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Ankylosing spondilitis and HLA B27, DGCA medical

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Ankylosing spondilitis and HLA B27, DGCA medical

Old 10th Jan 2022, 08:31
  #1 (permalink)  
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Location: India
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Ankylosing spondilitis and HLA B27, DGCA medical

I am a 21 years old college student and want to become pilot. In 2021 I suffered with right back pain. Upon testing the presence of hla b27 gene, i was found to be positive. At this point I am worrying, whether I will be issued a permanent unfit medical certificate by DGCA or not. In my class II medical, all the test reports came normal. But what makes me maximum anxious is this HLA b27. In past the pain came in 2017, then every thing was fine, I could run,jump, cycle everything like any other normal person. The pain came back again in 2021 April. Then again it went away and I am perfectly fine now. Can any one tell me will DGCA completely reject me or not for this ? Leaving the pilot dream is very painful for me.
Anik is offline  
Old 10th Jan 2022, 13:21
  #2 (permalink)  
Join Date: May 2000
Location: SE England
Posts: 660
I would suggest that you do not want to be a commercial pilot with AS - long periods sitting is not going to help with the condition or the pain and maximum strength pain relief is not compatible with aviation. Thankfully, I don’t have first hand experience to know how accurately it can be predicted or diagnosed, but my (unqualified) advice would be to get a much better understanding of your likelihood of suffering AS during your career AND to get an appropriate medical before you invest any time/money on professional pilot training. Good luck!
Dan Dare is offline  
Old 11th Jan 2022, 13:26
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Join Date: Mar 2000
Location: UK
Posts: 968

My experience may be helpful to you. At age 22, working as an aircraft Engineer, I too suffered debilitating lower back pain. On investigation blood tests revealed the presence of the HLAB27 marker, and also that a small part of one vertebrae had been missing from birth. More or less at that time the pain disappeared quite mysteriously almost overnight – although it has returned many times over the last 48 years – sometimes for short periods and some for much longer.

A year after initial diagnosis I started training as a UK Flight Engineer having passed a class one medical. I had declared the issues above mentioned. In the mid 1980’s I was seconded to QANTAS as a Flight Engineer for a year – I also obtained an Australian class one medical for that. In the early 1990’s I retrained as a Pilot and continued flying up until age 64 – in all about 43 years of commercial flying.

The above poster ‘Dan Dare’ makes some good points. However I don’t think that long periods sitting in an airliner are going to be much worse than long periods sitting in say an office. Whilst flying I did suffer quite a lot of pain at times, however I never took strong painkillers (the odd paracetomal) and managed to avoid going sick for the condition at all. On longhaul operations I would try to regularly get out of the seat to stretch my legs, and on shorthaul multi sector operations you could stretch your legs on every turn-around.

Also I found that ‘stretching my spine’ often helped with the pain. To do that I would hang off the architrave at the top of a door opening – worked for me anyway! I was told I should always keep my weight under good control, but I miserably failed in that endeavour.

Incidentally in my late 20’s I suffered from a bad case of iritis (an auto-immune issue). This is where the immune system starts to reject the eye – very painful, and if untreated can cause irreversibly defective vision. It is very quickly and effectively treated with steroid drops. I was told that this condition is also associated with the HLAB27 marker. This condition has also occurred very frequently throughout my life. So I would ask that you are aware of this, and in the event of eye pain from an unknown origin (usually combined with a blood red eye), you seek medical advice at the earliest opportunity.

To sum up, I would imagine the DGCA would look favorably on your issues unless the medical rules in OZ have changed in this regard since the 1980’s. However, as Dan Dare says, go and obtain a first class medical before anything else.

Best of luck.

Kind regardsExeng
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