Mental Health History and Obtaining A Recreation License

Discussion in 'Medical Topics' started by Alex2345, Aug 25, 2020.

  1. Alex2345

    Alex2345 Filing Flight Plan

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    Hello, just wondering what people's thoughts and advice are regarding my situation.
    I've taken interest in the idea of becoming a recreational pilot but have not taken any steps to do so as I'm still doing research. The only potential obstacle I see currently is obtaining a third class medical license due to an extensive past medical history.

    During my sophomore year of high school I went into a poor mental state due to a number of circumstances; some of which were out of my control and others I take some responsibility for. Anyway, I eventually went to outpatient care for two weeks and was diagnosed with generalized anxiety and major depressive disorder in addition to an early child diagnosis of ADD. I was asked quite a bit by psychiatrists, and they reported some things that look very negative on my medical records. To keep things short, I had some thoughts involving violent situations which could be accidentally misinterpreted as the capacity to harm others. Now, the discharge report states it does not in any way suspect me of being violent, as I have no history of committing violent acts, and no signs of doing so in the future. But for the doctor evaluating these records for eligibility may ignore the discharge report and decide from the notes alone, that I'm some sort of schizophrenic or sociopath and immediately deny me.

    After discharge I took three different medications for each of the three diagnoses until the start of junior year. The medications made things significantly worse for my mental state, specifically the antidepressant and anti-anxiety medications. The depression got worse and I had a few episodes of cutting. I was caught and went to inpatient for a week. On my medical records it was shown I went to inpatient for being "suicidal". I'm being completely honest here; I was probably in the worst state I had ever been in at the time, but it was in no way, shape, or form, a suicide attempt. This took place at the end of sophomore year and I went off of all prescription medication shortly afterwards due to my situation. My depression lifted and my anxiety was overcome and I have never self-harmed since.

    Zoom ahead to modern day, and I'm 18 and graduated high school. I'm attending college for an electrical engineering degree. Not only do I have an incredibly strong interest in flying, but a recreational pilot's license would look great when applying for a job.

    Couple of other things I want to say;
    • Going off of all prescription medication did not hinder my academic performance.
    • I was diagnosed with asthma in the second grade, not sure why. I have never used in inhaler and go on daily runs with no breathing problems whatsoever.
    • When I was first diagnosed with ADD, I was put on a stimulant medication but changed to a non-stimulant medication in the seventh grade.
    I understand that these are very specific circumstances and I'm fine with being referred to a doctor or someone who can offer me a more valid opinion. And if something doesn't make sense, ask me in the comments for additional information. Thanks for your time folks.
     
  2. AggieMike88

    AggieMike88 Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    The original "I don't know it all" of aviation.
    Just about all of the punters here, including me, are not qualified to provide direct guidance. Only guesses.

    The person to talk to is (1) Dr. Bruce Chien, a very well qualified Senior HIMS AME who is on this discussion board as @bbchien, or (2) a Senior HIMS AME in your region who has droves of experience guiding cases like yours.

    Seeking free SGOTI advice may provide some information, but it can also be the inconclusive or wrong information.

    You need to be talking to the correct experts aka the HIMS AME’s.
     
  3. AggieMike88

    AggieMike88 Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    The original "I don't know it all" of aviation.
    Disagree. It might make for a short and interesting side discussion during the interview, but I doubt it would sway the decision to employ you.
     
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  4. AggieMike88

    AggieMike88 Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    The original "I don't know it all" of aviation.
    With this in your records, Dr. Bruce has shared with us that “suicidal idealations” requires at least a 10-year documented “time out” period before you should apply for a medical certificate.

    As mentioned, you have a big thorny Gordian knot of a background that needs the guidance of a very experienced HIMS AME.
     
  5. Dana

    Dana Pattern Altitude

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    If by "recreation" you mean the actual "Recreational Pilot Certificate", understand that that's a nearly obsolete thing. If by that you mean you just want to fly for fun, you have two options: a Private Pilot certificate, which requires a medical, or a Sport Pilot certificate, which requires no medical as long as you have a state issued drivers license. Compared to Private, Sport Pilot restricts you to smaller, lighter aircraft with some performance limitations, but no medical worries. Given your history that's probably your best bet.

    But of if you go for Private and are denied a medical, you can't fly Sport. Consider carefully.
     
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  6. Alex2345

    Alex2345 Filing Flight Plan

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    I emailed Dr. Bruce Chien directly, thank you.
     
  7. Alex2345

    Alex2345 Filing Flight Plan

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    I've heard differently but okay.
     
  8. Alex2345

    Alex2345 Filing Flight Plan

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    Sorry, Private Pilot Certificate is what I meant. And I will consider things carefully before attempting to get a medical. Thanks.
     
  9. Salty

    Salty Final Approach

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    Not sure this is even relevant, but I’ll tell the story anyway and let readers decide.

    A few years ago I interviewed a guy with private pilot on his resume (for a tech job, nothing to do with aviation). After I asked all my usual questions I asked him what airspace was above his house (address was on his resume). He had no idea. Made for an awkward discussion rather than an interesting one. I thought it was a softball question to a pleasant conversation.

    We didn’t hire him.
     
    Last edited: Aug 25, 2020
  10. murphey

    murphey Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    Agree with Mike. I'm in the aerospace industry, and have been most of my career. I've put my FAA cert on my resume only once - Jeppesen (aka Boeing Global Services) because that's brownie points there. No place else unless you're looking for a pilot gig, and no one cares about anything below a commercial with 1500 hrs and/or an ATP.

    Candidly, most people won't even know what you're talking about with any aviation cert.
     
  11. AggieMike88

    AggieMike88 Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    The original "I don't know it all" of aviation.
    I agree with Murphey.....

    Many people in the position of hiring decisions may have a strong opinion against small airplane aviation. They may believe in popular wives tales about it being unsafe, or want to talk about an incident or crash that they saw on local or internet news media. Making a bigger deal than necessary that you possess a pilot certificate could hip check the interview into areas you don't really want to go.
     
  12. Half Fast

    Half Fast Final Approach

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    Agreed. I've been a practicing engineer in the aerospace industry for nearly 36 years. Recruiting, interviewing, and hiring engineers has been a regular part of my job. A pilot certificate might be part of some getting acquainted chit chat, but it would have no bearing on a hiring decision.

    The exception would be if the job might entail using one of our drones. We have many drones that we use for a wide variety of purposes. A drone pilot license might, in rare circumstances, make a difference. But it's pretty doubtful.
     
  13. AggieMike88

    AggieMike88 Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    The original "I don't know it all" of aviation.
    Knowing who your employer is, I’m sorta wondering if you have snuck into the drone ops room for a bit of after hours fun like Howard Walowitz and the Mars Rover.
     
  14. Half Fast

    Half Fast Final Approach

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    If you're expecting any admissions on a public forum, get used to disappointment! :)
     
  15. Strutwipe

    Strutwipe Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Alex,

    I commend your enthusiasm. Life throws us a lot of lemons and Lord knows I've made a lot of lemonade. I'm going to offer you a few tools to put in your toolbox, you can decide what you want to do with them.

    If you are 18 and just starting college, that would make you a sophomore. With that being said, you already have a lot on your plate and it is only going to get busier. Electrical engineering is going to be a very heavy load once you enter your junior year. Hit you senior year and there is no way anyone can stop you but that's four years down the road. Unless you have unlimited funds, if so good on you, performing pilot training for a college student is a financial impossibility; let alone the time. Depending were you live, 10K (50 hours) just for the rental and instruction. This does not include ground school. Going through the HIMS AME is going to be another 5K and no sure bet. Once you are medical denied, you cannot train for a light sport. Like others have said, Dr. Bruce is the man and has even advised me on a medical issue.

    I am an expert in nothing but your job right now is to get through school. If you have the time and funds, light sport would be the way to go. I would suggest you research local flight clubs or EAA. Go to one or two of their meetings to start networking (Networking will open more doors than a pilot license). You would be surprised how many people are willing to give an interested person a ride around the patch. All it would cost you is a doughnut and coffee. Just my $0.02 ;)
     
  16. murphey

    murphey Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    Friend of mine (used to work for LockMart in Colorado, now in Clear Lake) spent a year in the Mars habitat program in Hawaii. As he called it, the worlds worst Hawaiian vacation. They had a problem one day with something, so he used the drone to pull a tarp over a section of the habitat. Altho he has a commercial, at the time, he didn't have a drone cert. But no one was going to tattle on him!