Real Answers from Real Pilots

All I want for Xmas is for the FAA to approve my medical status



My comments weren’t about “public image” they were about liability. Right or wrong there’s a HUGE difference between a pilot being overweight or color deficient and German Wings 9525.



The SIs for color deficiency are not for people that are color blind, they are for those who can not pass a regular test, but can make out aviation colors via another means of testing. To my knowledge, the FAA will never issue a medical for a truly color blind person.


(Justin Riley) #23

Love this thread, as I too am in ‘FAA waiting hell’ for a SI of my First Class medical. I was supposed to start with credit for private this past Monday at TIW, but had to reschedule as my application is still stuck in Washington, DC, waiting for review. Submitted in early September, and optimistically scheduled my start date as 12/3 was the next available at the time. Thankfully, ATP is holding my deposit for up to 6 months, and I won’t have to pay another $1k to schedule a new start date once the medical is approved.

I followed the FAA guidelines to the letter, saw every specialist and took every test they required, and after several appointments (and about $4000) received a positive review from all of them, including my senior HIMS AME. Everything “looks good,” but I know the FAA does what they want. So, we’ll see…hopefully soon! Until then I’ll keep knocking out written tests. Already passed IRA and FII. CAX is next.


(Charles McCarthy) #24

I’m in the same boat as you, Anne. I applied for a 1st class in early September and didn’t get a response for 6-7 weeks.

September 7-10 - AME mails out deferral
October 22-25 - Receive reply from the FAA requesting information from treating psychiatrist.
November 7th - Mail information
November 22-24 - Receive reply the information was inadequate
December 4th - Psychiatrist mails the FAA my medical history and records

Now I’m just waiting for the FAA to hopefully request I undergo a neuro-psych evaluation instead of outright denying me. That’s not even a guarantee for issuance either as the FAA flight surgeon could still deny me based on the evaluation’s results.

I’m pretty much resigned to the fact I’ll never fly, but I’ll keep playing the FAA’s snail-mail game until I receive the denial. Not really looking forward to spending the rest of my life in IT/Software, but it pays the bills.

(Enrique Villalobos) #25

I am excited to announce that today I received word from the FAA that my class I medical with special issuance was approved. They even emailed me a copy to have on hand while I wait for the official certificate to arrive in the mail.

Here is what I learned from this experience and I hope this helps:

  1. Communicate, Communicate, Communicate - Contact the FAA regularly and communicate that you are awaiting approval so you can start a flight program and ask what you could do to expedite the process. The operators are extremely helpful in answering questions and telling you what documentation you can begin to submit even if you haven’t received an official letter. Also don’t be afraid to ask if the condition you have is disqualifying or requires special issuance. The operators were very forward with that.

  2. Documentation - make sure you turn in the proper documentation that the FAA asks for as this could cause delays. You don’t have to mail the documentation. The FAA gave me a fax number to submit my documentation. I also called regularly to make sure the documentation was added to my file

  3. Patience - this is the hardest. Especially for people who are type I personalities like myself. However, If you keep up your communication with the FAA you will find it easier to be patient.



That is great news, congratulations!!! When do you intend on starting your flight training?


(Justin Riley) #27

Congrats, Enrique!

Would you mind sharing how long it took from your application and documents officially being received and scanned in until you got your approval?

Appreciate the tips as well. I’ve been checking the status every week to 10 days. I’m in the Seattle area, and we have a Regional Flight Surgeon office here. I’ve been working with them as they’re easier to get through to than Oklahoma City, and they typically have more time to really try to get a solid status update.

Good luck with your training!

(Enrique Villalobos) #28

I have my orientation flight tomorrow 12-12-18 in Austin, TX. I’m shooting for a January or February start. I will learn more after my flight I’m sure.

(Enrique Villalobos) #29

Justin, I’d be happy to provide my timeline. I’ll put that together when I return home from my orientation flight.

(Anne Elliott) #30

Thank you Tory! It’s reassuring to know it is slow for everyone. I’ll try to be patient! Appreciate it.

(Tory) #31


No problem. Just for perspective, when I went through this process, I waited 9 months to receive my medical, which includes scheduling delays with doctor’s offices, but still 9 months of waiting tables and no flying. At the time, it felt like an eternity. Now, it’s like it never happened.