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i have some bad bones... can i still be a pilot?


dosj
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long story short... due to a car blind siding me on my motorcycle in Dec 2004, i had a shattered right ankle and shattered right hip. I know have a couple of titanium plates, and a handful of screws. so basically im 20 years old now... and ive wanted to be a pilot for a few years... but after the accident i already have bad arthritis in both the hip and ankle (and thats california cold). I have somewhat limited movement in my ankle, but i can still drive a car. As i get older my arthritis will worsen and im worried that having these injuries in these locations would prevent me from a long career in the air. What do you think? Would i even pass a medical? i imagine my ankle movements would be very important in flying and weak ones wont do. i was a electrician for about 5 years, and i cant seem to handle the ladders anymore. They wont even hire me at a theme park because of the injury. thanks for any input

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dosj. sorry to hear about your accident, and while i am not positive on your situation hopefully my advice can help. the first thing i would to do is go to a doctor that issues medical certificates for pilots, go to someone reputable because they are people out there who will look the other way with some people and their restrictions. dont go to one of those because the next time you need a medical you may be denied. anyway, i would work on getting my first class medical because a first class takes more to be granted than say a third class. if you are serious about doing this as a career do take into consideration that i have minor injuries including a bad back ( im only 22 ) but sitting in the cockpit of a 22 all day working i need some support on my lower back so i use a pillow, so make sure that you can endure long periods of not moving. i dont think employers would have a problem hiring you but then again im not sure. i do know that an aquaintance broke his back and both legs after an accident and after recooperation as he told me he still has a job. so... first things first.. get your first class medical. if i were you i would ge a second or third opinion from doctors making positive it wont hinder your training.better to spend a few bucks now than money on training to find out it wont happen.

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I think there are atleast 2 issues in your situation and maybe more. First of all, have your injuries impaired your ability to fly safely without restrictions? I don't think the hip is necessarily a problem working the controls but the ankle motion might be. You have to honestly evaluate whether you can work the pedals through all situations and do it comfortably. The hip might be a problem getting in and out of the aircraft. You state you already have problems with ladders so you have to ask youself if you would be able to climb up an do a preflight of the rotor head. If pain is an issue it is going to distract from your flying both from enjoying it and how long (flight duration) you will be able to fly. So if you can safely fly and inspect the aircraft pain free I don't think there is a major issue. People do all kinds of things despite their disabilities if they are motivated enough. The second issue is employablilty. No employer wants to hire somebody that can't do the job, even with restrictions due to the liability. Aside from safely running a business, the last thing an employer wants is to get a work comp claim from an employee with a pre-exsisting condition since one is hired "as they are". There also may be more things required of the job than just sitting at the controls. I have always encouraged one to shoot for their dreams but ultimately one has to evaluate the situation realistically. Talk it over with your treating doctor and then ask yourself the tough questions I pose above. Best wishes.

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First of all go and get your medical and have a talk with the doctor at the same time . I to have broken bones . First of all when i was four which i still have plates in my right leg and 2003 when i broke my left leg in a motorbike accident . When i got my first faa medical i had a good talk with the doctor and it was no problem . When i fly i dont get any pains at all . Have you been in a r22 and had your feet on both pedals just to see how it felt . Also i do sometimes get arthritis but thats the english weather for you . I was told by the doctor in 2003 that i would have it in the future . It wont stop me at all as long as i get my medical there is a seat in a chopper with my name on it . Hope this helps you .

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There are some things you will need to be able to perform.

 

Pushing an R22 on its wheels.

Climbing onto the roof and crawling under its belly during the preflight

Rolling 200 lit drums around and standing them up

Drag a Bambi bucket into position for pickup (in a few years)

Wrestle the Huey pedals with hydraulics off

 

And the best bit :

 

Tapdance down to the bank to deposit that enormous first pay check!! :P

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thanks for all you help guys... i went back to my doctor (the one who perfomed the surgeries and the folllow ups, hes actually the best orthopedic surgen in california, and my ankle was so bad, he wasnt going to operate at first, just wanted to cut it off... but after 1 week of it dangling in my cast he operated, and now my xrays look like im a erector set with 4in wood screws holdin me up) he did a fantastic job considering but my foot is still half numb (actually today 1 year ago was when i had my ankle surgery (18 hrs!)) and despite quite a bit of therapy of still working it, i have mabye about half the range as my left ankle, the doc says that it wont get any better, only worse. I asked him about a career in the air and, well hes a bit of a dick to be honest (he told me just before surgery that i was the stupidest person alive for riding a motorcycle!) he said the only career i should have is a desk job. but i basically told him to piss off. but he did say i should be able to handle the pedals, but of course hes never been in a cockpit (either have I)

im not really worried about the manul labor and climbing and junk... what im worried about is my ankle not applying the correct pressure when i need it and i start doing flips.

So what im going to do is go on one of those test flights the schools offer, and see how i feel, then find a good doc that knows about the helos and see what he says. I think I still have a way to go, inspite of what my doc says, i know i can get my ankle stronger, so im gonna keep workin on that.

Thanks for all your help, i will keep u posted if i go to a doc soon.

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first off i hope you are able to get your medical. you dont need to find a doctor that knows about helicopters per say just one who deals with aviation medicals.. secondly if you are truly serious about becoming a pilot, i would tone down the swearing, i hate to sound like a mom here but ive learned that you never know who you are talking to i.e. a potential future employer, faa rep. just something ive picked up, in aviation like alot of fields image is everything and you only make a first impression once. if an employer sees someone with jeans and a t shirt or someone with a golfshirt and slacks, who would they pick instantly to hand over a potential deadly, expensive machine..

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first off i hope you are able to get your medical. you dont need to find a doctor that knows about helicopters per say just one who deals with aviation medicals.. secondly if you are truly serious about becoming a pilot, i would tone down the swearing, i hate to sound like a mom here but ive learned that you never know who you are talking to i.e. a potential future employer, faa rep. just something ive picked up, in aviation like alot of fields image is everything and you only make a first impression once. if an employer sees someone with jeans and a t shirt or someone with a golfshirt and slacks, who would they pick instantly to hand over a potential deadly, expensive machine..

 

The person wearing the jeans and a t-shirt of course!

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