Hurdles to get First Class medical certificate for new pilot

Hello All!
I am a 38 year old male with recent desires to begin flight school from zero time but have a history of alcohol/cannibus dependency that could affect getting the required first class medical certificate. I went to treatment for my addiction and completed 90 days of Inpatient/Outpatient and am now 18 months sober! During this time I was diagnosed with several mental health disorders (depression/anxiety/ocd) which have mostly subsided with abstaining from alcohol but I haven’t followed up with any professionals for current evaluations. I regularly attend AA meetings but did not think to document anything post treatment and am unsure if the FAA will see this as a red flag of sorts. In trying to shop for an AME exam the doctor said I should first get letters from my treatment but has not been able to get back to me regarding specific details what would be adequate for the FAA. So I’m kinda stuck not entirely knowing what will be needed to send to the FAA documenting my past. Should I instead go through the exam with an HIMS instead? Is it maybe to late in my life to pursue becoming a pilot with this history?

Any help is much appreciated. Also I don’t have any offenses due to my dependency other than losing a job before my treatment.



As far as age (that’s the easy one). I didn’t start till 39 and I’m a Capt at a Major airline now. While it’s not too late you do want to get cracking.

The bad news is the FAA does not like alcohol, cannabis, depression, anxiety or OCD. I would most definitely seek out a HIMS AME. They’re really the only ones who can advise you properly.


Thanks, Adam.
I have reached out to a couple of HIMS AMEs and hope to here something soon.


The FAA will not see your prior (and not too distant) history of alcohol and drug dependency as as a “red flag of sorts”, they will see it as a gigantic red flag that you very well might not be able to overcome.

Even if you were able to obtain the medical, I would have a hard time seeing an airline hiring you. There are just enough pilots out there without dependency issues that they do not need to take a risk on somebody that could end ups being a huge liability to them.

As always though, I recommend you consult with he hiring departments of several regional airlines and ask them about this.



Thanks, Chris. I appreciate the advise to talk to some regional HR department.