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When to go see the Flight Surgeon

FinkUFreaky

Well-Known Member
pilot
Unfortunately, the most durable memory aviators have of NAMI is of the initial flight physical process, and the spectre of arbitrary diqualification. However, the interaction dramatically changes once winged. Almost any physical condition is waiverable for a designated aviator, if not immediately, at some point in the future once definitive treatment is rendered and recovery completed. Ultimately, as Gatordev says, take care of yourself.

V/R
I got to deal with NAMI a second time. They did follow the book, which in my case was kind of ridiculous. Get a weird pneumonia, end up on an ECMO machine and go into AFIB because of the meds they put you on for it, with nothing wrong with your heart? Mando six month wait. Which means nine months.

Having seen enough of his responses, I'd vouch for @TimeBomb seeming to be a decent one! That said it's still a dangerous game to play; either admit your problems to your flight doc and get downed, or don't get treated. The good flight docs will keep you flying! But if it's a real problem your health is more important.

I've also been in a squadron with a "Powerball". So cancer is indeed waiverable.
 

picklesuit

Dirty Hinge
pilot
Contributor
The stigma is there because NAMI and medical are still the fastest way to stop you from flying. I’ve definitely skipped medical, or paid a friend in the veterinary community for their time and expertise with beer, to handle things I didn’t want to take to Navy Medicine.

I’ve grown more comfortable over the years bringing things to them, but I’m still extremely careful how I phrase questions and know the BUMED documents are my first resource prior to speaking with a flight surgeon.

It’s a hard line to walk, especially as I get older, but I am definitely not fully open with the kimono.
 

TimeBomb

Noise, vibration and harshness
It was brought to my attention by some prior aviators turned flight surgeon that the gub'ment trusted these young (almost always much younger than I) men and women with the keys to a multi-million dollar asset and the lives of potentially a mess of other people. The least I could do was to extend that trust into the exam room. That should have been blindingly obvious, but sadly it wasn't common then, and based on this conversation, still isn't. I think flight surgeon training could have been a lot better then, and probably could be better now as well.

Going out to the fleet, I had the advantages of more medical training and experience than the standard-issue flight surgeon, and great mentors on both the line and medical side, which I hope translated into benefits to the squadron. Too bad the relationship between the aviators and flight doc remains guarded at best, and adversarial at worst.

V/R
 

FinkUFreaky

Well-Known Member
pilot
It was brought to my attention by some prior aviators turned flight surgeon that the gub'ment trusted these young (almost always much younger than I) men and women with the keys to a multi-million dollar asset and the lives of potentially a mess of other people. The least I could do was to extend that trust into the exam room. That should have been blindingly obvious, but sadly it wasn't common then, and based on this conversation, still isn't. I think flight surgeon training could have been a lot better then, and probably could be better now as well.

Going out to the fleet, I had the advantages of more medical training and experience than the standard-issue flight surgeon, and great mentors on both the line and medical side, which I hope translated into benefits to the squadron. Too bad the relationship between the aviators and flight doc remains guarded at best, and adversarial at worst.

V/R
Guarded for sure towards a nameless flight doc (one you have no relationship with). I imagine the same is the case with AMEs, until you find one you trust. Adversarial I've never seen towards the local flight doc (perhaps you have). Adversarial towards NAMI certainly; it is literally their job to weed out those that shouldn't be flying. Not their fault in any way, but it is their job. Like how local gangs are adversarial towards cops who are just doing their jobs to keep people safe. Probably an extreme example I happily admit.

I have a great relationship with my squadron/wing docs right now and wouldn't be afraid to bring up issues to them, but that trust took some time. That said of course, until winged at a minimum you can't blame studs for concealing things, or even winged aviators for being wary. Accidentally saying the word migraine can cause a long downing period for example (saw it once, although not privy to all of the details of course). Since my ECMO situation, I've been one to spread that flying isn't worth dying for something, but if you're talking about something that is just an inconvenience.. I've known a lot of people, myself included, that wouldn't volunteer that info to a stranger with the power to change your life in a very large manner.
 

FinkUFreaky

Well-Known Member
pilot
In the plus side, I've gotten to fly with plenty of future docs, and I generally let them know I won't fail them for not knowing their approach turn stall procedures if they promise to be understanding of their future clients.

Who am I kidding, I'd take them up and spin them and get some great lunch at KHSA, then do the river run home :)
 

taxi1

Well-Known Member
pilot
Building a good bond with the flight doc is in everyone’s interests. The more dirt you have on each other, the better.
 
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