View Full Version : What is REALLY scary about this time of year? The AME...
Yup. That time of year again. Time for the old flight physical. If you are over 40 and you instruct or fly for hire, you, like me, have to go once a year.
No, it is not the $75 that is scary. My AME (who is also a pilot friend of mine - that is not a get out of jail free card if you are wondering) says most AME's lose money doing pilot medicals - if they really do them right - because of the time it takes. This is especially true if you have to get a special issuance.
What is scary is that as I get older, I keep wondering (like many of you) when I will have to pull the mixture for the last time and put the ad in trade a plane.
Also interesting, is that a significant number of things that are disqualifying on the pilot medical have to do with, or are a side effect of being overweight and out of shape. Many heart conditions, heart attacks, high blood pressure, etc, etc.
So what can I do? I can cease to be overweight. Sounds pretty simple, but we all know it is not that easy. If you look at the NIH's Body Mass Index Calculator (all doctors use this now) at:
You can plug in a couple simple numbers and find out where you are at. To BARELY squeeze into the "normal weight" category I need to lose over 20 pounds - and I have already knocked off 10! I'm doing it because every few pounds I lose reduces my blood pressure which seems to go off the scale when I am confronted with my AME, or questions from my wife about new airplane gadgetry.
You may have seen on the TV or heard on the radio recently that the #1 health care expense in the US is obesity, the numbers are pretty staggering. It is also interesting to note that it is very easy to pick out americans when traveling to a foreign country - they are by and large the biggest in girth.
No, I am not bagging on anyone for being overweight. I have already admitted that I need to shuck off a good bit of my sexy lovehandles. What I am pondering as we approach the holiday season is how I can resist all the temptations and instant gratification of yummy desserts and snacks in the long term interest of staying a pilot for a longer time?
So, next time I pick up an all meat pizza, or a Pepsi, or a Krispy Kreme (or all three), I am going to look at it as something that could potentially - albeit not instantly - keep me from flying.
10-25-2003, 10:49 PM
I'm getting everyone back for calling me bean pole in school. 145 lbs. 6 ft tall.
10-26-2003, 01:39 AM
I have to go two times a year with EKG once a year. I have lost weight recently and there was a significant reduction in my blood pressure. this was with a 17 pound loss, it opened my eyes and of course I feel better. It was a great motivator and the compliments from the doc. were nice.
10-26-2003, 08:16 AM
Let's not forget, it's the least expensive, most reliable usefull load increase mod available. Requires no field approvals or expensive stc.
Still wear the same size jeans as in high school, 25 years ago.
10-26-2003, 09:28 AM
I only have to get 3rd class, but I always thought the exam was a joke. The only thing my Doc knows when he's done is that my heart is indeed beating, and I don't have a hernia. What the heck does a hernia have to do with flying, anyway? What do they do to women? A pelvic exam to see if your privates are up to "flying standards?" I do admit that I worry about Diabetes, though. That's the one that'll ground some pilots.
Actually these days diabetes is a highly certifiable condition - even some insulin dependent diabetics have been certified.
10-26-2003, 02:40 PM
I still wonder about the hernia test.
Stewartb, I had a third class physical 2 months ago and the Doc. checked my prostate, and for a hernia. I told him I didn't think the prostate check was part of a third class physical, he said here it is. Time to find a different Doc.
Fortunately, a pelvic exam is not required for a 3rd class medical for women.
Steve, set a weight goal, and every time you go to eat something, ask yourself, Will this help me reach my goal? Cut out the junk - you'll feel better if you eat better. Krispy Kremes and Pepsi might taste good, but they'll kill you faster than a flat spin.
Exercise more, and make it part of your routine. Park in the farthest part of the lot. Use the stairs instead of the escalator. Walk over to someone's desk instead of calling them. Do some pushups/situps/free weights while watching the news on TV.
Nothing you probably don't already know, and nothing Dana hasn't told you either. Just sticking in my 2 cents worth, and thinking about that Chippendale's job you used to have. :wink:
10-26-2003, 06:05 PM
I made the same point to a friend of mine that asked why I carried a 9 1/2 lb model 70 300 win mag on an elk trip. He was bragging about a super light weight $2000 rifle he had bought. I just said it would have been cheaper to loose 3 lbs.
Drink Old Style and smoke Newports!
HA! I knew there was a trick...
10-27-2003, 06:02 AM
Shave 3 lbs off a 300! Does that gun do as much damage to the elk as does to the shooter?
10-27-2003, 10:11 AM
That's exactly what I was thinking. Poor guy probably can't hit anything, cuz he's bracing himself for the sledge hammer. By the way, a friend has a custom 50 BMG he built up from a German anti tank rifle. Weigh's about 45 lbs (not for me), Some buddies got together to shoot in the gravel pit near me last week (I didn't make it). They said it didn't kick as bad as the 300, but the shock wave damned near blew your hat off 10' behind the gun.
10-27-2003, 10:23 AM
Ken and Wilbur,
I own several rifles. My favorite is a Weatherby Ultralight in .270 Win. Less the scope it weighs 4 1/2 pounds. With scope and sling, 5 1/2. It's killed everything I've ever aimed it at. I could shoot it all day at the range, pain-free. If you've never walked 12-15 miles with a light gun, you don't know what you're missing.
10-27-2003, 12:46 PM
Well, a prostate exam isn't exactly something I'd look forward to, but that and a PSA regularly taken are the best possible chance of detecting prostate cancer early.
My doctor tells me that if you are a male of the species, and you live long enough, you WILL develop prostate cancer.
Don't know about that, but I'd sure rather find it sooner as later. I know a couple folks who didnt' catch it in time.
10-27-2003, 02:55 PM
10-27-2003, 06:27 PM
Ok, I got get in on this one. This time last year 186lbs. this 6 months later 171lbs. Colesterol 245, 6 months later 235 and falling. How'd I do it. Shredded wheat and fresh fruit every morning, minimal butter on any thing, no more cokes or any soft drinks for that matter, almost no shell fish, whole wheat instead of white bread, more veggies instead of more meat and potatoes. Water at every meal and lots of it. Fresh fish without the burblanc sauce- fresh fruit salsa instead. Like Anne said its always on my mine now and I try to make better choices everytime I put something in my mouth. Oh ya, haagen-daz and lays were also put on the no go list. And I drink nonfat milk. How about you steve? I'm anxious to see what this years test will be.
10-28-2003, 01:16 AM
You guys are forgetting my surefire way to stay thin and ripped, and as a result have low blood pressure, low heart rate and low cholesterol. Be single...then you have to stay in shape to attract women, and run 5 to 10 miles per day to work off the beer consumed during the course of college. THen take up active hobbies that require physical fitness (my advice rockclimbing...climbing women are HOT!!!!) It works dang good...for staying in shape anyway (being 21 helps too)...still no luck with the ladies.
My last labs (May '03) looked like this, largely because I take Lipitor (ace inhibitor) and have for years.
HDL (good) Cholesterol 48
LDL (bad) Cholesterol 95
About 1.5 years ago, I weighed 249lbs. I got on an aggressive exercise campaign, quit drinking alchohol and pop, and quit eating anything after 7pm. It VERY short order I was down to 205, with low blood pressure and tons of energy. Then I started going to supercub flyins, hanging out with supercub types, etc, and soon I was back to 230. I'm back on a modified version of my austerity program (less austere) and am just over 220 today, shooting for 200 this time so I can compete with Jerry Burr...
10-28-2003, 08:26 AM
At my last flight physical my Dr. found out that I have sleep apnea (this is where you snore a lot or hold your breath). So to pass my physical he wanted me to have a modified sleep study at the local hospital. The test required that you sit in a stuffed chair in the dark for 45 min with nothing to look at or read. If you nodded off you failed the test and I guess the FAA would take you ticket. I told the Dr that I didn't know anyone who wouldn't nod off in that enviroment. I went to another Dr after that to finish up my flight physical.
I just wish that red wine would help my apnea.
10-28-2003, 12:46 PM
Having been in the health and fitness proffession as a personal trainer for some time, I can empathize with your health concerns... I reccommend weight training first and foremost to all my clients, it will positively effect every aspect of your life. The more muscle you have the more fat you burn even at rest, not to mention more energy, stronger joints, ligaments, and tendons, combine this with a proper diet, some cardio and self-dicipline you are gaurenteed success. Something to remember when cutting fat is to incorporate your essential omega fatty acids such as flax seed oil, eggs, fish etc.... Also 5-6 Small meals a day is an extremely effective metabolism booster...... The bottom line is that it is a lifestyle choice....
10-28-2003, 02:54 PM
I just want to fly my taildrager until I can't walk, or 100 which ever comes last.
10-28-2003, 03:15 PM
How about the guy that went to the doctor after having been told of a terminal illness. His whole reason for the visit was to see if there was anything he could do. The doctor was reall quick to say YES! He said, "Give up drinking, smoking, and women!!!" The patient ask if that would really make him live longer? The doctor said, "No, but it'll seem like forever!"
10-28-2003, 04:14 PM
I visited with a Dr. Brent Blue in WY a month ago. A big part of his practice is working with pilots. I have known a number of AME's over the years that really don't have a clue on what's legal and the procedures required when a potential problem arises. I would suggest anyone that needs information on any medical question regarding aviation to check with this guy. I was impressed with his knowledge and candor.
Web site is http://www.aeromedix.com
Well, I narrowly escaped with a 2nd class medical in hand today. There were several bad news items, the first was blood pressure. My supercub lifestyle (which I aquired from you folks) has pushed my BP up near the FAA limit when you add in my fear of doctors, hospitals, etc. I do a little better at home, but I gotta get on the stick, which I am doing.
Other exciting news: I have shrunk, or shrank, or shrunked. I used to be 6'3 7/8" tall and I am now 6' 2 1/2" Big deal you say, except that now in order not to be "overweight" I need to fall between 144 - 194lbs. Ok, that will fix the BP problem if I get down to 144, and I can be carried as baggage in a cub. Of course, I will look like a homeless guy.
Finally, I am on borrowed time on not having to wear reading glasses. I don't think eating carrots is going to help this. I've worn glasses / contacts since I was 8, and can see nothing without them, but soon I get to go to the next level..
So, back flying for another two years, and instructing for another year, and am on the exercise and eat less plan as we speak. My goal is to hit the 200lb (225 right now) mark before the first of the year.
11-04-2003, 12:55 AM
FIRST LET ME SAY I TYPE IN CAPS BECAUSE I AM A PILOT/PARAMEDIC NOT A WRITER.NOW ONWARD......I WANT TO ENCOURAGE JERRY AND ANYONE ELSE WHO HAS SLEEP APNEA OR EVEN SNORES MODERATE TO SEVERE TO HAVE A COMPLETE SLEEP STUDY.AS SOMEONE POSTED PREVIOUSLY,THIS CONDITION CAN LEAD TO MANY BIGGER AND BADDER THINGS.SLEEP APNEA CAN EASILY BE TREATED IN 90-99% OF MOST CASES.THE EASIEST IS A CPAP MACHINE.THIS DEVICE BLOWS POS.PRESS.AIR INTO YOUR NOSE WHICH IN TURN PREVENTS THE APNEA.(PERIODS OF NOT BREATHING)SURGURY ALSO HAS SOME LIMITED SUCCESS.ALSO THE MAJORITY OF FOLKS WHO SNORE MODERATELY HAVE SOME FORM OF SLEEP APNEA BUT THEY IGNORE IT OR THEIR SPOUSE WHO COMPLAINS OF THE NOISE.SLEEP STUDIES ARE EASY AND PAINLESS AND ARE COVERED BY MOST INS.A QUICK SLEEP APNEA QUESTIONAIRE WILL GENERALLY DECIDE IF A STUDY IS NECESSARY......AS FAR AS THE WEIGHT ISSUE GOES,THE ATKINS AND A VARIATION OF IT HAS WORKED FOR ME.I WON'T GO INTO DETAIL BUT CHK.THEIR WEBSITE FOR THE SCOOP......TWO THINGS ON MEDICALS: 1) GET A COPY OF YOUR MEDICAL QUESTIONAIRE BEFORE YOU LEAVE THE OFFICE & BRING IT WITH YOU NEXT TIME,THAT WAY YOU CAN STAY CONSISTANT IN YOUR ANSWERS.2) DON'T PUT NEW MEDICAL HISTORY,CONDITIONS,MEDS.ETC YOU HAVE DEVELOPED.THE REASON IS UNLESS YOU KNOW WHAT & WHAT WON'T DISQUALIFY YOU FOR A MEDICAL,YOU MAY GET A RUDE AWAKENING.MANY SIMPLE THINGS CAN GROUND YOU....GENERAL DISCLAIMER !!! YOU HAVE TO BE THE JUDGE ON WHAT NOT TO REPORT & HOW IT MAY AFFECT YOUR FLYING CAPABILITY.USE GOOD SENSE.I JUST THINK THE FAA/GOV.IS TO **** NOSEY ANYWAY.WELL I HOPE THIS HELPS SOME OF YOU AND I AM NO DR.OR PROFESSIONAL ADVISOR.I JUST KNOW WHAT WORKS FOR SOME FOLKS....BLUE SKIES TO ALL!
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