FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
HERE ARE SOME FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS THAT WE HAVE ANSWERED IN THE PAST. IF YOU HAVE A QUESTION THAT IS NOT ADDRESSED HERE DO NOT HESITATE TO CONTACT THE EDITOR OF THIS WEBSITE. IF WE CANNOT ANSWER YOUR QUESTION WE WILL DIRECT YOU TO SOMEONE WHO WILL.
1. I am a licensed pilot and just received a DUI/DWI. Do I have to notify the FAA and if so how do I go about doing that and what do I tell them?
Airmen actually have two separate reporting requirements; one pertaining to your part 61 license 14 CFR 61.15(e) and the second on your application for medical certificate, FAA Form 8500-8.
According to FAA regulations, 14 CFR 61.15(e), you are required to notify the FAA Security & Investigations Division within 60 days of any "motor vehicle action" (MVA) resulting from an alcohol or drug related offense. A MVA is defined as a suspension or revocation of a driver’s license and commonly referenced as an Administrative Action. Subsequently, a second report must be submitted if "convicted" at a later date of this incident. Please refer to the REFERENCE tab of this website and click on "FAA Airman DUI/DWI Program" for further details.
An airman also has a reporting requirement on their medical application, see question 18v on your FAA Form 8500-8, which include disclosing the following information: (1) an alcohol related arrest and/or conviction (2) History of arrest, conviction or administrative action that resulted in denial, suspension, cancellation, revocation of your driving privileges or resulted in attendance at an educational or rehabilitation program. Please note (2) above is NOT limited to alcohol related MVA’s, you must report any MVA that results in the actions listed above.
New: The FAA has adopted a new DUI/DWI policy. Click HERE to read the details.
2. I have heard of the HIMS program. What is it?
The HIMS (Human Intervention & Motivation Study) program was developed by the FAA, the Airlines and the airline unions to assist a Part 121 pilot back to the cockpit upon successful completion of rehabilitation, usually in less than one year. For a complete explanation of this program, refer to the REFERENCE tab of this website where you will find several topics in this area.
3. I am a corporate pilot. Can I participate in the HIMS program?
Although the HIMS program was developed initially for Part 121 Airline Pilots, some corporations are warming to this program and utilize it. The REFERENCE tab has an article on this subject.
4. I am a military pilot. Can I belong to Birds of a Feather and will it benefit me?
As stated on our HOME page, Birds of a Feather is for all pilots and cockpit crewmembers, whether airline, corporate, private or military. You will certainly benefit from participating in Birds of a Feather meetings. There is an excellent selection for your Flight Surgeon to read on our REFERENCE tab.
5. As a doctor reading this website, is there a way I can refer a patient to Birds of a Feather?
Yes, we have prepared a one page "notice" that you can print out on your computer and place in your office in a convenient location for your patients to see. Click HERE to access that document.
6. How can I get involved with Birds of a Feather?
Click on the tab NESTS AND CONTACTS on this website to see if there is a Birds of a Feather "Nest" in your area. If so, you can contact them to see about their meetings. If there are no nests in your city, the NESTS AND CONTACTS page and our newsletter The BirdWord has a listing of "Solo" Birds in cities where there are no regularly scheduled meetings.
7. What is the BirdWord?
The BirdWord is our quarterly newsletter that can be delivered via hardcopy or electronically. It consists of articles, stories, vignettes, letters to the editor, notices and a complete listing of all nests and solo birds worldwide. Check out the BIRDWORD tab of this website for more info and subscription information.
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8. Does Birds of a Feather have an Internet Chat Room?
Birds of a Feather does not have an internet "chat room" per se but we do have a private group email program called The NetNest that you may join to ask questions or share your experience, strength and hope . If you are interested please "qualify" by contacting:
firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com
9. I am a female pilot. Can you refer me to some information for women only?
In the REFERENCE section of this website is an excellent article by a woman pilot that you may find interesting.
10. There is no nest in my area. Can I start a Birds of a Feather meeting?
Of course. All you need for a meeting is at least two people and a regularly scheduled meeting time and place. We have sample meeting formats and statements of intent that you can tailor to your group. Contact any of the TRUSTED SERVANTS or the Editor of this website and we will get you started.
11. I am a member of a Nest that is listed on this site and I would like to make a special announcement about our nest. Can you help?
Contact the Website Editor and we will post your message on your nest's page as a "NestNote"
12. Are there any Birds of a Feather nests outside of the United States?
Yes. If you will click on the NESTS & CONTACTS page you will see that there are several nests in Canada, a nest in Dublin, Korea, The Netherlands, Dubai and a nest listed for the United Kingdom. Other nests in additional countries are always being added. You will also notice that there are several "solo birds" in other countries.
13. What are "solo birds"?
Solo birds are pilots in recovery in a city or location where there are no regularly scheduled nest meetings. They have made themselves available for you to call should you be in that particular location and would like to chat or have a meeting. Consult the BIRDWORD or the
NESTS & CONTACTS page for listings of solo birds.
14. What is "Operation Safe Pilot" and how will it change FAA Form 8500-8 Pilot's Medical Application?
As a result of Operation Safe Pilot (a effort by the DOT and the Social Security Administration to determine whether or not there were people who were fraudulently collecting social security disability benefits by falsifying their FAA medical applications) changes will occur to the questions of the FAA Form 8500-8. Check with your AME during your next FAA physical to see if the new changes have occurred.
15. I am a private pilot but lost my medical due to an alcohol related incident. Can I get my medical back and continue to fly?
Refer to FAR 67.107, Subparts B, C and D. There you will find that the mental standards for an FAA medical certificate are based on no established medical history or clinical diagnosis of "substance abuse". Without knowing what your particular situation is, you can attempt to gain back your medical certificate by proving that you have sustained total abstinence from the "substance" for not less than two years. With the assistance of your AME and the proper documentation, you can re-apply. Having attended rehabilitation for substance abuse is helpful. Part 121 pilots can shorten the two year period by entering the FAA approved HIMS program. See question #2 above. Currently there is no officially established FAA program for non-Part 121 pilots to shorten the two year waiting period, however there are some AME's that are utilizing the concept of the HIMS in treating private pilots.
16. I am a flight attendant. Can I attend Birds of a Feather Meetings?
Although Birds of a Feather was established to assist troubled pilots and other cockpit crewmembers (see Birds of a Feather "Singleness of Purpose" on our home page) some nests do allow flight attendants and other aviation personnel. This is a matter of the group conscience of each individual nest. Please contact the nest you are interested in to see if flight attendants are welcome to attend. To read a story about a flight attendant in recovery click HERE. Also, please see question #26 below.
17. I have some medical questions that I would like answered that you may not be able to help me with. Can you refer me to an appropriate link?
Yes. If you will go to our REFERENCE page and access the link for Aviation Medicine Advisory Service you will find an excellent website that will answer all of your questions or refer you to someone who can. Their contact info is:
9800 South Meridian Blvd, Suite 125
Englewood, CO 80112
1-866-AEROMED or 1-866-237-6633
18. Can you refer me to a source to make sure I am filling out my FAA physical exam form correctly?
If you are worried that your last few visits to the Doctor about those extra inches that have appeared around your waist or that unpronouncable drug the doctor made you take for your tennis elbow could cause a problem at your next FAA physical, then check out the excellent "Turbomedical " interactive medical form on the AOPA website. Here you can fill out an actual FAA medical application form before your next FAA physical and the interactive application will advise you if something you have entered is incorrect or may raise a red flag with the FAA Medical Department. Go to www.aopa.org
19. I have been sober several years now through a 12 step program and have never been through treatment. Do I have to check the "alcohol dependence" box on the 8500-8 FAA form when I go in for my medical?
If you have not been professionally diagnosed with alcoholism you DO NOT have to check the alcohol dependence box on the 8500-8 form. This statement is clarification from a noted AME in aviation addiction medicine.
20. Is there any information that can be downloaded to aid in the education about alcoholism as it effects pilots?
Yes. Please access our REFERENCE tab and there are several websites and articles that can educate you specifically about pilots and alcoholism.
21. I would like to share with the website an interesting article I read that is pertinent to our recovery as pilots. Can I post it on the website?
Yes. Please submit your article or comment to the EDITOR and he will see that it is placed on the Website Editor's page.
22. I am in need of a HIMS qualified Independent Medical Sponsor (IMS). How can I find one that is close to me?
Access the www.faa.gov website.
23. I am looking for any BOAF members involved with HIMS that would be willing to help with questions about my SI and airline applications/interviews. For example: a recent application I was working on asked about class medical and any waivers. It's obvious the airline will know about my SI by looking at my medical, but is an SI considered a waiver? A waiver suggests a permanent condition on the medical. Any help would be greatly appreciated.
The website www.leftseat.com has information on substance abuse and how the FAA treats that issue plus additional information on obtaining a special issuance. Be sure to access the large drop down menu on the home page for specific topics.
24. I have a special issuance medical. Do I have to carry on my person the special issuance letter that was issued to me by the FAA every time that I fly?
Starting July 20, 2012 pilots who have a medical certificate with a special issuance authorization will no longer need to carry the separate authorization letter with them in the aircraft. It’s a small change in the regulations, but it’s designed to ease the document-carrying requirement for the 28,000 pilots who already endure the extra burden and expense of obtaining a special issuance.
“The FAA continues to receive complaints from affected U.S. pilots that the full force of the requirement is overly burdensome as well as invasive,” the agency wrote in its explanation of why it is rescinding the requirement to carry the letter of authorization.
The requirement to carry the letter of authorization with the special issuance medical certificate went into effect in 2008 after the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) cited the FAA in a 2007 audit regarding its endorsements of certificates. The FAA’s response to come into compliance with ICAO standards was to require pilots flying with a special issuance medical certificate to also carry their letter of authorization, which “provides information regarding conditions affected individuals must meet in order to exercise pilot privileges.” Individuals would need to produce both the medical certificate and the letter of authorization if requested by civil aviation authorities.
In 2010, the FAA informed ICAO that it wanted to remove the requirement and received no objection. After three years of the requirement being in effect, the FAA says it has not learned of any pilots being requested to produce the documentation. Because of that, and no objection from ICAO, the FAA is removing the requirement.
After July 20, 2012 special issuance medical certificates will no longer carry the “Note” section under “Conditions of Use,” but pilots who currently have a special issuance medical certificate with the notation will not be required to obtain a new one. It can be replaced at the time of the normal special issuance certificate renewal.
The FAA is accepting comments on this final rule through May 21, 2012; comments can be submitted online and should identify “Docket Number FAA-2012-0056.”
25. I would like to get help but have limited funds for treatment. Is there an organization or service that can assist me financially?
AFF is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization created to help our aviation community with financial assistance for chemical addictions. For the past thirteen years, I have had the amazing opportunity to help pilots and other aviation community members with addiction issues. During this time, I have seen tremendous success in specifically geared programs and witnessed incredible human transformation that comes with sobriety. Being directly involved with most of U.S. airlines and several corporations, I have learned that no matter how great our chemical dependency health coverage is, as a society, we still have a long way to go. For those with no insurance, it’s almost impossible to go through the process without major financial woes.
As we mention in the website, this is not a free ride, but rather, financial assistance to compensate for the exorbitant fees incurred above and beyond medical and behavioral insurance coverage. In other words, we are here to assist the sobriety-committed individual with financial help. We have abundant resources throughout the world, and that’s what we are counting on to provide the financial assets we need to “pay it forward.” We are in the process of planning a number of fund-raising events after the holidays and will post the information on our website, and also on our Facebook page.
Please go to www.aviationfamilyfund.org and read more about what we do. I encourage you to donate to our cause and help us to help our brothers and sisters in the aviation community.
26. Your site is for pilots and cockpit crewmembers. Can you tell me how to receive information on recovery issues involving flight attendants?
Yes, we have linked our site with that of FADAP, the Flight Attendants Drug and Alcohol Program website. They can be accessed at www.fadap.org
More questions coming soon...........
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