View Full Version : Medical problem may never let me fly?
20th Sep 2011, 01:15
i am new to this forum. i am currently a student attending college in the U.S. to get a bachelors and at 19 years old i stand at 4' 3'(achondroplasia). yes, my dream is to become an airline pilot growing up in a family of doctors and trust me its the only career i want. i am currently taking a year off college to undergo a surgical process that will(hopefully) extend my height for a total increase of around 14 inches. i was considering going for a faa first class(to see if i would pass) but after researching a little i know ill fail for failure to properly handle all controls. i would like some advice on what are some possible things i could do? should i wait until after the surgery and start building time and attempt to get a certificate? Will the faa look into my medical history and the surgery into consideration of me getting a first class?(i have 3.5 hours in a piper but with hand controls but i didnt want to continue in a plane meant for someone in a wheelchair)
20th Sep 2011, 05:11
Find an FAA aviation medical examiner who will do a "consultation". That means you see the doctor, but don't actually do the FAA exam. Don't fill out the FAA form. S/he should be able to answer your questions.
Now whether an airline would hire someone with your medical history is another issue, but take one thing at a time. Get the medical / license first.
Good luck! :)
20th Sep 2011, 15:40
Will do. Thanks for the advice.
22nd Sep 2011, 16:58
Flying an aeroplane is very rewarding. Its such a pleasure to be free as a bird to go where you want to go with all ground based problems out of sight.
Have you thought of aiming to own your own aeroplane or sailplane?
There are many non-aviation careers that can make this possible.
e.g. computer programming (as in my case)
I am not an airline pilot - I had that avenue blocked as a result of discriminatory medical regulations. From the number of airlines pilots I know flying gliders as a hobby I think perhaps they miss out on the fun somewhat - flying heavy metal. Flying gliders well needs a broad range of skills and I have always found a lot of comaraderie there.
I have commercial fixed wing and rotary-wing quals to fly smaller aircraft and use them part time but I think I am going to go back to the purest form of flight for my fun - gliding - with no need for medicals.
Seriously, there are so many hurdles to airline flying ($$$,medical, check flights,future health) that anyone thinking of spending the time and money really should carefully consider the other options. Surely its far easier to have a normal career and fly for fun so why spoil a nice hobby by trying to make it a career.
23rd Sep 2011, 04:22
wat are u saying or getting at?
u think im a fearful person that easily gives up something they want so bad just because theres a alternative hobby.
listen.....im sry you couldn't make it as an airline pilot but im not like you in any way
Go big or go Home!!
24th Sep 2011, 19:42
Let me get this right airbus - you are taking a year out to grow an additional 28% of your body height??????
What planet are you from pal?
My neice has the same problem and for the last 6 years she has been wearing a leg contraption deisgned by the world leaders in this field (russia) to grow an extra 1.5". And you want 14":D
Listen: Concentrate on the matter at hand - get your life back first...then get thinking about flying heavy metal.
24th Sep 2011, 21:50
increase of around 14 inches
Interesting surgery:hmm::hmm: I really don't see that happening; sorry to be so blunt!
Type properly too - you come over as illiterate when u use da text talk
14th Oct 2011, 15:59
Well believe it or not its called ELL(extended limb lenthening). You guys can search it on Google if you don't believe me. I am going about this little by little, in a few weeks i have a consultation with a faa examiner and ill find out everything there.
14th Oct 2011, 23:19
OA whilst I applaud your determination to succeed I am also worried that you haven't really thought this through properly. Lower limb lengthening alone will not solve your problem because, as you know, people with Achondroplasia also have short arms which would probably prove to be a real problem for you as you will need to be able to reach all switches, and have full and free use of the controls. I also feel that you have a slightly unrealistic view of the timescale for your operations and recovery and possibly also of what can be achieved for you. Just because a few people have been able to achieve a 14" gain in height does not mean that everyone who has the operation will do so and it may well take more than the twelve months you have allocated yourself, also, the older you get the slower your rate of healing. You may not achieve the height you hope for but may well be able to fly light aircraft so do think about other careers in aviation eg good Flight Instructors are worth their weight in gold and are essential to the industry - after all, if they didn't exist there would be no pilots.
Good luck, please let us know how you get on.
15th Oct 2011, 07:17
Thanks for sharing this info
17th Oct 2011, 03:51
Wombat, I'm glad you gave me the real low down on my situation but a few things; first, you may think I haven't thought these things over but the time I described with the surgery and the height I said in the first post was just something I wanted to ask you guys on this forum in order to see if I'm a potential for flying airlines. Second, my orthopedic told me mostly everything from healing times to process to a time frame I'm looking at for each limb(about 8-10 months for 6-7"). Third, this process INCLUDES arms which orthopedics usually consider lenthening to follow body proportions(you would look very weird with a foot of height but short arms). Listen, I know I'm sounding a little unrealistic but I'm going into this operation with a very positive attitude and a clear mind of what my intent is being that I've done some intense sports during my days including 4 years of wrestling and 2 years on varsity but i cant decide my fate here right now, who knows what will happen and how this surgery pans out for me, I might change my mind get a few inches and just get an aviation hobby. Who knows?
It's a been a long time dream of mine to become an airline pilot for a very long time so I'm not gona give up that easily. I'll try to keep you guys updated from time to time if you want to follow my situation.
17th Oct 2011, 10:35
OA, thank you for that reply I'm much happier now as you do seem to be taking a sensible, mature attitude towards your goal. I was worried that you might come crashing down to earth (not literally!) if your dream didn't become reality. Don't give up, if flying the big aircraft isn't possible there are some lovely light aircraft around. At 5'1" I'm not exactly a giant and I have difficulty reaching all the controls in some aircraft but the trusty Cessna 152 enabled me to learn to fly and I have since been able to fly the DA40 (Diamond Star). I hope your surgery is a success and would love to know how you get on.
17th Oct 2011, 20:18
Thanks for the support. I'll definitely keep you guys updated.
31st Oct 2011, 02:36
When I had read your post, you remind me myself, the same situation ( aviation doctors ) at family. Yes, you may try to work on your license for now, and see what will happen next. However, you need to pass once in your life this 1st Medical Test before you start , or just try to pass 2nd Medical Test for now. Remember you can always have your license, and if you will feel bad or dizzy you can always ask the airlines if they can place you at an emergency position like flying occasionally.I think they would.... as the airlines like medical environment...( my own experience ). I am not trying to cheer you up, but remember that there were many female pilots who were flying, with medical problems, they were WWII pilots . Since no one was eager to fly at a time...The most important thing for any pilot is a heart condition. Actually, I am very proud of you.
19th Nov 2011, 14:58
Thanks for the support. I'll definitely keep you guys updated.
Yes please do:
I'd be particularly interested in how your nerves, arteries, veins, tendons and muscles are going to cope with this huge increase in limb length.
They aren't just sitting coiled up inside your shortened limbs waiting to increase in length by 6-14 inches in a short time.
Many orthopaedic procedures directed at lengthening tendons alone (club foot for example) are complex and often result in disappointing length increase.
I have no wish to rain on your parade and admire your tenacity but a limb should be considered as a whole not just a short bone.............
20th Nov 2011, 11:35
most human beings tend to end any effort regarding one's dream by saying something like "dream on..." - just because they're afraid of failure.
It is your wish and your dream. Persue it!
One time you'll look back at your life. If your dream about flying will not realize itself, maybe you'll be saddened about it. But you will have gained experiences no one else has.
If you'll look back at your life and you've never even tried there'll alway be a hole in your heart.
Talk to an FAA med, talk to the "Extender" ;-) , forget about the pain and all the advices... and DO WHAT YOUR HEART SAYS (take care and outweigh the risks you take, but follow your heart).
I wish you all the best for it!
21st Nov 2011, 05:56
Will the faa look into my medical history and the surgery into consideration of me getting a first class?(i have 3.5 hours in a piper but with hand controls but i didnt want to continue in a plane meant for someone in a wheelchair)
Please do not bother yourself with any details after an operation. Yes, the FAA will look into your history for sure. So, what? So, they will. I just got an email from my friend who is flying after an operation . I will ask her. Since she is my " leader ". She will be in a business even after you graduate. For now, forget the airlines in Germany in this case and you will feel much better. Actually, it is perhaps better to take your parents with you while taking a 1st Medical Test. You will have an emotional support on this particular day. There is no reason to exclude you from the airlines world just because of the operation, it is different from having a weaker heart. Of course, I had to resign, and I even asked whether I shall be able to cut a contract in the middle, if I shall not be feeling well. I did not care...I returned to my mum a doctor and I am happy
6th Feb 2012, 09:19
3 in so far in my lower limbs 3 to go with 3 months lenthening left hopefully. Ankle and calf tightness and minor nerve irritation and about 6 months left to finish my lower limbs. Next surgery should start after a 6 months break and ill attempt to work on my single if no mod is needed to fly.
22nd Feb 2012, 09:24
Thatís great, I will contact a friend of my a lady who is flying after an operation, as far as I know so far there was a special program for the pilots dealing with the same kind of the problems as you are facing at current. I shall ask more, upon returning from Africa. As I feel as flying again even for a while.
Genghis the Engineer
22nd Feb 2012, 13:12
Sorry to come to this so late, but I might be able to add a few thoughts.
First and foremost, you need a medical. If you are having the operations anyhow, do that afterwards - but equally, you are presumably working actively with physicians now, so you might be wise to take them the FAA class 1 medical criteria and ask the straight question whether they think you'll pass it post-op or not?
Second, 5ft 5" will not be a problem, if your body is largely normal ergonically in an airline cockpit.
Third, flying an airliner is only one pilot job. There may be more flexibility, and just as much satisfaction in for example becoming a flight instructor or air-taxi pilot. Some parts of the USA (I'm particularly thinking of Alaska) are heavily reliant upon these highly skilled and important pilots. Also getting into the airline cockpit is hellishly tough, and also seldom the first step for professional pilots; most people start their professional careers in another branch of flying.
If it is necessary to make any tweaks (even if only cushions) to an aeroplane, it's much easier on smaller aeroplanes because of regulatory differences.
Also if any changes are needed, you need to talk to an FAA DER with the right skillset - these are people qualified to approve modifications to aeroplanes (or in some cases, to decide when something doesn't legally comprise a modification). I'm not aware of any FAA DERs on PPrune, but I'm the British equivalent, and the chap who posts on PPrune as Pilot_DAR is the Canadian equivalent.
And yes, I did take on board your point about not wanting to require a modified cockpit. In reality however, I hope that what you really want is to fly professionally - don't be too proud to compromise elsewhere if you achieve this most important objective.
22nd Feb 2012, 17:35
Well done! Keep going, who knows how it will turn out but if you don't try you will never know.