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Guest Kev133

Exception to Policy (ETP) information

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Guest Kev133

Has anyone ever applied for an exception to policy(or know of anyone who has)? I have been selected for a Nav job in the Guard. My physical was excellent except one of my eyes is just beyond the waiverable limits for a class 1A.

I know that the ETP is hard to get approved, but I wont know unless I try.

If anyone out there has any idea of where in the regs to go to find info about how to proceed with the ETP or has tried it yourself, I would appreciate anything that you may have.

Thanks for your time.

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Guest jeff1234

Bug your recruiter about the situation cause here's what happened to my buddy who got a pilot slot last spring. He also did fine on the FC1 but failed the accommodation test under cycloplegic refraction test (you know the one they dialate your eyes and make you read the chart) Anyway he was over -3.0 diopters yet could pass all the other eye tests fine and does not even wear glasses! Weird huh. Anyway they would not grant a waiver which he fought for 6 months to no avail. So he gave up for a bit then tried to start the ETP process, what a mess. He was lucky cause he knows a senator and a guy who is president Bush's #1 campaign financier and a number one dickhead also (just my .02 cents) but my buddiy was told by AFPC that he better have at least that much "powder in his keg" to try and get an ETP and even with that much, it would be a long shot unless George Busch himself signed a letter of rec.

Long story short, he got very lucky. Apparently two weeks ago the AF called his recruiter (before starting the ETP process) and said okay were gonna let your guy in because he has already been selected and approved so were tired of dealing with this and as long as he can complete another batch of eye tests not including the cyloplegic refraction, then well let him waiver the test. How about that! What a luck S.O.B. huh. I know this is not much assistance but it is a good luck story that was only 2 weeks ago. I can try to find out more details from him next week when I see him if you want. Good luck

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Guest sharke

I went through the ETP process for FC1 for my excessive refractive error when I was a Cadet. It's no rumor, the waivers are signed by the Chief of Staff. Just sit back and let the AMWTS system do its thing. There's nothing you can do accept pray. If you have questions about the waiver process and how long it takes or you have questions about flight training, just send me an email.

Lt. Sharke Clarke

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Guest elroy

Hey everyone,

Does anyone have any experience or insight into getting a CSAF Exception to Policy, esp. concerning Pre-Op Refractive Error (PRK)? Thanks

-ElRoy

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Guest GGG308

I was accepted for OTS/Pilot Training back in the 0401 board but was medically DQed by the AETC/SG since waivers for anemia cannot by granted for initial flying physicals (I have a borderline anemia...hematocrit is documented stable at 40 for 10 years w/ normal iron stores and is slightly low due to HgB-E trait). I am sending up a medical exception to policy but am having trouble on finding any references on what should be included and what procedures to follow to send it up the chain (I am active duty enlisted at Offutt AFB and I have a draft of my ETP if anyone would like to review it). The flight doc I spoke to at my flight clinic (a LtCol) told me he didn't know there was a such thing as a medical exception to policy so they were no help. Is there an example anywhere out there or at least a guideline I can look at? Also, is there any point of contact that can make a definitive interpretation of a sub-paragraph of AFI 48-123 (specifically 48-123 A7.18.1). I tried to get my IFCI resubmitted w/o requesting a waiver for anemia since I don't believe I need one (I talked to the AETC/SG staff and they concur with me on this and they don't have a problem with my flt clinic resubmitting the IFCI w/o the anemia waiver) but my flight clinic says they won't resubmit my IFCI unless I can get the "AETC/CC to call the flight clinic chief directly to authorize him to resubmit my physical w/o the anemia waiver". In talking w/ my flight clinic I get the feeling that they don't want to admit that they were wrong to request the anemia waiver and are giving me the run-around. I've already run this through my Sq and Grp/CC and they have been little help. Thanks, Gil.

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Guest F16PilotMD

I would not waste your time with an ETP. Sounds to me like you have some command level information that your IFC-1 will be approved if it's just re-submitted. You need command-to-command communication. That's what I would work towards. An ETP is not for you. It's for some Senator's kid who has a DQ. You will be asking the CSAF to waive your DQ. Won't happen.

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Guest Load2Pilot

To add on to this question, is there anyone who has any information about the CSAF Exception to Policy letter, such as the process for applying for one, required documentation, or letters of recommendation? Does having the support from high-ranking officers (O-7 to O-9)help at all? Just curious as to what factors are involved with an ETP letter, if anyone knows.

Load2Pilot

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Guest doctidy

ETPs happen when the Air Force determines that the person's value to the AF exceeds the risk associated with the person's medical condition. As such, ETPs are very rare for getting into flight training. Why? There are tons of qualified applicants for flying training who are "top 1% of graduating class" or "star athlete" or "the best Microsoft Flight Simulator pilot I have ever seen".

Who gets them...trained aviators who are test pilot or fighter weapons school candidates or graduates, below the zone promotees, MAJCOM Company Grade Office of the Year, etc.

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Guest F16PilotMD

As with most other things...everyone knows someone who got one.

Two things are fact:

1. ETPs are not a medical entity. They are a line entity and, as such, are not managed by the flight docs, etc. I.e.: you don't need me or my opinion...you need line Command-level input.

2. For the vast majority of folks, don't count on them. They are rare and not just for people who are DQ and don't like it.

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Guest slaughterhause

Howdy!

I've read a few of the messages on here concerning Exceptions to Policy, and I was wondering... does anybody know anyone, personally, who got an ETP?

I haven't yet had the FC1/1a physical, but after having spoken to a few people and reading a lot, it looks like I would get an auto-DQ for an IFC since I have had PRK. I'm about 1 year post-op, but I think my pre-op limits were out of the waiverable range (somewhere around the -8.25 mark).

I'm wondering if there is any particular thing I can do to become more likely to get an ETP. I got high AFOQT scores (90+ on everything), and a good GPA (3.8). If getting a Private Pilot's license would help, I'd get one of those, too.

Any help / advice / suggestions?

Thanks very much for any input you all may have... it's much appreciated!

slaughterhause

3c0x2.com Homepage

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Guest Apollo

I haven't heard of a single person getting away with out of limits PRK. Brooks nails people hard for this, for what I hear.

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Guest doctidy

I like to see all applicants trying to go the extra mile to get in UPT. I believe that we should never disqualify someone where there is not a true risk to mission completion, flying safety, or individual health and well-being. With that said...I will tell you its gotten much more difficult getting an ETP. A quick review of eye ETPs in one MAJCOM w/in the past year.

Applicant 1: Keratoconus of the right eye—CSAF disapproved

Applicant 2: Excessive myopia corrected with PRK—CSAF disapproved

Applicant 3: PRK (disqualified for not meeting pre-PRK standards)—CSAF disapproved

Applicant 4: Excessive myopia corrected with PRK—CSAF disapproved

Slaughterhouse, I think you're doing the right thing. Evaluate your options and make a decision. Realize that applying for ETP only costs you time and a few stamps.

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Slaughterhause I don't know what your chances are with eyes out of the PRK pre-op limits after seeing Rage's post but like he said the ETP process only costs you time and postage. You really have everything to gain and nothing to lose by persuring an ETP. I would be interested to know what the postop results for applicants mentioned by Rage were and how they compare to your's. If they had marginal results after PRK that may have been the deciding factor. If your eyes are significantly better and if the rest of your package is strong you may still have a good chance.

Your profile says that you are at Luke AFB so I am guessing you are on AD. I received my ETP while in ROTC so I am not sure how your process would work. You will need someone to go to bat for you, the higher ranking the better. My PAS is the one I owe my ETP to.

I don't know your particulars or if your surgery was very successful but if it was I would build a package that shows the AF that they will incur minimum risk and be getting an exceptional individual and a strong candidate for pilot training.

Some things I think would make strong medical evidence for your case (Rage and F-16MD if I am off on any of this or forgot something please jump in and set me straight):

-Good vision of 20/whatever

-Eyes that are stable, that your vision is consistant and your eyes are not changing

-Not suffering from negative PRK side effects (halos, light sensitivity, scarring, dry or irritated eyes, etc)

-Include all of your pre and post op paper work from your eye doctor and the doctor that performed your PRK.

-A letter from these doctors saying your surgery was successful and that they would not limit you from any type of activity.

-An evaluation and recommendation by an Air Force doctor.

After you have established that your eyes are sound medically you will want to show the Air Force you are exceptional and a strong candidate for UPT. Some good evidence:

-Recommendation from your CC

-Letter from your senator or congressman

-Awards

-Stellar OPR's

-Good GPA

-Good AFOQT

-Strong PCSM

-Flying hours (if you don't have them already I don't know if dropping several thousand would really help or not)

-Anything else that shows you are a good officer

I hope that this helps you. I really feel that I am the luckiest person to have received an ETP and without the help of my PAS and others it never would have happened. I hope that you can get one as well.

You may also consider trying to become a Nav, I don't know what their preop limits are but it would be worth checking into. El Roy was out of the preop limits for pilot but he had PRK and will be going down to P'Cola for WSO school so that is something to consider. Best of luck and let me know if there are any questions I can answer for you.

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Guest Falconvalley

ETP isn't limited to any specific way of entry. I'm trying to get one myself. All I know so far is that the COSAF has to approve ETPs. Letters of recommendation can come from Commanders, politicians, important people, etc...

I guess ETP is a way of saying that a candidate is worth the trouble of looking into, despite being turned down for ANY reason, medical or otherwise. So, to get the Command level to allow you an ETP, you need some important people asking the COSAF to give you a break.

Regs are great to know, if you think you're getting the "short end".-- But to get an ETP it's good to have friends, because ETP is a way of getting around some regs, if you think that you are a special case. Find someone who can get important people to act for your cause- a General, someone who you know who knows a General. If you're aircrew, you no doubt have some direct ways of getting an appointment to talk with someone who's got rank. Plan your approach, state your case so it's strong, and ask for advice...tell them you will keep looking until you find a way in and you need their help with this.

Best of luck.

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Guest doctidy

Qualifications for assignments are a recurring theme on this forum. As such, ETP recurs as an alternate way that disqualified folks look to get a pilot slot. Here is a Bullet Background Paper I prepared on this topic years ago.

- USAF physical standards (AFI 48-123) are used to select candidates for various categories of service ranging from enlistment to pilot training. They are designed to select for functional capability and operational safety. Pilots are selected with the engineering limitations of the weapon systems in mind

-- AFI is based on Department of Defense Instruction, DODI 6130.4 Criteria and Procedure Requirements for Physical Standards for Appointment, Enlistment or Induction

- Candidates, who fail to meet minimum qualification medical standards, may be reconsidered for accession and/or entrance into aviation and other special operational duty training programs, via medical waivers and the CSAF exception to policy (ETP)

- A medical waiver is a scientifically validated extension of a published medical standard based on pre-established criteria and requisites. When appropriately and consistently applied and monitored by the duly-appointed waiver authority, medical waivers are associated with minimal risk to AF operations, including personal health, mission completion, or flying safety

- The ETP is a process employed by the CSAF and other designated AF authorities under unique and special circumstances to reconsider a candidate who:

-- Has been medically disqualified for the respective service/training IAW AFI 48-123

-- Has failed to meet minimum criteria for a medical waiver as determined by the appropriate medical waiver/certification authorities

- The ETP decision is the product of a deliberate operational risk management (ORM) analysis in which the Line of the AF determines if the overall interests of the AF are best served by accepting the limitations of a specific medically disqualified candidate. By definition, it is acknowledged that the excepted condition may impact operational effectiveness or prevent a full military career

- Process: Package with supporting documentation describing ORM matrix and why candidate is truly exception should be forwarded thru NAF and MAJCOM Commanders to CSAF for consideration.

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I think the entry level of "excellence" required for an ETP will only increase as more people apply for these. Gen Ryan put out a memo in 2001 that basically said "MAJCOM/CCs, quit sending me candidates that don't walk on water. And if anybody tries to bypass a MAJCOM/CC, I will personally eviscerate them." And yes, I paraphrased ;)

It makes sense. Policies are (hopefully) set for a reason, so the bar should be pretty high to bypass them.

So when you get shot down, don't take it as a personal affront. Presuming flying isn't the sole reason you joined, you'll be fine. There are some very neat/rewarding jobs around.

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Shot in the dark here...has anybody ever fought past an AF/CV denial? Seems pretty unlikely to me, but I also thought it pretty unlikely for something to get past the MAJCOM and not past Air Staff.

I'm well into "get over it" mode, but wonder if I would have better than 0.000000000000000000000001% odds at getting a 4 star to change his mind.

That 5 years figure from Rage says a lot.

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Guest SnakeT38
Originally posted by gimmeaplane:

Shot in the dark here...has anybody ever fought past an AF/CV denial? Seems pretty unlikely to me, but I also thought it pretty unlikely for something to get past the MAJCOM and not past Air Staff.

I'm well into "get over it" mode, but wonder if I would have better than 0.000000000000000000000001% odds at getting a 4 star to change his mind.

That 5 years figure from Rage says a lot.

That 5 year figure as I said above is not entirely true. I spent the first part of 2002 helping the young man I mentioned get his ETP package together and then sent forward. As it turns out the numbers used to determine if a person WAS NOT a candidate for PRK prior to surgery were randomly generated and had no basis despite this particular individual having PERFECT VISION after surgery. The TYPICAL "medical" answer to the question was "he has a greater chance of his vision going bad as he ages, then Jumper said, so do I and I have not had the surgery!" This particular case PROVED why SOME medical professionals REMAIN in the military, THEIR CHANCES OF INCOMPETENCY in the civilian world are signifcant, (read they WILL GET SUED).

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Guest Liger

i've read all the ETP posts and here's my story:

despite passing all of my MFS eye tests with flying colors, i have been medically disqualified because of my corneal topography. the chart says, "Disqualified FC I/IA/III due to posterior subcaspsular cataract OD greater than OS, and history of photorefractive keratectomy OU. Waiver NOT recommended."

I had all of the extra tests that comes with getting a PRK waiver, and was nearly out the door when they discovered that i had this problem. I spoke with an outside eye surgeon and he said that it would be highly unlikely that my cataracts would develop into anything, much less hinder my flying. the basic issue here is that the air force doesn't want to take a chance that my eyes MIGHT develop a problem. it all just sound a little subjective.

would an af second opinion do any good? what exactly is an IG complaint and is that an avenue to explore? if i am left to try an Exception To Policy, am i arguing my medical case as well as personal?

my 2nd opinion at wilford hall said that the "spots" on my eyes wouldn't affect my flying career or my vision. i'm going to eglin to get another 2nd opinion in two weeks. is there any way to get MFS to reverse their decision? if i have to do an exception to policy, is there anything i should include besides doctor's letters, a personal letter, and letters of recommendation?

rage, you mentioned that i would need:

Package with supporting documentation describing ORM matrix
is that like references about how much of a risk i am?

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I'd get with a flight doc and have him do up a new aeromedical summary based on your recent exam at Wilford Hall. It'll then be resubmitted to AETC/SGPS for FCI reconsideration. I just went though this exact process and got an eye waiver that I have been fighting for almost 2 years to get. Don't put all your eggs in the ETP basket without fighting for a waiver or reconsideration first!

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Guest s1nn3r

When you are pursuing an ETP or getting a 2nd opinion to build your case for reconsideration, do you have to be reclassified into another career field? I realize you have to do something to earn your AF paycheck but wouldnt that make it harder to get a waiver? I can see the AF saying "well, he's already a Maintenance officer, we'll just keep denying him".

I ask this question because I was recently DQ (4 days ago) for what eventually turned out to be Keratoconus. The doc, at first, said "you have a precursor to TPSK which has a 30% chance of developing into keratoconus". Then it became "you have early stage TPSK" and landed on "you have keratoconus". Sounds like they are building a case to support their DQ, IMO. I want to get a 2nd opinion because, from what I have read, at this stage I should have deteriorating visual accuity, etc.. but my eyes are perfect. I have perfect depth perception, perfect color vision, perfect visual accuity. I was diagnosed with astigmatism many years ago and was reconfirmed during my IFC1. I read that severe astigmatism can be misdiagnosed as keratoconus. I don't have peaks in my cornea indicative of keratoconus.

Right now, my best friend has a great-uncle thats a 4-star so he's going to get his opinion, my old sq/cc (LtCol) is friends with the USAFE/SG and will get his opinion, and my dad knows a congressman. I don't want to have to go down the ETP route if I don't have to but I will to get my pilot slot back.

I know this is alot of info but can someone give me their $.02 on this situation. I dont want to be DQ because my eyes arent perfectly shaped.

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Guest P27:17
When you are pursuing an ETP or getting a 2nd opinion to build your case for reconsideration, do you have to be reclassified into another career field? I realize you have to do something to earn your AF paycheck but wouldnt that make it harder to get a waiver? I can see the AF saying "well, he's already a Maintenance officer, we'll just keep denying him".

I ask this question because I was recently DQ (4 days ago) for what eventually turned out to be Keratoconus. The doc, at first, said "you have a precursor to TPSK which has a 30% chance of developing into keratoconus". Then it became "you have early stage TPSK" and landed on "you have keratoconus". Sounds like they are building a case to support their DQ, IMO. I want to get a 2nd opinion because, from what I have read, at this stage I should have deteriorating visual accuity, etc.. but my eyes are perfect. I have perfect depth perception, perfect color vision, perfect visual accuity. I was diagnosed with astigmatism many years ago and was reconfirmed during my IFC1. I read that severe astigmatism can be misdiagnosed as keratoconus. I don't have peaks in my cornea indicative of keratoconus.

Right now, my best friend has a great-uncle thats a 4-star so he's going to get his opinion, my old sq/cc (LtCol) is friends with the USAFE/SG and will get his opinion, and my dad knows a congressman. I don't want to have to go down the ETP route if I don't have to but I will to get my pilot slot back.

I know this is alot of info but can someone give me their $.02 on this situation. I dont want to be DQ because my eyes arent perfectly shaped.

Friendly advice...do what you have to do BUT pissing money away on a "second opinion" probably wouldn't be the best card to play from the deck...the Ophthalmologists at Brooks are the consultants to the airforce...they are not your average ophthalmologist...they base their decisions on the best technology and vision information available and they use their expertise to determine whether flying will put the patient, the AirForce, and/or the public at a safety risk...in your case there is an unacceptable "percentage" or probability that the millions invested in your training won't see the "payback" for the effort...all inmates are innocent and all DQ's are healthy...but no one is going to deny your shot because the AF need Maint. Officers...good luck with your ETP...it's a difficult road and again finding a friend of a friend who happens to be a flight surgeon who will try to be an "advocate" for your case will only make the process longer and make the flight surgeon look like a fool...it is strickly a LINE decision...if the chain of people in your corner (non-medical) can convince the Sec of the AF that you walk on water or are the best thing since sliced bread the the SAF will ask the AF Surgeon General's office for their opinion (based on the work-up done by the AF consultants...Brooks) and make his call...he has the authority to say "Thanks medical folks...but I'm willing to take a chance on this one"...that's the process in a nut shell...if your stars and bars buddies can help influence the process who could blame you for trying...there is nothing more the medical side can do for you...

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Guest Fuse

Looking for advice and information I haven't yet found using search...

Basicly I got ear tubes for what I think now was an issue with my wisdom teeth. I have read elsewhere (including here) that they were allowed and didn't need a waiver. Well they needed a waiver. Then I was DQ'd for them. Technically I was DQd for 'perforation of the eardrum' which I didn't have until the doc perforated it to place the tube.

My flight medical area I've been dealing with knows nothing about ETP waivers, nor does my recruiter. My ENT doc is willing to write letters or make phone calls to support me, but I'm not even sure where to go from here. I have no issues about prepping an ETP request, but I have no idea where to send it to.

Can I pull my ear tubes out and reapply? Can I send the ETP to AETC or wherever on my own?

Any help would be greatly appreciated.

Edited by Fuse

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First things first. Check out AFI48-123 and the waiver guide (Google should get you there) to learn all there is to know about tubes and ear drums. It won't take you long to know more, from an administrative perspective, than most of the medical techs, some of the docs, and virtually anyone in your chain of command.

If you find out that a waiver is not an option you can get started on an ETP. A good rule of thumb is that if a condition is waiverable for folks who are already pilots/navs you have a decent case for an ETP. There is limitied guidance available for ETPs but everything I've seen is geared towards being too old for UPT. You'll follow the same basics. The ETP goes up your chain of command and eventually gets routed to the Vice Chief of Staff. I'm basing all this off my personal experience in 2004 so things may be slightly different now.

My ETP package included:

A Staff Summary Sheet (any exec can help you with this part)

A memo explaining the situation and requesting an ETP

Letters of support

Medical documentation

Etc.

I can't remember for sure but a copy of my UPT application may also have been required.

I was on active duty in AFMC when I worked through all of this and I think that was a big help. Doing it through AETC is probably an order of magnitude more difficult. What is your status?

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Guest Fuse

Well I've pretty much given up, as no one I've talked to can help me out so far... If someone does have some info for ETP from a civillian once a waiver is denied, please shoot me a PM. Thanks

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