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On reflection my AME has just done me a favour

Earlier this week I had my annual inspection by my AME.
He turned up 15minutes late and had someone else to see before me, so by the time I got in I had been sitting in the waiting room for about an hour.
I handed over my dossier and the form which contains the same information as it did last year and the year before and the year before that and the year before … The only difference is the number of hours flown. Why the medical department want to know that beats me but it is a minor point.
There followed the usual exam. Blood pressure 120/70 , eye test ;good, peripheral vision; excellent, picking out circles on the same pattern background (I think it might be some kind of 3D test of vision but I have no idea.) excellent 4/4.
Next a book which had a load of dots on each page which hides a number in a different colour;(test for colour blindness) again excellent 10/10. Headphones on and different frequency sounds played whilst I held up my hand to say which ear I was hearing it in.
Now we return to my dossier which contains an EKG carried out by my cardiologist so the AME didn’t have to do one. No problem there, otherwise the cardiologist would have ordered further tests, the doppler was also carried out and a note from the cardiologist saying that she could find no reason why I couldn’t continue flying ,a doppler (echographie) of the carotid artery by a cardiologist who specialises in this area of the body. This doppler was something the AME ordered some years ago and the cardiologist has found no problem and I have it rechecked every 2 years which is quite enough according to the specialist. A letter from him was also enclosed.
Also, in the dossier was my annual blood test showing no anomolies and and LDL cholesterol level of 0.56. The way the UK measures, that is less than 2.
So okay, having passed the medical the AME decides what tests he wants for next year.
He wants all the same tests including the carotid doppler plus a scan.
I’m afraid I lost it. Why? Following a double by pass 10 years ago several specialsits have given me the all clear. There are no bits inside me like stents, balloons or pacemakers. My cardiologists argue that you wouldn’t keep having your leg scanned of it had well set after a break.
So I asked him why?
The answer is the same as I got on another thread on this forum. Well a cardiologist isn’t a specialist in aviation.
But why would that make any difference?
“There are lots of stresses in aviation”
Are there no stresses in driving a car or playing golf?
“Well yes but this is what the rules say”
With that he got out his rule book and read out the appropriate section.
“But that is for a Class 1 medical” says I.
“They are the same now except that professional pilots are tested every 6 months”
He went on to insist it was the same around the world. I argued this quoting many things I have learnt from Silvaire and others on this forum.
All to no avail.
“So what does these rulemakers know about my heart and arteries under stress that my cardiologists don’t know better.”
“Well the rulemakers are a committee of doctors who meet and study all the dossiers every few months. Many of them are ex military and have spent their lives studying their pilots.”
“That might be so I said but there is a great difference between the stress faced by a young fast jet pilot and me flying a Robin or a DA40 for pleasure.”
I realised that this was an argument I could not win and so paid my €80 shook his hand and left (with medical for another year).
It took a while for my stress levels to go down.
But afterwards and on reflection I have decided that he has actually done me a favour.
When I decided not to renew my MEP, MEIR and my SEIR I also decided to give the ULM a try.
I knew I was going to miss the twin and I found most certified SEPs a little dull. Sacriledge I know but I should clarify that by adding "with the type.of flying I enjoy and tend to do regularly these days.
I realised that the AME had made a decision for me as I wasn’t prepared to spend a whole lot of, as a Brit friend puts it “hours of my life that I would never get back” getting scans and dopplers that I didn’t want or need. I would of course continue with the regular checks from my GP and cardiologist.
As of next year I will not renew my medical. I can continue flying albeit only 2 up and day vfr only on a ULM..But for the same budget as the SEP I will be able to fly twice as much and I wont have to puff and pant trying to get a diesel engined aircraft up the slope back into the hangar whilst avoiding the gliders and other obstacles in there.
I will not be able to fly my ULM to Spain and I will have to consider whether or not I can fly to other European countries, should I so wish.
I will not be able to take more than 1 friend flying with me. But I rarely do that now.
I will not be able to fly that Cri Cri which I keep thinking of buying every time one comes up for sale. Or that RV6 or RV7 which I have been tempted by from the reports on this forum.
But a bit like Silvaire and his motorcycling I will get a new sense of freedom.
Many of my friends have already followed this route and most have never looked back with regret.
I still very much enjoyed Antonio ‘s trip to Norway and the Seneca across the pond even though I have never had any wish to do the same
In fact I have and will continue to enjoy all the trip write up on here. You don’t have to want to do enjoy reading about it.
Anyway writing this has been cathartic for me if not for others on here.🙂


Congratulations for having made such a clear decision after a clear analysis of what you really want and enjoy. I’m sure you’ll not regret it


Thanks europaxs. So far I have enjoyed all the ULMs I have tried.


Good choice @gallois . Flying is all about Freedom. How about flying to Spain with a flying mate who has a medical? Surely he’ll let you touch the controls once in a while

Private field, Mallorca, Spain

gallois wrote:

So okay, having passed the medical the AME decides what tests he wants for next year.

gallois wrote:

I will not be able to fly that Cri Cri which I keep thinking of buying every time one comes up for sale. Or that RV6 or RV7 which I have been tempted by from the reports on this forum.

Just to be sure. You can fly those with a LAPL. For a LAPL you only need LAPL medical. With a PPL or higher, you already have all LAPL privileges.

The elephant is the circulation

You are right not to put ego in your flying.

I would argue most PPL pilots have no case for a PPL and would be better off sticking to ULs.

You are very welcome in Maine et Loire with your UL

LFOU, France

gallois wrote:

So okay, having passed the medical the AME decides what tests he wants for next year.

That line jumped out at me from your post. I was shocked to see an AME deciding this year, what tests he needs you to have prearranged for next year!

I walk into my AME, and he does whatever he needs to do, there and then. I’ve never been asked to prearrange tests for next year.

I suppose it makes some sense in year one, two or perhaps three after the bypass. But 10 years later? Personally, without any medical knowledge, I find that a bit over the top.

If you are comfortable with your decision then great.

If not, an alternative might be to see another AME, or at least discuss your situation with another AME before giving it up. Perhaps another AME will not require all those tests.

Also, I think your class 2 downgrades to a LAPL for another period. So you probably can retain some of those privileges for longer than just 12 months.

EIWT Weston, Ireland

Nice and informative post @gallois, thanks for that.

Flying is all about Freedom.


ain't the Destination, but the Journey
LSZF, Switzerland

I think you’re going to be happier in your flying having made these decisions.

Good on you!


I find the tests you are required to have surprising. Do you have any way of getting a second opinion on their necessity? In the UK I think the CAA medical section would be the appropriate unit to contact.

EGPE, United Kingdom
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