Author Topic: Medicals & DWI's don't mix  (Read 8491 times)

Offline Plthijnx

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Medicals & DWI's don't mix
« on: March 02, 2016, 01:04:07 AM »
hey guys, been a long while since i've posted but nevertheless have some good info for maybe yourself, someone you know, or (I certainly hope not) just in case you find yourself in my boat errr plane.

back in September of 2010 I got a DWI and promptly wrote the FAA and informed them as soon as I was able to and they wrote back saying thanks, don't let it happen again. At the time I thought, cool, that was a close one. wellllllll not so fast. see the FAA sees dwi's a little differently than the state does. I had a case back in 2002 that was reduced by the state to reckless driving but that didn't matter to the FAA even though they said no problem. apparently when you refuse to blow they (FAA) count that as a dwi whether or not the charges were reduced to something other than found innocent. loooooong story short and still being written as I type this is when the FAA strips you of your medical like they wound up doing to me in the winter/spring of 2011 - here is a small taste of what you have to look forward to in order to get your medical back. I have since quit drinking and decided that getting back my medical was something that I really needed to do. I, like most if not all here, love flying and am willing to do what it takes to get it back.

when I started this not yet finished journey, I stood at the base of a proverbial mountain not knowing how tall it really was or what obstacles I would encounter along the way, I just knew it was there and I had to climb it.

best way to sum up my journey so far is with a timeline of sorts with some narrative:

Aug. 2015 applied for 2nd class - not approved - sent to OK for investigation

Sept. 29th - letter stating the need for more information:
here is a summary:
   *copy of the narrative police/investigative report and blood/breath alcohol content (BAC) from all offenses
   *complete copies of all court records associated with ALL offenses (i have a record beyond dwi's)
   *all records associated with any care, treatment, or assessments/evaluations for alcohol abuse or related disorders
   *a detailed statement from you regarding your past, present, and future patterns of alcohol use and of the circumstances surrounding all offenses, including felonies and misdemeanor
   *a complete copy of your current driving record from the department of motor vehicles from any state that you held a driver's license, for the past 10 years.
   *complete copies of a current evaluation which includes a detailed narrative from a certified Substance Abuse Specialist, or Addictionologist in accordance with the enclosed guidelines. please note that evaluation must address your complete alcohol related history of usage and all offenses, and should include copies of all testing performed with a final diagnosis.
   *or if your records reveal your BAC was .20 or greater, in addition to items 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5; submit complete copies of a current evaluation from a psychiatrist familiar with aviation standards, in accordance with the enclosed guidelines. please note that the evaluation must address your complete alcohol related history of usage and all offenses, and should include copies of all testing performed with a final diagnosis.
----end of summary for letter #1----

on the last item (7) you might as well plan on the HIMS study. more on that to follow. hope you have deep pockets or an air carrier that is willing to foot the bill, this is gonna cost you big on top of what you already paid the state in fines &/or time served.

cost for the above - my time to gather all the info requested and put together a rather large packet, a few visits to a psychologist that i'd already been seeing to understand the complexity of drinking and the thought process thereof at 270 bucks/hr a pop x4 plus a visit to a substance abuse counselor, can't remember the exact cost but roughly 250 bucks. - total here ~ $1330

sent in all that information above at the end of November/early December.

Jan. 4th 2016 - received letter dated 29 Dec 2015:
this will acknowledge receipt of the information provided..........
.....We appreciate the information provided, and regret it is insufficient to enable us to complete our evaluation of your eligibility for airman medical certification.......
you must provide the following: complete copies of a current substance abuse neuropsychological evaluation performed by a Human Intervention Motivation Study (HIMS) neuropsychologist, in accordance with the neuropsychological portion only of the enclosed specifications. (leaving this part out, lots involved)
----end of summary for letter #2----

the FAA did recommend two doctors in my area (Houston) for this ALL DAY brain stress test.
cost for this evaluation: $1,995 cash, check or money order. no insurance accepted + time off from work to do the evaluation (i'm a sr. electrical designer in the petrochem industry for those keeping score, i make a decent salary)

I completed the above at the beginning of February and received my response from Oklahoma yesterday, Feb. 29th:
.....We appreciate the information provided, and regret it is insufficient to enable us to complete our evaluation of your eligibility for airman medical certification.......
you will need to engage with a Human Intervention Motivation Study (HIMS) Independent Medical Sponsor (IMS) Aviation Medical Examiner (AME) for an evaluation and sponsorship and monitoring from the HIMS/IMS/AME and he/she should provide to us detailed recommendations in writing for the monitoring requirements. The report should be submitted directly to this office from the HIMS/IMS/AME.
----end of summary for letter #3----
called a HIMS/IMS/AME today (basically an AME that specializes/has formal FAA training with this area) and while costs apparently vary, the one I chose is in Galveston (like I need an excuse to go fishing, right?) and initially will cost $1,500 then $275/hr thereafter. I will have to do a few visits at first so they can get to know me, my situation, lifestyle, etc.) then visit at least once every 6 months for the next at least 2 years or so. an interesting point the assistant made today was that I go ahead and apply for my 1st class medical so that in case i decide later on even after i've been released to fly without restrictions/supervision i run the possibility of having to do this portion of the program recovery again. (plan on your medical, regardless of class, to be good for only 6 months at a time with doctor visit and monthly random alcohol testing stipulations). basically what this means is, if you've got a 3rd class and underwent the supervision holding a 3rd class and later on you want a 2nd - you may have to do the testing again so the premise here is go for the 1st so that way you're covered for the others.

forgot to mention that in the case of BOTH doctors, you have to request, in writing, from the FAA your records in "Blue Ribbon Format" and have them sent to the doctor you're going to visit prior to the appointment(s). I ordered the second blue ribbon copy today to be sent to galveston and will hopefully be able to get an appointment by next friday.

I will update this as it unfolds but as of right now, this is where I am and will answer any questions I can if you have any.

in short, whether or not you have a problem with alcohol, don't drink and drive kids. like i stated earlier, i've quit drinking already, it's just best that I don't drink and I accept and acknowledge this fact and was fortunate enough to just put it down and not pick it back up without any side effects. what i'm going through is a nightmare of sorts, i've been in worse situations, but at the same time, it's also a Blessing. I mainly put this here to help anyone else who might be in or know someone who is/could be in this situation - stop it before it starts. i've been through quite a bit in my life and have learned to NEVER say it can't get any worse, because yes, as a matter of fact, it can. 6 months ago when i started the ball rolling on re-acquiring my medical i had no one to turn to and didn't quite know what to expect. hope this helps.


The three best things in life are a good landing, a good orgasm, and a good bowel movement. The night carrier landing is one of the few opportunities in life to experience all three at the same time. - Unknown

Offline Baradium

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Re: Medicals & DWI's don't mix
« Reply #1 on: March 06, 2016, 03:00:03 PM »
Flyjnx,   good luck on completing the rest of the requirements and thank you for sharing all of this.

Something else to keep in mind once you have your medical back is that you will also need approval if you want to fly into Canada.  Driving in Canada is a lifetime prohibition, but you can get approval to fly there again.   Plan on it needing to be a few years after you start flying again before you can apply (I think it's actually a timeframe since the DUI, but I don't know specifics), but I'd hold onto any paperwork you use for the FAA in case you ever decide to do that application.

A friend of mine has been going through the process to get Canada approval for a couple years now due to a DUI before he started flying (15+ years ago now), although part of the timeframe might be due to him not putting all that high of a priority on it. 
"Well I know what's right, I got just one life
In a world that keeps on pushin' me around
But I stand my ground, and I won't back down"
  -Johnny Cash "I won't back Down"

Offline Mike

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Re: Medicals & DWI's don't mix
« Reply #2 on: March 09, 2016, 05:16:30 AM »
Am I tracking this right? It's the medical you can't get after a DUI?
Is there something else involved other than just drinking?

So you have the license but you can't get the medical....
Neuropsychological evaluation??


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Offline Baradium

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Re: Medicals & DWI's don't mix
« Reply #3 on: March 09, 2016, 10:04:23 PM »
Am I tracking this right? It's the medical you can't get after a DUI?
Is there something else involved other than just drinking?

So you have the license but you can't get the medical....
Neuropsychological evaluation??

His medical was revoked because of the DUI.  They are treating it as his second offense, although the other one was reduced to a lesser charge.   They didn't revoke his certificate, but they did revoke his medical and they are demanding a high amount of proof and demonstration that he has it under control.   
"Well I know what's right, I got just one life
In a world that keeps on pushin' me around
But I stand my ground, and I won't back down"
  -Johnny Cash "I won't back Down"

Offline Mike

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Re: Medicals & DWI's don't mix
« Reply #4 on: March 10, 2016, 01:15:22 AM »
Ok, thank you. Now it makes sense...

Wow. Still....



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Offline Plthijnx

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Re: Medicals & DWI's don't mix
« Reply #5 on: March 12, 2016, 01:19:19 AM »
well yes and no. I do have two dwi's per the state of texas but per the FAA, i have 3 even though the first arrest resulted in a lesser charge of reckless driving, the faa still sees the fact that i refused to blow a dwi admission so in their eyes, when i got the dwi in 2011, that was strike 2 (and in their case you're out). medical was revoked. almost 2 years later i managed to get another dwi after my med was yanked so i never bothered to report it and neither did i suspect that i would ever quit drinking either, but i finally had had enough of the BS and threw the towel in on it and to be honest, it's the best thing i've done in a VERY long time. (I need to change my user back to plt, fly just isn't cutting it  ::))

here is what happened today:

FAA update, here is what I know so far from today's visit with my primary ame/ims/hims doctor:
1. Applying for a 1st class medical (as mentioned above, i think, go for the highest class so i don't have to repeat the process to upgrade from a 2nd to a 1st or 3rd to second, what have you, any upgrade in class is subject to total re-evaluation process even AFTER you've been cleared to fly without restrictions)
2. Comprehensive sponsoring through this doctor who is faa approved for people in my situation ($1500 due at next appt then subsequent appointments 285/hr)
3. Faa approved psychiatrist initial and periodic visits with re-evals yearly for 2 to 5 years after ($1500 due at next appt then yearly re-examinations @750 a pop)
4. Outpatient aftercare treatment (group meetings) for the next 2 to 5 years ($25 per meeting)
5. Continue the meetings i already go to now
6. Random alcholol testing monthly for the next 2 to 5 years @95 a pop.

so my appointments will be both on the same day in the same office next month sometime. i have all the $ but it seems that as soon as i save up to get my type and get all the cash, something else comes up that i have to shell out more $ for. two steps forward, one step back it seems). the psychiatrist will do a head examination and write a report and my ame will give me my 1st class examination as well as go over my blue ribbon file and collect data for the above #'ed items. that's where the 1500 comes in. it's an up front fee for his and his assistants time in collecting, organizing and writing reports for the faa. all this data will be then shipped off to Washington instead of OK city because apparently that's where the faa head docs are located. anyway, as promised, i'm keeping a running tally of this here. hope someone learns from my mistakes because quite frankly, this sucks.
The three best things in life are a good landing, a good orgasm, and a good bowel movement. The night carrier landing is one of the few opportunities in life to experience all three at the same time. - Unknown

Offline Plthijnx

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Re: Medicals & DWI's don't mix
« Reply #6 on: March 12, 2016, 01:25:58 AM »
Something else to keep in mind once you have your medical back is that you will also need approval if you want to fly into Canada.  Driving in Canada is a lifetime prohibition, but you can get approval to fly there again.   Plan on it needing to be a few years after you start flying again before you can apply (I think it's actually a timeframe since the DUI, but I don't know specifics), but I'd hold onto any paperwork you use for the FAA in case you ever decide to do that application.

A friend of mine has been going through the process to get Canada approval for a couple years now due to a DUI before he started flying (15+ years ago now), although part of the timeframe might be due to him not putting all that high of a priority on it.

i've got a couple felonies that are not drug or alcohol related for crimes i didn't commit, but nevertheless, they are there and i did time over them. Canada has crossed my mind but is a bridge i will worry about when/if i ever get there.
The three best things in life are a good landing, a good orgasm, and a good bowel movement. The night carrier landing is one of the few opportunities in life to experience all three at the same time. - Unknown

Offline Plthijnx

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Re: Medicals & DWI's don't mix
« Reply #7 on: March 12, 2016, 02:54:17 AM »
Am I tracking this right? It's the medical you can't get after a DUI?
Is there something else involved other than just drinking?

So you have the license but you can't get the medical....
Neuropsychological evaluation??

to answer this one specifically - yes. when you get 1 dui (per their definition, not the states), they slap you on the hand and say don't do it again. if you get #2 they revoke your medical. your license you possess is yours unless they ask for that too but the only catch is that it's not valid without a current medical (cfr 61.23(a)) so that's where they get you.

every pilot that has had their medical revoked for dui's and wants to get their medical back must go through this. it's not as involved for a private/3rd class medical but when 2nd or 1st is involved it gets more in depth and costly. I go to a meeting next week for the first time that's outpatient to meet the aftercare requirement. some people have had to go to rehab, in my case i was fortunate enough to just put it down and not go back to it. in those cases all medical history files related to rehab must be made available to the ame/ims/hims physician.

the neurophych eval sucked balls. that cost $1995 and was an all day brain mashing marathon. they're basically checking to make sure you didn't pickle your brain or cause any permanent brain damage.
The three best things in life are a good landing, a good orgasm, and a good bowel movement. The night carrier landing is one of the few opportunities in life to experience all three at the same time. - Unknown

Offline Plthijnx

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Re: Medicals & DWI's don't mix
« Reply #8 on: March 30, 2016, 08:31:33 PM »
update:
Have the psychiatrist appointment scheduled for mid April and then my 1st class exam scheduled for the beginning of May. When I went the other day for the initial visit with my AME I had mentioned that I was currently taking Benadryl once a day for allergies to which he suggested that I quit taking that and go with Claritin because of the side effects due to the fact that I'm in the HIMS program and this would be frowned upon as Benadryl isn't an FAA approved medication and even though I don't have my medical back just yet and am not flying, it's best to not even go there and avoid any meds that may be of concern. I have also come down with a cough/cold as well and have to avoid any cough medications that may contain alcohol, this one is pretty much a no brainer but figured I might as well put it out there if anyone was wondering.
« Last Edit: March 30, 2016, 08:39:37 PM by Plthijnx »
The three best things in life are a good landing, a good orgasm, and a good bowel movement. The night carrier landing is one of the few opportunities in life to experience all three at the same time. - Unknown

Offline Plthijnx

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Re: Medicals & DWI's don't mix
« Reply #9 on: April 19, 2016, 11:54:50 PM »
psych exam was today and lasted a couple of hours and was about what one would expect for such an examination given the circumstances. childhood to present and where alcohol played into it all before, during, and after i quit drinking. In short, exam went well and the next item up for bid is my blood work next week then the following Monday my 1st class exam
The three best things in life are a good landing, a good orgasm, and a good bowel movement. The night carrier landing is one of the few opportunities in life to experience all three at the same time. - Unknown

Offline G-man

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Re: Medicals & DWI's don't mix
« Reply #10 on: April 27, 2016, 08:41:04 PM »
Good luck dude......
Life may not be the party we hoped for---but while we're here--we might as well dance..........

Offline Plthijnx

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Re: Medicals & DWI's don't mix
« Reply #11 on: April 29, 2016, 04:23:34 AM »
Good luck dude......

Thanks G, how ya been man? been a while!

9 months sober today and also my doctor called to tell me my blood tests came back from Tuesdays visit and that all is well and he will be sending them to my new AME for my 1st class physical on Monday(doc today is my old AME now general physician until i'm release from the HIMS program).
The three best things in life are a good landing, a good orgasm, and a good bowel movement. The night carrier landing is one of the few opportunities in life to experience all three at the same time. - Unknown

Offline Ragwing

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Re: Medicals & DWI's don't mix
« Reply #12 on: April 29, 2016, 05:23:34 AM »
After all of that:  Yippy,  Fingers Crossed ::wave::

Offline G-man

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Re: Medicals & DWI's don't mix
« Reply #13 on: April 29, 2016, 07:12:13 AM »
Quote
Thanks G, how ya been man? been a while!

 A long while.....we all kind of left for a long time.....

I got married, moved to Utah, still doing fires but also run another company now doing flights to Catalina and back...... just bought a sailboat.....and trying to retire and live on a boat in 5 years.....

Life is good..... sailing, flying, as yours will be again soon...

Have discovered that sailing as many similarities to flying..... And also the three "F" rule... if it Flies, Floats or F#cks, one is better off renting.....
Life may not be the party we hoped for---but while we're here--we might as well dance..........

Offline Plthijnx

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Re: Medicals & DWI's don't mix
« Reply #14 on: May 02, 2016, 10:38:06 PM »
Quote
Thanks G, how ya been man? been a while!

 A long while.....we all kind of left for a long time.....

I got married, moved to Utah, still doing fires but also run another company now doing flights to Catalina and back...... just bought a sailboat.....and trying to retire and live on a boat in 5 years.....

Life is good..... sailing, flying, as yours will be again soon...

Have discovered that sailing as many similarities to flying..... And also the three "F" rule... if it Flies, Floats or F#cks, one is better off renting.....

sweet man, that's very cool! I forgot about the three "F" rule (errr ignored it) and I got married myself almost a year and a half ago and moved inland from the clear lake area (near the Johnson Space Center) and for the moment am just west/southwest of houston but the wife and I are looking for a house now back down in clear lake. keep at it though and your retirement will happen!

Today I did my 1st class medical exam ($1500) and all went well now what's left is for the AME's assistant to gather all data (cognitive test from 2 months ago & psychiatrist from 2 weeks ago) and today's visit  which it was a 1st class normal exam with the exception of going into detail about my alcoholism. At any rate, all data is being collected and reports are being written and the whole enchilada is being sent off to the faa's head of psychiatry in Washington DC for approval. The package should be sent (it's one helluva thick file now) to them in about 2 weeks and I should have an answer in the next 10 to 12 weeks. fingers crossed!  now back to saving for the Falcon 10 & Cessna CE-500 sign offs for F.O. and hope for the best!

::sweat::  ::sweat::

The three best things in life are a good landing, a good orgasm, and a good bowel movement. The night carrier landing is one of the few opportunities in life to experience all three at the same time. - Unknown