Posts: 2106
Joined: Sun Jul 01, 2001 1:52 am

I've Lost My Medical - Has It Happened To You Too?

Wed Jun 02, 2004 8:58 pm

Hi Guys,

Well, it's official - as of 10:00 am today my Class 1 medical was officially suspended by the CAA.

Thankfully it wasn't unexpected though. I've had a few problems with my right ear for some time now, and investigation by my doctor revealed that I needed an operation to cure a burst blood vessel in my inner ear.

Unfortunately my local AME in co-operation with the surgeon doing the operation informed me a few weeks ago that he would have to suspend my medical for between 4 and 6 months after the operation for several reasons, mainly because I would have temporary partial or even complete loss of hearing in my right ear while the ear healed itself, the wound inside the ear may still leak fluid for a while after the operation and the pressure build up could cause me problems while flying and lastly the drugs I will be taking to help my ear recover can cause severe side effects such as mild hallucinations and drowsiness and there is no way I would be allowed to fly whilst taking them.

It's a bit of a pain in the arse being "grounded" for 6 months, especially as I am coming to the end of my initial training and was hoping to go to the US in the Autumn (the "fall" to my American cousins) to build hours, but the pain in my ear was becoming more and more uncomfortable and the operation was going to be inevitable anyway so in the long run it will be well worth it.

At the end of the day it will give me lots of opportunity to work on my ATPL course that I've been putting off for as long as possible.  Smile/happy/getting dizzy

So, have you ever had your medical suspended, be it expected or unexpectedly? Have you ever been close to losing your medical?

Statistically, people who have had the most birthdays tend to live the longest.
Posts: 4698
Joined: Thu Mar 14, 2002 5:39 pm

RE: I've Lost My Medical - Has It Happened To You

Wed Jun 02, 2004 9:51 pm

Sorry to hear that.

I never really lost my medical, though I failed the class 1.
I applied last year for a class 1 medical, not wanting to start ATPL training without one (wise move, seeing the cost of just a frozen ATPL !). I was afraid a minor (for me) problem in my left eye would prevent me from that. Anyway, eye examination went very well - they did not detect the problem at all !!

However, when the practician checked my back , he told me that there is no way I could ever get a class 1 with a back like that. I have a very acute scoliosis, but my back specialist had told me it should not be a problem. Long story short, he explained me that though at 26 I could feel very well, my back condition would get worse with age, and I could not stand sitting in an aircraft cockpit for hours when I reached 40.

My class 2 medical, however is still valid. As he told me, when I'll be too sore to fly GA aircraft, I will stop by myself, but at least there would be no impact on my carreer.

It could have been worse, a friend of mine already had his PPL, so he went for class 1 medical, and the EEG detected an anomaly that also voided his class 2. Not only will he be unable to fly commercially, he is also now unable to fly light aircraft as he used too.

Anyway, I hope those 6 months will fly by quite fast for you (pun a bit intended  Wink/being sarcastic ).

Are you still allowed to fly small props ? From what you say I gather your class 2 has been suspended as well, but that should not prevent you of flying with a FI - you just won't be able to log the time as PIC.

Now that it comes to my mind, there is a FI in my flightclub who lost his medical a few months ago. So he is not allowed to fly solo, but he is still allowed to give flight lessons, as long as the student has already been licenced. So funny thing, as we have in France a licence called BB (Base Brevet), which allow a young pilot to fly solo up to 30 km from his airport (plus some extensions, as taking PAX...). So as I hold this kind of licence but have to take cross countries lessons for my PPL, he can still teach me, even though his medical is not valid.

Even more funny, we have here a DGAC (French FAA/CAA equivalent) inspector who lost his medical last year - needless to say he was quite aggravated. Now, he has the same 'partly valid medical' as my aforementioned FI. So he is now allowed again to give and check PPL checkrides, as long as the candidate already have his BB !

Just one thing I wonder (will have to ask someone else about that). Since those two FI/FE are not allowed to fly solo, are they still allowed to be PIC ? I guess if that is not the case, there is no way I pay for instruction if I am PIC  Wink/being sarcastic

Posts: 1099
Joined: Tue Jan 01, 2002 5:38 am

RE: I've Lost My Medical - Has It Happened To You Too?

Thu Jun 03, 2004 12:23 am

Lost mine with 11 years to go before 60.
I'll never get it back because of the ammount of metal in my neck courtesy of a red light runner.
Be happy you can look forward to getting yours back.
I'm happy I have an A&P and 35+ years experience to fall back on.
I'm not really sure why I'm still in aviation when there's so much more money to be made selling used cars...
(oh yeah, my wife won't let me wear white shoes and a belt...)
One may educate the ignorance from the unknowing but stupid is forever. Boswell; ca: 1533
Posts: 9576
Joined: Sun Nov 23, 2003 7:09 am

RE: I've Lost My Medical - Has It Happened To You Too?

Thu Jun 03, 2004 12:39 am

Sorry to hear this, but welcome to the club. I think you can take some comfort in the fact that they know the cause and cure in your case.

I lost my first class many years into my career, but way too early to retire. Mine was also a middle ear problem, but in my case, occasional severe vertigo. I was up and down three times over as many years but was eventually grounded, pretty much "for life" when it was labeled Meniere's Syndrome. I spent nine years grounded but eventually the FAA revisited the issue. It turns out that the syndrome burns itself out and eventually can no longer make me dizzy.

It was a blow, but did bring some good effects too. I got my medical back and will get to fly out the last five years of my career. The years on the ground were years with my family. I gained some valuable professional skills that are not dependant on my ability to fly a plane.

My advice to you is this: Not all doctors are equal. If you have the option, find out who is held in highest regard and see them. Here in the US I'd have to say that would be the House Ear Clinic in Los Angeles. They were expensive but clearly worth it.

Good luck to you. Hope this is a one-time event.
Happiness is not seeing another trite Ste. Maarten photo all week long.
Posts: 2613
Joined: Sun Jan 30, 2000 8:11 pm

RE: I've Lost My Medical - Has It Happened To You Too?

Thu Jun 03, 2004 1:57 am


Sorry to hear you lost your medical - I'm glad it is only a temporary suspension.

A friend of mine in his late-20s had his medical withdrawn some years ago which was heartbreaking for him as flying (particularly the 757/767!) was his entire life. It was difficult watching a good friend completely distraught at the notion that he may never fly again.

There is a happy ending though, his medical was eventually reinstated and he is now an A320 Captain and loving every minute of it.

Anyway despite the setback do use the time wisely to study for those ATPL written exams, they are a real pain but unfortunately essential. If you need a second opinion on any of the subjects then I still have all my ATPL Oxford folders and course notes so drop me an email if there is a subject you don't quite understand and I will give you my notes.

They are a little dated but flying is still flying!


I used to love the smell of Jet-A in the morning...
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RE: I've Lost My Medical - Has It Happened To You Too?

Fri Jun 04, 2004 12:33 am

SlamClick, my dad suffered Meniere's too. The doctors over here advised him it would burn itself out eventually - however they advised he stop driving for obvious reasons.

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