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Medical Honesty

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Well-known member
Jun 10, 2005
My apologies if I've posted this in the wrong place - I though there was a medical board but I couldn't find it. After all of the troubles I've had with the FAA and my medical, I'm wondering why I was honest with them in the first place. Here's how it went down...

I picked up 10 hours of dual towards my private 8 years ago, but had some issues with my colorvision - by the time I got my waiver, I had left for college and didn't have the time/funds to fly. After I got out of grad school I decided to finish up my private. I took my ground school in Florida where I live and got my 3rd class medical certificate there too. I then left for three weeks in Dallas to do my flight training since my family lives there and it's generally cheaper. After picking up a few more hours of dual in Dallas, I get a letter from the FAA telling me that my med is being revoked. At the time, I was on a a drug called Hyosciamine which is a very weak anti-spasmotic. While in college I had developed some digestive problems that led to to mild stomach cramps. The problems had mostly subsided by the time I got my med, but apparently this drug (weaker than asprin according to my AME) is on the list of non-approved drugs. So after flying out my block time and picking up another 10 hours of dual, I returned home with no license. I submitted a letter to the FAA appealing the decision. After several weeks, I eventually heard back from them. They told me to go off the drug for 90 days and have my doctor report on my condition. This meant an entire summer of no flying (which sucks because I'm a teacher). After waiting out the 90 days, I submitted documents from my doctor informing the fed that I was off the drug and wouldn't be taking it any more, and that I'm in excellent health. After a few weeks, I called the FAA and they told me that a letter has been sent requesting additional information on my condition.

The whole process has been incredibly frustrating. I'm 24 and in excellent health. I'm wondering why I told them I was on the drug in the first place. I know about the whole lying on a federal document thing, but I really feel that I'm being unneccessarily screwed over here. I'm wondering if anyone here would reccomend not providing information on trivial matters such as this on your med application (especially for the 3rd). It'd be different if I'd have had a stroke, but come on. What do you guys think?
It sounds frustrating...but I certainly wouldn't want to be on the receiving end of the attention you might get from them if they found out you lied.

Murphy has a habit of popping up where you'd least expect him.

Frustrating or not, it'll feel good for you to get your med/license and know that you are 100% above board with everything.
Join AOPA and get them involved. When I was having trouble with submitting my FAA approved colorvision test I had a bunch of trouble.

I can see Ishihara plates, but I can see primary colors as such. Using basically a light gun test I got a SODA, but the FAA was slow in processing the paperwork & holding up my flying.

Since AOPA got involved it took about 2 weeks of phone calls every other day to OKC, but got it all straightened out. I thank AOPA for their service.

They are an invaluable resource.

You're better off having told the truth up front. You'd be in much more trouble if you were found out later on to have lied on the medical application, particularly if you intend on flying professionally. Even if you don't, it could have repercussions on insurance applications. That said, AOPA would probably be a good place to start. Also, there's a company that people have talked about on this board who specializes in getting people through the red tape at OKC.
Something else you might want to consider is changing AME's. For example, we have two AME's in my town. One is a pilot himself and is interested soley in helping us get back in the air. A friend of mine had a previous condition that had been mishandled by his last AME and the doc went through the process of getting his medical back, including sending the paperwork to the feds himself at no charge to my friend. The same doc also said he'd retest me for free after finding something on my last medical. Incidently, his fees are also the lowest in the area by about 20 dollars. The other doctor in town is more interested in taking your 80 bucks and leaving you to fend for yourself if something comes up. Just something to consider.
It's better to go through this mess being honest than face the wrath of the FAA if they catch you lying to them.
If you think about it, we all lie to the FAA everytime we get a cold or self medicate and go fly. The whole system is based on the honor system with a check every now and then depending on the class of medical you have.
Realistically, there is a very slim chance you would be caught. However, when you do get caught is either on a ramp check or after an incident and then you will regret two things instead of one.
Honesty is always the best policy.
Many thanks for you guys' advice and input. It's just been really frustrating because I'm trying to determine whether or not I want to fly professionally, but I haven't been able to fly since March because I can't hold onto my medical. I like to think I'm the best pre-solo pilot in the world! :) Hehe, probably not.

The FAA has been quick to respond after I submit my info, they just keep requesting more and more each time. I'd hate to be in a position where I couldn't work because of this. Really makes me think about whether or not I want to pursue flying professionally one day.

Thanks again for the help!

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