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Sleep Apnea


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#1 Ripper914

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Posted 03 June 2017 - 20:01

Gentleman,

 

      I am currently serving AD USMC, I'm a Reconnaissance Marine stationed in Okinawa, Japan and have been AD for 4 years (E5). A year ago I planned for transition out, I started attending school at Embry-Riddle for Aeronautical Science. With a year left on my contract I've recently become interested in the WO accession route.

 

     Here's the kicker: I have sleep apnea, diagnosed 3 months ago. Use of my APAP machine has helped tremendously for quality of life. That being said, I'm a top performer in my community, I'm 5'9" 175 and have scored in the 290's for every PFT I've done since joining. That information was to assure you I can pass every other aspect of the physical and I'm not an overweight Marine with unrealistic goals.

 

     Before posting here I scoured the internet and consulted the MO at my BAS, who is very willing to help. I've got officers in my COC very willing to help during this process, but I know I've got to get this physical cleared before I even continue with my packet. Has anyone had any experience or know anyone who has done this before, specifically how Ft. Rucker views this? If there is even a chance I can continue I'll do every test under the sun to prove I will not be a danger in the cockpit. Regardless if this doesn't work, I'll still need to prove worthiness to the FAA as a civilian pilot in training.

 

Thank you for your time and any input

 

VR,

 



#2 METT-TC

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Posted 07 June 2017 - 00:35

Somewhere is this subforum is a phone # to the flight surgeons at USAARL/USASAM or whatever the pertinent acronym is (Fort Rucker) to get the straight word (guys / gals that stamp approved/disapproved on flight physicals submitted from the field). That-and perusing AR 40-501 (Standards of Medical Fitness--look under the flight and/or accessions portion...just google it as this AR is public) should get you going.

 

As far as sleep apnea and the FAA, not a big deal as long as the treatment (CPAP, etc) is working and also that you are using it regularly (I have it with an FAA Class 1 Med Cert).

 

Good luck to you.


Edited by METT-TC, 07 June 2017 - 00:37.


#3 CharyouTree

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Posted 07 June 2017 - 12:38

You're looking for the "Aeromedical Policy Letters".  

 

http://glwach.amedd....s_28may2014.pdf  You may be able to find a more current document. 

 

Search for "Apnea" in that document.  Here's what you'll find under "sleep disorders". 

 

AEROMEDICAL CONCERNS: Problems initiating or maintaining sleep or sleeping excessively can lead to degradation of performance. Daytime drowsiness or somnolence can interfere with psychomotor performance and flying safety. Physical and mental changes are usually insidious, and there is often an association with an underlying psychiatric disorder or other pathology. Complications of Sleep Apnea are cardiac arrhythmias and hypertension. Automatic behavior, intellectual decline, and lapses of memory have been reported in Narcolepsy and Sleep Apnea.

 

WAIVERS: Sleep Disorders that cannot be treated by short-term surgical or medical means will not be considered for waivers. Disorders that resolve with treatment could be considered for waivers. A waiver may be considered after full recovery for those transient cases related to life crises, medical conditions, or obesity. Patients with restless extremity syndrome (RES) may be considered for waiver if the cause has been defined and permanently cured, and the sleep disorder secondary to the syndrome has resolved. Successful waiver is unlikely in other cases of Hypersomnia.

 

Under "obstructive sleep apnea", you'll find the following (relevant) info:

 

 

WAIVERS: Initial Applicants (Class 1A/1W): Exception to policy are rarely granted unless the individual was surgically treated and postoperative polysomnography (PSG) demonstrates resolution.

 

The next bit wouldn't apply until you had already passed a flight physical, and become a rated aviator, but it's not much better:

 

 

Rated Aviation Personnel (All Classes): Sleep apnea is disqualifying for aviation duty. Class 2, 2F, 3, and 4: Waivers are possible and granted on a case-by-case basis if the condition is treated with weight loss, dental device, surgery, or use of Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) devices with documented resolution via PSG.

 

 

Short version:  Doesn't look good. This isn't to say don't try. Just be aware that the above is the written policy.


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#4 METT-TC

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Posted 07 June 2017 - 17:11

Good info C (APLs are accessible again...last time I had need of them, they weren't...been awhile obviously/luckily).

 

That said OP--if you want it, you can always see about the surgery--some types of OSA are easily treatable with a snip here, a snip there. That said, you do it, don't get picked up, you most likely just lost that 50% rating you currently have for OSA and not much to show except that you gave it your all. And you got to lose the mask? Looking for the silver lining.

 

Once rated (aeronautical designation/graduate MoRucker), it is much like the FAA--if the treatment is working, you continue on your happy way with a waiver (ie must continue to use treatment and show proof to the doc when the annual phys comes around). Many on here will be operating with a waiver in the later half of their careers (less than 20/20 uncorrected). Cest la vie.



#5 Ripper914

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Posted 08 June 2017 - 06:42

Thanks for the info, much appreciated. I'll forward to my physician and see if we can find a solution.




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