ADD or ADHD pilots

DE727UPS

Well-Known Member
I know a kid who is interested in flying who has mild ADD and is on meds but feels he could easily go off them. I know the FAA won't let you fly while on ADD meds but that you can get a waiver. Anyone got this waiver and/or know the details and costs of it?
 

naunga

New Member
DE727UPS,

I have ADHD to my knowledge (and my AME's) there is no official waiver. You have to have you medical deferred to the FAA and they decide on a case by case basis. I can tell you what he'll have to go through to get his medical regardless of whether he goes off his meds or not.

1. His medical will obviously be deferred to the FAA.
2. The FAA will come back to him and tell him to do the following:
- Go off his meds for 90 days, and then...
- Get a psychological work up. With a ton of neuropsychological testing. My exam took well over 6 hours.
- Get a full psychiatric work up.

My feeling at this point is that the FAA really doesn't know what to make of pilots with ADD. In "Be A Better Pilot" by Alan Ellesmere Bramson he describes a study that was done to determine if there is a "pilot" personality. The study found that pilots tend to have the following traits in common:

- Easily bored
- Take part in risky activities (apart from flying)
- Are impulsive

the list goes on, but these traits are basically "symptoms" of ADD. So the FAA has this study that says that good pilots have these traits, but at the same time they have a psychiatric condition that might be problemmatic for a pilot.

So because of this paradox they give you a million (expensive) hoops to jump thru.

It's not just a matter of going off the medications. And while some people contend that ADD is not a real condition, the FAA seems to think that it is, and they're the people who matter.

With all that said, I'd offer this advice.

- If the kid is someone you know, talk to his parents and let them know that if he wants to fly he has to go off his meds for 90 days in order to get the tests that the FAA will want. The kid may feel that he can go off the meds, but his parental units might have a different view. They might also not be in a financial position to get the tests done and pay for training. My tests cost $1565. Thankfully my insurance covered some of them, but not all. Also make clear to them that he can't (legally) go back on his meds if he wants to keep flying. Again kids have different perceptions of themselves than their parents do, the kid might only need his meds to get through school, but then again school is more important than flying any day.

- Have them get the testing done before he sees the AME. That way when the medical is deferred the results can be sent to the FAA (saves time because they're going to want them anyway).

- The final bit of advice I'd offer you is to keep him out of the cockpit until he gets his medical. It will drive him up the wall to have to wait on the FAA, but waiting for the FAA is much less painful (and expensive) than getting to the point where you're ready to solo and no being able to, or worse yet getting a few hours in only to find out that you can't continue to fly. Of course that last bit depends on the kid.

Just to give you an idea on the turn around at the FAA, I went in for my exam on 9/26/2002. I got a letter back telling me what I needed to get done on 12/9/2002. The psychologist couldn't see me until 1/8/2003. The psychiatrist couldn't see me until 3/17/2003. I got all the reports back from them and sent my info to the FAA on 4/16/2002. Their still waiting for my records to get from their mail processing facility to the reviewers (damn Anthrax mailing SOB's. If they ever find those guys I'm getting in line to beat them senseless.
).

Meanwhile, I'm training at a painfully slow pace. Trying to balance getting my time in and giving the FAA time to decide if I belong in the air or not.

If you're an AOPA member check out the Medical Subject Report on AD/HD and the specifications for the psychological and psychiatric evalutions (if you're not PM me an email address and I'll send you copies).

One final thing. Some people here have advocated keeping info from the FAA. I wouldn't recommend this. Apart from the obvious reasons (jail time, fines, etc) if the kid doesn't tell the FAA about his ADD he's only putting his life and career in danger. Yes your medical records are confidential, but if you read the new HIPPA (med privacy) Law you'll see that the government can get your records if they're conducting an investigation into your background. To me getting an FAA medical counts as an investigation. And as crazy as the TSA and DHS is about GA, it's best not to tempt fate.

Anyhow, sorry for the long post. Good luck to the kid. I know all about being punished for something that may or may not be a problem. Feel free to PM me if you want more info about ADD or what I had to go through for the FAA.

Later.

Naunga
 

Eagle

New Member
R2F AND SHOOTER!!


you owe me a new keyboard and monitor I spewed diet coke all over reading your replies.
 

Eagle

New Member
[ QUOTE ]
I know a kid who is interested in flying who has mild ADD and is on meds but feels he could easily go off them. I know the FAA won't let you fly while on ADD meds but that you can get a waiver. Anyone got this waiver and/or know the details and costs of it?

[/ QUOTE ]

Step 1. Have him go off the meds as per his MDs instructions.

Step 2. If after a time outlined by his doctor, he does not need the meds, then progress to step three.

Step 3.

TELL THE FAA NOTHING,

Step 4.

REPETE STEP 3.

this is coved todeath in the medical section on the forums. There is a large percentage of the free world that thinks ADHD is nothing more than Ants - in - your - pants, and a result of lazy parents... and not really a viable "illness' or what ever you want to call it.
 

DE727UPS

Well-Known Member
Naunga...

The reason I thought there is a waiver is cause of this

http://www.aviationmedicine.com/meds.htm#ada

Check it out and let me know what you think. Not that it's going to change your situation at all. It sucks that you've had to go through all that...typical FAA B.S.

And then there was the Charles whats-his-name incident in Tampa where the kid was on Ritilin...that has to have the FAA docs on edge on this issue.

Eagle...

Didn't even know there was a medical message board here, hehe. I'll do a seach later tonight. By the way...I sorta tend to agree with you...
 

naunga

New Member
[ QUOTE ]
TELL THE FAA NOTHING,

[/ QUOTE ]

Here what I don't get about this attitude, by your logic I could be totally f***'d up. But there's no need to tell the FAA.

My guess is that you're going to reply to me with something to the effect of "well if you're not healthy you need to tell the FAA."

But why? According to you nobody should tell the FAA anything.

So let me ask this: I'm taking Prozac and I've tried to kill myself 3 times. I go in to get my 1st class medical (I've already done my third). I manage to get hired by the airlines (just bear with me). Do you want to fly with me? Should I even be in an airplane?

The FAA would say no...if they knew my medical history, but they don't. In fact neither do you. I could be a walking time bomb.

So, in reading several posts regarding the prevailing feelings on the FAA medical process, I find that a large majority of the professional pilots here flat out lie to the FAA about their health to get their medicals. These are the people flying me and my loved ones across the country?

I've read several posts about professionalism, but at the same time I've read several posts that advocate flat out lying to the FAA. Last time I checked being a liar was not on the list of "ways to be professional".

Pilots and GA esspecially are top targets for the public and the government now after 9/11. Not being honest with the FAA will only give the government more ammunition to put more pressure on pilots, and will just continue to perpetuate the public's impression that pilots are dangerous people who have no regard for the safety of their passengers. It's a painful fact of todays' society.

Don't get me wrong, I think that the FAA medical process is faulty, but it's the law of the land right now. This attitude makes me wonder what other FAR's pilots who lie on their medicals don't feel they need to follow?

In the end people are going to do what they want to do, and I'll probably get flamed to death. And later on I might be punished by the government for things that other people less honest than myself have done.

My two cents.

Naunga
 

EatSleepFly

Well-Known Member
It is technically a violation of 61.59 to not report something you know about on a medical. Everyone likes to argue that the FAA won't find out, but I certainly don't think I would take the chance of having my certificates suspended/revoked. Just my $.02.
 

DE727UPS

Well-Known Member
Naunga...you have two high time pilots telling you the way it is based on our experiences with the system over the years...sometimes we've learned it the hard way.

I just noticed that ADD/ADHD isn't on the FAA medical form as one of the things you have to check off. Also, the form mentions medications you are currently on....not medications you were on six months ago. I don't see how it's dishonest to not volunteer information that's not specifically asked for.

I'm one of the few major airline pilots who bothers to post at this site. I don't need you questioning my professionalism or calling me a liar. Since I'm so unprofessional you won't need my input about anything in the future...
 

EatSleepFly

Well-Known Member
[ QUOTE ]
I'm one of the few major airline pilots who bothers to post at this site. I don't need you questioning my professionalism or calling me a liar. Since I'm so unprofessional you won't need my input about anything in the future...


[/ QUOTE ]

I don't think he's calling you a liar, or unprofessional. In fact, I thought he was quite respectful in his post. And in my humble and probably worthless opinion, he does have a point.
 

Eagle

New Member
[ QUOTE ]
Pilots and GA esspecially are top targets for the public and the government now after 9/11.

This attitude makes me wonder what other FAR's pilots who lie on their medicals don't feel they need to follow?

[/ QUOTE ]

Well if you think the national security will be more sound if you tell the Doc you are on prozac, I guess I can't argue with that.


A good analogy is like the need to register guns. The Criminals won’t register their guns, but the law abiding citizens will. Where is the threat? From Joe six-pack with his Daisy bb gun? Or the “we-be-thuggin’” crack dealer zipping up I-95 from Florida?

Locks keep innocent people innocent.

If I knew that a prospective pilot tried to whack themselves every time they failed an algebra test, I wouldn’t want them anywhere near an airplane.

So if the person is addressing this, and has crossed the hurdle to a sound mental health, No problem… If they have not addressed it there is no provisions for that on the medical.

Not sure If I am making myself clear on this… (only one cup of coffee so far today..sorry)


As for the FARs that are routinely violated. Where do you want me to start? Flying part 91 because you are over the maximum commercial flight hours? Crew mission rest time that isn’t? shooting approaches to less than minimums? Starting the inbound even thought he airport is below minimums? Doing little more than a quick walk around vs a step by step preflight? Not tagging out a problem on the MEL that will ground you away from home? Resetting the circuit breaker in flight twice, or three times…
 

Mr_Creepy

Well-Known Member
DE727 and Eagle - I'm amazed I'm agreeing with you. My chair must be leaning left today LOL.

Seriously - the FAA medical situation is run by a committee - that is defined as a large uncontrollable creature with 200 legs and no brain.

I even have doctors tell me that unless the FAA specifically asks - don't put it down!
 

naunga

New Member
DE727UPS,

EatSleepFly is right I was not singling anybody out. Nor was it my intent to call anyone a liar.

I have great respect for the fact that you and Eagle have much more experience flying than I do.

You're right ADD isn't specifically on the FAA form, but then again neither is schizophrenia. Instead it asks if you have any "Mental disorders of any sort...". ADD, unfortunately, is a mental disorder.

I agree that if you're not currently taking meds you don't have to tell the FAA that you're taking meds, but the form specifically asks "Have you ever in your life been diagnosed with, had, or currently have any of the following..." If a doctor diagnosed you with Hay fever as a kid, and you're "over it" as an adult. You still have to check yes in order to provide the information requested. Not checking "yes" is omitting, intentionally, something that the FAA is asking for.

As for being unprofessional, I never said I thought you personally were. All I said is that along with some of the other things mentioned in the "professionalism post" -- like dressing the part and not smoking (or at least not smelling like a smoke stack) -- is honesty.

I'm sure you would agree that a pilot who has 500 hours TT, but put 3000 TT in his log book and on his job applications is not someone to be trusted flying an expensive aircraft. I'm puzzed then why it's perfectly acceptable to not tell the FAA what it wants to know about your medical background.

As I've said before, I agree that the medical certifcation system is flawed. The FAA itself, by having such a draconian system is actually putting pressure on pilots to lie. I agree who cares if you had hay fever when you were a kid? Who cares that 10 years ago you passed a kidney stone? The FAA should be caring about your current health, but that's not the way the system is setup right now.

I also don't agree that working to circumvent the system is the way to encourage the FAA to change it. IMHO in this day and age circumvention of the system will only encourage the uneducated public to put more pressure on the government to come down hard on pilots. Again, HIPPA protects your medical records from being given to everybody except the government. All it would take is some aviation-phobic senator to be lobbied by a group of aviation-phobic people to get the FAA to require a pilot applying for a medical certificate to provide access to his or her medical records, and the FBI can pull your records from your doctor, and all the doctor is required to do is provide the records. Just read section 164.512 "Uses and disclosures for which an authorization or opportunity to agree or object is not required". All the government needs is an "Administrative Request". No subpoena, no court order, just some joker who looks at medical app's all day making a phone call.

When it comes to paranoia about of government, I'm 100% with Eagle. They're looking for ways to control us, turn us into good obidient sheep. So don't ever think for a minute that you're medical records are protected. Read the law.

My point in all this is that, for me personally, I'd rather not tempt fate. I'd much rather not get my medical because I disclosed something that the FAA thought to be disqualifying. Than risk my freedoms to fly at all costs. Now perhaps I have the luxury of doing that since I don't currently make my living by flying, but if some aviation-phobic senator, senator's aide, mother, wife, 3rd cousin were to sign on to this board anonymously, and look at just this post. Don't be surprised if the legislation starts to fly.

Like someone said (I think it was Doug), "Don't say anything on the internet that you wouldn't want read on the six o'clock news."

One final thing, and I'll shut up (stop cheering). I do respect your opinion. Eventhough I may not agree with it, but then again that's the one thing that you can still count on in this country is the freedom to agree to disagree.

Cheers

Naunga
 

naunga

New Member
DE727UPS,

They're right. They FAA has an evaluation procedure, but there isn't an actual waiver. You just get deferred to Oklahoma City and get the tests I told you about done. Then you sit back and wait. And wait. And wait. etc.

Naunga
 

naunga

New Member
DE727UPS,

One mroe thing I'll throw out here.

If the kid in question is a minor, I think in the interest of being upfront you (or someone) needs to explain to the parents that omitting the info on the medical while generally acceptable is not legal.

Also if I were a CFI I wouldn't want to fly with a kid who wasn't medically sound. I mean that kid in Tampa thankfully only hurt himself, but he could've easily taken out other people and maybe his CFI.

As a parent I would want to know the risks that my kid was going to have to take, above and beyond the risks normally associated with flying.

Naunga
 

DE727UPS

Well-Known Member
I'm done...

I took offense to what Nanuga said about ones lack of professionalism because it seemed directed at me and Eagle. His post about that was right after we gave our opinions which greatly differed from his. We all have our opinions and deserve them...except for PFT and scabs...which should be flamed to death...hehe.

I wear white socks with my brown uniform...you can't see them cause my boots cover them up. A TSA guy made me take off my cowboy boots the other day and laughed at my socks...I laughed, too. It's no big deal. I call it having character... I don't always wear my hat, either.

My captain smokes like chimney. He stinks, and I hate smoking. He's also one of the nicest guys I fly with and really enjoy working with him. I don't question his professionalism at all even though his smoking bothers me some.

Sometimes I drive faster than the speed limit, too.

Everyone draws the line in a different placed based on their background and experiences...I draw the line in a much different place than you...we'll see what you say in a few years.
 

Sprint100

Well-Known Member
[ QUOTE ]

So let me ask this: I'm taking Prozac and I've tried to kill myself 3 times. I go in to get my 1st class medical (I've already done my third). I manage to get hired by the airlines (just bear with me). Do you want to fly with me? Should I even be in an airplane?
[ QUOTE ]


First of all, your going WAAAAAAAAAY to the extreme to try and prove a point you have by trying to kill yourself vs. a point in having a condition that could be caused by many things to not really being a condition at all.
I would advise to really be honest with yourself in regards to the condition. You may be fine. Face it, when things get rough, ADD is an easy out for some. I know that with certain meds, temporary side effects can happen when you get off them. Provided it's ok, check with your doc, stay off the meds for two or three months then take the appropriate action in regards to training.
 

naunga

New Member
[ QUOTE ]
Everyone draws the line in a different placed based on their background and experiences

[/ QUOTE ]
I heartily agree with that.

And perhaps my line will change, and perhaps it won't. Doesn't really matter in the end.

In the end it's not anybody's professionalism or honesty that is the problem. It is, as I said, the FAA's antiquated and ridged system that forces pilots (esspecially professional ones) to sacrifice their integrity sometimes in order to keep flying. The FAA needs to rework their image much like the IRS has is recent history. Pilots from the start of training I think perceivce the FAA as the enemy. And with good reason.

I personally think that the best way to improve things would be to split the list of disorders into two groups current and past. That way the FAA could look at problems that you currently have and problems that you have had. But the past problems should be limited to something like the last 10 years.

I also think it needs to be easy to get a medical certificate until you're trying to get a 1st class med. Then things need to be more stringent, but at the same time the FAA should craft the rules in such a way as to acknowledge the fact that pro-pilots are still humans and get sick sometimes, but that shouldn't cause them (necessarily) to lose their source of income.

On that note I declare a truce on this topic.

Later all...off to the airport (for once).

Naunga
 
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