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Return to flying after mechanical arctic valve replacement?
I have been out of flying for 18yrs. I left with my 3rd class medical and a private complex ticket. I currently am on Warfin and have had no issues. I am a police officer still and also pass my commercial drivers license medical every year. Anyone have advice on attempting to get my 3rd class medical back? I have an appointment with a new Cardiologist in June and would like to be prepared. I have all my surgical notes and pervious test. Any advice would be great. New Member and I look forward to flying again!
49 Replies
When I turned 70 I found myself yearning to take to the air via helicopters. My brother is a retired USMC pilot of 28 yrs. and CDF pilot for a bunch more. He is three yrs. younger than I and advised me that I would do well and throughly enjoy it but for one thing. He said I would prefer spending the remainder of my life in Hell rather than dealing with the FAA Medical. He said that the FAA is not happy until they have made a prospective new aviator completely miserable. My personnel physician and vascular cardiologist gave me the thumbs up but the FAA Flight Surgeon did not siting my atrial fibrillation and several medications I am taking to control the A Fib. It is as though the FAA views their job as discouraging civil aviation. I can fly a one seater ultralight helicopter that carries only one gallon of fuel and a 240 pound pilot without a license which sounds unsafe in itself with such a small reserve. I took the lessons and had to stop when I got to solos. I was told I was doing well but can go no further with lessons the according to the FAA. 
What is an "arctic valve"?
Did you mean Aortic valve?
First of all, I agree  wholeheartedly (NO PUN)!  I have not had any valves replaced, but did experience a 2x CABG in "95 & stents installed in '09.  My Cardiologist has maintained a REAL close rein on my progress in that time and has had me perform a Stress-Echo each year as well as 6 month checkups as well.  His, and other cardiac team members have verified to me and the FAA that my cardiac health is more than well above average, and do not have any reservations relative to my flying activities.  Their expectations are  quite favorable to my status.  However, each year when the required paperwork is submitted to the Region, there seems to be an extraordinary amount of time to process the Special Issuance waiver every year.  During  the periods of these previous events, I was not, and would not fly until I was not only cleared by the Cardiologists and the FAA, but until I felt comfortable and confident to get back in the left seat.  Aside from the statements from the AME that the FAA "wants me to fly", I suspect that their real inference is that they would not want me in the cockpit!  Nonetheless, I continue to maintain my health and follow the regs. and guidelines.  It sure would be comforting if things could progress somewhat smoother.
No, the human body does have an arctic valve.  It is designed to let extra high pressure gas escape from your body during low pressure waves when you are at either the north or south pole!
26 Posts
I agree fully with you. One would like to think the medical team or someone at AOPA is monitoring these posts but I am doubtful. So how do we go about bringing this issue to the attention of the decision makers?

The earlier post regarding the additional stresses placed on the heart misses the point. In a perfect world all risks could be eliminated but this not a perfect world. My cardiologist telling me I’m safe to fly doesn’t create anymore risk than the unhealthy basic med pilot who fails to know his health status. We’re not flying hundreds of souls.