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Below Knee Amputee Looking For Tc Medical Info


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I would appreciate any and all feedback regarding my personal situation in obtaining a TC Class 1 medical to start commercial helicopter training.


Following is info regarding myself. I am a 30 year old below knee amputee as the result of a birth defect, missing my right foot. I wear a prosthetic limb complete with ankle etc. In no way has this defect caused a hindrance in everyday life including driving cars , trucks , heavy equipment , motorbikes , sleds , golfing , skiing ,Junior Hockey , running , iron working , etc. I have recently retired from a 16 year Bull Riding career, including 7 years on the professional tours throughout North America with past rankings as high as the top ten in Canada and top 50 in the U.S.A.


I maintain myself in great physical condition with regular cardio and weight training workouts as well as various seasonal sports. On average I make 6-10 personal appearances at Children’s Hospitals, rehabilitation centres, colleges and universities to speak about physically challenged individuals reaching and surpassing their life’s goals and dreams, focusing more specifically on success in professional sports.


If any of you in the industry are aware of another individual that holds a Canadian Commercial Helicopter Licence that would resemble in any way my personal situation, I would like to hear about it. Also any information on the exam itself would be great.


For those of you that are instructors what are your personal thoughts regarding this matter?


Thanks you in advance for all posts! I certainly look forward to hearing some feedback. If there are any pilots in the Kelowna , B.C. area I would definitely enjoy meeting you in person and hearing some stories over a round of golf or a beer! :D


Email. Mtnthrasher@aol.com

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i actually heard that fonyo was living in abbotsford just the other day......


toro, amazing life you've lived til now. good luck on your quest :up:


personally, if you've been riding bulls for the last few years, i think you got what it takes to pass your class 1 medical.


jeepers, you're probably in better shape than 90% of us out there :D:D


here's a list of MOT doc's in your town that i got through a link on our website:




Aldous, H. Kelowna Canada (250) 861-6546 [info]

Enns, P.S. Kelowna Canada (250) 860-1622 [info]

Figurski, R.M. Kelowna Canada (250) 378-7546 [info]

Johnston, T.G. Kelowna Canada (250) 860-5811 [info]

McIntosh, J.K. Kelowna Canada (250) 763-6922 [info]

Nash, L.W. Kelowna Canada (250) 765-9777 [info]

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I was not aware that Fonyo flew helicopters :huh: Last I heard of him he was up on charges for his 2nd or 3rd impaired and was not even allowed to drive. Scary to think he is flying with his past track record :wacko:




Appreciate the research you did for me! Bullriding is one of those FULL contact sports that either keeps you in top physical condition.......or....beats your body into submission! :P Over the years I have experienced both ends of the spectrum :down:


In your opinion is there any maneuvers/ops that would be more difficult to perform in a helicopter for a right side b/k amputee?....Because of the number of years I have had the prosthesis it is quite amazing how much sense of touch and pressure I can feel/detect on my foot... Your time is greatly appreciated!

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"In your opinion is there any maneuvers/ops that would be more difficult to perform in a helicopter for a right side b/k amputee?"


can't really think of any..... <_<


as long as you can push your right foot (right pedal) forward quickly in a hover autorotation you should be fine....... :up:


your best bet is to go to a school for an "intro-ride". go up for an hour and get a good feel of the aircraft. get some hands on (and feet) in the air to work the controls and see if you have any difficulties. it will cost around $400.00 but remember that the intro should count as your first hour of training so if you do decide to train it's money well spent....


and if you realize that flying is NOT for you, well....it's money well spent......



fonyo never did get flying for various reasons but the fact that he was an amputee was not one of them. :mellow:

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No problem pushing the foot down quickly :D


Another concern I have, is getting my foot (no pun intended!) in the door with a perspective employer once I have completed the commercial course. I realize that the helicopter industry is small and hence the limited number of job openings available…especially for the 100hr greenhorn. The stats on % of pilots that actually get hired does not frighten me in the least as I have always been one to find a way to succeed.

What does concern me is with the number of resumes and pilots jockeying for limited openings. Will the Chief Pilots etc. pass over someone with a disability like mine in favour of someone that is quote un quote able bodied, regardless of pilot skills/attitude?

To date I have worked in various industries and have never had anyone question my abilities, but rather use me as a positive example for others to follow in the workplace. Iron working is a trade that not many people can or will do for a living because of the danger and working conditions involved. Great balance and strong mind to block out fear of heights etc come in to play on a daily basis. Most employers are in awe of a “one legged” iron worker.( not quite as shocking as a one legged professional bull rider though :shock: ) I just hope the flying industry can look past the disability and realize that sometimes these blemishes are the difference between an ordinary person and an extraordinary person!

As for the discovery flight or pre flight, I will be in Langley in a few weeks and plan on booking a flight time. How far ahead does one have to book at BC Helicopters to reserve a time? If you would rather use my email address to respond regarding company related business, please do so.

Thanks again!



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Hey Toro.


I was in a similar situation as your's two years ago when I was inquiring about the TC medical. Due to a birth defect I was born without thumbs and without a left radius (the longer bone in the forearm). After several operations as a child I now have opposable digits (very handy) and my left arm is about 2.5 inches shorter than my right. My wrists lack some extension though.


I met with the medical head honcho in Dorval two years ago and all he could offer me was that I would have to do a check ride with a TC examiner before they would ok a class one medical...getting the student license was no problem.


The problem I did have with TC was that I had to do the check flight before I could go solo, when the TC examiner came he said he could not do the check because I would have to be PIC...and since I had no solo time I did not have any time as PIC. It's really quite appropriate that 'Catch 22' originated in aviation. In any case I did do my check flight because our Chief Flight Instructor was also a Designated Flight Test Examiner and could therefore perform the same duties as the TC examiner. That's what you have to watch for! Also, it's required that I have that sort of exam for each type I get rated on.


It sounds like you don't have any upper-body defects; my instructors were most concerned that I be able to properly manipulate everything in the cockpit. Since the feet are only used to push the pedals in one direction you should have no problem. I remember reading about a former US paratrooper having lost both legs (one above and one below the knee) and later found work as helicopter pilot doing VIP transport.


As far as operators turning you away because of a handicap... I've visited a couple of operators so far and the only reason I've been turned away is because I'm still low time. They've not blinked an eye when I tell them about my hands. I have worked as a fueler and pesticide tech last summer and was given a check ride by them later on. The handicap never entered into it.


Best of luck.

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A few years ago an airforce Griffon went down out East due to inclement weather. One of the pilots lost his foot to frostbite (I think) and subsequently left the CF and started flying commercially. I think a google search might turn up some news stories and who knows, he might be a member here!

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Thanks for the reply!...I'm happy to hear you found a way to reach your goals! :up: Definitely gives me some more confidence going into aviation knowing individuals like yourself have already started a path for others to follow.


Reflecting on my own circumstances regarding defects.... 99/100 people would never know I am a b/k amputee.... even people that spend a lot of time around me are not aware of it until I either tell/show them or they hear through the grapevine. I walk with no detectable limp, have full range of motion in my knee, and near normal movement in my prosthetic ankle. I can feel even slight pressure or touch on the bottom of my foot/shoe etc. I am really quite fortunate to be as well adapted as I am! :D


I am hoping to receive a Class 1 medical before I begin training. I would hate to get part way through and hit a dead end. I am quite confident the doctors will find my leg will not be a factor, I drive vehicles daily operating gas pedals,brakes etc with no problem and no restrictions on my license other than I must wear the prosthesis.




Appreciate you taking the time to respond!....I will do a search and see what I can come up with. I am familiar with Dana Bowman's military accident in the USAF a number of years ago where he lost both legs and went on to fly helicopters commercially, but have heard our Canadian TC medical is more in depth than theirs...??



Do most Canadian helicopter schools have designated flight test examiners on staff, or is this something I should be concerned with?

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