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  #1  
Old 08-30-2017, 06:39 AM
terrykohler terrykohler is offline
 
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Default BASIC MED - Unintended Consequences?

While I still seem to run into the occasional pilot who thinks that Basic Med is some sort of government plot to dump costs and liability onto the private sector, Iíve come to the conclusion that for many pilots like me, itís a godsend.

For the better part of the past 45 years, Iíve carried a second class medical. Iíve never worked in the aircraft industry or as a professional pilot, but for about a 20 year period, my then-employer had me and a Cessna Turbo 210 added to the companyís aviation department insurance (also covered were a Citation and its full time crew). In addition to the coverage, they also had me doing recurrent training, which I discovered was also a good thing.

Along the way, just for kicks, I picked up commercial and flight instructor tickets, both of which are little used. Even after I exited that business, I held onto a second class medical (I bought the 210 from the company when I left). Within a couple of years, I discovered that the 210 was REALLY expensive to operate without the ability to expense its use. The 210 was sold and I found a path back into aviation thru the experimental world. Along with launching N323TP in early 2004, I also converted my medical into Third Class.

While I was typically having a thorough physical done every year to that point, once I converted to the Third Class I found myself limiting the information I put on the FAA forms to the bare essentials, and doing the same with the AME. Donít look for anything, just cover what you have to, and give me a new ticket. Apparently, this worked fine for my flying, but it didnít really address any issues with my overall health. Turns out that ignorance was not a good game plan.

At the continued insistence of my eldest daughter, a physician in the Navy (no Leah, you canít give Dad a physical) as well as my hospital-employed wife, by about 2010, I caved in and found a REALLY good personal physician. Back to open discussion, full blood work, EKG and poking/prodding every year. In spite of this, my information flow to the FAA remained on a need-to-know basis.

Armageddon came a few years ago during a routine physical when my doc informed me that my stress test had been bought to the attention of a cardiologist. The following day, I had a stent implanted in my LAD.
The ďfunĒ with the FAA and my medical began almost immediately. Wait 6 months, submit blood work, EKG, nuclear stress test, cardiologistís letter, etc. and waitÖ and wait. Overall, I missed the better part of a yearís flying (a two week government shutdown added three months to the backlog). Oh yeah, and my new S.I. was dated back to the time of application, not time of receipt. Once everything was squared, I found that by submitting a detailed packet each year (about 40 pages, including table of contents and all test tracings), a new Special Issuance was secured in short order.

Fast forward to this year, when my AME informed me that a full FAA review was again in order and would require up to about 3 months for a new S.I. Certificate to be issued. Unfortunately, I had been operating under the assumption that the shelf life of all of my medical tests was 60 days, so under the best of circumstances, Iíd be grounded once again and then have about a 10 month certificate before having to do it all over again.

BASIC MED to the rescue. I contacted my family doc, sent him all the FAA paperwork to review, took the online AOPA review, got the physical done, and was issued a certificate good for 4 YEARS.

THE REALLY GOOD NEWS HERE - Iím still getting a very thorough physical every year (including full cardio workup). More importantly, the guy that controls my flying privileges knows ALL of my medical issues and history, as he should. Hopefully, continuing to be proactive with my health rather than reactive, will keep me flying longer and living longer. I donít know if that was intended with the introduction of Basic Med, but it sure works for me.
Terry, CFI
RV9A N323TP
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  #2  
Old 08-30-2017, 06:54 AM
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Brantel Brantel is offline
 
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Default

Your medical story is very similar to mine and I agree Basic Med is a Godsend for folks like us.

I imagine the wait time for SI may go way down now that many of us can bypass that process but who knows. Likely they will just fire all the temp doctors they have been using and go back to only staffers which may net out the same delays.

I am convinced that my fear of the FAA totally had the opposite effect that they were trying to accomplish with the third class and SI medical process. If I had not been so scared of them, I would have been treated much earlier in life! I am also convinced that they are creating opportunities for the situation they are trying to prevent. (sudden pilot incapacitation)

It is so nice to be able to be open with your PCP/Cardiologist and not fear that you will be grounded by bureaucracy and paper pushers.

Don't get me wrong, I am not against being grounded when you need to be grounded but if my Cardiologist and PCP clear me (people I know and trust and can talk to face to face), I could care less what some guy in OK City thinks about my condition when he only knows what he reads on a report.
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Last edited by Brantel : 08-30-2017 at 06:57 AM.
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  #3  
Old 08-30-2017, 06:58 AM
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rv7boy rv7boy is offline
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Default I understand...

Yep,

My path to a Third Class Special Issuance medical certificate was different than yours but I can fully appreciate your experience. Because of a leaky mitral valve I had to go the S.I. route about ten years ago and then go through the hoops and waiting period after mitral valve replacement surgery in 2009. For the last seven years, I have never felt the annual submittals and reviews in Oklahoma City added anything but a waiting period to the annual testing and review by my cardiologist. My cardiologist said they were not asking for anything more than what he was routinely doing. Plus the extremely rigid submittal requirements (for both format and content) specified by the FAA were onerous.

I am very happy to be on BasicMed.

Thanks for sharing your experience.

Don
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  #4  
Old 08-30-2017, 05:49 PM
TS Flightlines TS Flightlines is offline
 
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Location: Ridgeland, SC
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Default Sometimes it still doesnt work--

Since I've never held or been denied a 3rd class medical, I started the process back in March. Yep March. Just recently received a letter from Ok city requesting MORE information in addition to the extra paperwork we had to send in because of the surgery incident of 2 years ago.

Basic Med would have been great if I had had a 3rd class, but in order to use Basic med, I have to have a 3rd class to start with.

You know-----I'm wondering if the hassle is worth it--

Tom
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  #5  
Old 08-31-2017, 05:24 AM
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Fearless Fearless is offline
 
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Default It is Tom - keep plugging

Keep plugging at it Tom. Once you get your approval you can put it behind you and get your bird in the air with you in it. Some of us had to deal with Oklahoma on cardio issues and the hoops we had to go through each year as well as the cost. I like others see my PCP physician each year as well as bi-annual visits with my cardiologist to stay on top of my health and it seemed insulting when I had my third class dealing with the FAA. The money I would have to spend on the nuclear stress tests to send the results in that they want can buy a lot of avgas. That is all behind me now and I am just looking ahead. Terry and I talked about BasicMed when he graciously flew down to Ohio to help me get more ready to fly my plane.
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  #6  
Old 08-31-2017, 05:32 AM
TS Flightlines TS Flightlines is offline
 
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I know Mike, and lot of the VAF member have expressed support on this. The bad part is if I do get denied, then LSA is out too.
Its strange, because my AME had my records, a VERY recent CBC blood work, and a report of the incident.

We'll see

Tom----my 7 is kinda on hold for the moment
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  #7  
Old 08-31-2017, 07:46 AM
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DaleB DaleB is offline
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TS Flightlines View Post
The bad part is if I do get denied, then LSA is out too.
I call it the "aviation death penalty". If you don't even try for a medical, you're fine -- but if you try and get denied, even for something that would be fine for flying LSA, then you're completely screwed. I guess it doesn't have to make sense, it just "is".

I would need an SI to qualify for BasicMed, but there's a substantial probability I'd get an SI denied. So, I fly light sport.

And on the topic of this thread, if I hadn't been worried about a bunch of extra paperwork and hassle with the third class medical that I did have, I'd have likely seen my doctor a few days before my MI and saved a trip to the ER. I didn't have any of the symptoms that I had heard associated with an oncoming heart attack, but I felt "funny" for a few days. But, no way I was going to go to the doc if it wasn't necessary.

Unintended consequences indeed.
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  #8  
Old 08-31-2017, 10:35 AM
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DanH DanH is online now
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DaleB View Post
And on the topic of this thread, if I hadn't been worried about a bunch of extra paperwork and hassle with the third class medical that I did have, I'd have likely seen my doctor a few days before my MI and saved a trip to the ER.
Another fine example; third class medicals have killed more pilots than they have saved.
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  #9  
Old 08-31-2017, 11:56 AM
DRMA DRMA is offline
 
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Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by TS Flightlines View Post
I started the process back in March. Yep March. Just recently received a letter from Ok city requesting MORE information . . .
Tom - Suggest you get some expert help involved in obtaining your special issuance. I had a similar problem when I first attempted to renew my 3rd class as a special issuance, with several requests from the FAA for additional information. I finally contacted the very helpful folks at UTMB Aerospace Medicine ( https://www.utmbhealth.com/services/...icine/services ) who were able to help me navigate the requirements and obtain my SI in fairly short order.

Suggest you give them a call at (409) 747-9176 and talk to Johnene Vardiman. She will help you get started with one of their physicians.

Good luck.
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  #10  
Old 08-31-2017, 01:29 PM
BruceW BruceW is offline
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DRMA View Post
Tom - Suggest you get some expert help involved in obtaining your special issuance. I had a similar problem when I first attempted to renew my 3rd class as a special issuance, with several requests from the FAA for additional information. I finally contacted the very helpful folks at UTMB Aerospace Medicine ( https://www.utmbhealth.com/services/...icine/services ) who were able to help me navigate the requirements and obtain my SI in fairly short order.

Suggest you give them a call at (409) 747-9176 and talk to Johnene Vardiman. She will help you get started with one of their physicians.

Good luck.
EAA has a medical advisory council that helps EAA members with FAA med issues. They helped my with an SI related to a cerebral hemorrhage. Yah.
They know the phone numbers and people to call to 'check in' on the status of things. Worked great for me.
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