HERE ARE SOME FREQUENTLY ASKED
QUESTIONS THAT WE HAVE ANSWERED IN THE PAST. IF YOU HAVE A
QUESTION THAT IS NOT ADDRESSED HERE DO NOT HESITATE TO CONTACT THE
EDITOR OF THIS WEBSITE. IF WE CANNOT ANSWER YOUR QUESTION WE WILL
DIRECT YOU TO SOMEONE WHO WILL.
1. I am a licensed pilot and just
DUI/DWI. Do I have to notify the FAA and if so how do I go
about doing that and what do I tell them?
have two separate reporting requirements; one pertaining to your part
61 license 14 CFR 61.15(e) and the second on your application for medical
certificate, FAA Form 8500-8.
FAA regulations, 14 CFR 61.15(e), you are required to notify the FAA
Security & Investigations Division within 60 days of any "motor vehicle
action" (MVA) resulting from an alcohol or drug related offense. A MVA is
defined as a suspension or revocation of a driver’s license and commonly
referenced as an Administrative Action. Subsequently, a second report
must be submitted if "convicted" at a later date of this incident. Please
refer to the
REFERENCE tab of this website and click
on "FAA Airman DUI/DWI Program" for further details.
An airman also
has a reporting requirement on their medical application, see question 18v
on your FAA Form 8500-8, which include disclosing the following information:
(1) an alcohol related arrest and/or conviction (2) History of arrest,
conviction or administrative action that resulted in denial, suspension,
cancellation, revocation of your driving privileges or resulted in
attendance at an educational or rehabilitation program. Please note (2)
above is NOT limited to alcohol related MVA’s, you must report any MVA that
results in the actions listed above.
New: The FAA has adopted a new DUI/DWI policy.
to read the details.
2. I have heard of the HIMS program.
What is it?
The HIMS (Human Intervention & Motivation
Study) program was developed by the FAA, the Airlines and the airline unions
to assist a Part 121 pilot back to the cockpit upon successful completion of
rehabilitation, usually in less than one year. For a complete
explanation of this program, refer to the
REFERENCE tab of this website where you
will find several topics in this area.
3. I am a corporate pilot.
Can I participate in the HIMS program?
Although the HIMS program was developed
initially for Part 121 Airline Pilots, some corporations are warming to this
program and utilize it. The
REFERENCE tab has an article on this
4. I am a military pilot.
Can I belong to Birds of a Feather and will it benefit me?
As stated on our
HOME page, Birds of a Feather is for all
pilots and cockpit crewmembers, whether airline, corporate, private or
military. You will certainly benefit from participating in Birds of a
Feather meetings. There is an excellent selection for your Flight
Surgeon to read on our
5. As a doctor reading this
website, is there a way I can refer a patient to Birds of a Feather?
Yes, we have prepared a one page "notice"
that you can print out on your computer and place in your office in a
convenient location for your patients to see. Click
HERE to access
6. How can I get involved with
Birds of a Feather?
Click on the tab
NESTS AND CONTACTS on this website to see
if there is a Birds of a Feather "Nest" in your area. If so, you can
contact them to see about their meetings. If there are no nests in
your city, the BirdWord has a listing of "Solo" Birds in cities where there
are no regularly scheduled meetings.
7. What is the BirdWord?
BirdWord is our quarterly newsletter that
can be delivered via hardcopy or electronically. It consists of
articles, stories, vignettes, letters to the editor, notices and a complete
listing of all nests and solo birds worldwide. Check out the
BIRDWORD tab of this
website for more info and subscription information.
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8. Does Birds of a Feather have an
Internet Chat Room?
Birds of a Feather does not have an
internet "chat room" per se but we do have a private group email program
called The NetNest that you may join to ask questions or share your
experience, strength and hope . If you are interested please "qualify"
9. I am a female pilot. Can
you refer me to some information for women only?
section of this website is an excellent article by a woman pilot that you
may find interesting.
10. There is no nest in my area.
Can I start a Birds of a Feather meeting?
Of course. All you need for a meeting
is at least two people and a regularly scheduled meeting time and place.
We have sample meeting formats and statements of intent that you can tailor
to your group. Contact any of the
TRUSTED SERVANTS or the
this website and we will get you started.
11. I am a member of a Nest that
is listed on this site and I would like to make a special announcement about
our nest. Can you help?
Contact the website
and we will post your message on your nest's page as a NestNote.
To see a typical NestNote, go to
NESTS & CONTACTS and click on one of the
bold, blue nest names.
12. Are there any Birds of a
Feather nests outside of the United States?
Yes. If you will click on the
NESTS & CONTACTS
page you will see that there are several nests in Canada, a nest in Dublin,
and a nest listed for the United Kingdom. You will also notice that
there are several "solo birds" in other countries.
13. What are "solo birds"?
Solo birds are pilots in recovery in a city
or location where there are no regularly scheduled nest meetings. They
have made themselves available for you to call should you be in that
particular location and would like to chat or have a meeting. Consult
the BIRDWORD or
the NESTS & CONTACTS
page for listings of solo birds.
14. What is "Operation Safe
Pilot" and how will it change FAA Form 8500-8 Pilot's Medical
As a result of Operation Safe Pilot
(a effort by the DOT and the Social Security Administration to determine
whether or not there were people who were fraudulently collecting social
security disability benefits by falsifying their FAA medical applications)
changes will occur to the questions of the FAA Form 8500-8. Check with
your AME during your next FAA physical to see if the new changes have
15. I am a private pilot but lost
my medical due to an alcohol related incident. Can I get my medical
back and continue to fly?
Refer to FAR 67.107, Subparts B,
C and D. There you will find that the mental standards for an FAA
medical certificate are based on no established medical history or clinical
diagnosis of "substance abuse". Without knowing what your particular
situation is, you can attempt to gain back your medical certificate by
proving that you have sustained total abstinence from the "substance" for
not less than two years. With the assistance of your AME
and the proper documentation, you can re-apply. Having attended
rehabilitation for substance abuse is helpful. Part 121 pilots can
shorten the two year period by entering the FAA approved HIMS program.
See question #2 above. Currently there is no officially established
FAA program for non-Part 121 pilots to shorten the two year waiting
period, however there are some AME's that are utilizing the concept of the
HIMS in treating private pilots.
16. I am a flight attendant.
Can I attend Birds of a Feather Meetings?
Although Birds of a Feather was established
to assist troubled pilots and other cockpit crewmembers (see Birds of a
Feather Statement of Intent on our
home page) some nests
do allow flight attendants and other aviation personnel. This is a
matter of the group conscience of each individual nest. Please contact
the nest you are interested in to see if flight attendants are welcome to
attend. To read a story about a flight attendant in recovery click here.
Also, please see question #26 below.
17. I have some medical questions
that I would like answered that you may not be able to help me with.
Can you refer me to an appropriate link?
Yes. If you will go to our
REFERENCE page and
access the link for Virtual Flight Surgeons, you will
find an excellent website that will answer all of your questions or refer
you to someone who can.
18. Can you refer me to a source
to make sure I am filling out my FAA physical exam form correctly?
If you are worried that your
last few visits to the Doctor about those extra inches that have appeared
around your waist or that unpronouncable drug the doctor made you take for
your tennis elbow could cause a problem at your next FAA physical, then
check out the excellent "Turbomedical " interactive medical form on the AOPA
website. Here you can fill out an actual FAA medical application form
before your next FAA physical and the interactive application will advise
you if something you have entered is incorrect or may raise a red flag with
the FAA Medical Department. Go to
I have been sober several years now through a 12 step program and have never
been through treatment. Do I have to check the "alcohol
dependence" box on the 8500-8 FAA form when I go in for my medical?
If you have not been
professionally diagnosed with alcoholism you DO NOT have to check the
alcohol dependence box on the 8500-8 form.
there any information that can be downloaded to aid in the educati0n about
alcoholism as it effects pilots?
Yes. There is a pdf
document which can be downloaded, printed on both sides of a sheet of paper
and folded into a pamphlet. This pamphlet was designed to provide a
non-confrontational way to encourage pilots to assess their own potential
for alcoholism. Click
HERE to download the pamphlet.
would like to share with the website an interesting article I read that is
pertinent to our recovery as pilots. Can I post it on the website?
Yes. Please submit
your article or comment to the
EDITOR and he will see that it is placed on
the Website Editor's page.
am in need of a HIMS qualified Independent Medical Sponsor (IMS). How can I find one
that is close to me?
Access this link from the
website for the closest IMS to you:
and click on "updates to this list"
am looking for any BOAF members involved with HIMS that would be willing to help with
questions about my SI and airline applications/interviews. For example: a
recent application I was working on asked about class medical and any
waivers. It's obvious the airline will know about my SI by looking at my
medical, but is an SI considered a waiver? A waiver suggests a permanent
condition on the medical. Any help would be greatly appreciated.
www.leftseat.com has information on
substance abuse and how the FAA treats that issue plus additional
information on obtaining a special issuance. Be sure to access the
large drop down menu on the home page for specific topics.
I have a special issuance medical. Do I have to carry on my person the
special issuance letter that was issued to me by the FAA every time that I
Starting July 20, 2012 pilots who have a medical
certificate with a special issuance authorization will
no longer need to carry the separate authorization
letter with them in the aircraft. It’s a
small change in the regulations, but it’s designed
to ease the document-carrying requirement for the 28,000
pilots who already endure the extra burden and expense
of obtaining a special issuance.
“The FAA continues to receive complaints from affected
U.S. pilots that the full force of the requirement is
overly burdensome as well as invasive,” the agency wrote
in its explanation of why it is rescinding the
requirement to carry the letter of authorization.
The requirement to carry the letter of
authorization with the special issuance medical
certificate went into effect in 2008 after
the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO)
cited the FAA in a 2007 audit regarding its endorsements
of certificates. The FAA’s response to come into
compliance with ICAO standards was to require pilots
flying with a special issuance medical certificate to
also carry their letter of authorization, which
“provides information regarding conditions affected
individuals must meet in order to exercise pilot
privileges.” Individuals would need to produce both the
medical certificate and the letter of authorization if
requested by civil aviation authorities.
In 2010, the FAA informed ICAO that it
wanted to remove the requirement and received no
objection. After three years of the requirement being in
effect, the FAA says it has not learned of any pilots
being requested to produce the documentation. Because of
that, and no objection from ICAO, the FAA is removing
After July 20, 2012 special issuance medical
certificates will no longer carry the “Note” section
under “Conditions of Use,” but pilots who currently have
a special issuance medical certificate with the notation
will not be required to obtain a new one. It can be
replaced at the time of the normal special issuance
The FAA is accepting comments on this final rule
through May 21, 2012;
comments can be submitted online and should identify
“Docket Number FAA-2012-0056.”
I would like to get help but have limited funds for
treatment. Is there an organization or service
that can assist me financially?
By Dana A.
AFF is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization created to help our aviation
community with financial assistance for chemical addictions. For the
past thirteen years, I have had the amazing opportunity to help pilots
and other aviation community members with addiction issues. During this
time, I have seen tremendous success in specifically geared programs and
witnessed incredible human transformation that comes with sobriety.
Being directly involved with most of U.S. airlines and several
corporations, I have learned that no matter how great our chemical
dependency health coverage is, as a society, we still have a long way to
go. For those with no insurance, it’s almost impossible to go through
the process without major financial woes.
As we mention in the website, this is not a free ride, but rather,
financial assistance to compensate for the exorbitant fees incurred
above and beyond medical and behavioral insurance coverage. In other
words, we are here to assist the sobriety-committed individual with
financial help. We have abundant resources throughout the world, and
that’s what we are counting on to provide the financial assets we need
to “pay it forward.” We are in the process of planning a number of
fund-raising events after the holidays and will post the information on
our website, and also on our Facebook page.
Please go to www.aviationfamilyfund.org
and read more about what we do. I encourage you to donate to our cause
and help us to help our brothers and sisters in the aviation community.
Your site is for
pilots and cockpit crewmembers. Can you tell me
how to receive information on recovery issues involving
have linked our site with that of FADAP, the Flight
Attendants Drug and Alcohol Program website. They
can be accessed at
More questions coming
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SEND THE WEBSITE
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article/comments/information to the
website editor and he will see if it would
be appropriate to post on the
Letters to the Editor page.
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