Failed Medical - Options Advice?

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

  1. bbchien

    bbchien Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Jeff that reflects a lack of understanding of what ADD really is. Even in the intelligent, mild cases, the time to execution is measurably longer. That is because the personality processing stuff that the a/m has finally learned to use, to present stuff to himself effectively, consumes time.

    That is why the psych measures more than just attention. He measures and scores to population means, the executive function.

    The FAA has already taken a stand- since the community work is such c_ap ("Ive been giving him this stuff for five years, but he has no true diagnosis".....yeah, right, you're real sharp and we should believe you, Doc....NOT), they have created a cadre of really good evaluators whose work is scholarly and reliable.

    "Overdiagnosing" ADD (with which FAA has nothing to do won't stop until the title 9 increase in funds for the schools of about $6,000/kid who is being medicated for ADD stops. This is about money and financing schools, less about kids. The incentive to ambush mom in the principal's office with the social worker is ENORMOUS. It is fundamentally corrupt.

    The cost of this quality stand is costly, however.
    You absolutely did :)
     
    Last edited: Mar 29, 2013
  2. Jeff Oslick

    Jeff Oslick En-Route

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    You're still making the presumption that the ADD was correctly diagnosed in the first place. You're also ignoring that this is almost certainly not a "new" condition to the species, just one we decided recently to medicate. I think the issue is more the drugs than the condition. Once again, if the airman can perform the tasks and pass the tests without drugs, where is the issue? You don't need to be a superhuman to safely fly airplanes. There is a spectrum - some are great sticks but not so great in the ADM areas, and vice-versa. In my experience, most good ADM calls aren't done under a tremendous amount of time pressure. In fact, you have all the time you need to decide whether or not you're going to make the flight and whether you've got gas in the tank before you leave the ground. If you can be recommended by a CFI and pass the practical, you think fast enough and fly well enough.

    Jeff
     
  3. Henning

    Henning Ejection Handle Pulled

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    While ADD and ADHD are new diagnosis, the drugs being given out are not. Back when I was in school they just called it 'hyperactivity' and still juiced the kids up on the same junk.

    You can be half retarded and fly a plane safely; until the **** hits the fan, then it gets different fast. Thing is, being 'normal' is no guarantee your brain will respond in the desired fashion under the threat of imminent death, in fact, the opposite could hold true with those people being more likely to have 'disassociative' personalities where they will just sit there and do nothing in denial that this is happening to them.
     
  4. TMetzinger

    TMetzinger Final Approach

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    gliders are still an option, no?

    Sent from my Nexus 7 using Tapatalk HD
     
  5. jjflys

    jjflys Pre-takeoff checklist

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    The fact he can't do LSA now is a shame. That FAA law that says you are ok with just your DL UNLESS you fail a medical is a joke and defies all logic.

    Good luck to the OP..
     
  6. Jim Logajan

    Jim Logajan En-Route

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    Their reasoning, to the extent that they have published any of it, seems to be summarized in one of their FAQ answers:
    "We understand that these conditions may not have been expected and may disappoint some people. That was not our intent, nor is it our intent that affected persons would have to maintain an airman medical certificate if they would rather use their current and valid U.S. driver’s license to medically qualify as a sport pilot.

    We ultimately concluded that, in those cases where the FAA has existing knowledge of medical ineligibility, we need the affected person to address it and, hopefully have it resolved. To meet the intent of the rule, the affected person should apply for reconsideration of their eligibility. In some denial cases, applicants simply may not have provided enough information to the FAA or may not have supplied information that the FAA may have requested. In certain other denial cases, applicants may not have exercised their appeal rights, which could have led to certification in some cases.

    The FAA wants to see as many pilots as possible take advantage of this exciting new rule and looks forward to working with individuals seeking to exercise sport pilot privileges. We also intend to work with EAA, AOPA, and other industry groups toward that end."

    ("Page Last Modified: 07/20/05 16:01 EDT")
    Full context:
    http://www.faa.gov/licenses_certificates/medical_certification/sportpilots/response3/

    After seven years of allegedly working with EAA, AOPA, and others, they sure haven't shown much progress. The FAA appears to be quite comfortable with where things are and has no incentive to change it.
     
  7. jnmeade

    jnmeade Cleared for Takeoff

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    I'm curious, does it matter if the OP chooses to ignore the request for information and let's the denial arrive? Would it be better to respond with the requested tests now if there is ever any interest in flying SP or higher? In other words, does the FAA hold it against an applicant to blow off the request now and submit the information later after the denial?
    To the OP - I know you are not in the mood for critiques right now, but for the others who may be lurking, LSA is the airplane, which can be flown by a person with the right credential at night, at altitude, over a cloud deck and so forth. The option the OP would like to be able to exercise is the Sport Pilot option which allows the person with a medical or driver's license to fly the LSA with restrictions.
     
  8. ATL-Steve

    ATL-Steve Pre-Flight

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    I'm curious about this as well. I'm leaning toward taking a break for personal reasons and getting the test done when I decide to come back to my training in a couple of months. Doc, you still in here? Care to opine on this?

    Based on prior posts in this thread I believe I no longer qualify for a LSA license. I'm not offended by anything in this thread. Stuff happens. Live and learn. Hopefully my error can save others time and money in the future.
     
  9. LDJones

    LDJones Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Good attitude and we all hope you can get over this hurdle and continue to pursue the joy of flight.
     
  10. bbchien

    bbchien Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Well, almost still here. Posts like the one I quote below make me want to leave. That's one from the righteous crusader for whom talk is cheap.

    There is no difference if you don't respond ("Denial for Failure to provide") vs an inadequate response ("Denial in fact"). Just don't do what many righteous clowns do, which is protest "but I'm fine," appeal it with no new data, and elevate it to a Federal Air surgeon denial. Then let's say down the road you get the good information, and should be qualified. You will then wait 6 months for the Federal Air Surgeon's office in Washington to get around to you.

    Then the poor S.Os that I try to help can't understand that his anger and righteousness has worked against them...."I spent half a year waiting for action......" Those guys, I just tell them, "Sorry, I can't help you.".

    And now on to the gratuitious comment of the night:
    Jeff. How can I possibly be making the assumption that he was correctly diagnosed...when the whole focus of my posts is "how to disabuse it".This alone tells me you are being disgenuous.
    In the past, if Johnny was bad enough, he never attained a position of sufficent reward that he was able to contemplate flying privately. Ever been in a heavy Flight Deck? Prolly not. Your cognition and executive functions have to be good. Funny, you can fly a 707 (like Travolta) on a 3rd class.
    I tried to pull this punch but you invited it. Your experience is mighty small, in this area. Ever tried to be CFI to an undiagnosed ADD airman? It usually among the pilots who have had five CFIs by their 30th hour....because we can never tell what's coming next from the left seat.
    ...but can rise to complexity beyond that of which a true ADD-er is capapble. Yet he can pass a checkride in a Cessna 172...and then fly say, a Light twin, where it's not so easy. See my previous response above.
    And then you get to take a bunch of unsuspecting folks in your Baron....right. Henning, below, has it right.
    *****
    Jeff, If you are undiagnosed, your statement about a checkride is true.

    However, YOU choose to miss the fact that the FIX for being incorrectly given the diagnosis (by pill, if nothing else) is to get that disabused. Your choice. That is the substance of the advise being given here- and how to get an incorrect (as you and I suggest) diagnosis reversed.

    Further you CHOOSE to miss the fact that even in well compensated (inapparent to the lay person) ADD, stressed, the executive function really goes to heck in a handbasket. YOUR reaction is, "oh, it was just too much for the guy". BUT it didn't have to be that way. Further the FAA has no control whether or not the guy took the pills on the day of the accident- or didn't.

    Now, the family doc is not going to write, "well I gave him these pills for a few years but I did so without any diagnosis". First of all, that would seal it for him being rather incompetent, and so nobody at FAA SHOULD believe him. Secondly, the State Board could do quite a number on him.

    Personal responsiblity is a bit of a message here, but I guess you just don't get it. You'd rather be righteous. The agency has chosen the only path it can- GET GOOD INFORMATION. Just because it's not out in every county seat town, is NOT their fault. I have gotten MANY so called ADD airmen approved. It happened again this week.

    And now, Mr. Oslick, I am done here. You were just disgenuous enough that it warranted my debunking. Otherwise I would have just walked quietly.

    If you're ever over at the Red Board, there's a guy who pretty certainly has it- he's got 173 landings and is now just mastering the pattern, hasn't solo'd, and has about fifteen strings about what to buy for $100,000. He doens't stay focused. Also can't "get it" on a two light VASI. I've sat in the right seat for candidates like that.....tried with every tool I know....and could never predict if the guy would suddenly stand the bird on its tail or what.....
     
    Last edited: Mar 30, 2013
  11. RJM62

    RJM62 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    In fairness, it seems that with regard to these two conditions, they already have "come to terms" with that.

    Yes, the protocol they insist upon to disabuse the diagnosis is expensive and exhaustive, but FAA didn't invent the tests.

    It's also not FAA's fault that so many pediatric ADD / ADHD "diagnoses" are made by school social workers, and then rubber-stamped by contracted physicians who studied medicine at the Lower Slobovian Institute of Medicine and Diesel Repair, and who got their school district contracts by being the lowest bidders.

    The kids should have been required to undergo the proper testing before they were diagnosed and drugged.

    -Rich
     
  12. douglas393

    douglas393 Pattern Altitude

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    I think the rub here lies in what pilots and prospective pilots desire for their own convenience and what the FAA has decided they need to do to have some minimum standards on what it requires to be acceptable to be a candidate to be a pilot. I do no think the discussion of ADD is much different than the discussions concerning DUI, marijuana use, or a host of other conditions that the FAA requires additional testing, and information about. The FAA in many ways has done quite good in this regard. They could have as easily said here is a list of conditions that are disqualifying and if you have them you cannot pass ANY medical and therefore cannot become a pilot period no discussion allowed. Instead, they have recognized that people are often misdiagnosed, have conditions that in one person may be disqualifying, and in others may not be, and have made mistakes in the past and have grown from them or grown up. They have provided a framework to allow people with these issues to be able to pass their medical as long as they get some additional evaluation. Yes this additional evaluation is going to cost some extra money and time but truthfully we all recognize that flying is not a hobby that you can do on the cheap(both in terms of money, and time) and be safe.

    Is the FAA perfect? No. but in the regard to potentially disqualifying conditions for the most part I think their processes make some sort of sense. We may not like them when they apply to us, but I challenge you to come up a better way to determine which person with _______(fill in the blank with your favorite potentially disqualifying condition) is probably safe to fly and which is not.

    GA as apparent from many of the posts and comments that I read from the general non flying public has a reputation that often is a product of stereotypes, biases, ignorance, assumptions, and prejudices that are only strengthened when accidents occur, or people are caught doing stupid pilot tricks. One thing that I have rarely see as a comment from the general public is "I knew that guy who was flying the plane and I could not believe he was able to fly a plane." Unfortunately, I have seen that type of comment from pilots concerning other pilots("I knew he was going to eventually die in a crash" or something similar) and yet did nothing to help their "friend", or acquaintance out.
     
  13. flyingron

    flyingron Touchdown! Greaser!

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    I thought it was the "Close Cover Before Striking School of Medicine and Heavy Equipment Operation."
     
  14. jnmeade

    jnmeade Cleared for Takeoff

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    It is not an LSA license. (An LSA is an airplane with certain characteristics. many pilots with many certificates/ratings can fly it.) It is a Sport Pilot certificate (license). That is the point I was trying to make.
     
  15. dell30rb

    dell30rb Final Approach

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    I recently had to tell one of my friends that he could not get a medical due to ADD (he was ready to write the check to join our flying club). For someone like him or the OP who takes medication as an adult I agree that a full eval should be done.

    I told my pal that he should look into LSA and I think it will be a good option for him. As Bruce pointed out with a third class you can get yourself into a lot more trouble than if you are limited to single engine day VFR

    What I and others seem to agree on is that ADD has been chronically overdiagnosed in youngsters and it would be nice if the FAA would recognize this and make some sort of easier pathway to the medical available to those who have been off the drugs for years
     
    Last edited: Mar 30, 2013
  16. cg2112

    cg2112 En-Route

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    I can see that. A diagnosis can be made with the simple stroke of a pen by a family doc because a 10 year old fidgets in class. At the same time, you can't just overturn ADD with a doctor's note. No potential pilots, even those with a significant and real condition, would ever have ADD anymore.
     
  17. Jeff Oslick

    Jeff Oslick En-Route

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    All pilots self-certify every time they get in a plane.

    The agency has chosen one of the most restrictive, bureaucratically-protective paths it could. Very typical for FAA Aeromedical. Some of it is Congress' fault. Some of it isn't.

    Dr. Bruce, I respect what you do for the community. Please respect that others are also quite experienced with dealing with government bureaucracies and recognize the overly self-protective behavior of FAA Aeromedical when we see it.

    A perfect example of someone who is unlikely to get a CFI recommendation for a checkride and unlikely to pass it even if he did. To put it another way, what's the bigger problem here, the student, or the CFI who would sign off such a student?
     
  18. Jeff Oslick

    Jeff Oslick En-Route

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    Exactly my point. If you've got a guy who's been off the drugs for years, has successfully been through college, started a career, and has letters of recommendation from employers, etc, it should be considered that such information might hold as much weight as a 10-years past script that the kid took for a year when they were 10 years old that wasn't based on any formal evaluation for a disease.
     
  19. Matthew

    Matthew Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Assuming the OP is successful in getting the diagnosis overturned, would it really be more complicated and expensive than explaining, "Initial medical denied due to disallowed medication (or 'incorrect medical diagnosis'). Followed guidance from AME and FAA, was issued unrestricted medical."?
     
  20. Henning

    Henning Ejection Handle Pulled

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    Probably not, but the thing is, he could have been flying SP in the mean time had he waited until he had all his ducks in a row before applying.
     
  21. RJM62

    RJM62 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Jeff, it's a rare thing for me to defend government agencies in general. I happen to have some insight into the ADD / ADHD issue, however, in several contexts, including my own family.

    The path FAA has chosen is actually nothing other than the proper protocol for the diagnosis of ADD / ADHD. It is intentionally rigorous because real experts in medicine and psychiatry want to be absolutely certain that there's an actual need before they go medicating kids (or adults) with powerful, potentially addictive stimulant medications.

    In other words, FAA didn't invent the protocol. It's the diagnostic protocol that should have been followed before the ADD / ADHD diagnosis was made in the first place. Unfortunately, school districts (and sometimes even parents) are in such a rush to label and drug kids that they reduce the process to a signature by a doc who barely bothers to learn the kids' names (if that much). They hand out ADD / ADHD diagnoses like gold stars, and medications like jelly beans.

    Unfortunately, these rubber-stamp diagnoses are just as legal and just as valid as any other. Once a doc signs off on it, it's official. It doesn't matter if that doc was hired by a school district specifically because he or she would rubber-stamp the diagnoses without asking too many questions (which is exactly the case most of the time, in my experience). It's still official.

    Confronted with this sort of situation, what is FAA supposed to do? There are a small subset of people who actually do have ADD or ADHD, so FAA can't simply dismiss all old diagnoses as bogus. Even though most ADD / ADHD diagnoses are dubious, at best, a few of them are accurate. FAA therefore has little choice but to require that an applicant who believes his or her diagnosis was incorrect undergo the tests that should have been done ten or twenty years ago, when the diagnosis was generated.

    I really don't see any way around this. Once the diagnosis has been made, even if it was bogus, I can't think of any way to disabuse it other than by using the proper diagnostic tests.

    (Jeez it feels odd to be defending the FAA...)

    -Rich
     
    Last edited: Mar 30, 2013
  22. Matthew

    Matthew Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Yeah, I know. The tough part of these kind of stories is that so many students don't know what they don't know. That's my pet peeve with CFIs that make the medical out to be no more than a 'fog the mirror' experience.
     
  23. ATL-Steve

    ATL-Steve Pre-Flight

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    I accept that inevitably it was my responsibility to know the ins and outs of the medical exam but I do wish my CFI had described it in more detail. I wish he had grabbed my shoulders and shaken me a bit. He did encourage me to get it ASAP so that I would know ASAP whether or not I'd be able to solo. He did tell me that he's had students fail it and that the failure stopped their training but I do wish he had been more direct when I was blase' about it. I didn't know what I didn't know. My fault.

    I thoroughly enjoyed all 7 of my hours though. I know how a plane works now. I know how to taxi and take off and work the radio and fly. I enjoy commercial flights more now as I see the plane go through it's maneuvers. Even if I knew 100% that I was never going to get my license I still would have done at least all but the last hour of my training just 'cuz it was fun. So, not the end of the world.

    I will take the ADHD exam and let the chips fall where they may.
     
    Last edited: Mar 30, 2013
  24. Skip Miller

    Skip Miller En-Route

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    So... Why doesn't AOPA publish a booklet or at least a one-pager that gives student pilots a heads-up regarding these common "gotcha's" and send it to all CFIs?

    -Skip
     
  25. Jeff Oslick

    Jeff Oslick En-Route

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    I'd be very interested to see the percentage of folks, who were initially diagnosed ADD/ADHD via pencil-whip method, that pass the formal testing years later (without drugs, of course).
     
  26. Jim Logajan

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    According to this article, one study estimated on the order of 20% ADHD diagnosis were incorrect:
    http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/08/100817103342.htm

    While looking for those stats, I found this article that suggests that sleep disordered breathing may cause a fair number of false ADHD diagnosis:
    http://health.usnews.com/health-news/articles/2012/06/20/does-your-child-really-have-adhd
     
  27. Jeff Oslick

    Jeff Oslick En-Route

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    Thanks for the links. Not surprising, but still frightening. The sleep study makes me wonder how many kids get thrown in the ADD/ADHD pool just because their parents don't let their kids get enough sleep - medical sleep disorder or not.
     
  28. Henning

    Henning Ejection Handle Pulled

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    Usually works the other way around, sleep is a difficult thing for a parent to enforce.

    The thing that interested me most was that only 20% are considered misdiagnoses, that means 80% are correct. That leads me to believe that ADD/ADHD is a normal and intended condition of humanity and shouldn't be medicated. If the occurrences are on the upswing, it may actually be an evolutionary condition and once again we are ****ing with the natural order of things without knowing the result of doing so. Had ADD/ADHD been a diagnosed condition at the time, I'll bet you dollars to donuts that both Einstein and Tesla would have received it.
     
    Last edited: Mar 31, 2013
  29. Jeff Oslick

    Jeff Oslick En-Route

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    As a parent of two young boys, I'll disagree completely here. Kids who are having a hard time sleeping typically aren't getting enough exercise/active play/mental stimulation time during the day. It is the parents' responsibility to form the right balance in a kid's life (because most schools today don't provide a balance).

    Video games and and TV don't count as mental stimulation.
     
  30. wabower

    wabower Touchdown! Greaser!

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    The company I headed operated a chain of day-care centers for a number of years, and I bought one center as a separate investment. We provided care for ~1,000 kids from 6 weeks to 12 years of age on a daily basis, and more during summer months.

    As a result, I was able to observe almost every conceivable iteration of child and parental behavior and reaction without any formal input into the "does he really have it and should we medicate for it" equation. My observations are:

    1. Many times the lack of attention was due to the fact that the kid had been able to get away with whatever they wanted to do whenever they wanted to do it and thought they could continue to do so indefinitely. Once they became aware that the game was over and they would be held accountable, the attention problems suddenly disappeared. The kids weren't short on attention, they were simply ignoring input they didn't like or want to hear. I noticed that the problems seemed to be more prevalent with single moms and/or disinterested or absent fathers, but no scientific evidence to support it.

    2. Whether the kid was medicated or not seemed to have little bearing on how they turned out. For many years after I'd see a parent of a former student and ask about their progress, and the answer was almost always "oh, he outgrew it." Many of the kids are now in their 30's and are quite accomplished in their chosen fields, so it's comforting to know they "turned out good."

    3. I don't know whether the philosophy or the medications have changed since then, and I know some kids really struggle with certain aspects of the condition, but I'm convinced that parental actions were by-and-large an over-reaction or a mis-directed approach to the underlying problem.
     
  31. bbchien

    bbchien Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Do you understand that the condition is such, that he might just pass a checkride, and fold under real operational pressures? Nope, I guess not.
    The biggest problem here is the 72 y.o pilot who self certifies despite his shortness of breath every day and says, "I feel fine". We have four or five LSA MIs in flight (all AFS 600 andecodal, no database is being kept) who felt just fine. We just had one in Arizona have a stroke in flight (AZ). He felt fine. Until he did not.

    You SHOULD be able to see that here, "self certification" is a joke. To make matters worse, the pilots not only self certify, but self medicate.

    PTSD and Meds: We have 56 (See pg 4 of Akin, et. al.) such events. They all self certified. That was a lot of lives involved.

    So the BIGGEST problem is that self cert. only works....SELECTIVELY.

    Then there's the CFI who is like the Moody's bond rating service. Paid for by Merrill Lynch, and so get the most optimistic BAA rating possible.

    So the agency chose to get GOOD data. Amidst all the garbage out there...and about that we are in agreement. But you only get what you pay for, never more, often less.

    The biggest problem of all is that the 3rd class aviator understands only the depth of his wallet. At least the retired military aviator understands the depth of the medical eval he had to go through to get his wings. But a civil-only guy has likely never seen that sort of thing.....
     

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  32. Henning

    Henning Ejection Handle Pulled

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    Personally I think you should be able to fly whatever you want without a medical; solo, or potentially even passengers with informed consent like with Experimentals, 2" letters on entering the plane, "The pilot of this aircraft is not medically qualified to operate this craft" . The reality is that people on the ground are at extremely minimal risk from airplanes. Airplanes are highly Darwinian.
     
    Last edited: Mar 31, 2013
  33. bbchien

    bbchien Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Bruce C
    I will not be defending LSA double jeopardy. that was clearly added at the last moment prior to OSH in (?)2005 so that DOT would not become the deep pocket.
     
  34. Mike5250

    Mike5250 Line Up and Wait

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    Mike5250

    What do you think the 'punishment' would be for a 1st or 2nd time offense if you were ramp checked or had a minor incident with no medical or ppl? Maybe someone from alaska can chime in.
     
  35. bbchien

    bbchien Touchdown! Greaser!

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    $2000 Civil monetary penalty, ONLY if they chose to pursue it.
    As I have said countlessly over and over, if you have no need of insurance, you have no need of the FAA, for part 91 operations.

    I personally, have need of insurance.
     
  36. Headspace

    Headspace Pre-Flight

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    MI = myocardial infarction = heart attack?

    Learn something new every day--I had no idea that there'd been five of those and a stroke in flight the LSA community. That's discouraging.
     
  37. Henning

    Henning Ejection Handle Pulled

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    Why? Most guys (and gals) flying LSAs under SP rules do so because they had known conditions precluding them from flying under greater authorization. They would have likely had that heart attack or stroke on the golf course, in front of the TV or driving down the road. This is life, it's finite, everybody dies.
     
  38. Headspace

    Headspace Pre-Flight

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    Because Sport Pilot lets you take a passenger.
     
  39. azure

    azure Final Approach

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    azure
    And a DL lets you take as many as will (legally) fit in your car. Cars don't even have dual controls; even if they did, the passengers in the back seat couldn't prevent disaster anyway.

    Medical certification is mostly about the perceived danger to people on the ground.
     
  40. Henning

    Henning Ejection Handle Pulled

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    Yeah, so? They aren't paying passengers, they should know the pilot has medical problems. If they don't know them that well they probably shouldn't be getting in a plane with them without being a pilot themselves. Besides, it's only one other person, we have plenty to spare and aren't likely to run out any time soon at the rate SPs can take them out.

    I find it funny that everybody wants less restrictive 3rd class medicals, or to due away with them altogether yet don't like the inevitable result.