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What does the AME look for ?


Firefly
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I'm 29 and really interested in flying. From what I understand, I'm not really that old for starting.

 

Ok, I'm currently overweight, but working on that. I don't smoke, have too much respect for myself to use drugs, and only have the occasional drink, once in a blue moon. (Don't care for getting drunk, prefer to keep my wits about me).

 

However, I've never been much of a runner. Constant hard impact to my legs tends to cause stress fractures. (Tiny cracks in the bones.....think of old China).

But I'm fine, as long as I don't jog and sprint. I love to hike and ride my bicycle, and I can walk for days, with no problems.

 

I also understand that psychological disorders will keep you grounded, but does anxiety count? I currently take Effexor, which is an anti-anxiety, anti-depressant medication. I can't say that I'm not crazy, but I'm certainly no danger to myself or others. I'm just wound a little tight. :P

Could I go without taking the medication? Yeah,....but my friends and co-workers think I'm a lot less annoying while taking it.

 

But, will these things keep me from what I want most in this world? I work a fairly stressful, full-time job, now. And I handle day to day life just fine, so, it's not like I'm impaired. Although, the meds do help my brain to slow down a bit, and my concentration and focus has only improved, because of it!

 

And is there anything else that can be a big, red flag for the examiner? I think I'm plenty healthy, otherwise. I just want to know what to expect and be prepared.

 

Thank you, in advance, for any advice and info. :)

 

Your "desperately hoping she can follow her dreams" friend,

Firefly

;)

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...I also understand that psychological disorders will keep you grounded, but does anxiety count? I currently take Effexor, which is an anti-anxiety, anti-depressant medication. ...

Effexor (venlafaxine HCl) is listed as a "NOT ALLOWED" medication in the "FAA Medication ALLOWED / NOT ALLOWED" database compiled by the AOPA (Aircraft Owners and Pilots Assocition) Medical Certification Department, based upon confirmation with the FAA Aerospace Medical Certification Division in Oklahoma City.

 

Further,

"Any drug that produces drowsiness or other central nervous system effects and experimental or investigational drugs are prohibited. These medications include narcotic analgesics, stimulants, sedatives, hypnotics, amphetamines, barbiturates,
anti-anxiety drugs
, muscle relaxants, tranquilizers, and antipsychotics (neuroleptics). Among the drugs classified as stimulants is Ritalin, which is used to treat attention deficit disorder (ADD); however the FAA has allowed the use of Ritalin in a small number of cases involving ADD. Lithium carbonate, used to treat certain types of depressive disorders, may also be allowed after careful case evaluation.

 

All antidepressants, including the newer generation of selective serotonin reuptake inhibiting (SSRI) medications, such as Paxil, Prozac, Effexor, Celexa, and Zoloft, are currently disqualifying, regardless of the reason for their use.
These medications are often prescribed for "off label" use, that is, they are treating symptoms other than those for which the Food and Drug Administration approved the medication. Again, the underlying symptoms and diagnosis may be disqualifying, and the use of an antidepressant medication compounds the situation."

That's the bad news. The good news is,

"...it's still
possible
to get the certificate issued, but you will need a report from your treating doctor summarizing your history requiring the use of the medication, and confirmation that you have discontinued the medication for at least 90 days and have remained symptom free during that time."

These kinds of questions are best answered by giving an AOPA medical certification specialist a call. AOPA is the pilot advocacy group. I believe if it weren't for them we would not be enjoying the flying privilages we are in the post 9/11 U.S. The organization is extremely helpful and well worth the cost for any pilot!

 

AOPA Online website

 

1-800-USA-AOPA (872-2672) 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. Eastern time, Monday through Friday

 

Good luck!

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Delorian

Boy have you got it made.

The last medical I had was 2.5 hours ECG. eye test inc colour tests , B Presure, water ch for diabities\ drugs, reflex test. hearing test etc.

Checked with my doctor ( Did ask for permision ) to see if there were any prescription meds that I had forgoten, and a lot of chat to see if I was sane I think. As iffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffff well I know I am OK!! but the wife is not to shure .

:(

PS and it cost $ 180.00

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Mine are usually 30 minutes long, and the nurse chews me out for drinking soda's before coming in, resulting in high blood sugar.

 

He says, what color is the sky? How many fingers am I holding up? Can you hear me? Actually, he usually whispers to me until I start getting agravated. He does ask about my asthma, and I tell him that I know I can't run 5 miles, so I don't bother trying, and it does'nt give me problems.

 

75$ later, and we'll see you in a year or two.

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Over the last 15 years of visiting AMEs, most just looked for my $75 and properly completed form.....seriously.

Ha, ha.. :lol: if you choose the correct AME!

 

Some will give a reasonable (even cursory) exam, some will crawl up your a$$ with a microscope. Don't leave it to chance. I have even heard of AMEs that gloat about taking away a pilot's medical. Ask around other pilots which AME they use and their experience. I also always go to AMEs who are pilots as well. ;)

 

Oh, and don't B.S. on your medical form! The FAA takes that VERY seriously! I would even suggest keeping a file with copies of your old ones to review before going in. There have been enforcement cases when people have inadvertantly left something out.

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WOW! That's good to know. I am hoping to lose the meds before long, anyway. Doc says it shouldn't be a permanent thing. Just need to learn to deal better with all the negatives, add a little more zen to my life. :P

So, I'll just wait until I'm all finished before taking my exam.

And I appreciate the advice of asking other pilots who they see. I don't really know any pilots, here, yet. But, it's one good excuse to go meet some. ;)

And I was planning to get some questions together for the local instructors, anyway. So, maybe I'll slip that one in for them, as well.

Thank you, all, very much! :D

 

Your much relieved friend,

Firefly

:)

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Firefly, another really good place to go to get info on the medicals is VIRTUAL FLIGHT SURGEONS, I think it is www.aviationmedicine.com. They are basically AME's that give confidential advice on medicals. I do belive it costs a little money, but I have used them and they are very worthwhile.

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If you're near a big airport that serves as an airline hub, chances are there's a couple of AME's near that airport. Find the guy that does all the medicals for the airline pilots--some of these guys do 25 medicals a day.

 

If not, hang around your local airport and find one of the crusty old geezers that still flies. Find out who his AME is, that's IF he still has a medical.

 

Also, try to go to a "Senior" AME. They're listed on the FAAs website. These guys are allowed to make judgements that a regular AME would have to send to medical review (or eternal damnation).

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Firefly,

 

Ah, a fellow Browncoat. Welcome.

 

I am 46, 6'4", 230 lbs when I should be 200 (I ride a bike 2 or 3 times a week but love to eat!), enjoy the occasional libation, don't smoke, and am not on any prescription stuff. That said - my medical was pretty much a 45 minute formality that made my AME $100 for a 2nd class medical chit. As others have said, if you can drop the non-conforming meds then you should be fine.

 

I have never suffered from what you described, but perhaps it's time to investigate less pharmacologically-based solutions... For instance, I took a class at work on presentation skills recently, and the instructor was very into meditation (he used the subject as a topic for a "persuasive speech" thing that we worked on). Never tried it myself but I really wonder if that sort of approach could lessen your anxiety issues.

 

Good luck in your quest!

 

cheers,

 

Dave Blevins

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B) Hello, my fellow Independent! :P

Yeah. I actually used to meditate a lot, several years ago. Was fairly in touch with my spiritual side, etc...etc...

Unfortunately, I lost touch with all of that, and things just got a little fast for me. I haven't been taking any time to slow down, and I think that just caught up with me.

But, I think my biggest problem is the weather. I live in WA, but I'm not a Washingtonian. I've lived here for, almost, 4 yrs. The first couple of years were fairly mild weather, but this year I got to see a true Washington winter. (i.e.,...if you had a day without rain, you spent it thanking the gods). Wet and cold, all day, every day. I'm a child of the sun. I love the outdoors and need to get outside. I've become overweight and out of shape, and it's hard to get out and do much with all the rain.

So, I'm thinking a change of climate might be just what I need.

But, until then, I'm trying not to be such a baby about it. :P I'm getting back to the basics, and trying to get back in shape. (Obviously, I'll need to before school, anyway.) And meditation and bubble baths are never a bad idea! :D

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I would stress 2 things from personal experience:

 

1- Join the AOPA. If you have any problems with or questions about your medical you can call them. My medical was deferred and the AOPA went to bat for me and literally got the FAA to change its mind.

 

2- Get your medical BEFORE you start training. I made a mistake and did not. I thought, hey, I'm only 22 and healthy as a horse, it won't be a problem. I was wrong and as a result got deferred and had a huge (almost 4 month) gap in my training. Could I have continued to train? Well yes, but I could not progress (solo etc.), and therefore saw no benefit in paying to repeat the same lessons.

 

You have to be medically cleared to fly and you can be, there are seniors who have had heart attacks that are allowed to fly. Just be patient and don't get discouraged...

 

-Chris

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Mine are usually 30 minutes long, and the nurse chews me out for drinking soda's before coming in, resulting in high blood sugar.

 

He says, what color is the sky? How many fingers am I holding up? Can you hear me? Actually, he usually whispers to me until I start getting agravated. He does ask about my asthma, and I tell him that I know I can't run 5 miles, so I don't bother trying, and it does'nt give me problems.

 

75$ later, and we'll see you in a year or two.

 

My experience hax been identical to Helo-Pilot's, but i'm young, 21 years old.

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