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Monday, November 19, 2012

Honesty Is The Best Policy

I get emails on a regular basis from people who have been on medications in the past, on meds now or who have had bouts of depression somewhere in their medical history. The wording varies from person to person, but the question is always the same. "Should I not reveal the truth about my depression when going to the FAA Medical Examiner when applying for my FAA Medical?"

My answer is simple. TELL THE TRUTH! Honesty is always the best policy. Some people are worried that if they tell the truth they will not be able to obtain the medical certificate. In some cases this may be true. It is going to vary from case to case depending upon the circumstances. If someone is denied the medical then that is what will have to happen for now. There are just far too many risks in not being honest.

There are a couple of big risks that a person will take by not being honest on the application. First, the application is a federal document. If it is not answered properly there could be huge legal ramifications to face. I do not think anyone wants to go to court facing federal criminal charges. Secondly, there are liability issues that could come to light for not being truthful. Let me give an example of what I am referring to regarding liability issues. Lets say that someone is taking medications that are not authorized by the FAA and does not reveal that on the application. These could be meds that do not affect the person's ability to operate an aircraft. If there was an accident, even if this person is not at fault, the fact that this person was on medications is going to surface. If there was anyone else injured in this accident the surviving family members of the pilot will be facing lawsuits. These liability issues would be the same for any falsification on the application, even if the person was not on meds.

I have gone over legal arguments as to why the form should be filled out honestly, now lets look at other reasons. It is always easier to back up the truth than it is a lie. Anytime someone lies they will have to tell another lie to back up the fist lie if they are caught. Where does it end? Telling the truth is the right thing to do.

Some people would argue that they will not be able to obtain their FAA Medical Certificate if they tell the truth. I say to them, "Then so be it." If you do not get your medical then you do not get your medical.

I know there are many people who have dreamed their entire lives of being a pilot. I am one of those people. I was faced with a very difficult decision in 2008 myself when I went on medications. I could not renew my medical and be grounded or I cold lie on the application. I chose not to fly. Was this a difficult decision? Yes and no. Yes because I knew I would be out of a job. I was a pilot by profession. Losing my medical meant I would be unemployed. Also, I loved flying and I would no longer be able to fly.

On the other hand this was an easy decision for me because it was the right thing to do. My integrity is worth far more to me than any job or flying. I could bear being grounded and unemployed. But it would be unbearable to lose the respect of my wife and others who see me as an honest man.

Keep an eye on the sky!
Collin Hughes
The Prozac Pilot

Location:Farm Rd,Las Vegas,United States

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Farewell To Those Who Are Gone

It has been far too long since I have posted anything on my blog. However, I do not look forward to writing this post today. This is not an easy post to write because I was impressed to do so after hearing about the passing of a young man who took his own life. I did not know this young man. I only noticed the news of his passing due to a Facebook friend of mine posted something on this young man's wall, which showed up in my newsfeed.

Out of curiosity I looked at this young man's Facebook account. His name was Jack-Jack Williams. I am guessing that Jack -Jack might be a nickname given to him by friends or family. Jack Jack and I shared a common interest. We both have a love for the sport of rodeo. He has some pretty good pictures of him riding bulls. That is something I did in my younger days as well.

I am not sure why I feel compelled to write about the passing of Jack Jack. Possibly because of a comment by a young lady who seems to be very close to him. She posted something blaming herself for his death. My heart went out to this young lady. I guess I just want her and others like her who might find themselves in a similar situation that it is never anyone's fault in this type of situation.

Often times we never know why a person commits suicide. But it is never the fault of anyone close to that person. When a person gets to the point that they are willing to take their own life they feel there is no other way to escape what ever it is that is troubling them. Everyone has troubles in their lives. Some people just deal with problems better than others.

Sometimes people who are ready to take their own lives do show behaviors that could give suspicion that something is wrong. However, if you are not trained to know these signs you would not know what the person is planning.

Suicide is a permanent solution to temporary problems. The people who truly suffer are the ones that are left behind after a loved one is gone. Many questions go through the minds of the loved ones. People will question if they had been there more for that person or paid more attention to that person when he or she needed attention. But if someone is in a deep enough state of depression that he or she is ready to end it all, there is nothing that anyone could have done unless they had direct knowledge of the upcoming event. The only way it could be stopped is to have that person committed to the hospital if you knew there was a plan in place.

Even if someone close to you is determined to commit suicide and you get them help, there is no saying that the plans will not be carried out at a later date. Sometimes too it is someone that you would never expect to take their own life. I knew someone I graduated high school with that was one of the most positive people I can remember during school who took his own life a few years ago. Kevin was active in sports. He went to the Iowa state finals wrestling tournament. He went on to college and graduated with honors. He had a family and was successful in his career. Kevin had all the things going in life that many people just dream of. But for some reason he took his own life.

I mourn for the people who knew Jack Jack. I am sad that they will spend time wondering what they could have done to save his life. I wish I could be there to comfort them. I wish I knew the exact words to tell them that it is NOT their fault.

The best thing I can tell those close to Jack Jack at this time is to remember his life and honor his memory with your love. Talk to each other of fun times you shared with him. Talk about fond memories that you cherish. Any attempt to blame yourselves will only make this time more difficult for you. But I also plead with you to not handle your pain alone. Reach out and get professional help. I know in the rodeo world we use terms like "cowboy up" or "be tough." But sometimes to follow those old cowboy adages also means knowing when to get help.

My thoughts and prayers are with those who loved Jack Jack Williams. I hope you can find peace in your hearts soon after this tragic event. Remember him. Honor him. And keep him in your heart always. My faith teaches me that you will have the opportunity to see him again in the next life. But please just do not try to rush that reunion.

Keep an eye on the sky!
Collin Hughes
The Prozac Pilot