ADD Meds & SP

Here's the place to ask all of your medical questions. But don't believe everything you read!

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drseti
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Re: ADD Meds & SP

Postby drseti » Fri Sep 27, 2013 5:22 am

BTW (I know Jack would want me to mention this :wink: ) the moment I got that abnormal EKG, I grounded myself. I didn't resume flying (under Sport Pilot rules) until after surgery, and recuperation, and rehab, and numerous tests, and consultation with my cardiologist - and, even after all that, a whole bunch of self-assessment, which is still ongoing. :D
The opinions posted are those of one CFI, and do not necessarily represent the FAA or its lawyers.
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Pilot Has Heart Attack In Flight

Postby CTLSi » Fri Sep 27, 2013 9:54 am

......
Last edited by CTLSi on Mon Dec 01, 2014 11:09 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Pilot Has Heart Attack In Flight

Postby Nomore767 » Fri Sep 27, 2013 11:00 am

CTLSi wrote:United flight 1603 from Houston to Seattle diverted to Boise for the medical emergency. The pilot suffered a heart attack in flight and later died in a Boise hospital the same day.

http://goo.gl/oznngy


I once flew at the airline with a Captain who had recovered from cardiac by-pass surgery successfully enough to meet the quite rigorous standards to regain his First Class medical.
Another time, I flew with a great Captain on a 3 day trip. He was 59 looking at retiring at 60 in Hawaii (before they changed the rule to 65).
He died in his sleep on the layover the next trip, natural causes.
So you never know.
I guess pilots are just people too.

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Re: ADD Meds & SP

Postby Merlinspop » Fri Sep 27, 2013 12:06 pm

commercial pilots fly a greater percentage of their life than most non-commercial pilots.

It's far more likely for me to code out here in my prison cell...er... office cube (or during my 4hr/day commute) than in an airplane. I wish I could somehow reverse this likelihood, but it is what it is.
- Bruce

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Re: ADD Meds & SP

Postby rezaf_2000 » Wed Jan 07, 2015 1:20 am

Apologies for bringing this year-old thread back to life. The reason is that a few friends of mine, who know they have medical conditions that will probably stop them from getting a third class medical but still want to get into aviation and assess themselves as healthy enough for piloting, have asked me these questions. In particular, I'm personally interested to know the answer to the last two questions (a.k.a. should I go ahead and co-own an LSA airplane with people I know are unlikely to pass a third class medical?)

Background:

A)
The FAA regulations FAR § 61.23(c).2.iv states that "A person using a U.S. drivers license to meet the requirements of this paragraph must not know or have reason to know of any medical condition that would make that person unable to operate a light-sport aircraft in a safe manner."

Also, FAR § 61.53(c).2 states that "For operations provided for in § 61.23(c) of this part, a person shall not act as pilot in command, or in any other capacity as a required pilot flight crewmember, while that person knows or has reason to know of any medical condition that would make the person unable to operate the aircraft in a safe manner."

Logical Deduction: if you know you have a medical condition (e.g. ADD and Adderral prescription, or cardiovascular situation, or diabetes, etc.) and you have reason to know that your medical condition makes you unable to operate the aircraft in a safe manner, you are not allowed to operate the aircraft.

Reversing the logic: if you know you have a medical condition, and you KNOW (or, feel satisfied) that your condition does NOT make you unable to operate the aircraft in a safe manner, you ARE allowed to act as PIC.

B)
In a questions and answers section on the FAA website, it states that "You should consult your private physician to determine whether you have a medical deficiency that would interfere with the safe performance of sport piloting duties. You may exercise sport pilot privileges provided you are in good health, your medical condition is under control, you adhere to your physician’s recommended treatment, and you feel satisfied that you are able to conduct safe flight operations."

C)
Clearly, if you are a sport pilot and have decided not to go after a third class medical, the FAA is delegating the responsibility of medical eligibility to 1) state agencies in charge of driver's license medical requirements, and 2) on the pilot. You will be legal to fly, but the responsibility is yours. the questions below try to clarify what this responsibility really means.

Questions:

1) Is the requirement to "consult your private physician" and to "adhere to your physician’s recommended treatment" binding? Do you need a letter from the private physician stating so?

2) If you are in an accident, what is the FAA, NTSB and insurance company's stance on this? After all, before there is an accident the issue of responsibility rarely becomes relevant, but at the point of an accident it becomes the most relevant topic. If someone sues as a result of the accident, will the pilot be liable because of his decision?

3) Would the patient's private physician be liable, specially in case of a written letter from the physician?

4) If the aircraft is co-owned by others, and they know of the pilots medical condition and his decision to take the responsibility ("feeling satisfied that he is able to conduct safe flight operation"), are they liable and can they be sued as well?

5) If the aircraft is co-owned by others, and they do NOT know of the pilots medical condition (e.g. the pilot never mentions his medical condition, only that they are interested in sport piloting), would they still be liable?
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Re: ADD Meds & SP

Postby drseti » Wed Jan 07, 2015 8:24 am

You're right, Reza, in that one's medical status only becomes an issue in the event of an accident or incident. At that point, the concern is not with the FAA, but rather the courts. Lawsuits go to juries, who could care less about the facts of the FARs. You're a pilot, you're liable - period. And, the jury doesn't even have to know what med you're on, or what diagnosis you have, to reason like this.

Example: a pilot takes passengers on a routine VFR flight that goes badly. Counsel for the plaintiffs states "and the reckless pilot hadn't even filed a flight plan!" How do you think the jury will find?

Best policy is just to follow physician's advice and guidance, make prudent decisions, self-assess, and carry plenty of liability insurance.
The opinions posted are those of one CFI, and do not necessarily represent the FAA or its lawyers.
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Re: ADD Meds & SP

Postby CTLSi » Wed Jan 07, 2015 11:37 am

......
Last edited by CTLSi on Wed Jan 07, 2015 5:09 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: ADD Meds & SP

Postby drseti » Wed Jan 07, 2015 11:44 am

CTLSi, though I respect your opinion, that was really off-topic. The question had to do with liability issues, not FAA policy (which neither you nor I are likely to influence).
The opinions posted are those of one CFI, and do not necessarily represent the FAA or its lawyers.
Prof H Paul Shuch
PhD CFII DPE LSRM-A/GL/WS/PPC iRMT
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AvSport.org
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Re: ADD Meds & SP

Postby MrMorden » Wed Jan 07, 2015 4:20 pm

CTLSi wrote:The real answer is simple. As long as pilots are allowed to 'self assess' SOME will fly even if they know they are presenting a danger to themselves and others because humans rationalize and minimize in order to get what they want...


What about the pilots with medicals who KNOW they have grounding medical conditions, but refuse to see a doctor to avoid a grounding diagnosis?

What about the pilots with medicals who, either with or without their AME's knowledge, fail to report known conditions for which they are being treated?

What about the many pilots who choose to fly without any pilot certificate at all, including about 60% of pilots in Alaska?

The medical rules do nothing to prevent pilots with medical deficiencies from flying. At best they provide a means to sanction such pilots if by some miracle they are discovered someday. They may face additional legal liability in the event of an accident, but a lost certificate and a fine from the FAA for failure to disclose is usually the least of all worries in such a case.

Medicals for passenger air service where they are additionally monitored and overseen by the airline have some benefit, but even those will not catch all problems. In ALL other cases, the medicals provide no additional safety benefit. If one disagrees, one must somehow square those beliefs with the fact that since 2005 when the rules came about, not one single pilot with a driver's license medical has been in an accident attributed to medical incapacitation or medical deficiency. In the same ten year period, there have been several numerous incapacitation incidents involving pilots holding medicals.

That's a decade of experience with no benefit shown, particularly for 3rd class medicals. Pilots generally want to live, and those who can't handle the rigors of flight generally stay on the ground by choice. Those who make the poor decision to fly anyway are unlikely to not make an additional poor decision to ignore medical certification rules.
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Re: ADD Meds & SP

Postby CTLSi » Wed Jan 07, 2015 5:11 pm

drseti wrote:CTLSi, though I respect your opinion, that was really off-topic. The question had to do with liability issues, not FAA policy (which neither you nor I are likely to influence).


I apologize. I honestly thought his question included how the 'judgement' aspect worked. I know my opinion on the issue is controversial. I removed it. I don't want to diverge from the topic.

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Re: ADD Meds & SP

Postby rezaf_2000 » Wed Jan 07, 2015 9:57 pm

drseti wrote:One's medical status only becomes an issue in the event of an accident or incident. At that point, the concern is not with the FAA, but rather the courts. Lawsuits go to juries, who could care less about the facts of the FARs.

That's a good point. It would be a matter of courts, and how the facts line up there. The assumption in a court case is simple: if everyone did exactly as they were supposed to according to the rules and regulations, there would not be an accident. If there is an incident, someone should have deviated, and that person is liable to compensate the plaintiffs. It could be the pilot, the mechanic, the airport staff, the ATC, the municipality administration, the aircraft manufacturer, etc. I doubt a court would ever rule that an incident was no-one's fault and there was no way to stop the accident. I guess I would personally agree with that statement. Chances are the FAA regulations are so conservative and tight that if there is an incident, possibly someone deviated, at least from a judgement call by the PIC who should have not flown if he/she felt there could be something not quite right.
drseti wrote:You're a pilot, you're liable - period.

Looking at the number of NTSB accidents that were attributed to pilot error, the whole system (NTSB, courts and even the general aviation community) prefers to blame an incident on the pilot. This is probably the lowest hanging fruit, and much easier to win against in a court compared to, say, the aircraft manufacturer, an airport or a city municipality with their deep pockets and lawyers. It seems the aviation community prefers it this way as well. My guess is that the cost of not finding the pilot responsible, and instead someone or something else is more costly for the whole aviation community, and thus the community prefers to blame most of the accidents on the pilot.
drseti wrote:And, the jury doesn't even have to know what med you're on, or what diagnosis you have, to reason like this.

I guess strict adherence to FAA rules and regulations might give you a fighting chance in the courts? But here is where the position for sport pilots without medicals is based on pretty shaky grounds. If you have successfully passed a third class medical, and you are in an accident, and they don't find any medication in your blood, they cannot blame you for that: according to a written statement by an approved aviation doctor you were healthy, and there was nothing in your blood indicating a problem. Let's move on to the next possible cause (which might be another person other than the pilot). But the way the sport pilot rules is written, the whole medical issue is left to the judgement of the pilot, and hence the easiest and weakest link open to attacks. In the case of a sport pilot who knows he or she is likely to be denied a 3rd class medical and chooses to operate on a driver's license, this could be very indefensible (example: yes, the engine stopped and the passenger was injured during an emergency landing, but since the pilot had ADD and on medication and knew about it but otherwise decided to use his drivers license and felt satisfied with his health, the pilot is "obviously" at fault for making a wrong judgement call. it's so much easier to blame the pilot's judgement instead of a doctor, an A&P mechanic or the engine manufacturer).
drseti wrote:Example: a pilot takes passengers on a routine VFR flight that goes badly. Counsel for the plaintiffs states "and the reckless pilot hadn't even filed a flight plan!" How do you think the jury will find?

Based on this reasoning, it's probably even harder for sport pilots who already know they had a medical condition.
drseti wrote:Best policy is just to follow physician's advice and guidance, make prudent decisions, self-assess, and carry plenty of liability insurance.

That is a good practical advice (plenty of liability insurance), but the typical insurance quote doesn't provide much liability coverage ($100K per person per incident, and that number is very low). If you want to make that number higher, the insurance premium will skyrocket.

Still, the major unanswered question for me is: would co-owners be liable?
Last edited by rezaf_2000 on Wed Jan 07, 2015 10:30 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: ADD Meds & SP

Postby drseti » Wed Jan 07, 2015 10:20 pm

rezaf_2000 wrote: Still, the major unanswered question for me is: would co-owners be liable?


Depends upon how you define liable. If you mean "could a co-owner be sued?" The answer is an emphatic "yes." I cite,for example, a fuel exhaustion accident involving a pilot known to many on this board. He ended up suing the aircraft manufacturer, distributor, importer, the FBO who sold him the plane, the mechanic who maintained it, even the instructor who trained him! Lawsuits are like shotguns, so of course a co-ownwr can get pummelled.
The opinions posted are those of one CFI, and do not necessarily represent the FAA or its lawyers.
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Re: ADD Meds & SP

Postby rezaf_2000 » Wed Jan 07, 2015 10:30 pm

drseti wrote:
rezaf_2000 wrote: Still, the major unanswered question for me is: would co-owners be liable?


Depends upon how you define liable. If you mean "could a co-owner be sued?" The answer is an emphatic "yes." I cite,for example, a fuel exhaustion accident involving a pilot known to many on this board. He ended up suing the aircraft manufacturer, distributor, importer, the FBO who sold him the plane, the mechanic who maintained it, even the instructor who trained him! Lawsuits are like shotguns, so of course a co-ownwr can get pummelled.


Hmm, scary! what was the results?
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Re: ADD Meds & SP

Postby drseti » Wed Jan 07, 2015 10:39 pm

I haven't heard if the lawsuit has even gone to court yet. Does anybody out there know?
The opinions posted are those of one CFI, and do not necessarily represent the FAA or its lawyers.
Prof H Paul Shuch
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AvSport LLC, KLHV
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Re: ADD Meds & SP

Postby rezaf_2000 » Thu Jan 08, 2015 1:55 am

Paul, I just happened to come across your excellent annual report documents in a different thread, and the description of the incident as you wrote in the 2013 report (resulting into the LLC reorganization). Very interesting story, and your conclusion in forming an LLC.

Just note that LLCs, especially if single-membered, are at the risk of veil piercing. This is as a result of a 2012 court ruling. I'm pretty sure you've seen the case before though. Also, this is an interesting idea on the topic.
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