Do you know a pilot that likes to brag about how quick their aviation medical takes? If you don't you can use me as an example. The quick pee in a cup, memorized visual tests, the red line always goes through note number 4....and then you're good til your next medical. In a way, pilot medicals are awesome that way. 5 minutes and a $100 later we are done. I thought this was the way to go until I recently heard a concerned aviation medical doctor give a very informative what you should know speech.
After hearing this speech it made me realize that most pilots are one sided with two documents that are so essential to our passion. Our pilot certificate and our medical. They work hand in hand, you can't use one for the other and with out them together your wings are clipped. Think about that, how much time do you spend maintaining your pilot certificate? Now, think about how much time you spend maintaining your medical, which ever class it may be. I'd put money down that you spend 15 minutes a year on your medical and the rest on your pilot certificate. I was this way.
What if something happens to your health beyond your control? Who will you be able to call? Do you know what to do with your medical? Do you know how to get it reinstated? I don't. After hearing this AME speak, I realized my priorities are out of whack, way out of whack. I am young, and invincible, until I noticed a grey hair and my receding hairline. Growing old is a must, and with that come hurdles that may abruptly stop your living or passion in aviation. It is incredibly worth while to find an AME that is 100% willing to answer your phone calls, know how to navigate the airman medical qualification division of the FAA. This is so important especially if you make your living in aviation like me. The FAA is becoming more medically conservative than ever, pretty much any condition, prescription drug or blip on your medical record is a disqualification. Sooner or later we will hit a hurdle and we will need help with this. Ask yourself is your current AME the person who will give 110% to help get your medical back if you loose it? You better believe it will be your priority one if this happens. It should be your AME's priority too, he'll have more pull in helping you than you will. With out his signature and sign off, your goose is cooked.
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