And it begins! With a couple of bumps

Hey everyone,

I’ve been a member of this forum for a little while now, and I’d like to take a moment to introduce myself and share my aviation journey with you all. I have a feeling that this path is going to be filled with its share of challenges, so let’s get ready for the ride!

Here’s an overview of my recent experiences and my upcoming plans:

  • A few weeks ago, I had the fantastic opportunity to take an Eagles Flight with a local EAA chapter. It was an absolute blast, but I must admit that I experienced some motion sickness, which came as a surprise to me since I’ve never had issues with motion sickness or flying before. Reflecting on it, I believe I might have contributed to it by not getting enough sleep the night before, not staying adequately hydrated, having drinks at dinner the night before, and not eating anything before the flight. Lesson learned!
  • I have an admissions flight with ATP scheduled for this coming weekend, and I’ve been working diligently to get everything in order, including obtaining my medical certificate. However, this is where I’ve encountered some bumps (or maybe we can call it turbulence).
  • Overall, I’m in good health, but I do have a slight vision issue. My right eye has always been fine, with 20/20 vision, but my left eye has been a bit of a challenge. After getting an eye exam yesterday, it turns out that I have amblyopia in my left eye, leaving me with corrected vision at 20/25, at best. Not ideal.
  • But I’m not one to give up easily. So, throughout my workday today, I’ve been researching to find out what options might be available to me. Based on my findings (and please correct me if I’m mistaken), it seems that I can go to an Aviation Medical Examiner (AME) for a medical examination, knowing that I’ll likely be deferred due to my vision issue. I can then request an appeal, have my eye doctor complete a form (I believe it’s the 8500-7), and get in touch with a regional flight surgeon to request a Statement of Demonstrated Ability (SODA).
  • From what I understand, this SODA will enable me to take a safety flight and demonstrate that I can fly safely, despite my vision limitations. However, there’s one hurdle: regardless of whether my vision is great or not, I don’t have the experience yet.

So, here’s where I stand at the moment. ATP requires students to have their medical certificate before starting classes, which poses a challenge to my plan of starting with ATP right away. My current thinking is to begin my Private Pilot License (PPL) training with a local flight school. I hope to gain enough experience and instruction before my solo flight, allowing me to take the safety flight and secure my 1st class medical. Once I’ve completed my PPL, I plan to finish my education with ATP.

I’m not sure if anyone else has faced a similar situation, but I’ll keep you all updated on my progress, whether it’s good or bad. Additionally, if anyone has any tips, tricks, or advice, I’m all ears!

Thank you for your support and insights.

Best regards, Justin


Everyone’s case is different, so the only person who can give you concrete answers is your AME

That being said, I would highly recommend you go for a consultation with your AME instead of going right into an exam. Its not free (my consult was 300, and 175 for the actual exam) but it’s well worth it. The doctor will outline the steps you’ll have to take and what you can expect.

At the very least the AME will know what Oklahoma will need paperwork wise and have you bring stuff from your eye doctor with you to your exam, and if/when your medical gets deferred, that paperwork will go to the FAA with the deferred medical. At the speed they work, that will save you months. That alone is worth the consultation fee in my opinion, or you can get deferred, then wait 2 months for the FAA to request that very paperwork.

Good luck

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That’s a good point and idea that I didn’t even think of. I guess the little bit of information I was able to find were from people who didn’t know of their issue until after getting deferred. It sounds like the consultation with an AME will be my next move.

Thanks for the info!


I would absolutely set up a consultation with an AME.

I do want to encourage you to think about one thing. Let’s say you get the SODA and everything is great, then your vision decreases in your right eye to 20/25 (corrected). If you do not have 20/20 in one eye, you will not be able to obtain a first class medical at all, regardless of the SODA. I am not trying to instill fear here, just wanted to point out that you will be basing your entire career on your one eye remaining healthy. Now to an extant, we all do this, we only have one heart, one brain, etc, just something for you to think about.



AME consultation is first step to get the ball rolling.

You can NOT Solo an airplane until you have a medical. So this will hinder you regardless of what flight school you are at. Don’t want to fly 20-30hrs and then have to wait 3months for FAA to Solo.
(One work around: you can fly gliders without a medical and many Glider hours can count towards a PPL in aircraft. I’m not an expert on this so consult a glider school).

I agree with what @Chris said about eye sight. I just wanted to ask/clarify if the standard is one eye must be “correctable to 20/20”?

Best of luck,
Chris F

My understanding is that one eye must be correctable to 20/20, but as always, consult with an AME.

Hey Everyone,

Mild update:

I’ve reached out to a few AME’s in my area (Green Bay) with little luck getting a consultation. Of the few I was able to get ahold of, all stated they don’t do consultations. I was given the email’s of the doctors so I’ve reached out to them individually to see if it is something they’d be willing to do. Not much else to update on that matter.

My admissions flight was also pushed back to this coming weekend because of maintenance issues, so I still have that to look forward to!

Side note, has anyone heard of a temporary medical license so that you can start classes? In another group, a member made the following comment:

“I got a SODA for amblyopia a few years ago. If you have never flown before, they will do an evaluation and grant you a temporary medical so you can do your training. At the end of my PPL training, I did a flight exam with an FAA examiner and got the green light.”

In response to @Chris & @Cforero7
Thank you for pointing that out, it is definitely something I’ve been considering, and something I haven’t taken lightly. Starting off with only one 20/20 eye presents it’s risks, but its one I’m ultimately willing to take for this career. My last eye exam was in 2011, and my vision hasn’t changed since then.

Keep the advice, comments and concerns coming! I appreciate everyones input!



I can assure you that the first thing the FAA will ask for is a copy of your most recent eye exam, 2011 is not going to cut it. I would schedule a full workup with an eye doctor.



Got that done last week as I had the same exact thought. Just picked up my new prescriptions today. Already warned my doctor that she’ll probably have some paperwork fill out. I believe it’ll be the 8500-7 form, but I’m sure the AME will tell me exactly what I’ll need.


Make sure to ask your AME if it has to be done by an Ophthalmologist or if an Optometrist can do it, sometimes the FAA cares, sometimes they do not.


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Hey Lady’s and Gent’s

Here for an update on my journey.

After multiple delays because of maintenance and our wonderful Midwest weather, I was finally able to hit the sky’s for my admissions flight! What a thrilling experience! I thought my first flight was fun, but this one was top notch. Emerson out of UES did an amazing job explaining everything and answering any of my questions. No issues with motion sickness either. Seeing the facility, meeting the CFI’s and current students just gets me more and more excited to start training. Best news is I received my acceptance letter from ATP the very next day.

I found a local AME and was lucky enough to schedule a consultation with him last week Thursday. I addressed my concerns about vision and we (unofficially) went through the entire vision portion and I passed with flying colors. This consultation was well worth any cost, which for me was $75. Very reasonable in my opinion. I scheduled my medical exam with him for the following week.

Fast forward to today, I went in for my exam and everything went smoothly, including the vision test. That is until the very end. An issue came up with my medical history that never crossed my mind, nor the AME during our consultation.

Early this year, prior to me being fully invested and devoted to becoming a pilot, I had a dr appointment and brought up my suspicion of possibly having ADHD. TikTok algorithm was showing me ADHD content every other video at that time :joy:. My doctor gave me a referral to see a specialist, and any of you who has gone through this recently, knows it’s nearly impossible to get in for a screening. I was told that the earliest I could see a specialist was late 2024. This just annoyed me and I didn’t care to peruse seeing a specialist as it wasn’t a big deal to me. I did do a little research and realized some of the issues I was having could be because of caffeine intake. At the time, and years prior I was a caffeine junkie. College full time with dual emphasis + honors college, 2 jobs + freelancing, I was drinking a pot of coffee every morning, pre workout before the gym and my drink of choice was on the weekends was vodka/redbull. I self diagnosed and cut caffeine out of my diet and put myself on a solid sleep schedule and have been doing great ever sense. Unfortunately because I was given that referral, it is still a red flag for the FAA.

The good news in this, is the FAA recently (last month I believe?) introduced The Fast Track ADHD Summary form for qualifying patients which my AME concluded I qualified for as I do not have a diagnosis nor have been prescribed any medication ever. There doesn’t seem to be much information in this new fast track form, but from my understanding I now have to see a PhD or PsyD psychologist or neuropsychologist and have them sign off. Once that’s complete and sent back to my AME, they’ll issue my 1st class medical immediately.

I am almost there! Hopefully only one more step until this is complete and I can schedule a start date! I just gotta keep reminding myself that things rarely go as planned, keep you head up, be patient and adapt to new obstacles.

~ Justin

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That is rather frustrating, but hopefully you can get it resolved soon. I am glad the admissions flight went well. Thanks for the update.


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I’m glad you had a great experience at UES, it’s always a pleasant to hear admissions flight experiences. Meeting with CFIs and students is so important, to see the culture of ATP first-hand.

A little bump in the road is not the end of the journey, when asked by the FAA for documentation, make sure you present them what they asked from you. Things will continue shortly, patience is a virtue and trust the process.


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The hard part is trying to get some doctors to understand what you need from them to provide the FAA. I’m currently in limbo because of some dry elbows (possible psoriasis but no definite diagnosis by doctors…that’s how “serious” it is…dry skin.


Did you take the exact letter from OKC in with your doctor, consult and ensure they understood it before going abouts the paperwork? I’ve seen a few individuals in the past that struggled reading the letters of the FAA because they tried to just tell their doctors what it was they needed, rather than take the official letter to the doctors as a referenced document. I told them, do not leave until all parties involved understood what they were asking, requesting and receiving.


AMAS is really helpful with these things. It’s free for airline pilots, not sure what they charge if you’re not but this is all they do.


I brought what the AME gave me. AME then submitted and then I got the letter from OKC. So I should schedule another doctor appointment and give him the letter?

In any case, I’m blown away that according to the FAA I’m taking a high risk medication (a topical cream and my doctor didn’t say anything about risks).

Thanks, I’ll get in contact with them. My AME was helpful explaining the situation but I’m finding it hard to communicate with my primary doctor.


Any time I discuss anything with a doctor, I always refer to the FAA’s medical database for approved medicine/care. Here’s a link to a database that I always cross-check with:

If you have a portal that allows you to communicate with your doctor, I would see about uploading and sending it over, showing them what exactly the FAA is asking of you.


Thanks. Great to have you guys to learn from.