This is my story:

Five years ago I had the Mitro valve in my heart repaired (repaired not replaced). According to the FAA regulation this should not exclude me from receiving a third class medical ticket. BUT..

26 months ago I started flight school, and filled out the required forms for a third class medical clearance.

This is the series of events that have taken place that I have tried to deal with.

7 months after submitting the application for a third class medical ticket  I "finally" got a response back from the FAA.

Since I now have to take a blood thinner because of the mitro valve repair they were requesting a series of test I guess to prove I was still healthy. They wanted a stress test, with EKG tape, 24 hr. heart monitor report, heart sonogram, full blood panel etc. all of which are not covered by my health insurance. 

So I made all the appointments paid the bills and got the test done. Gathered all the information together and submitted it to the FAA AME thinking everything would be ok now. And I waited and waited.

8 months later I got a response back from the FAA, they would not issue a third class medical until I did a further series of test.

They now wanted A report from the original surgeon who did the valve repair and his evaluation A new stress test, a sleep study for possible apnea, another EKG etc.

So again I made all the arrangements gathered all the information ( this is difficult as doctors do not have the time to do these kind of things).

8 months later I got a response back. They would not issue the medical ticket because I had exceeded the time to submit the requested information. They said I would have to also redo most of the test plus a new sleep study and if the doctor  prescribed the use of a CPAP machine a record of 12 months use of the CPAP machine during sleep etc. My doctor never said anything about a CPAP machine.


My response to them was that there incredibly slow response to me was the reason that I could not meet their specified response times. Its not easy to schedule appointments and get the required test done and information collected in there time frame. I also said they are not  my doctor the information an test requested is not something they should even be involved with, these decision should be between me and my doctor and not the FAA. Its obvious they are putting up as many road blocks as possible hoping I will just give up and go away. 

So this is my dilemma:

I can try for a sport pilot ticked. I think this is possible since I was not denied a third class medical ticket they just never granted it. Now I have talked to several people at the FAA and got a dozen different answers on this question. 

The other problem with trying for a sport pilot rating it there doesn't seem to be anyone that offers this taring anymore. I thought this was the next big thing in aviation to get more people  in the air.

So if anyone has a suggestion as to how to overcome these problem or who can point me in the right direction for a flight school in a doable distance (in central Ohio) it would be greatly appreciated..


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I hate to say it but I believe that because you started this process you either have to finish is successfully or you will be automatically denied for non-compliance. You cannot just stop in the middle of the process.

If you do stop in the middle of it, the automatic denial will mean that the sport pilot track is no longer an option. 

You might want to read the hundreds of comments posted on Pilots of America (POA) forum regarding this.

You can try to reach out to Dr. Bruce Chien who is an expert on FAA medical applications. You can easily find his contact info on POA.

I wish you luck.


hi van,

    Wow we all feel for you. your story is not unique, but more so typical. the third class and above medical certs have a serial

number. when a doctor(ame) starts one he has to submit it even if you fail. basic med would have been a better choice,

if you fail your doctor reports nothing to the faa. did you hold a third class med before? and recently? if you are ever denied,

revoked, suspended  a medical, class 1-3, then you cannot use sport pilot. most likely your class 3 application will be marked as denied. i was in atc 38 yrs , holding a class 2 faa cert. we had to go once a yr. my best advice to anyone is 

have a reg seperate doctor, and then the ame. also not advocating lying, but best to shut up and dont offer anymore than absolutely necessary to pass. otherwise pandoras box will open, you will become lost in the bowels of CAMI, FAA,

the civil aviation medical institute, on the faa site on OKC, will rogers world airport. 

Sport Pilot and then BasicMed were supposed to fix this mess for us Sunday flyers, but Oklahoma City just won't let go and medical certification is still a mess for students.

The only good outcomes I've read about from folks in your predicament are when they got the EAA or AOPA legal/medical staff involved. If you're not already a member of one of those organizations, you might consider joining and taking advantage of that member service. With the EAA the assistance is provided by volunteers with expertise in medical certification and is part of membership; with AOPA there's an extra fee for the 'Pilot Protection Program' or whatever it is, but it's more comprehensive.

Once you have that 3rd Class, you can get your training, let the medical expire, and then (for us Zenith flyers at least) go Sport Pilot or BasicMed and hopefully never have to deal with the FAA Aeromedical branch ever again.

I feel your pain...literally. Aortic valve replacement Feb. 2020 to correct a birth defect. Passed Pilot Class 3 Medical Feb. 2021. It took Transport Canada 15 months and 4 additional tests before I received my Class 3 Medical Unrestricted. Drove me crazy looking at my plane sitting in a hangar while they "worked from home" to clear a mountain of a backlog.

I will join the chorus of symptathy. I am 74 now. Dealing with the insane paper mill of the FAA medical types is maddening, frustrating, infuriating and expensive. I am now retired after 38 years of flying for a living and currently fly under Basic Med. It is wonderful. While I was still working (and was getting less young) I had a decade or so where I needed a special issuance medical due to some harmless older gentleman problems. I was lucky and made it to the end of my professional flying days with medical still in pocket. I have not been back to an FAA doctor since and am happy for it.

As far as your situation goes -- get professional help and get it fast. At the very least you need to bring in the headquarters staff experts at EAA and/or AOPA. Probably you should pay up and hire a medical consultant who knows all the hoops and how to jump through them. The cost of the paid expert will be far less than all the needless and expensive tests the paper pushers at FAA will make you take.

Once you make it to the other end of the maze and have a valid third class medical, go over to light sport or basic med and never see an FAA doc again. Good luck.

Oh - I agree with the folks who say you are committed at this point. You started the ball rolling with the FAA on an exam, it needs to either get granted or denied, they do not just fade away somehow, it is a live document. Good luck.

One final option would be Part 103 legal untra light aircraft. They are, by definition, very limited little planes but you can go flying in them legally without the involvement of any FAA licensed mechanics, instructors or doctors. That is my longer term plan for when I no longer desire to fly "real" airplanes but still want to go up for a sunset flight or an airborne tour of the neighborhood at times.


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