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CAA Class 1 medical with a history of adolescent migraines

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CAA Class 1 medical with a history of adolescent migraines

Old 4th Jan 2018, 18:39
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CAA Class 1 medical with a history of adolescent migraines

Before I start throwing money at my ATPL theory I would like to get a class 1 medical from the UK CAA. However I suffered from migraines as a child (circa 8 migraines between 6 and 14) but I haven't had a migraine since early 1999 so 19 years ago. I have been flying on an NPPL for 8 years with no issues or medical complaints.

Would this past history prevent me from obtaining a class 1 medical and becoming a commercial pilot?

I have seen a CAA spreadsheet that mentions that a class 1 could be granted if free of migraine for 10 years but it is unclear if this is for initial applicants or those already holding a medical. Has anyone had any experience of this rule?

Has anyone with a similar history managed to get an initial class 1?

Thanks in advance.

Last edited by 4535jacks; 4th Jul 2018 at 16:32.
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Old 4th Jan 2018, 18:42
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Can't provide any professional guidance, but am curious...I suffered from migraines many years ago, and as a result, decided against applying for the then BA cadet scheme (probably wouldn't have been chosen anyway.

However, in your case, it seems like you're long clear of migraine. As I say. can't offer professional opinion, just a personal view. But I suspect you'll be fine.
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Old 4th Jan 2018, 22:17
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You might find you're restricted to mulit-crew operations. Logically that would be three pilots but there's logic and there are rules.

It used to be that one migraine - really, just one - bared the sufferer from holding a UK pilot's licence for life.

The frustrating thing is that anyone can have their first migraine at any age. Not lightly, but can happen.

Deep underlying worry seems to be the prime factor, with odds and ends like cheese and chocolate being fairly positive triggers.
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Old 4th Jan 2018, 23:14
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During my research about my damaged hearing, (vestibular migraine ) I came across this site.

Current theories about migraine tally very closely with ideas I posted on this medical thread 10 years ago. All to do with vasoconstriction and dilation.

I postulated that the restriction needed urgent relief to stop endangering the brain. Whatever chemistry came to the rescue caused not only the dilation, but a deadening of circuitry in the visual cortex and various other places. Loss of memory is rare but repeated. Loss of feeling in some fingers often follows what must be the dilation phase. This was all unqualified speculation when I constructed the model, but now . . .

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5019886/
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Old 5th Jan 2018, 01:02
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While there is a great deal to be said for honesty as the best policy, I, as an AME, really don't have a great deal of interest in some headaches you had as a kid, and that your pediatrician likely arbitrarily diagnosed as migraines, and which you have not had in two decades...
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Old 5th Jan 2018, 01:53
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Best advice ever.
Don’t overthink it.
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Old 5th Jan 2018, 07:02
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I am confident that migraines are fully behind me. For the past 17 years I have served in the British Army which has seen me work in a number of challenging environments as well frontline combat in Afghanistan all of which involves high levels of stress without any headaches.

I hope to get a class 1 without OML as I intend to use it for instructing as well as some display work (looking to get a DA on my aircraft). Also due to my age I may have to look for a GA job involving single pilot operations as a route to the flight deck of an airliner.

Last edited by 4535jacks; 4th Jul 2018 at 16:30.
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Old 5th Jan 2018, 09:26
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Most active people feed on stress. It may be a trigger in some, but the deep underlying worry is the prime cause in some. It is very, very different to stress.

However, a person with an active mind should be able to identify and combat such periods of worry by being proactive in finding solutions, though by their very nature these worries are difficult to come face to face with.

Although it was never diagnosed, I'm fairly sure some bad days I suffered while in my teens was migraine. It was only after research for others, in my later years, that I realised I was one of many that had no idea what it was. Odd that so many people were unaware of it in the 50's.

My long term worry was about being called up for national service. I was about to do some heafty exams in Radio and had the prospect of a darn good job at Cambridge (which I got) and what's more I was heavily involved with 'the love of my life' Well, one of, and the thought of going somewhere to be shouted at by some mindless "£@" did not appeal to me one jot. Eventually, it got me down. Seriously so.

My resolution was to apply to the RAF for 3 or 4 years. Once I'd made my mind up, I felt so much better. Life took on a whole new meaning. Funny, "The last quarter of 39" the batch I would have been in, was eventually let off the hook. I missed the Army by 3 days, worked in radio and TV and then electronics before discovering aeroplanes.

It's also funny that if I'd resorted to plan B and gone in the air force, it's unlikely I'd ever have flown aircraft. A short time later I was sitting at the same desk as the bloke that tested Concorde for the ARB. Life was bright, exciting, and there was no time for being burdened with dull thoughts.

Last edited by Loose rivets; 5th Jan 2018 at 09:45.
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Old 5th Jan 2018, 12:56
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assuming this https://www.caa.co.uk/WorkArea/Downl...?id=4294976461 is the CAA flowchart you have seen,

then note 4 seems to imply that initial Class 1 applicants who have been free of migraine for 5 years (though it does say 10 years in note 5) can get an unrestricted class 1 with a favourable Neurologist's report, (and I don't think an initial certificate can be issued with an OML any more anyway). Since you are now more than 10 years that sounds vaguely hopeful.

I also interpret the flowchart to mean that a history of Migraine requires a CAA decision on initial issue (that's what refer to AMS means in the top left hand corner) so even if the Aeromedical Centre you attend for an initial Class 1 feels all is OK, The CAA itself will make the final decision.

These flowcharts may change so these comments only apply to the flowchart as it is today!

Last edited by Phororhacos; 5th Jan 2018 at 13:08.
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Old 7th Jan 2018, 15:37
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Ask your GP to refer you privately to a Neurologist who specialises in migraines and is well versed in dealings with the CAA.
You need to research as to which external [NHS] Neurologist they use as their consultant.

I am sure an answer will be forthcoming through PPRuNe?
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Old 7th Jan 2018, 19:34
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I would suggest not. A neurologist will be happy to take your money, but what is he going to add? As 421dog says, you have not definitively had migraines and there is no way of proving or disproving it. Children often have headaches and it is not uncommon to have nausea and vomiting. It is a very brave paediatrician who diagnoses migraine on this basis. A and E is not where you find paediatric neurologists and the fact you stayed for the day means nothing.

I would want to see a common pattern - the same aura, the same pain, the same duration. I would want to see evidence of benefit from specific drugs (although we might not give them to children). and I would want to know there was little benefit from simple analgesics such as paracetamol.

There is a real risk you are asking to be failed. We normally tell people to be totally honest, and that applies here as well, but I do question the reliability of a 6 year old some 26 years later - is the history first hand or are you repeating what your parents said? You had a handful of headaches, they stopped, that is all we can say.
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Old 4th Feb 2018, 16:57
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Hi all

I’m a newbie on here and about to embark on the class one journey.

I do however have a history of tension headaches (no aura, visual disturbances or days off work) with my last attack happening in August 2016. Regardless I am going to attempt to see how far I can get as I need to exhaust all efforts.

Has anyone been successful in a similar situation ? Any advice would be greatly appreciated.
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Old 5th Feb 2018, 18:41
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Now what do you mean by tension headaches? You have I suggest 'headaches'. I get headaches too, so do most people. Be honest but dont embroider your diagnosis unless you want to fail. The AME will ask any questions he needs to....
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Old 5th Feb 2018, 19:09
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Thanks radgirl, I attended my gp today to discuss and see that migraine has been on my notes in 1999 and 2016 so I’ve requested reports / copies of records to take along to my medical .

Just praying at an absolute minimum if I’m refused a class one that I can get an unrestricted class 2 so that I may get my ppl and a time restriction for the class 1 (either 1 or 5 years migraine free).

Im absolutely dreading it!
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Old 5th Feb 2018, 20:04
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I cant send you a message, so have to post a response:

your first post does not support a diagnosis of migraine. Your notes are simply that - notes, not missives from on high. Did you see a neurologist? How did he come to the diagnosis? If just your GP, how did he make the diagnosis? You are entitled to ask indeed challenge, what is in your notes and ask for a second opinion or for them to be corrected.

If the diagnosis has been made in error, and 'bad' headaches are often labelled as migraine, then you would not be best advised to take the notes to your medical. Simply tell the truth, describe what has occurred, and you may well be OK. If however a consultant has made the diagnosis correctly (hard to decide that I am afraid) then you must declare it

Good luck
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Old 6th Feb 2018, 08:19
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Thanks radgirl, you have helped me greatly . The application form for the medical states “have you ever had frequent or severe headaches”.

My headaches were never severe just bad (I could still work/ study..etc). They were also sporadic as opposed to frequent (years and months between headaches).

I intend to tick no for this question, but I will fully disclose medical records that should support the above in the interests of full disclosure (hope this makes sense). I am sure I may need to jump through some hoops (neurologist..etc) but I guess it’s all part of the journey (whether successful or not !).

There is also the one year and five year free of attacks rule , so if all else fails !
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Old 6th Feb 2018, 14:37
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OK so leave the question blank and discuss it with the AME. BE honest - a bad headache, period. Your AME will then tell you what to put on the form

Personally I agree with 421Dog - but I am not an AME. Choosing a 'nice' AME is as important as when choosing any doctor ! Most of us find it is a nice chat with a few tests, and AMEs really dont want to dig through records with an honest pilot who has benign issues
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Old 16th Feb 2018, 17:54
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I had migraines as a kid. Got a letter from my GP saying I had none from about the age of 14 (similar to you) and got my class 1 with no restrictions. This was about 15 years ago so not sure if any of the rules have changed though. Maybe try and speak to an AME... you’ll find a local one on the CAA website
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Old 18th Feb 2018, 14:20
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Hi all

Thanks for all of the replies and advice, I attended my medical and passed all elements however due to my disclosure I needed to get a neurologists report. Luckily I phoned spire healthcare and got in the same day with a top consultant neurologist (£250).

The neurologist has stated that I had tension headaches and not migraine. He also did a very thorough check of my eyes and history.

I am very glad I fully disclosed my medical records, the caa seem reasonable and lets face it I don’t want to put anyone at risk of i were to ever get a job. This condition can never “come out of the woodwork” either as I have been upfront.

I am confident that I will have my class 1 in weeks, and will keep you all informed !
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Old 8th Mar 2018, 19:38
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Ok guys, got my class 1 today....Happy Days ��
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