Time for FAA Psychiatric Illness Reform

Discussion in 'Medical Topics' started by ProjectInfinity1, May 12, 2019.

  1. ProjectInfinity1

    ProjectInfinity1 Pre-Flight

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    Good evening gents, it’s been almost two years since I last posted on here. It’s been a bit of a adventure, one suicide attempt, two weeks in inpatient, another two weeks at a diagnostic program, and 3 months at a adolescent OCD treatment program.

    However unfortunately the FAA hasn’t really made any progress on policies affecting mental illness suffers. It seems counterproductive in the middle of a pilot shortage to bar the next generation of aviation enthusiasts as improved screening practices allows for better recognition over pervious generations. For what was once “strange”, “undisciplined”, or “damaged” now has names. All while many pilots suffer in silence out of fear of losing their medical, not to mention.at this current rate we will be losing out a quite noticeable number of Millennials and generation Z.

    But as a result this better recognition is used to discriminate by the FAA. I get it, there are some illnesses such as Psychosis, BPD, BIpolar type I, Schizophrenia, ect. That shouldn’t be able to fly.
    But Mild ADHD? It depends on a person by person basis, but there is no reason that someone who has a passion for aviation yet is primarily inattentive about history or politics (just an example) can’t fly safely.

    As for my personal case, I was introduced to aviation at young age by my uncle who worked with a local air museum and pulled a TBM avenger back in the 90s out of Maine. What started as an interest in WW2 Air Combat blossomed into a affection for flight as a whole.

    With the FAA polices being as it is, I bought into my second passion, firearms. I’ve worked for an FFL, and am getter my own license in the coming year. I own a 40MM grenade launcher (DD), an buying a premay 1986 machine gun. My question is, for all the prohibitions, (which can be acknowledged as acceptable for First class medicals.)
    I do still have suicidal ideation, but if I really had no self control why would I have not just shot myself by now? What harm comes of having a SI for primarily inattentive ADHD? It’s very much a catch 22 to find a “drive” in life, when a potential one you have is blocked by your lack of said “drive”.

    Just my 0.02 but perhaps food for thought. Hope everyone had a wonderful mother’s day with their families.-Mat
     
  2. bbchien

    bbchien Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Failure of perspective. Andreas Lubitz is not the norm. And we know there are likely (by prevalence data) two of them still flying in the American airspace. The current thinking is that we do not need to lessen standards and allow a potential third.

    Not discriminatory. It's "public policy" and some are guaranteed to not like it. Particlarly the ones excluded. NO it is not normal to have suicidal ideation.

    The door is not "eternally" shut- if you can credibly demonstrate ten years of good psychiatry hygiene and function, documented by qualified professionals over the 10 years;
    No events
    No meds

    Then you credibly are very unlikely to be a Lubitz and you will be considered, after proper expert evaluations. In any other country you would be excluded forever, esp . the JAA countries, under whose licensure, Lubitz killed 150.
     
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  3. bflynn

    bflynn Final Approach

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    The FAAs job is not to promote the next generation of aviation enthusiasts, it is to ensure the safe conduct of aviation.

    I’m sorry that you’re having a rough time. Get well first, the airplanes will still be waiting for you.
     
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  4. ProjectInfinity1

    ProjectInfinity1 Pre-Flight

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    Fair enough Dr, I do appreciate the fact that there IS a path. (A difficult path, but a path nonetheless.) The meds I’m currently on the positive effect is negligible. I’ve tried three ssri’s, one SNRI ,an SSRI and a low dose of abilify to now being recommended to try two SSRI’s at once. Given it’s currently is making little difference, it is possible to tapper off should no improvement be noticed after giving the double SSRI combo a go for a few months.

    Yet My point is while I certainly have my problems, (and I will acknowledge my difficulty in seeing myself past 25), the difference is I can unequivocally state destroying an aircraft that executors of an estate could resell, putting first responders in harms way getting to a crash site, and making it impossible for a potential aviation hopeful in a similar state in the future would be wrong. Similar are the reasons why I would avoid firearms in a potential scenario for such an occasion given how much joy and shared community it has given me and giving a additional plus one to statistics that anti gunners would use to justify Firearm control.

    We may fundamentally disagree on whether or not a person should have a path to terminate their life given chronic long term psychiatric ailments as they do in four European countries. But putting others in danger and and hurting the chances on future applicants is wrong.

    I don’t know what the future may hold, but at the least it’s a goal to demonstrate rationality in the face of such an irrational thing to the FAA. Would be nice if we could all meet in the middle, but unfortunately I do accept the necessity of “Safe than Sorry”. It’s just regrettable it’s rather cookie cutter.
     
    Last edited: May 12, 2019
  5. flyingron

    flyingron Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Of course, we've had countless suicidal GA flights with pilots with third class medicals so it would seem the screen is either worthless because it fails to catch these or worthless because suicidal tendencies don't necessarily follow what the psych standards in use are. Either way, it begs for reform (at least at the non-commercial level).
     
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  6. Clip4

    Clip4 En-Route

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    And that is your call to reform argument?
     
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  7. Chip Sylverne

    Chip Sylverne En-Route PoA Supporter

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    Fear is the poison of our lives.
    Ok. Bipolar schizophrenic, suicidal ideations, can't fly a spam can, but can, and is, loading up on serious firearms. And meds are ineffective.
    Anyone else's troll sense tingling? Or maybe we should be a little concerned?
     
  8. ProjectInfinity1

    ProjectInfinity1 Pre-Flight

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    Did I ever say I was schizophrenic? As for bipolar it’s been ruled out. Regardless my passion is NFA firearms, hence my pride and joy is an M203 and soon to be getting a pre1986 full auto.

    It’s very much a hyperbolic argument that one’s fear of safety for self or others in reasons given by the FAA for non issuance.

    I’m not discrediting the fact that I have suicideal ideation (Being an optimistic nihilist in “life intrinsically has no meaning, so we must create meaning ourselves.”). But at what point does the FAA say “your trusted with explosives by the ATF, you can fly a Piper 180, or Cessna 185.” As I’m stated, regardless if I make 25, 30 ect.

    It would be selfish if given a chance to squander it and damn others in a similar position in the future. While demonstrating capablity of self control, given the fact I work on a range and have every opportunity. It’s strange explaining how I understand on paper why’d you’d like want to keep someone with such symptoms as far a way from firearms as possible. Yet what keeps me going every morning and what I love does “fly in the face” (no pun intended), of what medically would be recommended for such a case.

    I do appreciate Dr. Chein’s response that at least there is a path. Aviation was always a childhood love of mine and beyond needing to study heavily on radio procedures, I’d be close to my class 3 if I could obtain a medical.
     
  9. ProjectInfinity1

    ProjectInfinity1 Pre-Flight

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    How do you mean sir?
     
  10. Chip Sylverne

    Chip Sylverne En-Route PoA Supporter

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    Fear is the poison of our lives.
    I apologize for the schizophrenic and bipolar references, I took that line in your post out of context. And I have to agree, if you can be trusted with firearms, why not a spam can. However, if I'm to be honest, I don't find that terribly reassuring. In any case, I hope you continue to seek whatever help you may think you require, and find a way into the left seat.
     
  11. flyingron

    flyingron Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Well, if a law doesn't work, you either need to decide you don't need it or change it.
     
  12. Clip4

    Clip4 En-Route

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    We have laws against bank robbery and some banks still get robbed. That doesn’t mean the doesn’t work and we need robbery reform an more than a handful of pilots with medical committing suicide by plane scream for medical reform.
     
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  13. flyingron

    flyingron Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Robbing banks is a crime.
    Having a diagnosed psychiatic condition or having been prescribed certain drugs is NOT a crime.
    Your analogy make zero sense.

    There's no indication the FAA philosophy on this is anything but a political knee-jerk reaction to a situation that doesn't even apply to private aviation.
     
  14. Sinistar

    Sinistar Pattern Altitude

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    +1

    Even if @ProjectInfinity1 had not mentioned any mental illness, the fact he is now sporting a Grenade Launcher (yes, legally) has nothing to do with being cleared to fly a plane. The M203 is between the ATF/FBI and him and I see no connection with the FAA.

    A good friend, who recently passed away, had his FFL and many, many fun-to-play-with weapons the average public never gets to touch. He was also a Thud pilot in Vietnam. In 15yrs of knowing him I never got the vibe I got from the first post of this thread.

    Then again its the internet and not talking to face to face and @ProjectInfinity1 might very well be more level headed than all of us. Also, I would think the FAA will eventually need to make some type of changes if it wants pilots from the ADD/ADHD generation with so many kids having been diagnosed and prescribed with who knows what the FAA has banned.
     
  15. Sinistar

    Sinistar Pattern Altitude

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    Just curious what you mean regarding the radio procedures and the class 3. Perhaps you meant Private Pilot License where your wrote "class 3"?
     
  16. Dean V

    Dean V Pre-takeoff checklist

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    I do not want people with mental disorders with pilot certificates and I do see a correlation between the regulation and public safety.

    Go down to your local jail, there is a high percentage of inmates with psychiatric conditions not because they are ill, because they are unable to make proper decisions. Especially when they take themselves off prescribed medications.
     
    Last edited: May 14, 2019
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  17. mryan75

    mryan75 Cleared for Takeoff

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    Are you flipping kidding? Thank God the FAA keeps people like you out of cockpits. I wish you all the best in your situation, but you have no business flying anybody, much less paying customers.
     
  18. mryan75

    mryan75 Cleared for Takeoff

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    Or it's kept 99.999999999% of suicidal people from flying and killing themselves and/or others and one or two lied their way through.
     
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  19. mryan75

    mryan75 Cleared for Takeoff

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    His analogy makes 100% sense, you just don't have a reasonable response. To say that if a law doesn't work it needs to be reformed or revoked is patently absurd. That would leave us with no laws. When someone breaks a law, you enforce it. That's why it exists.
     
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  20. PeterNSteinmetz

    PeterNSteinmetz Line Up and Wait

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    I will ask this question again as I have in other threads because I am curious.

    Are there any studies which document that FAA aeromedical regulation improves the safety of flight at reasonable cost?

    It is clearly a question of the rate of true and false positives versus the costs. I’ve not seen this (but haven’t searched real hard).

    But if there is no such evidence, what we really have is regulation by knee-jerk reaction.

    As I recall, the initial setup of regulation of the medical condition of pilots was adopted by the CAA in the 1930s without much thought being given to it. It was just stated and assumed that of course pilots had to be of excellent health and the CAA should check that.
     
  21. flyingron

    flyingron Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Actually, my own "back of the envelope" research shows that for the third class, there's not much point in the regulation. The rate of medical incapacitation isn't any better when the third class was required than for gliders or LSA or things that don't require a medical at all. In fact, it apparently is a lousy screen as some sudden incapacitations get through just fine.

    Now when it comes to the first and second, there's an arguable public policy reason for a more stringent check and there are a number of hot buttons of late (sleep apnea, suicidal pilots, etc...) to warrant an stronger screen.
     
  22. Kenny Phillips

    Kenny Phillips Pattern Altitude

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    Yeah, I'd let third class have a doctor sign-off (their PCP) as their medical, with limits on aircraft size and passenger count (say, a PC-12 or smaller), and only have revenue pilots (including CFI) go through the wringer. I say that as someone who can pass a third class medical.
     
  23. benyflyguy

    benyflyguy Pattern Altitude

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    Interesting side note/thread drift.

    With the increasing use of Electronic Medical Records (EMR) as well as use of ones like EPIC, it will be harder for ppl to dodge or be dishonest about previous medical issues.
    Epic allows a practitioner to review all available info for you for any place that uses that same EMR. I can review stuff placed my ppl in my own network, but also If you had seen another provider in a completely different network. Previous EMRs didn’t do that.
    Case in point. I just had my second class medical done. The doc I see for my medical is part of a group called St Luke’s. He uses Epic in office. I goto the docs in my network (Lehigh valley) for as it is preferred and they all use Epic- he was able to pull everything over to review just based on EMR, labs, meds, notes, dx everything. I have nothing to hide but the implications for someone that does will be big as more and more providers switch to this EMR. Those little Easter eggs buried on ppls past can and will come back to bite.
     
  24. apr911

    apr911 Pre-takeoff checklist

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    I've always questioned the FAA's policy on medications and illnesses, especially in a world that is increasingly diagnosed with something and dependent on pharmaceuticals. I dont have any hard numbers to back it up but we seem to have entered an age where most people take some medication for some ailment and the FAA's list of banned medications is extensive.

    The FAA is not the FDA and they should have very limited authority over what medications pilots take. They dont really run any studies on the drugs, let alone long term ones and the list of drugs deemed "safe" by the FAA is so short as to be practically useless. If the FAA wants to ban an ailment, then so be it; that's what state's do with driver's licenses after all but individual drugs is the jurisdiction of the FDA. If a pilot can show their issues are controlled on medication and they are actively seeing a doctor for their ailment then I dont see the issue with letting them fly. It's a heck of a lot better than the basic med procedures.

    My issue with this ultimately boils down to this; who is the safer pilot?
    A) The pilot who has a known issue and is monitored/seeking treatment.
    B) The pilot who has a known issue but is avoiding treatment for fear of losing their medical/livelihood.
    C) The pilot who has an unknown issue that is a ticking time bomb waiting to go off.
     
  25. mryan75

    mryan75 Cleared for Takeoff

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    The FAA has authority over the national airspace system. End of story. Has nothing to do with the FDA. To say that "the list of drugs deemed "safe" by the FAA is so short as to be practically useless" is complete hyperbole.
     
  26. apr911

    apr911 Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Yes the FAA has authority over the national airspace system, not my body/health. If they want to deem a pilot unfit because of an uncontrolled ailment they have, then so be it but making exceptions because the pilot is well-controlled on Drug A vs well-controlled on Drug B is making exceptions based on the FAA's determination of drug efficacy and side-effects which has no basis in drug studies conducted by the FAA.

    Its hyperbole but I wouldn't say it's "complete hyperbole." Ultimately, it depends on the condition.
     
  27. PaulS

    PaulS Final Approach

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    My experience with people with mental illness is that things go well until they don't. Mostly from very intelligent people, with problems, deciding to stop taking their meds. By the time it becomes apparent, it's too late and there is a lot of angst to get them back on them again. Mental illness is as hard on, or harder on close family members than the patient most of the time. Mental illness covers a broad spectrum of issues, at least to this lay person, but I've known enough people with serious issues, like schizophrenia, bi-polar and depression who should never be allowed to pilot an aircraft alone that I think the FAA has it right in many situations.
     
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  28. flyingron

    flyingron Touchdown! Greaser!

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    I've known people who have gone through the third class that I don't think should be allowed to pilot an aircraft (period). However, that doesn't change the fact that I doubt strongly the relevance of the existing exam. It's just that it's too small of a lobby. You try to enforce the same restrictions on passenger cars and you'd have your head handed to you in short order. I used to say there are two things you can't mess with the citizens: cars and TV. You can probably add the internet to that now.
     
  29. Salty

    Salty En-Route PoA Supporter

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    It sucks that you are having difficulty realizing your dream. But, I was kept from realizing my true calling due to my eyesight, height, and now weight and age. Sometimes life just isn't fair. Make the best lemonade you can. PS> Squeezing the same lemon for years isn't going to make the juice any less sour.
     
  30. mryan75

    mryan75 Cleared for Takeoff

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    You still don't get the point. Thank God I don't feel the need to argue on the internet anymore.
     
  31. Warmi

    Warmi Pre-takeoff checklist

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    10 years of people flying under LSA rules ( basically with valid driver licenses ) and having accident rates no different than 3rd class medical holders , pretty much proves that 3rd class is useless and it will eventually go away - we will end up with the same model as with commercial ground transportation- only commercial operators will need medicals beyond your typical driver license level.
     
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  32. Clip4

    Clip4 En-Route

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    Fortunately you aren’t running the FAA.
     
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  33. azure

    azure Final Approach

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    I don't think the 3rd class will go away completely until ICAO standards change to admit something like our Basic Med. There are still people on this board getting 3rd class medicals because they want to fly to Canada.
     
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  34. Half Fast

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    Perhaps not, but if we just dropped the need for a 3rd class issuance as a pre-req for Basic Med we’d satisfy both concerns. The pre-req becomes more meaningless every year anyway, and as things stand today someone could have passed a 3rd class 15 years ago and be eligible for BM.

    Unfortunately, changing the 3rd class pre-req would require another act of Congress.
     
  35. ProjectInfinity1

    ProjectInfinity1 Pre-Flight

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    This is something I’ve been debating on whether or not posting. About a week and a half after I first posted this thread, I received a visit from the FBI. To say I was surprised doesn’t describe my first impression when the agent knocked on the door. It’s a long story, but someone reported my post to their local office, who then sent it to Providence and hence gave me a visit. Very nice guy, we talked for about an hour/hour and 15 min if I remember correctly.


    I must say in hindsight that the way I wrote what I posted came off semi-agitated. I will be the first to admit, when you take everything I described/presented with, it does meet the criteria for major red flags/sound like a recipe for disaster. Yet my entire point, (perhaps in not the most of appropriate way) was that not every case is the same. For me, ADHD manifests itself particularly in advanced mathematics, Shakespearean English, which is like pulling teeth.


    However, Politics, Miltary/Political History, Philosophy, Firearm development, Firearm Law along with Aviation is of particularly interest, which I’m able to hyper focus on.


    From a young age, it’s been a passion. My uncle use to work with the now defunct Quonset Air Museum, and helped co lead an expedition to pull a TBM Avenger wreck out of the woods in Maine, where it was restored to static desplay back in the 90’s.


    I’ve logged 12 hours in a Piper 140, but had to stop over concerns that the FAA would not allow medical issuance.

    The intention of my original post (which ended up causing concern), was to show the I’m in the firearm industry, I have my problems, yet the very thing which most would recommend I steer clear of (guns) gives me great satisfaction and have a passion for.


    I’ve seen it mentioned many a times, “Get healthy first before flying.” And while that makes sense in most cases, what is one to do when the ailment is of psychological nature? What is logical becomes distorted in both the patient as well as the traditional “rules”.


    Is the very thing that can pull one out of a depressive episode that which they shun the most? In my case yes, not sitting home and wallowing, but enjoying myself at the gunshop/range, socializing, flying, being able to travel moderate distances, fly from PVD to Maine, visit some friends at college?


    I’ve been told to lie about my medical history by two pilots. I’m ****ed that would even be an consideration. I don’t follow firearm/NFA law just to commit perjury on a FAA form god for bid I was to ever bend metal.


    There needs to atleast be a path, and the ball is in the FAA’s court on allowing some process even if it takes 2-3 years.
     

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  36. kyleb

    kyleb En-Route PoA Supporter

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    Here's the problem. Because of HIPAA laws, your shrink can't tell the ATF you shouldn't be allowed to possess a firearm. You are required to self-report that information at the time you're attempting to purchase said firearm.

    To call it a disconnect would be an understatement.
     
  37. ProjectInfinity1

    ProjectInfinity1 Pre-Flight

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    That’s not accurate, there is no law prohibiting those with mental illness from owning a firearm on a federal level (state laws vary) the only exception is a “mental defective” as decribed under the 1968 GCA. That ONLY entails involuntary admission, NOT voluntary.

    A doctor under federal law is NOT a lawful authority.

    https://www.atf.gov/file/58791/download
     
  38. Capt. Geoffrey Thorpe

    Capt. Geoffrey Thorpe Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    Options B and C preserve the FAA's "plausible deniability" in the event that someone goes off the rails.
     
  39. Kenny Phillips

    Kenny Phillips Pattern Altitude

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    Actually, reporting someone who is threatening injury to themselves or others gets a doctor out of the HIPAA jail (in some states it's mandatory to report such behavior). But an opinion that someone could possibly be a danger to themselves or others is not the same thing.
     
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  40. benyflyguy

    benyflyguy Pattern Altitude

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    So the FBI is contacted by someone..the FBI contacted the site host to get your contact information in anonymous forum and hunt you down, I guess through ISP stuff (magic as far as I’m concerned). Then they show up to have have a meeting???