I shared with you back in Oh, The Grace And Ways Of God, that Jeffrey had always dreamed of becoming an airline pilot. He’d loved anything to do with airplanes as long as Gary and I could remember – as a matter of fact just sitting in an airport watching the planes land and take-off on the runways was to him one of the greatest ways to spend a day ever!
That was one of the reasons why Gary and I decided to let Jeffrey pursue his dream of attending ERAU in Prescott, Arizona, because that’s what the whole university was about – airplanes!!!
However I had also shared how my stomach started to sink a bit when we were told by one of the counselors at ERAU that in order to become a pilot Jeffrey would have to pass a special FAA medical exam.
Yes, of course that all made sense; it was just that I was worrying about all the “what ifs” that could happen. I just didn’t want my sweet boy to be hurt if they turned him down.
Well now that we had the whole guardianship/Power of Attorney thing figured out (Truckin’ Forward – One Step At A Time), it was time to start making some phone calls to find out how to get an FAA exam scheduled.
I called two different aviation medical examiners (AME’s) in Prescott – both who had been given to me by the university. One of them was out of the office for a few days so I just left a voicemail.
At the other office I was able to speak with the physician’s assistant at length.
I outlined Jeffrey and his disabilities, that he was going to be attending ERAU in the fall, and asked her opinion of just what needed to be done next as far as moving forward.
Her reply: “Don’t bother.”
I was crushed…
She told me because of Jeffrey’s disabilities we would have to get a “specialty medical exam” (neurological, ROM, orthopedics, etc.) before the doctor would even let us schedule an appointment with him.
Then, she went on, all the documentation would have to be sent to the FAA in Oklahoma before anything else could be done. I definitely got the feeling from her that she just didn’t feel like the efforts would go anywhere but down in the toilet.
I got off the phone, very distraught, and didn’t have the courage to tell Jeffrey about my conversation. I just hated the thought that his dream would now disappear.
Thankfully when I spoke with Gary about it later, he reminded me that “all” things are possible with God (Mark 10:27), not just “some.”
We decided to wait to tell Jeffrey the news for bit, to see if the other doctor’s office would call back.
Well he did call us back – personally!
Gary took the call, and found out that this particular doctor was considered one of the top AME’s of the FAA. Yes, we were impressed.
After explaining Jeffrey’s disabilities, the doctor told him that it was definitely an “unusual” circumstance, and was honest in telling Gary that in his opinion it probably would never work.
However, he did say that in the Prescott area where Jeffrey was going to attend college, there were actually 3 planes which were operated only by hand controls – and you didn’t even need to use 2 hands! He gave Gary the name of another top FAA official to call.
He also told Gary that even though Jeffrey would probably not be able to work for a large commercial airline as a pilot, there were certainly possibilities that he could work for some private ones.
As Gary ended the conversation, he told me later he felt very positive about the whole thing. The doctor had told Gary that the FAA was always working to expand and get into new things, so who knows?
I began to feel a gentle chastening within me. Why do I fail to remember just how great and powerful our Lord is?
The name of the Lord is a strong tower; the righteous run to it and are safe.
Proverbs 18:10 (NIV).