Need some advice from the vets on the board


5-Year Member
Sep 17, 2014
You many recall during BCT last year I shared that my DS had a medical condition uncovered and a diagnosis by exclusion was given to a condition with no known real effects. The diagnosis occurred during BCT and he was ultimately referred to a specialist at a local base.

After testing revealed no defects they stuck to the diagnosis and said in order for him to qualify to be a pilot he needed to show the condition could be controlled by medication. This frustrated my DS since there were no dangers to his health from the diagnosis. However, his dream is to fly so he went on the medication.

Then comes spring and he is all set to Soar and gets told the side effects of the medication in flight is unknown so he is grounded due to being on the medication. He was unhappy but looked more to the long term and decided to make the best of it and concentrated on unmanned flight this summer. He also tested off the charts on the Officer test for pilot.

This week he gets told that his condition will most likely keep him from qualifying from being a pilot due the wording of the regulation and his diagnosis being placed in a grouping of more serious conditions. The regulations have not kept up with technology so it is also applied to unmanned flight which in his mind limits him to desk jobs. He was pretty upset.

I looked at the diagnosis, timing of it during BCT and normal symptoms and he really has none of them. I need some help to advise him on requesting second opinions, and the timing and how to appeal these types of decisions. Thanks
Well, getting a second opinion would be good. (Perhaps an AF or FAA flight doc?)
If his condition is real, he has no symptoms, and the medical qual is conditional on it being "controllable"...controllable without medications is about as good as you can get.

That said, I'm not a flight doc. AF regs can be odd, and this is all pretty vague. Hard to give good advice, given the above.
Talk about a Catch-22. He can only fly if it can be proven that the medicine controls the condition and yet now is being disqualified because they dont know the side effects of the medicine. I know the simple answer is not to use the medicine, but that would be to logical
My advice is to keep positive, wake up everyday with the goal of doing better at everything you attempt that day and be an encouraging force for those around you. Easy? no. But neither is earning an appointment and getting through the USAFA and ultimately serving your country. He still has a few years before UPT. I would bet that with the pilot shortage getting even more critical, if your DS remains healthy with no ill side effects he will be granted a waiver and ultimately become a pilot. The worst outcome is to become short sighted and allow a negative attitude to enter the picture. Negativity and stress may be mistaken for ill side effects. Don't risk this life changing educational/leadership opportunity for what might happen. Best of luck!
Daretodream....Your son should be proactive, get a second opinion and learn as much about his condition as possible. Next he also needs to learn as much as possible about the waiver process and how it relates to his condition. My son was told that he had an unwaiverable eye condition and would not become a pilot. He became an expert on his condition and the waiver process and talked to everyone up the chain of command that he could ....He is currently an Instructor/Evaluator pilot with over 3,500 flight hours. It can be done but you have to be proactive and not wait!
If you need a second opinion I recommend Quay Snyder:

Quay C. Snyder, MD, MSPH
President,CEO, Co-Founder
Dr. Snyder is President/CEO and co-founder of Aviation Medicine Advisory Service (AMAS), an organization dedicated to aviation safety, pilot health and career preservation. He is a graduate of the United States Air Force Academy and Duke University School of Medicine. He has completed medical residencies in Family Practice and Aerospace Medicine and is board certified in specialties, as well as Occupational Medicine and Addiction Medicine. Dr. Snyder received his Master’s of Science Degree in Public Health from the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center. He was named as the Air Line Pilots Assn Int’l. (ALPA) Aeromedical Advisor in January 2010.

He spent 17 years in the active US Air Force as a flight surgeon and family practice physician. He was selected as his command’s Flight Surgeon of the Year on three separate occasions. Dr. Snyder also spent five years in the Colorado Air National Guard as a flight surgeon and Colorado State Air Surgeon. He retired from the USAF after a three year tour as the senior physician/flight surgeon at the USAF Air Reserve Personnel Center following his demobilization from Operations Noble Eagle/Enduring Freedom. Dr. Snyder is an Assistant Clinical Professor at the University of Colorado Health Science Center in the in the Department of Preventive Medicine and Biometrics and at the National Jewish Medical Center and Research Center in the Department of Occupational Medicine. He is also on the associate clinical faculty at the USAF School of Aerospace Medicine, Brooks AFB, TX and the Boonshoots School of Medicine at Wright State University in Dayton, OH.
USAFA '85 had a graduate that was one of the first people to get his vision corrected surgically. His goal in life was to become a pilot. He paid for the surgery while at USAFA and his updated vision was with in standards. However, he was denied 'Pilot Qualified' status because he had eye surgery.

He appealed and it went all the way up the chain of command. He was eventually granted a waiver and went on to fly for his entire career.

Not implying his situation has anything to do with your situation, but there is nothing wrong with pushing back and challenging the system.