Flight School: Quick Update – Second Day Of Training, and Aviation Medical

So I’ve had two 45 minute flights, today and yesterday, each after groundwork. It’s still fairly overwhelming, trying to keep track of all the different things I’m needing to pay attention to. We’ve done straight and level flight, medium and gentle turns, climbing and descending, an today I did a lot of work on controlling airspeed while maintaining altitude. The weather was a tad cloudy, so we didn’t get further, and I had to cancel the other flight because of my doctor’s appointment. But I think I’m getting better. Things are starting to sink in. There’s so much thrown at me all at once, it’s a bit hard not to feel inept, but I’ve had feelings like this before, and usually there comes a point sometime where suddenly it starts to click together and suddenly become easier.  I will have faith in myself.

The doctor’s appointment: I got my class 1 aviation medical done, and it’s sent in. The bad news is I’ll have to wait around three weeks for it to be processed before I’ll be allowed to solo, minimum, because I can’t get a class 4 medical declaration. Why? Because I said yes to one of the questions. For those new to my blog, I have Aspergers syndrome. It’s mild, and I have adapted very well – only people who spend a significant amount of time with me ever notice anything at all, and then it’s only things like  “oh, that’s why arranges her skittles on her desk in lines by colour.” When I tell people, they invariably say that they would never have guessed. But I do have an official diagnosis, and if I were to not declare it, I could get in some big trouble if the authorities were to find out. Not that I would try – I hate having secrets that are dangerous if they get out. I hate being afraid that someone will find out something about me and I’ll get into trouble. It’s just not something I do. But it needs to be reviewed by the powers that be, to make sure that it’s not going to affect my ability to fly an aeroplane.

Dr. Fogel doesn’t think it should stop me. He figures worst case scenario, I might have to go to a psychiatrist and get them to sign off that it’s not a disability that impacts my ability to fly. They might just wave it off, especially since I’m not on any medications. Dr. Fogel had never had a patient with Aspergers before, so he hadn’t seen any precedents, but he thought about it for a second and said he thought it might make me a better pilot, rather than a worse one. And he’s likely right – tendency to notice little things out of place, to prefer routines and process, better than average memory and IQ.

So, I’m not going to worry about it too much, though I can’t say I don’t resent it a little, and if someone else gets the first-to-solo scholarship before I get my medical processed, then there won’t be anything I can do about it. The frustrating thing is that know it’s not something that will render me unable to fly, but it’s someone else who gets to make the decision. It’s not like epilepsy, where, yeah, you don’t want a person with epilepsy flying a plane, and it’s obvious. Or some heart condition that I don’t understand, that someone else has to explain to me why it’s a bad idea for me to fly. No one can tell me how well I cope with that better than me.

On the good news side, I’m entirely healthy otherwise, and though I have a prescription for glasses, I don’t need them to fly. I can read the bottom line of the chart with both eyes, and all checked out besides that. And our bathroom scale is 5 lbs heavy, I’m only 123 lbs. I had to take my shirt off so he could hook me up to a machine (electrocardiogram – I don’t even know what that’s supposed to tell them, but it’s all good.)

Back to school tomorrow for 10:30 though, so I have to get to bed. Hope it doesn’t snow. Or at least that it stops before I’m slated to fly.

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6 responses to “Flight School: Quick Update – Second Day Of Training, and Aviation Medical

  1. I’m suppose all you can do is influence the things that are within your control, and try to let go of the other stuff (waiting for class 4 medical, waiting for news on the scholarship, the weather…). Good luck! 😉

    • The Class 4 declaration is basically a note from a doctor stating you don’t have any of these things that could be a problem, and your medical info doesn’t need to be reviewed by the powers that be. The class 1 medical is the highest level of medical, and it’s required for a commercial pilot’s license, so I needed it eventually anyway – no time wasted. All it means (provided they don’t randomly decide that aspergers is a you-no-fly thing) is that I have to wait for my class 1 medical to be processed before I’m allowed to solo, rather than being able to be cleared for that right away.

  2. Electrocardiogram tells them if you your heart rhythym is normal. They can detect abnormalities in how the heart is formed, or how it beats, based on it. Kinda cool, but kinda scary if something abnormal shows up!

  3. I admire your honesty and acceptance of things beyond your control. Believe me, I do understand the frustration you’re feeling about a disability. Stay positive. You’re going to be the best gal in the air!

    • Yeah, if they try and tell me that I can’t fly because of the aspergers, I’ll fight it tooth and nail if I have to, because they’d be wrong, and anyone who knows me will tell them that.

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