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USAF Medical Question

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Well-known member
Mar 14, 2005
USAF RTFS Medical Question

Does anyone know of anyone (USAF pilot) who has had a bulging neck disk and returned to flying status? How about surgery to correct a herniated or bulging neck disc and returned to flying status? Obviously the details are always going to be unique and a Flt Doc with the med records is the only true informed answer case by case. Just curious in general terms if Bulging disks, surgery fusing neck vertebrae, etc. is a permanently grounding condition. (Heavy acft only - no ejection seat acft issues to worry about) Thanks.
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You need to become the expert, not the docs. On your mil computer, go to the publication section and under usaf do a search to find the publication for aviation qualification/disqualification, i forget what the pub number for medical is, but its all there, or ask your flight doc for a point out.
Thanks - excellent advice. I did pull up AFI 48-123 and didn't find anything that matched the description of what I've got (i.e. not on a list of disqualifying conditions) However, there are a lot of "itis's" "pathies" and "ologies" that are listed that I have no clue (nor a medical dictionary) as to whether or not they apply. I am geo-separated from a USAF flight doc and it'll be a while until I get all of the data I need to give one a call and officially "consult." Right now, I am just looking for anybody who has seen something like this before. (Hopefully with a positive outcome)
Medical Waivers


I have remained on active flying status with not just one, or two herniated disks, but three. I have had three surgeries to correct each disk malady. First surgery in 1985, second in 1988 and third just last Oct (04). I got my first medical waiver approximately six months following surgery. I was out of the cockpit long enough to have to go back for a short requal course. Second time I was in the cockpit six weeks from the date of surgery. So it can be done! You do have to become the expert though. Work with the Flt Surgeon (AME) and get to know how the medical waiver process works. Every year, for ten years I went for my annual physical I was required to have a complete (long) physical to include a consultation with an orthopedic surgeon; usually accompanied by an MRI. Suffice it to say there is not a pore on this man's body that hasn't been violated by some medical professional of some sort. Keep your spirit's up!

Thanks for the reply. That is exactly what I was hoping to hear. I'm in the "first time the doc tells you that you've got a problem, you see your career flash before your eyes" stage... Don't know that I'll need surgery yet, but your reply gives me a lot of hope if the worst case actually happens. Thanks!

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