PTSD and meds

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

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doug rooney
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PTSD and meds

Postby doug rooney » Thu Feb 26, 2015 11:49 am

Have a private pilot license since 1976. Found instrument training stressful "under the hood" so never completed that rating. Stopped flying in 1982 and medical lapsed. Have never been suspended, revoked, or failed a physical. (didn't take them after 1983). Was diagnosed in 1987 with PTSD. Found VFR flight to be relaxing and fun but did get bored with it back then. I know I wouldn't pass a class III medical anymore due to meds I take. I can TRUTHFULLY say I feel I am safe to fly BUT....The meds may not let me. I don't know? Have had varying opinions on the matter. Hold a valid driver's license. Meds I take: 1mg Clonazepam 3 times/day. Amitryptaline, and abilify. Spelling may be off? Thoughts here????? Thanks much!
PS: 65 Y/O with no other medical issues.

SportPilot
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Re: PTSD and meds

Postby SportPilot » Thu Feb 26, 2015 1:25 pm

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Last edited by SportPilot on Sun Mar 29, 2015 9:00 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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MrMorden
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Re: PTSD and meds

Postby MrMorden » Thu Feb 26, 2015 2:17 pm

Clonazapam is a tranquilizer, and 3/day is often, though the 1mg dose is small. I'd guess it would be hard to convince the FAA that you reasonably thought you were safe to operate an airplane on that medication. Technically the standard is "what you and your doctor together agree is safe", but the legal principle of reasonable is also at play in case of an accident or incident.

Narcotics and tranquilizers are drugs that significantly affect cognition and pilot performance. If you needed the Clonazapam occasionally I'd say you could still fly by making sure at least 24-48hrs had passed between flight and the last dose (IIRC that drug has a half life of about 2-4hrs) to let it clear your system, but with it being a 3/day I think it's a hard sell because it never has time to fully clear. You might even technically be able to get DUI driving a car with those meds in your system if the police ever ran a blood test on you and could present other evidence (e.g. field sobriety test) that indicated you were impaired.

Definitely you need to have a long (and brutally honest) heart-to-heart with your doctor about what you should and should not do on your meds. Best of luck and I hope it works out for you. You could always consider tapering off some of your meds and see if your symptoms return.
Andy Walker
Athens, GA
Sport Pilot ASEL, LSRI
2007 Flight Design CTSW E-LSA

doug rooney
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Re: PTSD and meds

Postby doug rooney » Thu Feb 26, 2015 3:37 pm

wow...thanks guys. Was afraid of that and WILL speak bluntly with my Doctor. I sincerely doubt she would ever put anything in writing regarding this. Perhaps there's another med that would work??? Don't know but she will. May have to look at a "weedhopper" or just forget it. You don't need ANYTHING to fly one of those do you? Again, thanks for the input! Any other thoughts, please chime in.

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MrMorden
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Re: PTSD and meds

Postby MrMorden » Thu Feb 26, 2015 3:55 pm

doug rooney wrote:wow...thanks guys. Was afraid of that and WILL speak bluntly with my Doctor. I sincerely doubt she would ever put anything in writing regarding this. Perhaps there's another med that would work??? Don't know but she will. May have to look at a "weedhopper" or just forget it. You don't need ANYTHING to fly one of those do you? Again, thanks for the input! Any other thoughts, please chime in.


You don't really need to get it in writing, since there is no medical to apply for. You really just need her to say in a consultation "I think based on the meds you are on and the conditions that you have that you could safely operate an aircraft."

As I said, *technically* that is sufficient, but the "reasonableness" issue comes up.

You could certainly fly a Part 103 ultralight. That would be a fun way to get into the air. Just be honest with yourself about whether it's safe and prudent to do so.

Good luck!
Andy Walker
Athens, GA
Sport Pilot ASEL, LSRI
2007 Flight Design CTSW E-LSA

Nomore767
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Re: PTSD and meds

Postby Nomore767 » Thu Feb 26, 2015 5:02 pm

Have you thought about getting a glider rating, no medical required?

The glider rating also applies to motor gliders, such as the Phoenix. Some of these motor gliders have detachable wings which reduce the wingspan and Rotax engines so you can choose to soar, and use the engine to self-launch, regain altitude or stretch the glide to make the home airfield OR you can fly a powered flight from A to B.

I think motor gliders offer some intriguing possibilities and may be well worth exploring.

http://www.phoenixairusa.com

doug rooney
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Re: PTSD and meds

Postby doug rooney » Thu Feb 26, 2015 8:46 pm

Thanks for your thoughts Andy and nomore. I have frankly often wondered what the DMV would say about my license if they knew I took those and that a DUI may be possible in an accident. I don't need a "negligent homicide" to contend with. Have seen the glider talk but assumed they were just that....gliders towed or something. Nice to know they are powered and will be looking into that as well. Appreciate it!

Jack Tyler
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Re: PTSD and meds

Postby Jack Tyler » Fri Feb 27, 2015 8:19 am

Two suggestions for you to consider, Doug:
1. Don't pay attention to our comments about your suitability to fly given your PTSD meds. A forum like this just isn't the place to inform yourself about your medical fitness to fly.
2. When having that frank discussion with your Doc, be sure to have access to the FAA's medications database handy, as your Doc is unlikely to be familiar with it, let alone have it at her fingertips. One option, if you have a tablet or laptop, is to have AOPA's on-line version handy. It can be very helpful in such a discussion, as it might lead to considering alternative (and perhaps newer) medication choices with which the FAA would have less concern.
http://www.aopa.org/Pilot-Resources/Med ... s-Database

You might notice that there are (at least) two dimensions to the question you raise. The obvious one is your fitness to fly. But a second one is the position you leave yourself in, from a legal liability standpoint, should you choose to fly and experience some kind of incident. You might want to keep that aspect in mind as you have the conversation with your Doc. 'Good enough' in a medical sense may still strike you as 'not good enough' re: potential legal exposure.

Good for you to be facing this issue responsibly.
Jack
Flying in/out KBZN, Bozeman MT in a Grumman Tiger
Do you fly for recreational purposes? Please visit http://www.theraf.org

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MrMorden
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Re: PTSD and meds

Postby MrMorden » Fri Feb 27, 2015 8:52 am

doug rooney wrote:Thanks for your thoughts Andy and nomore. I have frankly often wondered what the DMV would say about my license if they knew I took those and that a DUI may be possible in an accident. I don't need a "negligent homicide" to contend with. Have seen the glider talk but assumed they were just that....gliders towed or something. Nice to know they are powered and will be looking into that as well. Appreciate it!


Glider rating is a very cool idea. One of my EAA chapter friends has a Xenos motorglider, and it's very cool and no medical required. Good speed (120mph or so cruise) and good range (~500 miles), very inexpensive for a motorglider.

http://www.sonexaircraft.com/aircraft/xenos.html
Andy Walker
Athens, GA
Sport Pilot ASEL, LSRI
2007 Flight Design CTSW E-LSA

doug rooney
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Re: PTSD and meds

Postby doug rooney » Fri Feb 27, 2015 11:29 am

Thanks Jack and Andy! will get the list of FAA meds before I speak with the Doc. You are very helpful!
Does anyone know the approximate cost of these gliders? Would like 2 place and preferably no more than $20K. They look as if they would cost more than that???

SportPilot
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Re: PTSD and meds

Postby SportPilot » Fri Feb 27, 2015 12:21 pm

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Last edited by SportPilot on Sun Mar 29, 2015 9:06 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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MrMorden
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Re: PTSD and meds

Postby MrMorden » Fri Feb 27, 2015 1:08 pm

SportPilot wrote:$100,000+ for most motor gliders, I believe. You could probably find something used for considerably less.


You can build the Xenos for around $50k.
Andy Walker
Athens, GA
Sport Pilot ASEL, LSRI
2007 Flight Design CTSW E-LSA

3Dreaming
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Re: PTSD and meds

Postby 3Dreaming » Fri Feb 27, 2015 3:19 pm

Simply tell the doctor your thinking about taking up driving a truck. Ask if she thinks you can pass a DOT physical with the medications you are taking. If says there are no problems with driving the truck, then you should be OK to fly light sport aircraft using your drivers' license.

doug rooney
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Re: PTSD and meds

Postby doug rooney » Fri Feb 27, 2015 7:12 pm

MrMorden wrote:
SportPilot wrote:$100,000+ for most motor gliders, I believe. You could probably find something used for considerably less.


You can build the Xenos for around $50k.



GOOD GRIEF GUYS! LOL! WAAAY out of my price range unless I can find a REAL cheap used One and as we all know...."ya get what ya pay for".
Sounds like a plan 3D. Will keep that in mind. Thanks all!

OK guys...dumb question but looked at some used gliders on Barnstormers.com. They don't appear to have any landing gear?? What's up with that?

Merlinspop
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Re: PTSD and meds

Postby Merlinspop » Sat Feb 28, 2015 7:09 am

doug rooney wrote:OK guys...dumb question but looked at some used gliders on Barnstormers.com. They don't appear to have any landing gear?? What's up with that?

In gliders, reducing drag as much as possible is the holy grail. Gear are draggy. Some gliders use retractable gear, while a lot use in-line gear that are so well fared that barely the contact patch of the two wheels are visible. Some use no wheels at all and you land on skids.
- Bruce


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