Saturday, April 9, 2016

Medically grounded, now what?

What do I do if I can no longer fly due to a medical issue?


For pay:

NTSB, FAA, DOT, Aviation Insurance Companies, and other like organizations need Accident Investigators. Medicals are not always required for these positions and they can pay very well. They can also require long hours. Not all investigators are field investigators kicking tin. One can be in the human factors or engineering side and work on the various materials analysis or corporate factors side.

One can flight instruct as long as the pilot trainee is PIC, thus no student pilots or IFR students under the hood. IFR student in Actual seems to be fine. Considering your condition, please be capable of getting out of the plane in an emergency for your own sake and that of your client’s.

There are many airlines and other places that need sim and ground instructors. Airline pay seems to be about second year FO pay at regionals, majors and others will vary.

If the pilot has their A&P certificate, it might be time to dust that off and use it. Multiple places need A&Ps, tool control room guys, line maintenance, and others. A&P schools need

The shuttle bus drivers in some places make more than the pilots they drive.

Sometimes a pilot would like to have an experienced pilot “baby-sitter”. You are not the designated PIC, but you can certainly provide advice and feedback.

Outside of aviation, your cockpit experience proves you can be mission-orientated, multi-tasking achiever, with consistent on-time performance. You regularly dealt with high stress, high pressure situations. You don’t give up easily. Businesses in every field can make use of your experience.

There’s always the freelance services, such as Upwork, Freelancer, and others. Do anything for a price. Some folks make their living with these.

For pay/fun:
One can write their stories, writing training manuals, writing political books, or whatever topic makes you happy.

For fun:
If not denied by the FAA nor have a condition that would make you ineligible to fly, and you can still hold a driver’s license, there’s plenty of sport flying for fun and sport instructor work available.

CAP, Coast Guard Auxiliary, Sheriff’s Posse SAR, Aviation Explorers, Flying Doctors, Angel Flight, and other organizations would be happy to have your experience. You can ride right seat providing guidance, be a Mission Scanner, Mission Observer, Ground support, and plenty of other opportunities to remain in aviation plus be and feel useful.

With the above said, there are many paraplegics, amputees, diabetics, and pilots with a variety of conditions in remission that can continue to fly commercially. An AME willing to handle the paperwork, a medical service like AMS, AOPA, or ALPA Aeromedical who can send you to the right consultants and make sure your paperwork is in order, and a personal physician willing to complete paperwork to meet the FAA’s requirement will go a long ways to returning to flight. Waiting periods might be involved, formal denials then reinstatements may have to happen, keep it professional and add lots of patience for dealing with the red tape. You may be able to return to flight sooner than you thought (or far longer than you ever thought possible, it is the FAA we’re dealing with. Your country’s aeromedical certification will vary.)

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