Guide to Member Services

AOPA member services that keep you flying

February 1, 2006

Member lapel pins

AOPA recognizes members who have been with the association and provided continuous support for general aviation for five, 10, 20, 25, 30, 40, 50, and 60 years with distinctive lapel pins. (The five-, 25-, and 60-year pins are new this year.) These service pins are mailed each month as AOPA identifies members who have reached these membership milestones. The five- through 40-year pins are silver plated with an antique finish and translucent jewel-tone-color fill; the 50- and 60-year pins are 18-karat gold plated with an antique finish, translucent jewel-tone-color fill, and two Swarovski crystals. Sixty-year members also receive a special certificate in a leather holder. AOPA anticipates it will recognize more than 50,000 members in 2006.

New flexibility in medical rules

A pilot who is diagnosed with a complex medical condition is no longer automatically grounded indefinitely. And now, it is even simpler for a pilot with bladder cancer, melanoma, renal (kidney) cancer, or breast cancer to renew his or her special-issuance medical certificate.

"Under the AME Assisted Special Issuance (AASI) program, these four conditions can now be cleared by the aviation medical examiner after the FAA has initially authorized the special issuance," says Gary Crump, AOPA director of medical certification.

The addition of these four conditions to the AASI program is part of the expansion of AME privileges that AOPA announced December 14, 2005. Soon AMEs also will be able to reissue special issuances through AASI for cardiovascular conditions, including coronary artery disease, bypass surgery, angioplasty, and stent placement. AOPA has been pushing for these expanded privileges since 2001.

"The reissuance will be contingent on the pilot presenting the FAA letter of authorization to the AME, plus a current status report from the treating physician confirming continued stability with no adverse changes in the condition," says Crump. "These and all other medical conditions included in the AASI program pose a relatively low risk for incapacitation, and are therefore eligible for AME reissuance once the FAA has issued an authorization."

The FAA's letter of authorization will be valid for six years in most situations. Each year, the pilot will have to present a new status report from the treating physician and a copy of the FAA authorization letter to his or her AME for the issuance of a new one-year certificate.

Authorizations for special issuances are required for 15 mandatory disqualifying conditions detailed in FAR Part 67. However, there are many other conditions that the FAA considers for certification under "time limited" authorizations.

To find out how the AASI program can help you, call the medical certification specialists in AOPA's Pilot Information Center (800/USA-AOPA) weekdays from 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. Eastern time.

Medical subject reports are available on AOPA Online.

Announcing new aviation AD&D coverage expansion

The AOPA Aviation Accidental Death and Dismemberment insurance coverage has increased from $150,000 to $200,000. AOPA Aviation AD&D allows members to provide extra protection for family and those they care for. This protection is guaranteed and covers members when flying as pilot or passenger in a general aviation or commercial aircraft with no questions asked. There is no medical exam or health questions to answer, no rate increases as the member gets older, no rating restrictions, and no minimum flying hours. To enroll, call 800/USA-AOPA (872-2672) or visit the Web site.