Deferred class 3, but obtained a 3rd class medical...
Good morning all,

I visited an AME last September, and he didn't bother to read any of my notes that indicated a "gallop" in my heartbeat, due to a heart murmur I've always had.
He tells me that "I really hate to do this, but I have to defer you."  At the end of that exam, I received a valid 3rd class medical. I've never been deferred, so I didn't know what to expect.
I assumed all was fine, until the FAA sent me a certified letter requesting more info. I needed a stress test and lab work sent to them. Got that done, and faxed in, and I'm awaiting a response.
On the Airmen Registry, this is what my medical status displays: 
Medical Information:
No Medical Information Available

So to recap: I have a medical. I've been flying. I'll continue to fly... But I'm deferred? Since I have a medical, doesn't that "undo" this deferment? After all, the AME cleared me to fly.

I'm super lost. I've called the FAA, and they confirmed they received my packet of info (faxed, like it's 1986), and I'm awaiting a judgment.
I learned nothing from the hoops I jumped through, and lost $3,000 in the process.

Any advice would be super welcome.
7 Replies
Deferral is one of three mutually exclusive options -- issuance, denial, and deferment.  If at the end of the exam last September the you received a piece of paper signed by your AME that says Medical Certificate Third Class, you were issued, not deferred.  Sometimes after an issuance, the routine review of the issuance paperwork at CAMI raises questions, and FAA sends the airman a letter requesting more data to further consider the situation without revoking or suspending the certificate.  In that case, you remain issued, and can continue to fly on the basis of that certificate.  That's you.  Of course, they do set a deadline for providing the requested data, and if you don't provide it by that date, they'll send you the dreaded suspension/revocation letter, at which point you're grounded.  But at this point, if the FAA hasn't sent you a letter demanding return of that certificate or otherwise suspending or revoking it, then you remain OK to fly.

Where you go from here is the FAA will look over the additional data you sent, and make a decision.  When that happens, they'll...
  • Send you another letter says, "Mighty fine, you meet the standards, keep flying, and here's what you need to submit with your next medical application to avoid this hassle,"  I was in that spot for about ten years.
  • Decide you don't meet the regulatory standards but are still safe to fly and send you a new Special Issuance medical (probably limited to 12 months for all classes) along with a Special Issuance letter giving you information on how to work your next SI medical to be issued on the spot (or at least with minimal delay.  I'm in this position now, set for on-the-spot issuance of my next SI medical.
  • Decide you don't meet the regulatory standards and are not safe to fly, and send you a letter cancelling the medical certificate you received last September.
Given that you were issued on the spot and they didn't cancel it, just asked for more data, the third option is by far the least likely.

Thank you sir - as it happens, later in the evening after I posted my question, I received my answer. It's the third option; the FAA has revoked my medical that I received in September.
They cited a myocardial infarction (heart attack) which is news to me. Apparently they'll be sending me another letter with information about how to proceed / appeal this, which I'll be doing.

It's pretty crushing. 

If you're going to fight this, you need a real expert to help, and that is Dr. Bruce Chien.

Yeah I thought I'd give him a try...
Went ahead and shot him a message today, and he replied soon after. Ball is rolling with Dr. Chien. 
Fortunately I'm not too far from Bolingbrook, so if I need an in-person visit, I can arrange that by just fl... I mean, driving up there. ;)  

I still am skeptical of an success, because I'm wrong... I missed the bit in the cardiologist's report about a myocardial infarction. 
Perhaps I had a heart attack somehow undetected? Weird... but maybe it's "a thing."

Great outcome: I learn about my wacky heart, mitigate that, and continue flying
Good outcome: I can score a few more years out of life.

Thanks, and hope you have a great week!
Bruce can certainly advise you on your likelihood of success.
Bob, send me another email.  I think you need may benefit from a cath. 
Dr. Chien,

I will - I also received the "how do ya fix it" letter from the FAA, which I'll be getting to you ASAP this morning (I've got a scanner at work).
I'm certainly not a physician, but I think you're right... I'm betting some sort of action will be required. 

Thanks again! *REALLY* appreciate your time.