I too am an editor. I edit and produce a newsletter and a web page for our local EAA Chapter. I must respond to the letter from John “JT” Helms in the Dec. 2 issue (Could medical kill Sport Pilot?). He is a branch manager of an insurance agency, a for-profit organization. There is nothing wrong with making a profit. They will not be in business long if they don’t. Of course his opinions are slanted toward minimizing the cost of claims.
I am a private pilot with 1,000 hours in a C-150. I have had bypass surgery and I want to keep flying. I did not have a heart attack. My symptoms did not include pain of any kind. In order to comply with the FAA requirements I must obtain records from everyone involved in my condition, take tests every year that cost more than my airplane, and pray that the medical examiners feel, like I do, that I’m physically fit to fly one or two hours a week.
To “play by the rules,” my best bet is to not apply for a waiver to my third class medical and remain eligible for the Sport Pilot classification. That’s a no brainer.
John says if I “think” I have a condition listed on the aeromedical criteria list (I think he means the criteria for a third class medical) that I should go see my AME and confess my problem to the FAA and be rejected. It’s no secret that they practice CYA medicine. They are subject to lawsuits and pressure from Congressmen to weed out all threats to perfect health.
Wouldn’t that simplify everything if ALL pilots told ALL the truth to the FAA. I don’t think there would be enough of us left to make aircraft insurance a viable business.
The message that is being broadcast to us pilots in this condition is: If you are healthy enough to drive a car you are good to fly. Forget the rules that force me to give up my C-150, one of the safest planes ever designed, and go to a higher speed, uncertified, converted ultralight, made in Europe, in order to comply with Sport Pilot.
I have no doubt that insurance companies are in for health-related problems with Sport Pilots and will deny claims based on previous/pre-existing medical conditions. Let’s face it. The more claims they deny, the less losses they have. I’m waiting to read the fine print in my next policy as a Sport Pilot.
You see, John, self certification is something every pilot does every time they sit in the pilot’s seat. A medical in your wallet doesn’t have anything to do with how you will feel or react in the next hour or two. No one knows when they are going have a heart attack, but the number of times it has happened to a pilot in command can be counted on one hand. But I predict you will have one some day. And if it happens while you are flying, I’m sure your insurance agency will attempt to deny your claim.
It’s more likely to happen in a car than an airplane, but then, that’s someone else’s problem.