Author Topic: Scoliosis and Pilot Occupation  (Read 11449 times)

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Offline ChadwickWheeler

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Scoliosis and Pilot Occupation
« on: May 21, 2014, 15:18:06 »
Good afternoon everybody,

I know there are a couple other threads which discussed scoliosis in past years, but I need some advice so I am reviving the topic. I am a 24 year old male who is applying to become a pilot. When I had my initial medical exam in February, the doctor at CFRC Hamilton noticed one of my back muscles was larger than the other and recommended I get checked out for scoliosis.

The xray reported:
Lateral projection shows some prominence of the thoracic kyphosis and lumbar lordosis. AP views shows thoracic levoscoliosis of 14 degrees measured from the upper endplate of T2 to the lower endplate of T10. Lumbar dextroscoliosis of 20 degrees with mild dilatation angulation of 20 degrees from upper endplate of T11 to lower endplate of L4. No vertebral compressoin deformity.

I was sent to Aircrew Selection in Trenton on May 7th and 8th and passed for all three aircrew trades. Medical in CFEME Toronto was when I was found unfit for pilot due to the scoliosis. The cut-off is apparently 20 degrees inclusive. All other medical components were fine. The doctor in Toronto told me I was fit other than the scoliosis.

I went to CFRC Hamilton today to hand in my travel claim for ASC. While there, they told me that they had not been informed of the "unfit" yet and that the only medical information they have received was the original fit from Ottawa. The doctors in Ottawa found me fit with the same information so why the difference in CFEME?

I still want to be a pilot, so I'm asking for some advice. I am going to see my family doctor to see if physio or anything can help reduce the degree of the scoliosis to get past this. Does anybody else have any advice or experience that may prove useful?

Thanks in advance,
Chadwick Wheeler
Pilot Application through CFRC Hamilton
Online Submission: Nov 2013
CFAT: January 21, 2014 - Passed
Medical: February 17, 2014
Interview: February 17, 2014
Medical Documents Submitted: March 18th, 2014
ASC: May 7th and 8th, 2014 - Passed
Aircrew Medical - May 9th - Deemed unfit pilot due to scoliosis

Offline bradley247

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Re: Scoliosis and Pilot Trade
« Reply #1 on: May 21, 2014, 17:48:04 »
The doctors in Ottawa found me fit with the same information so why the difference in CFEME?

What it sounds like is that you meet the CF medical standards, but you don't meet the medical standards for aircrew. They are two different things, and the aircrew medical standards are more restrictive.

I'm not aware of any way to challenge the results of your initial aircrew medical exam, but if there is the recruiting center should be able to point you in the right direction.

Offline Dimsum

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Re: Scoliosis and Pilot Trade
« Reply #2 on: May 21, 2014, 18:03:03 »
What it sounds like is that you meet the CF medical standards, but you don't meet the medical standards for aircrew. They are two different things, and the aircrew medical standards are more restrictive.

Make that MUCH more restrictive. 
Philip II of Macedon to Spartans (346 BC):  "You are advised to submit without further delay, for if I bring my army into your land, I will destroy your farms, slay your people, and raze your city."

Reply:  "If."

Offline DAA

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Re: Scoliosis and Pilot Trade
« Reply #3 on: May 21, 2014, 18:18:49 »
What it sounds like is that you meet the CF medical standards, but you don't meet the medical standards for aircrew. They are two different things, and the aircrew medical standards are more restrictive.

Not only did he meet the CF med standards but he also met the Aircrew standards as well.  If he didn't meet Aircrew Standards, he wouldn't have been sent on aircrew selection.  What he didn't meet, were the Medical Standards for "Pilot".

Can it be "challenged"?  Probably.  But he already knows exactly why he was deemed medically unfit and to challenge the initial ruling, you would probably need to address the scoliosis, which won't be easy if achieveable at all.
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Offline Strike

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Re: Scoliosis and Pilot Trade
« Reply #4 on: May 21, 2014, 23:09:16 »
Not only did he meet the CF med standards but he also met the Aircrew standards as well.  If he didn't meet Aircrew Standards, he wouldn't have been sent on aircrew selection.  What he didn't meet, were the Medical Standards for "Pilot".

Can it be "challenged"?  Probably.  But he already knows exactly why he was deemed medically unfit and to challenge the initial ruling, you would probably need to address the scoliosis, which won't be easy if achieveable at all.

It may be worth going to see a specialist if you're getting mixed signals.  I had a similar thing happen to me way back when.  At AC selection when I went through the medical tests they told me I had temporal lobe epilepsy.  I went and got a second opinion with a specialist and the tests showed nothing.  (The original test showed a jolt at a particularly 'stressful' point that had flashing lights.  But what had happened was I had fallen asleep during the EEG and woke myself up.   ;D )

Not saying you'll end up getting the results that you're looking for, but at least you'll know either way, right?
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Offline ChadwickWheeler

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Re: Scoliosis and Pilot Trade
« Reply #5 on: May 22, 2014, 11:16:54 »
Thanks for the responses so far. I've done a bit of digging and found some clinics that attempt to reduce scoliosis by teaching the patients proper posture to reverse the curvature. If I get this reduced, I will take it back to CFRC in Hamilton to try to challenge the original medical at CFEME Toronto.

Has anybody else gone into the forces with scoliosis? Any additional advice is still welcome :)

Chadwick Wheeler
Pilot Application through CFRC Hamilton
Online Submission: Nov 2013
CFAT: January 21, 2014 - Passed
Medical: February 17, 2014
Interview: February 17, 2014
Medical Documents Submitted: March 18th, 2014
ASC: May 7th and 8th, 2014 - Passed
Aircrew Medical - May 9th - Deemed unfit pilot due to scoliosis

Offline Strike

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Re: Scoliosis and Pilot Trade
« Reply #6 on: May 22, 2014, 13:46:27 »
Thanks for the responses so far. I've done a bit of digging and found some clinics that attempt to reduce scoliosis by teaching the patients proper posture to reverse the curvature. If I get this reduced, I will take it back to CFRC in Hamilton to try to challenge the original medical at CFEME Toronto.

Has anybody else gone into the forces with scoliosis? Any additional advice is still welcome :)

Chadwick Wheeler

I have a VERY mild form, mild enough that I was able to go pilot.  But it caused me major problems throughout my career.  Every couple of years I had to deal with massive back spasms and a few weeks being grounded and drugged out.  I'm sure the reasons for the flare-ups were from flying.  It is virtually impossible to have good posture while flying a helicopter (or probably most any RCAF aircraft).  Most of the people I flew with had some type of back issue, so coming into the trade with an existing one means you risk making it worse.  Eventually, I got fed up of playing back spasm roulette and, although not the deciding factor, it did play a role in my changing to a different trade.
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Offline ChadwickWheeler

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Current A1 Air Factor Standards
« Reply #7 on: February 07, 2015, 15:14:04 »
Good afternoon,

Last year I applied to be a pilot and was eliminated due to scoliosis curvature of 20 degrees (the cut off). The doctor in CFEME said to check back every year to see if medical standards for pilot has changed. Is there somewhere I can research the current medical restrictions for A1 Air Factor? It seems that every time I speak to my recruitment center the recruiters and even some of the medical staff are unsure. They end up saying they will get back to me and never do.

Any ideas on how to find this information or does anybody know if the standards have changed since last year?

Thanks,
Chadwick Wheeler
Pilot Application through CFRC Hamilton
Online Submission: Nov 2013
CFAT: January 21, 2014 - Passed
Medical: February 17, 2014
Interview: February 17, 2014
Medical Documents Submitted: March 18th, 2014
ASC: May 7th and 8th, 2014 - Passed
Aircrew Medical - May 9th - Deemed unfit pilot due to scoliosis

Offline Eye In The Sky

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Re: Current A1 Air Factor Standards
« Reply #8 on: February 07, 2015, 15:32:27 »
Pilot, RADAR...turn right, heading...3-6-5...

Offline ChadwickWheeler

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Re: Current A1 Air Factor Standards
« Reply #9 on: February 07, 2015, 15:51:21 »
Thanks Eye in the Sky, I was able to find this before but I'm looking for some specifics on the restrictions. For example, when I was at CFEME they knew the cut off for scoloisis was 20 degrees or higher. If I could find out where this policy is posted (if it is public) then I could easily check back every year or so to see if it changes.

Thanks,
Chadwick
Pilot Application through CFRC Hamilton
Online Submission: Nov 2013
CFAT: January 21, 2014 - Passed
Medical: February 17, 2014
Interview: February 17, 2014
Medical Documents Submitted: March 18th, 2014
ASC: May 7th and 8th, 2014 - Passed
Aircrew Medical - May 9th - Deemed unfit pilot due to scoliosis

Offline Eye In The Sky

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Re: Current A1 Air Factor Standards
« Reply #10 on: February 07, 2015, 15:53:51 »
Ya that info is way outside of my lane's but there are a few Health Services folks on the board, maybe they know.

Good luck.
Pilot, RADAR...turn right, heading...3-6-5...

Offline dapaterson

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Re: Current A1 Air Factor Standards
« Reply #11 on: February 07, 2015, 15:57:37 »
Quote
A - Air Factor - General
 
9. The CF medical category system includes an Air Factor. The Air Factor designates the medical fitness for flight duties for CF Aircrew and the medical fitness for flight as a passenger for non-aircrew. All of these delegated authorities are referenced in the AMA Directive 100-01 Medical Standards for CF Aircrew.

The reference, AMA Directive 100-01 Medical Standards for CF Aircrew, is not available to the public, as far as I know.  That is where the details are contained.
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Offline ChadwickWheeler

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Re: Current A1 Air Factor Standards
« Reply #12 on: February 07, 2015, 16:43:54 »
Thank you very much Dapaterson,

Perhaps I can ask the Recruitment Center whether they have access to it.

Much appreciated,

Chadwick
Pilot Application through CFRC Hamilton
Online Submission: Nov 2013
CFAT: January 21, 2014 - Passed
Medical: February 17, 2014
Interview: February 17, 2014
Medical Documents Submitted: March 18th, 2014
ASC: May 7th and 8th, 2014 - Passed
Aircrew Medical - May 9th - Deemed unfit pilot due to scoliosis

Offline Loachman

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Re: Current A1 Air Factor Standards
« Reply #13 on: February 07, 2015, 18:07:11 »
Do not hold your breath waiting for a change in your favour.

Offline ChadwickWheeler

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Re: Scoliosis and Pilot Occupation
« Reply #14 on: February 09, 2015, 12:42:20 »
Fair enough. I think I'll just proceed with my application for ACSO instead then. Thanks everybody for contributing information and advice
Pilot Application through CFRC Hamilton
Online Submission: Nov 2013
CFAT: January 21, 2014 - Passed
Medical: February 17, 2014
Interview: February 17, 2014
Medical Documents Submitted: March 18th, 2014
ASC: May 7th and 8th, 2014 - Passed
Aircrew Medical - May 9th - Deemed unfit pilot due to scoliosis