seem to me that it could be appropriate to develop an "alternate means of compliance" rather than just defaulting to requiring an expensive psych eval. If someone can get through flight training and pass the examinations without being on meds, shouldn't that be good enough proof that their condition isn't going to interfere measurably with their flying? So, if they have a past diagnosis and no recent script, have them go for a drug test before their written and practical exams to prove they're "clean" of ADHD drugs and be done with it.

    Jeff
     
    Last edited: Mar 29, 2013
  36. Henning

    Henning Ejection Handle Pulled

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    The FAA doesn't 'have to' come to terms with anything, nor does the person who is not looking for a flying job have to play by their rules. There's a whole lot of people out there flying all sorts of planes with no medical and no license. They just buy a plane and assume the risk.
     
  37. Jeff Oslick

    Jeff Oslick En-Route

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    A pilot shouldn't have to operate outside the law and without insurance because of a narrow-minded federal agency.
     
  38. N801BH

    N801BH Touchdown! Greaser! Gone West

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    :yes::yes:;)
     
  39. LDJones

    LDJones Touchdown! Greaser!

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    I agree with you, although I also agree with other posters who say the FAA doesn't "have" to do anything....they can continue to govern over an ever-decreasing pool of subjects, leaving many otherwise competent would-airmen forever looking longingly skyward.

    The over-diagnosing of ADHD has been a travesty.
     
  40. N801BH

    N801BH Touchdown! Greaser! Gone West

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    And a HUGE revenue stream for SSI recipients.......

    42% of the illegal aliens here in Wyoming are drawing massive amounts of cash from the US treasury by claiming their children have ADHD and those kids got qualified for SSI...... Keep in mind this population is living under the radar screen of the law and have NEVER paid a dime in taxes as they work for cash...

    Nationwide it is estimated to be a 60+ billion dollar scam and you can bet here is NO way the FAA will admit ADHD is overblown to the factor of 95%.......

    ps.. I feel sorry for the OP...:yes: