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Advice needed after "serious" head injury stopped training in Oct 2011

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Advice needed after "serious" head injury stopped training in Oct 2011

Old 28th Jul 2012, 23:47
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Advice needed after "serious" head injury stopped training in Oct 2011

Hi all,

Sorry for the long post but I thought that all this info is relevant and this will cut down replies asking for extra information.

I would appreciate some advice on my situation if at all possible.

I started an integrated course with Oxford Aviation in July 2010. Passed my last ATPL ground exam in mid Feb 2011 and was 5 hours flight time away from my IR skills test when I was involved in a kiting accident in Oct 2011 which put me in intensive care for a week.

I have been told by the CAA they consider my head injury to be "severe" and I have a two year ban on my class 1 medical which means, (assuming I have no medical issues over the next 21 or so months) I should be able to get my class 1 medical re-instated in Oct 2013. The CAA have also made me aware that upon regaining my class 1 medical I shall have a OML (operational multi-crew limitation) attached to it, for a minimum of 5 years.

In an ideal world, I would just wait out the 2 year ban, and start where I left off, in Oct 2013 (all be it with a little catching up to do to my previous standard of flying and re-take my CPL skills test).

However I have been made aware of a few issues with that plan

A - As I was enrolled in an integrated ATPL course this has to be completed within a 3 year time period. Does this mean my training so far is defunct as I should have finished the course no later than July 2013? I have been told that this time scale could possibly be extended due to my circumstances. Any ideas?

B - The ATPL ground exams are only valid from 3 years after the last exam has been passed (Feb 2012). If point A does not apply then this gives me approx 5 months to re-train, get back up to standard to re-take my CPL skills test and then take my IR. Thats assuming It takes no time to get my medical back. (It took nearly 3 months to get my 2 year ban from the CAA in the first place!)

C - If parts A and B turn out not to be an issue and I go through and pass it all, what then? How will this OML leave me? Will I be attractive to employers such as Easyjet and Ryanair? All of my fellow flying buddies from my course are now in employment with Ryanair and there is no shortage of graduates from OAA, let alone any of the other major training providers out there. I have been told by a BALPA representative that an OML shouldn't hold me back whatsoever, however I have been told the complete opposite from the trainers at OAA, saying that they cant think of 1 airline out there that would hire me with an OML.

My question to everyone out there is; what should my plan of action be?

A - go back to training ASAP, get the licence and risk getting turned away by every airline out there because of the OML?

B - wait until the OML has expired in Oct 2018 (at the earliest if nothing changes), start training again by going modular and re-taking all exams and flight tests. Possible costs of 40k+

C - ??? I am open to other suggestions. I did think about the possibility of becoming an instructor while I wait until my OML expires but I don't know if i'll be able to with an OML?

All I know is that giving up and changing my career path is not an option as there is nothing else I am motivated to do. I changed my career once already to fulfil this dream, which I am not about to let go of just because of a bang on the head.

I hope someone out there can give me a helping hand. Unfortunately, no one else out there has been able to so far.
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Old 29th Jul 2012, 08:29
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A few ideas (not particularly well thought through, and you will need to do a bit of digging to find out if they are worthwhile or worthless):
  • Will the CAA give you a Class 2 medical? If so, take a look at what you can do with it (it seems that the PPL FI is just around the corner, so you might be able to instruct)
  • See if there are any other JAA / EASA states who will give you a Class 1 sonner than the CAA - finish your training there then transfer your licence back to the UK (change your "state of licence issue")
  • Get an FAA CPL/IR and see if the CAA will give you a Class 1 on the back of your ICAO licence (worked for me, though in very different circumstances)
  • Go back to the CAA and find out if there are any cirumstances under which they will lift your 2 year suspension earlier (so get some medical evidence so that they reclassify your head injury as less serious than "serious") - you would probably need advice from someone who knows the CAA system but is not part of it
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Old 31st Jul 2012, 07:37
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You may find that the CAA will extend the period of exam validity if you ask them. After all it is due to no fault of your own (OK some may argue that Kite surfing is silly). I had a student who the CAA Granted an extension based on an operational deployment to Afganistan that occured unexpectedly and suddenly.
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Old 31st Jul 2012, 14:23
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Thanks for your ideas 'this is my username' (good name by the way!)
  • I did ask for a class 2 however the ban covers that too unfortunately.
  • How would I go about finding other states that would give me a class one?
  • Do you think I could get a medical in the states if I can't get one here? Also, how did this work for you, and I assume I would still have to wait until Oct 2013 to take my IR in the UK and complete the course?
  • I am in talks with a guy at BALPA at the moment to try and appeal the CAAs decision. Has been 2 months since I first made contact and is a nightmare getting hold of the guy so progress is slow!

Thanks again. Perhaps there is a way around things.
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Old 31st Jul 2012, 14:25
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Thanks whiskey1.

Can you point me in the right direction of who at the CAA to contact in order to get the validity extended?

This would certainly help!
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Old 1st Aug 2012, 20:57
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Hi TL638
  • Look at the Part-Med requirements and see how much wiggle-room there is in cases such as yours (is the CAA applying its own rules, EASA rules and/or is there room for interpretation?)
  • Speak to flying schools in other coutries (Greece, Poland, Spain, wherever) and see if they can help or provide any advice or put you in touch with an AME in their country who could provide advice
It won't necessarily be easy, cheap or succesful but if you don't try .......
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Old 2nd Aug 2012, 17:13
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Great, thanks for that I'll give it a go, your advise is much appreciated!

Last edited by TL638; 2nd Aug 2012 at 17:13.
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Old 2nd Aug 2012, 17:26
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I would get advice from the very best ex-CAA doctor at LGW: David Tallent.

His mission is to keep pilots flying (he did me) and he is truly excellent.

Next door to the Gatwick Park hospital - his ads appear here too.
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Old 7th Aug 2012, 11:04
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Thanks Fantom, lets hope David can help me out.
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Old 16th Nov 2012, 14:15
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Would be interested if you have any update, also sent you a PM. Interested in your status as I may be in the same situation myself.
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Old 15th Jan 2014, 15:36
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Hi all,

Have been off the radar for a while now.

Just a quick update.

20 months off from flying due to my medical suspension. Went back to Oxford Aviation in July 13 to finish the IR stage and re-validate my CPL. Both passed first time by first week of september. Completed MCC and JOC in October and had my medical reinstated end Oct.

Now awaiting an E-mail from OAA re. Ryanair assessment (fingers crossed)

Still have 10 year OML on my medical, however I was informed by the Doctor at the CAA that I could probably get this removed after year 5 if I haven't had any issues in that time.

I was able to go back to training before I had my medical re-instated due to flying on my instructors class 1. I was fortunate that my accident occurred AFTER I had done all of my solo flights. Otherwise my career would be over before it started.

Just so you all know the CAA policy has now changed regarding head injuries and if you are placed in the severe category like I was you will be banned for a minimum of 3 years, not 2 like I was. All the information is on their website, together with what you need to do to get re-validated.
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Old 15th Jan 2014, 20:02
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Well done for getting your med cert back and passing your exams! IMHO, it does appear a bit harsh extending the 'ban' to three years, although I guess they must be worried about post-traumatic epilepsy which could manifest itself quite some time after the initial insult. I presume you have no residual symptoms presently?

Fingers crossed for your FR assessment!
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Old 15th Jan 2014, 21:14
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The CAA chart is very interesting. I know they are being cautious, but IMHO this is very out of date.

You might just want to pass the chart in front of the intensivist who looked after you on ITU and ask him to confirm you definately are in the severe category. It is quite possible to electively sedate and ventilate a patient with effectively no pathology as we undertake what is called the head injury protocol first and investigate later. I doubt you would have been on ITU for a week, but you may not have had the CT / MRI changes to justify the severe category, and if you were sedated this isnt LOC.

Bit of a long shot, but anyone else in this category should get independant confirmation from their intensivist or neurologist.
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Old 11th Sep 2015, 14:22
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I think OP knows the rules Jetgirl, but he wanted advice!!

Sean H : what exactly happened? Did you lose consciousness and if so for how long? Did you lose your memory and if so for how long??? Where was the imaging undertaken and who told you there was contusion? Have you seen a written report by a consultant neuro radiologist?? What follow up management is being undertaken?

Lots of people in hospital open mouth before engaging brain. It is important to get the facts correct. PM me if you wish
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