Vision Discussion RE: rytomi

aaronavtr

Trusted Contributor
Sep 26, 2009
551
0
16
Northeast U.S.
Holy crap!!! Man I hope you get that letter from your doctor to overturn your decision. Please keep us posted and good luck to you.

mod note: these posts have been moved from Disqualified?in the Ask a Flight Surgeon section...
 

rytomi

Honor and Determination
Jun 15, 2009
134
0
16
PCT
Re: Disqualified???

Yes, it says that in FAA document 3930.3A, which was referenced in the original letter to me. I find it amazing that not a single AME, school official, or FSDO employee knew this requirement was separate for FAA employees. The class II medical requirement for controllers is only for contract towers.

However, according to that same document, I can still gain employment if I receive special consideration from the Federal Air Surgeon, based on my level of experience. This is what I am currently working on in my appeal.

Both the Regional Air Surgeon and myself feel that because I have graduated a CTI program with a respectable GPA, the fact that I am a Commercial Pilot and Fight Instructor with well over 1000 hours, and that the Federal Air Surgeon himself has already authorized me to obtain a class I medical clearance by issueing a SODA, should be sufficient to allow special consideration on my medical clearance.

I will certainly keep everyone updated here on the situation.
 

rytomi

Honor and Determination
Jun 15, 2009
134
0
16
PCT
Re: Disqualified???

How bad is your vision that it cannot be corrected to 20/20? Sorry for your predicament man, this is a prime example of why America is going downhill is because no one takes accountability for their actions.
My vision is 20/40 in my left eye, and 20/20 in my right eye.
The reason my vision cannot be corrected in because there is not actual physical reason for my lower vision in my left eye. Amblyopia is generally a condition that is due to there be a "weak signal" from the eye to the brain. There is no way to correct it with lenses, or even surgery.

The only accepted method for gaining improvement with this condition, is with vision therapy. It is basically sessions with a eye specialist, where the good eye is covered, and the weaker eye is forced to do eye exercises in attempt to force the brain to use that eye.

Unfortunately, this will not even work in my case because studies have shown that after the age of 18, there is little improvement. Moreover, this therapy generally can only bring the eye up to the 20/60-20/40 range, which I'm already on the better end of.

20/40 is hardly considered bad vision, especially when my other eye is 20/20. The issue is not that I am incapable of performing the duties of a ATCS without compromising safety. The issue is that some lawmaker decided to make a double-standard for ATCS, depending on who you work for.

I find it hard to imagine that I can be allowed to fly large aircraft with hundreds of people on board in crowded skies, trusted with all their lives to navigate without hitting another aircraft, and landing safely even in bad conditions... but, I am somehow incapable of looking at a single radar screen that is directly in front of me, or looking out the window with a pair of binoculars to spot aircraft.

Most of my documentation for the appeal is complete and will be sent in shortly. We shall see how this turns out...
 

SCOPED

Senior Analyst
Nov 21, 2010
1,013
0
36
Gods Country, Alaska
Re: Disqualified???

.

Both the Regional Air Surgeon and myself feel that because I have graduated a CTI program with a respectable GPA, the fact that I am a Commercial Pilot and Fight Instructor with well over 1000 hours, and that the Federal Air Surgeon himself has already authorized me to obtain a class I medical clearance by issueing a SODA, should be sufficient to allow special consideration on my medical clearance.

I will certainly keep everyone updated here on the situation.
I can say we are all pulling for you here on SM. If the FS has cleared you using a SODA than that’s good enough for me. Standard tests do a good job for most people but not for everyone. I failed my tone audiology test but got 100% on two complex speech tests so I got cleared. Good luck and I pray for your success.
 

aaronavtr

Trusted Contributor
Sep 26, 2009
551
0
16
Northeast U.S.
Re: Disqualified???

Having gone through so many panels and raking up the cost at Riddle all those years, it is an understatement to say that this is the last thing you need to deal with.
 

rytomi

Honor and Determination
Jun 15, 2009
134
0
16
PCT
Re: Disqualified???

Ahhh I see that blows man...maybe you could request that someone from the FSDO could give you a SODA, I mean if you could do it in class and you're also a CFI kind of says alot
I actually already hold a SODA that allows me to get a class I medical. The problem is, to be controller for the FAA, you must meet the standards of 3930.3A, not FAR97.

The region flight surgeon explained to me that the standards for an FAA controller and a contract controller are different. A contract controller must meet the class II medical requirements and SODAs can be used for that. Not for FAA controllers though.

What an FAA controller needs is special authorization, which is what I am trying for. It works basically like a soda, but there is not required document to carry, and takes a lot longer to get.

I should have a result on the appeal by the end of the month.
 

emillerslo

Junior Member
Aug 8, 2010
126
0
16
Not to mention the fact that I find it completely respectable rytomi was proactive in seeking to make sure he wouldn't get into the predicament he is now in. It reflects your maturity and foresight, and I respect that. Not that my opinion matters or anything, but there you go. Good luck!
 

jarrett98591

Newcomer
May 31, 2011
5
0
1
Washington
Re: Disqualified???

would like an update to the situation. I have the same condition but in my right eye. my left eye (dominant) has 20/20 and with both eyes open 20/20 just my right eye is 20/70. I will need a waiver but sounds like its not working for this guy. lets hope everything works out.
 

rytomi

Honor and Determination
Jun 15, 2009
134
0
16
PCT
Re: Disqualified???

would like an update to the situation. I have the same condition but in my right eye. my left eye (dominant) has 20/20 and with both eyes open 20/20 just my right eye is 20/70. I will need a waiver but sounds like its not working for this guy. lets hope everything works out.
I'm still working on the process. Unfortunately these things take so much time. Currently waiting on some documentation from an eye specialist.

However, I would just like to also remind people that special medical clearances are given out on a case-by-case basis. It is based on a combination of what the disqualifying condition is, how bad it is, and how much experience the applicant has. All that is put together to determine if it is at all a safety factor.

I personally am 20/40 in my bad eye, which is not far off from the 20/20 requirement. Additionally, I already have authorization from the Federal Air Surgeon to receive a class I medical (and currently hold one) and I am a commercial pilot with well over 1000 hours. All that plays greatly in my favor, or at least I hope it does.

That's not to say it cannot be done for someone with 20/70 though. First I guess see if I can get through, and if I can, I would say give it shot.

I know there are a lot of interested people in the result of this, I have received lots of PMs about it. The regional air surgeon does not know of anyone who has attempted clearance this with my condition, and I was not able to find anyone either. So, I may be the first person with this condition to ever attempt getting special authorization.

I will definately update everyone when I have more information, should be 1-2 weeks from now. I will definately keep everyone posted on the status though.
 

customcables067

Senior Member
Sep 1, 2010
200
1
18
Re: Disqualified???

I also have a bit of information to add in on this. I have been following this case for a while too, as I also, have an uncorrectable eyesight issue in my left eye. I am corrected to 20/25. I applied for my SODA, but was given some other information unrelated to the ATC medical (they're different from a class I/II).

Long story short, I called the docs in Oklahoma city, and found out some (what seemed like definite) answers.

1) SODA's do not count for ATC medicals. Rather, they use a waiver called a "Special issuance". They are determined on a case-by-case basis, and by the regional flight surgeon in the SECTOR WHERE YOU PLAN ON WORKING.

2) All this doc would say to me is "I've seen them go through for 20/25 before" because of course he couldn't "promise" anything.

3) It is also important to note the hearing test is significantly different than a class I-II medical. Message me for details.

I was told this information is located in FAA Order 3930.3A ATC Health program. I haven't looked it up myself so I can't verify that, but it did come from a Doctor at the National level.
 

rytomi

Honor and Determination
Jun 15, 2009
134
0
16
PCT
Re: Disqualified???

That is mostly correct, but I would like to clarify a few things with more-correct information.

First off, a SODA and a waiver are the same thing as far as the FAA is concerned. However, special authorization is something different.

The problem here lies in the double-standard that has been setup. While most CTI schools and FSDOs cite that you require a class II medical to be an atcs, this is only partially true, and mostly incorrect. ATCSs working in an FAA contract tower are required to meet the qualifications of the class 2 medical found in far67. However, for atcs working at an faa-staffed tower, one is required to meet the requirements set forth in 3930.3a, which I only just found out about in the last month or so. The requirements in 3930.3a are actually just slightly more strict than that of a class 1 medical (specifically vision).

Basically what this means is that a waiver/soda, which is spelled out in far67, is only applicable to pilots and air traffic control specialists working at an FAA contract tower.

Second, while most medical disqualifications are indeed handled by a region air surgeon, those that require special authorization for static, uncorrectable conditions (such as amblyopia) must be appealed to the federal air surgeon. The regional air surgeon does not have authority to issue special authorizations, only the federal air surgeon can do that.

All of this is directly out of FAA order 3930.3A and from a direct conversation (and a quite lengthy one) with my regional air surgeon. Through this whole process I am beginning to become somewhat of an expert on FAA medical clearances and procedures. I find it amazing how so many rules are redundant or contradictory to each other. I honestly cannot wait until this process is over and I have answer, and preferably the answer I want.
 

customcables067

Senior Member
Sep 1, 2010
200
1
18
Re: Disqualified???

That is mostly correct, but I would like to clarify a few things with more-correct information.

First off, a SODA and a waiver are the same thing as far as the FAA is concerned. However, special authorization is something different.

The problem here lies in the double-standard that has been setup. While most CTI schools and FSDOs cite that you require a class II medical to be an atcs, this is only partially true, and mostly incorrect. ATCSs working in an FAA contract tower are required to meet the qualifications of the class 2 medical found in far67. However, for atcs working at an faa-staffed tower, one is required to meet the requirements set forth in 3930.3a, which I only just found out about in the last month or so. The requirements in 3930.3a are actually just slightly more strict than that of a class 1 medical (specifically vision).

Basically what this means is that a waiver/soda, which is spelled out in far67, is only applicable to pilots and air traffic control specialists working at an FAA contract tower.

Second, while most medical disqualifications are indeed handled by a region air surgeon, those that require special authorization for static, uncorrectable conditions (such as amblyopia) must be appealed to the federal air surgeon. The regional air surgeon does not have authority to issue special authorizations, only the federal air surgeon can do that.

All of this is directly out of FAA order 3930.3A and from a direct conversation (and a quite lengthy one) with my regional air surgeon. Through this whole process I am beginning to become somewhat of an expert on FAA medical clearances and procedures. I find it amazing how so many rules are redundant or contradictory to each other. I honestly cannot wait until this process is over and I have answer, and preferably the answer I want.
Who did you speak to at the national level (you can PM me if you'd like)?
Because I spoke with a doctor who said that special issuances (not waivers, special issuances, which is what you're seeking, myself as well) are only issued at the regional level.
 

RomeoNovember

Senior Analyst
Sep 26, 2009
944
4
18
37
USA
Re: Disqualified???

I'm still working on the process. Unfortunately these things take so much time. Currently waiting on some documentation from an eye specialist.

However, I would just like to also remind people that special medical clearances are given out on a case-by-case basis. It is based on a combination of what the disqualifying condition is, how bad it is, and how much experience the applicant has. All that is put together to determine if it is at all a safety factor.

I personally am 20/40 in my bad eye, which is not far off from the 20/20 requirement. Additionally, I already have authorization from the Federal Air Surgeon to receive a class I medical (and currently hold one) and I am a commercial pilot with well over 1000 hours. All that plays greatly in my favor, or at least I hope it does.

That's not to say it cannot be done for someone with 20/70 though. First I guess see if I can get through, and if I can, I would say give it shot.

I know there are a lot of interested people in the result of this, I have received lots of PMs about it. The regional air surgeon does not know of anyone who has attempted clearance this with my condition, and I was not able to find anyone either. So, I may be the first person with this condition to ever attempt getting special authorization.

I will definately update everyone when I have more information, should be 1-2 weeks from now. I will definately keep everyone posted on the status though.
Why don't you ask to be transferred to en-route instead of going through all this BS?
 

rytomi

Honor and Determination
Jun 15, 2009
134
0
16
PCT
Re: Disqualified???

Who did you speak to at the national level (you can PM me if you'd like)?
Because I spoke with a doctor who said that special issuances (not waivers, special issuances, which is what you're seeking, myself as well) are only issued at the regional level.
I spoke directly with my Regional Flight Surgeon, and she told me the following:
- She has the authority to grant special consideration if it is for an ATCS that is CURRENTLY employed.
- Special consideration for new hires can ONLY be granted by the Federal Air Surgeon.

This information is also available in Chapter 2, Page 11, Section 23 of FAA Order 3930.3A (Medical Standards for FAA ATCS), which I have had the unfortunate privilege to read completely through.

RomeoNovember said:
Why don't you ask to be transferred to en-route instead of going through all this BS?
Unfortunately, en route has the same vision requirements. Moreover, given my existing experience, qualifications, and certifications, this literally means that the FAA believes that my vision is adequate enough to fly a plane with hundreds of people on-board through any kind of weather and land them safely, but I am somehow incapable of looking at a stationary two-dimensional radar screen directly in front of me.

My final appeal paperwork goes out tomorrow. I certainly hope the Federal Air Surgeon has more senses than the lawmakers who came up with these standards. As always, I will keep everyone posted.