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Thread: Medical special issuance vs training, fallback plans if can't solo?

  1. #11
    vibster's Avatar
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    Thanks! I'll look into AOPA as well for some additional confirmation; and that's a helpful clarification on the sport pilot medical rules. (As always, will take professional advice in the end and do what's safe first and foremost!)

  2. #12
    FlyingRon's Avatar
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    I'll warn you about AOPA medical phone help. It's not very good, and one of the reasons I ended up grounded a few years back.

    Tons of useful information is available just by reading the FAA's own guidance:

    https://www.faa.gov/about/office_org...aam/ame/guide/
    Last edited by FlyingRon; 05-26-2021 at 05:54 AM.

  3. #13
    DaleB's Avatar
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    Whether or not you are fit and safe to fly under Sport Pilot rules is between you and your doctor(s).
    Measure twice, cut once...
    scratch head, shrug, shim to fit.

    Flying an RV-12. Building a Fisher Celebrity.

  4. #14
    vibster's Avatar
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    Thanks, the FAA AME guidance is exactly the sort of info I'm looking for! Very helpful, and I think I can trim out the private pilot license as a possibility based on the guidance in there, as a special issuance looks unlikely. Will continue to research sport pilot, with backup plans to limit myself to taking lessons under supervision if that's too sketchy or turns out to be a hard no.

  5. #15
    Eric Page's Avatar
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    Or, as you suggested above, fly ultralights with no need for any "permission" from the government. Many years ago, before I took the path toward commercial flying, I flew ultralights for awhile. Believe it or not, back in the early 90's there was a place in Arlington, WA that actually rented ultralights and offered instruction. I don't know what the ultralight instruction and rental landscape looks like today, but I remember that time well; it was some of the most fun I've ever had in the air.

    Whatever you decide, good luck, and I hope to meet you on the ramp one day!
    Eric Page
    Building Kitfox Series 5
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  6. #16
    vibster's Avatar
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    Thanks! I've definitely still got ultralights in as a possibility.

    I'm not sure I can find any place in Oregon/Washington that'll rent them these days but I see a few places around that do ultralight-specific training in 2-seater SLSA variants. If I can get local-area training in regular planes (and just not do the solos or apply for the license), then do type-specific ultralight training, I could save up my pennies and buy a kit, build it, and fly it from an uncontrolled airport outside of town.

    While I'm still not confident I would be able to do sport pilot without encountering FAA trouble -- and I want to be in compliance and safe to begin with! -- the ultralight plan looks solid in either case.

  7. #17

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    Quote Originally Posted by Eric Page View Post
    Dana is exactly right. All pilots have to assess their fitness to fly before each and every flight. If you're having a rough day and you don't feel that flying is a safe activity today, then don't fly. If your doctor put you on a new medication, wait a week or two before you fly again to see if there are any side-effects. As long as you're responsible about making an honest assessment of yourself, your doctor is aware that you fly and hasn't advised against it, and none of your medications carry an advisory against operating motor vehicles or machinery, you should be fine.

    Oh, and I'm not a lawyer.

    If you have specific questions, my advice would be to join AOPA, then call them and ask to speak to an aeromedical advisor. Details here: https://aopa.org/go-fly/medical-resources

    This exactly.
    Don't kid yourself about the sport pilot license. It really IS a real license to fly and do exactly what you say you want, day VFR. Granted, you'll also be limited to only one passenger, BUT, you may only have one friend, lol.

    On the other hand, once you get a pilots license, you find out you have/had more friends than you knew about. Sort of like winning the lottery, you find out you have more relatives than you ever imagined.

  8. #18
    vibster's Avatar
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    So after some further research on FAA & AOPA sites:
    * Sport pilot allows you and your doctor to decide if you're safe unless you have either gotten, been denied, or been yanked from a medical cert... BUT it's the FAA not your doctor who will enforce the rule.
    * My condition and medication would get me denied as unsafe to fly by the FAA based on their guidance to medical examiners.
    * Ergo, I can't assume that even if my doctor cleared me that the FAA wouldn't come down like a ton of bricks, yank my license, and possibly issue a fine for every time I've touched an airplane.

    Unless someone can provide some evidence of actual people *openly* flying on sport pilot license with conditions like bipolar and ADHD and not getting in trouble with the FAA, I'm going to assume it's ultralights for me.

    Thanks for your time, all!

  9. #19
    DaleB's Avatar
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    Lots of people flying under Sport Pilot rules have conditions that would get their medical certificate denied by the FAA. I personally know of several who have conditions that would get a medical certificate application denied, with no chance of an SI. It doesn't matter. Flying under Sport Pilot rules does not require a medical certificate. The only evidence you need of medical fitness ids a state issued driver's license. After that, it's between you and your own doctor or doctors to decide whether or not you're capable of operating the airplane safely. The only way the FAA is going to decide otherwise is if you crash, or get violated for doing something unsafe or illegal, and then it's not a medical question -- it's a rules violation.

    SP or ultralight is entirely up to you... but there really isn't some "double secret probation" medical aspect of holding a SP ticket. I don't know specifically about bipolar or ADHD, because there's no reporting -- since they wouldn't have medical certificates. You might ask over at the other, more widely read forums like Pilots of America or Sport Pilot Talk.

    Whichever way you decide, have fun and I wish you the best!


    Quote Originally Posted by vibster View Post
    So after some further research on FAA & AOPA sites:
    * Sport pilot allows you and your doctor to decide if you're safe unless you have either gotten, been denied, or been yanked from a medical cert... BUT it's the FAA not your doctor who will enforce the rule.
    * My condition and medication would get me denied as unsafe to fly by the FAA based on their guidance to medical examiners.
    * Ergo, I can't assume that even if my doctor cleared me that the FAA wouldn't come down like a ton of bricks, yank my license, and possibly issue a fine for every time I've touched an airplane.

    Unless someone can provide some evidence of actual people *openly* flying on sport pilot license with conditions like bipolar and ADHD and not getting in trouble with the FAA, I'm going to assume it's ultralights for me.

    Thanks for your time, all!
    Measure twice, cut once...
    scratch head, shrug, shim to fit.

    Flying an RV-12. Building a Fisher Celebrity.

  10. #20
    Dana's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by vibster View Post
    So after some further research on FAA & AOPA sites:
    * Sport pilot allows you and your doctor to decide if you're safe unless you have either gotten, been denied, or been yanked from a medical cert... BUT it's the FAA not your doctor who will enforce the rule.
    * My condition and medication would get me denied as unsafe to fly by the FAA based on their guidance to medical examiners.
    * Ergo, I can't assume that even if my doctor cleared me that the FAA wouldn't come down like a ton of bricks, yank my license, and possibly issue a fine for every time I've touched an airplane.

    Unless someone can provide some evidence of actual people *openly* flying on sport pilot license with conditions like bipolar and ADHD and not getting in trouble with the FAA, I'm going to assume it's ultralights for me.

    Thanks for your time, all!
    With sport pilot your doctor has no say in it, except to the extent that you do (and should!) listen to him. It's basicmed that requires the doctor's signature.

    The only time the FAA will question a sport pilot's fitness to fly is in the event of an accident or incident where they believe a medical issue could be a contributing factor. They're not going around looking for pilots who shouldn't be flying.

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