Mental health issues

I was wondering if anyone has gone through the same situation as I’m in right now:

I currently have 0 flight hours and am only just dwelling into the possibility of maybe one day becoming an airline pilot (always been a dream of mine)

When I was in middle school I was treated for ADHD I took concerta and ended up stopping in 2014 ish because I didn’t see any further need for it.

I was also seeing a therapist for depression in highschool can’t remember the dates but it was over 6-7 years ago.
I admitted myself to the ER due to a suicidal ideation episode but havent felt like that since 2014.

I joined the army with no problems and got out 7 months ago.

I am a combat veteran and have claimed anxiety and ptsd with the VA but my claim is not fully developed nor do i have a diagnosis of either of them.

I have not taken any medication since highschool (6-7 years ago). What should my next steps be? I really want to pursue this career and I think this is truly where my heart lies.

Thanks. Any feedback is welcome.

if I can prove I’m in 100% healthy mental Health condition do I have a chance?

Not sure about other forms of mental illness, but for an ADHD diagnosis the AME would defer you and you would end up having to get a Nuero Cognitive test which can be pricey and isn’t covered under insurance. My best bet would be to go to the FAA site and call an AME that does first class medicals

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You say you have 0 flight hours. There’s little point spending money on AMEs and jumping through all the hoops the FAA may put you through because you think or even dream you want to be an airline pilot. Virtually everyone I’ve ever met thinks flying airplanes is cool, exciting etc but honestly until you’ve actually been up in a small plane with your hands on the controls.

Before you spend any more time speculating or wondering what may or may not be you need to go down to your local airport and take an intro flight or lesson. Good chance you’ll enjoy it but there’s also a good chance you won’t. Then you can decide if it’s really something worth pursuing.



Thank you for the quick reply to clarify, I took an intro flight lesson 4 years ago and loved every minute of it, I thought I mentioned that. I ended up joining the army instead. I “flew” for under an hour hence the 0 hours of flight time.


If that’s the case then you need to consult with an AME. Only they can tell you if and how you can obtain a First Class Medical. If you can you’re good to go, if you can’t you’re not.


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Do you need a 1st class medical for an intro flight?
I was planning on getting one ASAP, just to know nothing medically rules out my chances of doing this.
ATP states the below: Does this just mean that you assume that you can pass one?


You do not need a medical for an intro flight. Unless you have some issues that you believe will cause a denial I wouldn’t worry too much about it.




You might be in for an uphill battle with some of these mental health issues. Suicidal thoughts are a BIG deal to the FAA (and a lot of other institutions). Also, I am confused, you say you have claimed anxiety and PTSD, but that you do not have a diagnosis. The FAA will ask about any mental health issues. Not being diagnosed does not mean that they are not there. They must be real issues or you would not have claimed them.

I would expect the FAA to ask for a full psych eval, but I am no medical examiner. A FAA medical examiner will be able to answer your questions and steer you on your way through this process.


I have a buddy that is at an airline after seeing therapist back in the day for depression. This included medication.
He had to go to a special AME, do all those tests and needs a note from psychologist I believe every 6 months to keep 1st class medical. Yes it costs $$$$$.

  1. Make sure you are healthy and safe. That’s most important.

  2. Call/Buy AOPA premium membership. They have aviation Med lawyers that can give you an idea of what you’re up against. ( $$$ is only included if you’re a member before any legal issues btw).

  3. Don’t lie to the FAA. I believe last year some California pilots lost their license, were arrested and charged for not disclosing medical issues. Some were from military I believe.

That’s all the info I can give,