Can I get 3rd class with congenital heart condition?
Votes
Joined 03/21/2020 - 3 Posts
Open
Hello everyone,

I am looking to get my first 3rd class medical exam to get started on PPL.
To keep it short; When i was born I had dextrocardia(heart is on the right side) and single ventricle heart. I have done surgery(fontan) at very young age and nowadays just do regular 6m-1yr  interval checkups and never been in critical condition(hospitalization, pass out, more surgeries, etc) due to my heart.

I can give a bit more info if that will help but I am generally looking forward to see if anyone can guide/ me or have thoughts about  if:
1. Do I even have chance at getting 3rd class medical?
2. If I do, what sort of process am I looking to get myself into with FAA?

Thanks :)
5 Replies
Votes
Joined 06/11/2017 - 699 Posts
I'm not a physicians no less an AME, but...

Your situation is not explicitly mentioned in the FAA AME Guide.  For cardiac issues not listed, the AME is required to defer the decision to the FAA Civil Aeromedical Institute (CAMI) for a decision. You would be required to submit a full history of all your medical records along with evaluations by cardiac specialists.  Once CAMI receives your application, they will send you a letter detailing what additional testing/information they want to make their decision   I can't find anything on past FAA decisions on this condition, but since cyanosis is the big issue, I expect they'd want to see that you won't turn blue and pass out while flying in the reduced air pressure environment of an airplane in flight, probably by some sort of testing/physical evaluation. Be prepared to spend thousands of dollars of your own money (medical insurance won't cover FAA-mandated testing for this purpose).

What you do NOT want to do is walk in blind and start the Third Class medical process.  If you get denied, it closes a lot of doors, especially the Sport Pilot option based on holding a Drivers License.  Your best bet is to consult an expert in difficult aeromedical certification and obtain an evaluation as to your chances of obtaining either a regular or Special Issuance medical certificate and exactly what that require.  One of the best known in this field is Dr. Bruce Chien, who visits here regularly and may pop up with an answer in the next day or two.  You can reach him via his web site www.aeromedicaldoc.com.  AOPA's medical staff may also respond here.

i wish you good luck in achieving this goal.
Votes
Joined 09/19/2019 - 39 Posts
Vahagn: see your private email. I would not be doing you a service if I said anything but, "this situation is not certifiable". I has to do with the fact that in the presence of hypoxia, the pulmonary bed vasoconstricts, and your blood flow will shift such that venous blood goes out directly through the single Ventricle, and the "deoxygenated blood" will not sustain cognition. In very brief, your This is NOT a certifiable anatomy.

I would strongly suggest NO application and to go directly to Sport Pilot.  These aircraft are never pressurized and generally not capable of operating well above 8,000 feet- that which you encounter in a passenger airline cabin.
Votes
Joined 06/11/2017 - 699 Posts
Bruce Chien:
I would not be d*** you a service if I said anything but,...

Bruce:

Be careful not to skip the "i" in "doing" lest the "bad word" detector asterisk it out.

As to your answer, are you suggesting that if he limits himself to not above 8000 MSL, he might be able to fly safely as a Sport Pilot?  Is there anything he can do to assure himself of that?

thanks,
Ron

Votes
Joined 03/21/2020 - 3 Posts
Thank you Dr. Chien for your honest input. It means a lot and I appreciate the time you put into it.

I am looking into Sport now, with the most difficult thing being the availability of rentals in Seattle area.

Thanks again! 
Votes
Joined 03/21/2020 - 3 Posts
Ronald Levy:
I'm not a physicians no less an AME, but...

Your situation is not explicitly mentioned in the FAA AME Guide.  For cardiac issues not listed, the AME is required to defer the decision to the FAA Civil Aeromedical Institute (CAMI) for a decision. You would be required to submit a full history of all your medical records along with evaluations by cardiac specialists.  Once CAMI receives your application, they will send you a letter detailing what additional testing/information they want to make their decision   I can't find anything on past FAA decisions on this condition, but since cyanosis is the big issue, I expect they'd want to see that you won't turn blue and pass out while flying in the reduced air pressure environment of an airplane in flight, probably by some sort of testing/physical evaluation. Be prepared to spend thousands of dollars of your own money (medical insurance won't cover FAA-mandated testing for this purpose).

What you do NOT want to do is walk in blind and start the Third Class medical process.  If you get denied, it closes a lot of doors, especially the Sport Pilot option based on holding a Drivers License.  Your best bet is to consult an expert in difficult aeromedical certification and obtain an evaluation as to your chances of obtaining either a regular or Special Issuance medical certificate and exactly what that require.  One of the best known in this field is Dr. Bruce Chien, who visits here regularly and may pop up with an answer in the next day or two.  You can reach him via his web site www.aeromedicaldoc.com.  AOPA's medical staff may also respond here.

i wish you good luck in achieving this goal.

Thanks Ronald, I have contacted Dr. Bruice both PM and below. Appreciate you taking the time and writing out your thoughts about the situation.
I will be looking into Sport route :)