Learning to fly, or thinking of learning? Post your questions, comments and experiences here

Moderator: AndyR

#1571079
Hi all, been lurking round the dark corners of the forums for a few months, but the time has come where I need to start posting.

As a boy I would have gladly traded my left testicle to join the RAF as a pilot, but following a squint correction operation aged 5 I was landed with glasses to wear at all times.
This I was told would mean the only flying career I could follow would be commercial and that would not be financially possible.

Fast forward 20 odd years and I am now in the fortunate position to be able to do my PPL, although questions still remained about whether my vision was good enough - the general consensus of the flying school and a flying friend was that it should be.

Well with a two week break from work on the horizon, a golden opportunity to get a block of intensive flying lessons appeared. With thoughts of possibly even getting to the point of soloing by the end of this period, I booked in for the medical to make sure my sight was acceptable.

With a fresh opticians report in hand, I nervously made my way into the AMEs office.
After leaving me alone in a darkened room to calm down, my blood pressure was fine and we set about the rest of the examination.

My vision was found to be perfectly acceptable, even to the point of glasses not being a restriction on my licence!

Then landed a bombshell I had not even considered...

My BMI calculated to 35.7 - I knew I’d put on some weight over the past year due to work pressures on my usual cycling routine and eating habits, but I had not realised just how much or that it could result in more than a ticking off from the doc.
I now won’t receive a certificate for at least three months...

To say I’m disappointed with myself is an understatement.

I am going to call my flight school later to discuss my options with them, but does anyone have any experience of this situation?

I have already started to lose weight since moving in with my partner and eating better and have recently started cycling again.

Lerk
#1571129
Mine's over 40. It just requires a note from the AME that you're happy that bits of you don't restrict the controls in an aeroplane. Or it does in my case, but mine's on a renewal basis.

Anyway, check out the other medical options such as the self declaration. That should allow you to continue with training and go solo, possibly under the guise of training towards the NPPL?
#1571144
From: http://www.caa.co.uk/Aeromedical-Examiners/Medical-standards/Pilots-(EASA)/Conditions/Metabolic-and-endocrinology/Metabolic-and-endocrinology-guidance-material-GM/
Class 2
(b) Obesity

Obese applicants may be assessed as fit only if the excess weight is not likely to interfere with the safe exercise of the applicable licence(s).

This, effectively, means that you go for a flight, with an appropriately qualified person, in the aeroplane you intend to fly - they just check you can reach all the controls.

This gives a flow chart of how to get a medical when BMI > 35: http://www.caa.co.uk/WorkArea/DownloadAsset.aspx?id=4294973799

As far as starting training without a medical (apart from running the risk you invest some time & money and then fail to get one):
A student pilot shall not fly solo unless that student pilot holds a medical certificate,
as required for the relevant licence.


I don't know what the medical requirements, with respect to BMI, are for the LAPL and/or National Licence - but might be worth a look.
If you can get the medical for one of these, provided all your training is done by EASA FIs, then the training can be credited towards your EASA PPL.

OC619
#1571165
Why can your medical not be issued for the next 3 months?

If you meet the requirements (which includes the report from your GP and Medical Flight Test) you can be issued with a medical.

The alternative is to address your weight and get a BMI below 35. With you currently being only 35.7 that is unlikely to be difficult* and should be if you are serious about it just be a matter of a couple of weeks.

And in relation to that, forget exercise, forget joining the gym - get your head around eating less and then implement that.

Good luck in getting this sorted and enjoy the flying - it is worth the effort!

*note - not righteous GP talk but 'user experience' by having reduced my BMI from 41.5 to 27.
Kittyhawk, cockney steve, Spooky and 3 others liked this
#1571207
Hi All,
Thanks for your responses.

After a day of trawling through the CAA information and a large dose of MTFU, I'm feeling a lot less bothered about the situation (not my weight - that still requires urgent attention).

As you point out, the CAA Guidance looks like with a GPs report and a Medical Flight Test report, I can be on my way even above the 35 mark.

Dutch' you're absolutely right - I need to lose 3kg which should be healthily doable in 3 weeks with the right motivation. I got the impression that I would still need the GPs report and flight test even if I get back under 35 though. Whereabouts on your licence career were you when you were over 35??

I've also had chance to reflect on the positive note of the results of my vision test and as you say - weight can be lost, eyesight cannot be gained.

I missed the opportunity to speak to my flight school earlier, but hopefully in the worst case scenario I'll be able to skip solo circuits and continue my dual instruction should I get that far, which is going to rely very much on the weather holding off!
#1571214
before you panic too much, does your flying school actually have the capacity to do a block booking at short notice? Worth remembering you are not their only student!

don't forget you'd need to do your Air Law exam before solo as well.

you might end up with more time to shed a few kilos than you think you have!
#1571215
Whereabouts in my flying career?

Fully trained, licensed, skilled, knowledgeable and very handsome!

:D

Joking apart, I was in the fat league from age 35 until 48 really, But in those days these parts of the regulations were maybe less strictly enforced.

Nowadays the CAA is much hotter on oversight of AMEs and those AMEs who don't stick to the rules find themselves in hot water.

Whether or not you still need a report and MFT when your BMI is under 35 depends a bit on your AME, we AMEs do have some lattitude and where someone is within striking distance I encourage them to loose the weight (as that is of course better for you and reduces the obesity related risk factors) and then turn up for a reweigh, rather than get the GP report and MFT.

Good luck.
#1571230
Yes, I sat down with them and discussed my plans at length - hence my booking the medical.
This is also why I know that I wouldn’t need my air law before solo! :thumleft:

Sounds like maybe my AME plays straight down the wicket then.
It’s good to know a bit about the background behind some of the rules while it’s all new to me.
#1571292
Flyin'Dutch' wrote:.......
And in relation to that, forget exercise, forget joining the gym - get your head around eating less and then implement that.

.........


No diet without a fad name is acceptable these days. I call this the ELF diet, and have found it quite successful.


Eat Less Food in case you wondered.
#1571314
Sooty25 wrote:before you panic too much, does your flying school actually have the capacity to do a block booking at short notice? Worth remembering you are not their only student!

don't forget you'd need to do your Air Law exam before solo as well.

you might end up with more time to shed a few kilos than you think you have!


Just a note - you don't need air law before solo - another urban myth but often insisted on by flying schools.
#1571422
GolfHotel wrote:
Flyin'Dutch' wrote:.......
And in relation to that, forget exercise, forget joining the gym - get your head around eating less and then implement that.

.........


No diet without a fad name is acceptable these days. I call this the ELF diet, and have found it quite successful.


Eat Less Food in case you wondered.


Eat less move more...
Simples!