Will migraines 7 years ago preclude my entry??

Discussion in 'Health & Fitness' started by BenjaminCon, Dec 1, 2015.

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  1. Okay so I'm getting a little worried.
    I'm applying for the role of pilot, I had my medical back in July and everything was physically fine with me but I (stupidly) told Capita that I had migraines when I was about 10. Also I broke my wrist in 2008.
    Anyway here's the deal, after countless visits to the GP, paying ££ for old doctors reports, five months of stress and two "paper reviews" (each time Capita requested MORE information - I'm sure I don't need to stress how useless they are) Capita failed to reach a decision and passed my case onto the "Service Occupational Health Manager". He had my case file for about a month, but I finally got a call from my AFCO today saying he has passed my case back to Capita and I need to go in on December 12th to get the "decision"... Ominous I know.
    I'm worried because why wouldn't they just tell me the results over the phone?
    And also, how much do people know about the likely hood of a migraine 7 years ago precluding my entry? It says in one set of guidence notes "within the last two years" but the other (more updated) version says "severe or recurrent headaches" would stop you joining. or maybe I'm interpreting it wrong.
    If anyone has any knowledge or experience on migraines and medical standards please get back to me, I need to put my mind at rest.
  2. Ninja_Stoker

    Ninja_Stoker War Hero Moderator

    For most branches, it would not be an issue, once the two years have elapsed but because aircrew are one of the most expensive people we train, they apply the standards even more stringently to minimise risk.

    The issue, I suspect, is recurrence and whilst you may think it stupid to be honest, there is an issue regarding integrity and the fact that any undisclosed medical condition later found to recur would lead to disciplinary issues and dismissal. Capita, for all their perceived faults, only act in compliance with the contract they are awarded - the service decides the medical standards, not Capita.

    On another "cheery note", in my experience, candidates who go on to pass the AFCO medical examination, then take FATs have about a 10% pass rate. 50% of those that pass FATs fail the Initial Aviation Medical Examination (IAME) conducted by the RAF. On a positive note, the other half pass but the fact someone passes the AFCO medical certainly bears no relevance to the individual passing IAME.
  3. Hi thank you for your quick response, appreciated.
    Does this two year rule still apply then? Because on the current guidlines it says nothing about a two year period with regards to migraines.
    Theres also nothing specific that says you can't apply to be a pilot if you had migraines when you were a child, do you think this will definitely be a problem come my IAME? Surely they would just tell me now rather than letting me go through sift interviews and FATs!
  4. Ninja_Stoker

    Ninja_Stoker War Hero Moderator

    The AFCO medical examination tends to be fairly generic, only altering the acceptable parameters with regard eyesight standards, colour perception & hearing in relation to the branch.

    The aviation medical is extremely stringent and is unfortunately a law unto itself. The problem is that the majority of people walking into an AFCO want to be a pilot, even the Chefs. They can afford to be picky.

    The AFCO medical standards with regard migraine are here, starting at paragraph 4G-05: http://www.arrse.co.uk/community/attachments/148209/

    For aviation medicine, you'd need to talk to a service specialist, but my guess is the delays incurred may well relate to screening prior to the IAME.
  5. Judging by that info I should be fine then, I haven't had a migraine in over 7 years.
    As for the aircrew medical, I guess I'll just have to wait until the time comes, and hope they don't flag it up as a fail.

    Thanks a lot for your help
  6. Ninja_Stoker

    Ninja_Stoker War Hero Moderator

    No worries, best of luck.

    There are a lot of hurdles to clear to become a pilot and there will be more along the way, but hopefully, by researching what lies ahead at each stage, you are best prepared to succeed. You need to be resolutely determined, even Douglas Bader had snags rejoining the RAF ;)
  7. Hey,


    So I passed my CAPITA (initial) medical finally last month. I was passed fit for "general service" with "AircrewMed to decide if fit for aircrew". So basically I think I'm going to have to go through the whole process, (hopefully) pass everything to then have the chance of it all being ripped from under me at the final stage. Which seems incredibly daft and a huge waste of everyone's time. I don't see any logic in it really. But what it does tell me is there is a chance they'll waiver it or they would have given me a definite decline me for aircrew at this stage. I think I'll have to wait and see. But its always in the back of my mind that all this effort could be for nothing.

    To give myself the best chance going into the medical I'm going to get in touch with the doctor who diagnosed me with a migraine 9 years ago and ask him to reassess with the possibility it was a misdiagnosis - maybe just a common headache (which I'm sure to this day it was, I just can't prove it) tough ask but its worth a try.

    I haven't had a migraine or even a headache in over 9 years now and my records are clear. As I said I know myself it wasn't a migraine when I went to the doctors in 2005, I was just a boy over reacting and trying to get the day of school; massively regretting it now...

    Since my last post I have passed my Fitness test and SIFT Interview. Dates should soon arrive for FATs and AIB.

    • Like Like x 1
  8. Easy Tiger :p

    Some of us are good enough to do both! :)
    • Like Like x 1
  9. Ninja_Stoker

    Ninja_Stoker War Hero Moderator

    Good news so far.

    If it wasn't migraine, it must've been a corker of a headache to warrant one or more trips to see a GP for treatment.

    On the positive side, if you are knocked back after passing FATs but failing IAME, at least you know you have other available career options.

    Good luck.
  10. I really don't think it's going to be a problem. A mate of mine had Meningitis before he joined as a pilot and he passed....that's one hell of a headache. The docs are looking for things are are going to cause difficulty when you're by yourself in the air, so it's normally things that are not 'one-offs'. Repetitive headaches, let alone migraines, would be a problem but one migraine attack 7-8 years ago, I think, is not going to be a snag. Don't forget that you'll be undergoing an EEG (flashing strobes at you while your head is covered in a hairnet of detection wires) and the boffins will be able to see from that whether your brain doesn't like things that will prevent you from becoming a pilot. The other thing to note is that it is done, so draw a line under it and move on. Don't pester the doc about misdiagnosis; (a)it probably was diagnosed properly (b)you'll just piss of the quack (c)you're drawing more and more attention to a non-event (d)as a result of (c) they might do more checks and you might not like the result. My advice would be (1) shut up about it and, if asked, treat it as the singular event it was and stress there's been no repetition of the migraine and (2)concentrate on the things you can do something about: keep fit and make your ticker happy, stay off the piss and keep your liver happy, don't bombard your ears with noise because damaged lug holes never recover, avoid watching TV late into the night, or reading in dim light a couple of night before the medical to make sure your peepers are not strained. There's not a lot else you can do, apart from avoiding annoying the scab lifter by questioning his previous opinion......like he's going to change his mind and suddenly recall 7-8 years later that he meant to write 'headache' and not 'migraine'.
    • Like Like x 1
  11. There's a medical book on googlebooks written by one of the RAF aviation doctors, I can't remember the exact wording but migraine had, 'if an applicant has had a history or any indication of a Migraine, this can be a severely disabling for aircrew and as such they should be barred from aircrew duties'. The 2 year rule is normally for general duties ie non-aircrew.

    In all honesty, who knows what will happen. No point going to your doctor and saying 8 years ago you gave me a misdiagnosis, then two months later a request for a medical report comes in from the RAF/NAVY. Do you even know what your doctor had put down on your documents? Was it in the notes or in your medical history section so you have been 'coded'?
    I think if the Avaition Specialists are in doubt, they will refer you onto an occupational specialist who will interview you and look over your medical docs.

  12. The lad is talking about aviation pilot, not a splash target pilot?
  13. Point taken, but surely if that was the case then i would have been given a firm "no" for aircrew at the general service medical? Makes me think it's done on a case by case basis rather than a blanket rule
  14. Ninja_Stoker

    Ninja_Stoker War Hero Moderator

    Not necessarily, the AFCO medical examiner works to JSP 950. Aircrew must meet the Warfare Officer medical standard for entry first - that's the most stringent for general service. Aviation medical standards are different & conducted by military medical officers. Aviation medicine & Diving medicine are two distinct specialist areas and AFCO Medical Examiners do not conduct the IAME or Diving medical.
  15. NS do hangovers count? saw the doc a few times with them, got no sympathy.
  16. Yes I understand that. But my medical was sent to a Single Service Occupational Health assessor by CAPITA, and he will of course have been aware of my branch choice. So if there was a definite "No exceptions" rule for migraines in aircrew he would have known this and declined it then and only passed me fit for general service. But he didn't, he has passed me fit for general service and left the pilot decision to the Aircrew medical; making me think its done case by case
  17. Benj
    Ninja has tried to inform you that you are joining a big machine you pass one hurdle then on to the next, take them all one at a time and do not make any assumptions as to the next phase, others above think you should be OK, stop stressing over what you have no control over and go with the flow.
  18. Good advice, that
  19. Funny you say that I know someone who walked into the AFCO wanting to be a rating. Upon examination of his qualifications the AFCO realized he was eligible to apply for Officer, which he did, at the medical stage it was discovered he had perfect vision so he was recommended to go for pilot which he did. He was subsequently selected to go in as a pilot and has since done two tours of Afghanistan :p
    Last edited: Mar 21, 2016
    • Informative Informative x 1
  20. Ninja_Stoker

    Ninja_Stoker War Hero Moderator

    A little true dit for the OP, leading-on from post #6 and the reference to one of my personal heroes, the late Sir Douglas Bader RAF, a fighter ace, whom I had the privilege to meet in 1976. If you have never read 'Reach for the Sky' by Paul Brickhill or seen the movie, the following probably means little.

    Bader, to me, is typical of fighter pilots - an unshakeable self-belief, someone who simply refused to take no for an answer. Most fighter pilots I've met have a 'never give up' streak.

    You may or may not be aware of his history pre-WW2 but basically, he lost both legs and his job as an RAF pilot in an air accident entirely of his own making. He successfully bullied his way back and re-joined early into WW2 and forged a distinguished career.

    Post war, he carried out a lot of charitable activities for disabled people, particularly for double amputees, of which he was a subject matter expert.

    My older brother was 16 and had a bad crash on his moped, nearly losing his leg, spending all of the scorching Summer of 76 in hospital as he recovered. I was 14. At the time he was in the ATC and we were both thoroughly versed in the second world war and the fighter aces. Obsessed, even.

    In the next bed to our kid, was a Police motorcycle cop who had been rammed into a brick wall by a car thief, losing both legs. A man mountain - known by his colleagues as Barry the Beast. The guy was understandably distraught, to the point he was pretty much suicidal.

    We then learned that Douglas Bader was coming to visit Barry. Unbelievable.

    We were completely in awe. The great man came to see him in hospital and gave him an almighty bollocking. My brother and I hung on to every profanity. Such was the effect that Bader instilled into Barry the will to not only live, but to believe anything was possible.

    He decided he was going to become the first ever legless Police motorcycle cop. Bader's message was never take no for an answer, a lesson my brother and I never ever forgot.

    Did Barry ever achieve his goal? Did he fuck ;)

    But at least he didn't top himself.
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