3rd class - on Celexa for over a decade, no overt acts in 26+ years
Votes
Answered By AOPA
Hi everyone, and especially Dr. Chien,

I'm trying to get my third class medical so I can get my student certificate toward an eventual private and instrument rating.

I had ONE overt act related to depression 26 years ago and have been on medications ever since with no subsequent incidents. I'm on Celexa, which is one of the four SSRIs one can be taking and have hope of a special issuance.

I had my physical on Feb 8 and my doctor submitted my documentation after I obtained the past few years of medical records from my current PCP (I moved half-way across the country about 4 years ago). All the objective findings were well within limits even for a class 2 (I saw the chart). I would like to know what anyone who is familiar with this process would think my chances are of obtaining an SI. The nearest HIMS is about 2 hours away and the full-blown evaluation that may be required is quite expensive, and more than I want to pay if there's a good chance I won't pass anyway.

I know that anyone answering this is not my physician and is not the person at the FAA making the decision, etc. I just want to know if I have any chance of being allowed to fly manned aircraft.

Thank you.
5 Replies
Votes
AOPA Staff Answer
Glyn,

You're still on Celexa so FAA will definitely require a HIMS evaluation. Here's the link to FAA's initial certification aid for SSRIs:  https://www.faa.gov/about/office_org/headquarters_offices/avs/offices/aam/ame/guide/media/FAA_Certification_Aid_SSRI_Initial_Certification.pdf. It's really going to depend on how your evaluations go with the HIMS, the psychiatrist and the neuropsychologist. Like Ron said, there's really no way to tell if you're going to be eligible for a medical without having your information reviewed and it'll still depend on current evaluations.
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I understand that it's a go/no-go situation now. My AME saw my medication list and didn't say anything. I'm going to contact an HIMS and evaluate the monetary cost before I commit. I understand that if I don't provide the documentation then I'll be denied, but there's not much I can do now.

If I'm denied, I'm back to flying only UAVs. (I have an email from the FAA telling me so - I told that person about my medical history, etc. and that was someone from the medical division.)
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1147 Posts
Glyn Gowing:
Thanks. I just received my letter today telling me exactly that. I'm going to try to find a HIMS and get an estimate on the costs before I commit to do it.

If you already submitted a Third Class medical application to the FAA, you already are committed to this course of action.  At this point, that application cannot be withdrawn, only approved or denied.  There is in that letter from the FAA almost certainly a deadline to submit the requested documentation -- DON'T MISS IT!  If you fail to submit the necessary documentation by that deadline, your application will be denied, and any future attempt to get certified will be that much more difficult.  This is why I said originally that you would have been much better off to consult an SI expert like Bruce before you submitted that application so you wouldn't be working against the clock.  But again, you need to consult such an expert as soon as possible to ensure that whatever is submitted now will pass FAA muster.

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Thanks. I just received my letter today telling me exactly that. I'm going to try to find a HIMS and get an estimate on the costs before I commit to do it. My wife and I are both working toward our PPL, and at this point she has the better chance of passing her medical because she only has very mild type-2 diabetes well under control - no major incidents - they just noticed her blood sugar was just a little over the line.

Thanks everyone for your help.
Votes
1147 Posts
Glyn Gowing:
I had my physical on Feb 8 and my doctor submitted my documentation after I obtained the past few years of medical records from my current PCP ...I would like to know what anyone who is familiar with this process would think my chances are of obtaining an SI. The nearest HIMS is about 2 hours away and the full-blown evaluation that may be required is quite expensive, and more than I want to pay if there's a good chance I won't pass anyway.

I know that anyone answering this is not my physician and is not the person at the FAA making the decision, etc. I just want to know if I have any chance of being allowed to fly manned aircraft.

Submitted to whom?  If it's already submitted to the FAA as part of an application, you've already cast your fate to the wind.  It would probbly have been much better to run all your records past someone like Bruce for a consultation before submitting an application to the FAA.  He could have given you a good read on whether approval of the SI would be likely, and if not, what you'd have to do to improve your chances.  If you haven't submitted an 8500-8 to the FAA, then you really need to get with Bruce or someone like him.  If you want to do that without sharing your medical history with everyone on the internet, you can reach him via his website www.aeromedicaldoc.com.