For us "Big and Tall" folks (or "Big or Tall"; I'm a relatively thin 6'-6") I have found that the only way to really know for sure whether or not you'll fit is to actually try the plane on for size. Being in Florida you have the advantage of being near Sun 'n Fun; definitely worth a visit to Lakeland next year. Now that most of the regional fly-ins seem to be dying, either Airventure or Sun 'n Fun appear to be the only two places in the U.S. you're likely to find most of the vendors, or find pilots flying a type you're interested in.
As TFF and Dana say, you've got to clear up the medical licensing issue first. (Or maybe second, if the wife needs to be convinced as well as the FAA.) If you can get Oklahoma City to sign off on even one medical you can then switch to BasicMed and finish the Bearhawk. With a clear but lapsed medical and a driver's license there's the Bearhawk LSA. Even if you went ultralight something like the Belite (https://www.chipper.aero/chipper-single-seat-ultralight-eab) might work at your size (not sure if there are plans though).
What I do know for a fact is that the vast majority of aircraft designers in the '60s and '70s were about half the size of the average pilot of 2019.
IIRC, there are a few conditions for which a special issuance medical may be issued, but which are disqualifying for basic med.
The best source of information about what has been done, can be done, and how to do it, is the AOPA. They have an enhanced level of membership (I don’t know what they call it) that provides specific medical assessment and assistance in dealing with the FAA. If I wanted to maximize the probability of becoming eligible for anything more than part 103, I would pay the AOPA fee and follow their advice.
Another idea is to find a good AME, ask around to find one that will work with you, Tell them you want to find out if you would pass a medical without starting an application. Be totally honest with them. It is surprising sometimes what conditions they will allow and still issue a 3rd class.
another aircraft suggestion is the TEAM mini-max epic sport
I know someone with a medical with a heart transplant. It required some pressure from a US Senator. The FAA waffled saying a generic “need more tests” hoping the guy would go away. The Senator asked the FAA to give specific tests or shut up. You may have to play that hard of ball. Now if the FAA gave some $30,000 test, that’s not their problem and is tough noogies for the candidate if he can’t afford it as the system has been outlined.
A high school classmate is a pilot, aircraft owner, cardiologist, business owner, AME and EAA member. He has shared the information that the FAA Aeromedical Section sends to him, including case studies. Don’t expect common sense, logic, or even reasonable medical practice from them. Do expect bureaucratic red tape, run-arounds and exercise of authority in a capricious manner. Thank a few congress critter pilots, the EAA, the AOPA, and action by thousands of pilots for the creation of BasicMed.
Thanx to all that have and will contribute to this post . I'm sure that Standin ( the originator of this thread ) has gained some sort of idea in direction as well as a better feeling about avenues that hey can pursue other than an airline ticket . If nothing else , this thread has motivated those involved to dig in a little deeper into the subject , mission accomplished . I have taken nothing personal at all and I very much appreciate the input . I don't think Standin ever dreamed that his match would have started a range fire but this is a very critical subject and I'm sure there are many on the fence that are holding back and not pursuing their aviation dreams . All situations are of a different nature and digging in and debating the issue will most generally provide the results that one is seeking . Super and most interesting thread . I've enjoyed being in it . THANX Dennis
Another option, depending upon the area where one lives and the nature of one’s neighbors and fellow pilots, is to learn to fly and then fly locally without any endorsement from the government. That is getting more difficult in today’s culture, but it has been done many times.
And to Pops , that's my nick name also . I always like to follow in the shoes of others that have experienced the things that I pursue , but I'm hoping like hell I don't experience a ground loop in mine . So far I've not experienced one but as age slips up on me , that would be a good indicator that the machine is a bit out in front of me . Something for me to watch for . Thanx
Ha ha, "you know who" proposed flight without endorsement and got deleted. But the reality is a 300 pound person is unlikely to fly safely AND legally in FAR 103. Just isn't easy to design for a payload greater than empty weight.
That's why EAA and even FAA might prefer to allow flight without permission.
If you ask for permission for almost anything it will likely be denied.