Real Answers from Real Pilots

My progress with a former ADHD diagnosis

I know that the consensus with the Mentors is to start as quickly as possible because the longer you wait, the more people get in front of you regarding seniority.

Unfortunately because I have a past diagnosis in my 30’s of ADHD and I was prescribed Adderall, I now get to spend this time working with a HIMS AME to get me to be able to fly.

For those with the diagnosis and those just curious here is what has happened with me and my progression.

  1. Found a local HIMS AME to start the process of getting qualified to fly. This particular AME, he/she is the quarterback and you need to pay attention and listen to what they have to say. the FAA treats the diagnosis as a mental disorder and if you were prescribed a stimulant you will be treated the same as an Airman that has a DUI or failed a drug test. Don’t be discouraged if this is truly what you want to do. In discussion with my AME he noted some flaws in the report the past psychologist did regarding my diagnosis. My next step was a referral to a Neuropsychologist for testing.
    Fee for HIMS AME: Retainer of $2500

  2. The day of your appointment with the Neuropsychologist you have to be well rested. The way they set this up was two batteries of tests. The first tests cost $1400 and if something came back on the first round I would have to undergo a second round of testing which would increase the cost to $2600. The first round was about 4 hours long and I also had to do a urinalysis while I was there. It consisted of cognitive and memory testing sitting in front of a computer. the second half was part computer, part in front of a live person conducting testing and then a 500+ questionnaire. I was then told that I do not have to take the second round of testing which was relief.
    Fee for Neuro testing $1400-$2600 and $36 for urinalysis.

  3. I received a response from my AME about a week later saying that I do not have ADHD and it looks like I am going to fly. My next in person appointment with my AME is on the 28th. I had to sign up with a company for random urinalysis, due to the Adderall prescription in the past, and I was referred to a HIMS Psychiatrist for the final interview and report before my AME starts putting everything together to send to the FAA. My appointment with the Psychiatrist is November 1st. Apparently he is on vacation for 3 weeks.
    Fee for Psychiatrist $1000, fee for Urinalysis setup $50, Fee per Urinalysis $190.

As you can see I have some money invested in getting me to the next point which is signing up with ATP for flight school. Fortunately I am self employed so I have a very flexible schedule so with my normal daily tasks I treat getting ready to start school as my job. I’m hitting the gym 4 days a week plus cardio and working through King Schools currently with the goal of getting as much written tests done. This is part of my job.

I do appreciate these boards, what people contribute and ask and also the mentors time in responding to posts. I figured that if I can help someone with a past diagnosis of ADHD that might be iffy then this might help. It turns out that I am really smart and just got board with school and past jobs.

Semper Fi



Thank you for sharing, I am sure there are many that will find this to be helpful.



This is quite the journey you are on. I appreciate the write up. The reality is, as you know, that these deferrals are time consuming and expensive. I know that you are not the only one though. I, myself, had to go through the deferral process. On behalf of everyone else that will read your story, thank you for explaining it so thoroughly.


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Thank you Tory. I meet with my HIMS AME next week Tuesday and I’ll update this post until the end, which hopefully leads to me starting flight school.


Thank you Chris!!

How did it go I’m looking for an HIMS AME right now

I forgot to update after my last HIMS AME meeting: I met with my HIMS AME September 28. Just a quick meeting to go over my tests. Apparently I am at par or above other pilots regarding pilot skills, nothing negative was seen. I was hoping that I’d be higher but then I realized that most pilots are smart people! :smile: Reminder that the HIMS AME charges these meetings against the retainer I had to pay. Not complaining, I have no issue paying for the service.

You have to think of the HIMS AME as the quarterback. So make sure that you do your research because they will be the ones writing the report to the FAA. They will also be the one referring you to other professionals for testing.

I am still in the middle of the process. My next step is the HIMS Psychiatrist November 1, so I am in a holding pattern until then. I just had to do another random drug test on Monday. When they give you notice you have that day to get it done. I’ll give an update after my zoom meeting with the Psychiatrist.

I will note that they, all the professionals, keep note of how you are dressed and your current state. So when you do finally start this process make sure you are presentable and hygienic, and go rested. Just my two cents.

I am almost done with Kings School and will start Gleim’s test prep here soon to knock out the written while I wait. It’s not a quick process so make sure that you are in it 100%, and start working on your written tests so that you feel like you are making progress and moving forward towards your goal.

last I’m attending the new ATP open house in Arlington TX tomorrow. I figure that it will help motivate me seeing the facility and the planes.

If you have any questions about what I am going through please don’t hesitate to reach out.



It was great meeting you today! Please keep us up to date as you go through the process. Thank you for coming out to the open house.


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It was also great meeting you at the open house. I know I still have some time before I am able to start but it was good to see the facility and meet some people from the board. I will update after my next appointment.

You also have me rethinking the path I want to take once I am able to get through training.


Just a quick update.

I’ve had an additional urinalysis last Tuesday. Cost was an additional $110.00

My HIMS AME contacted me to schedule an appointment the day after my HIMS Psychiatrist appointment. So November 1, HIMS Psychiatrist, November 2, HIMS AME. From what I am understanding this is the start of him putting everything together and getting it sent off to the FAA.

I will report back after my two appointments as to the status and what is happening next.

Hopefully we can get this moving forward so that I can schedule flight school.

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Good to hear, Thomas! You are spot on. After each appointment with a medical specialist they will write an analysis on the results. Those results will then be reviewed by your HIMS AME before being sent off to the FAA.

Best of luck! Don’t overthink the appointments.



Thank you for the update. Do not be surprised if this ends up taking many months for the FAA to review your case. The wheels of the FAA do not turn quickly.


Chris, I’m aware that they are slow. I’m about ready to sit for my PPL written and will keep working on getting all the testing completed since I have time.

Tory, I’m trying to not overthink, I’m just ready to stop bleeding money to achieve this goal and I feel that I’m getting close. I know it’s a process.

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Sounds like you’re doing all you can to get ahead in the meantime. Keep us updated with how things go.