Member Guide

AOPA member services that keep you flying

September 1, 2009

Going to the AME: What’s my class?

Every pilot holds an airman medical certificate that’s either valid or invalid. Those of us who actively fly make the pilgrimage to the AME’s office on a regular basis—the frequency depending on the class of medical certificate we hold. Each class of medical certification comes with a strict set of compliance guidelines—and there’s no glory in holding a higher certificate level than you need. In fact, doing so often bites you back in the end.

The underlying premise for assigning classes to medical certificates is based on the FAA’s assessment of the risk of incapacitation while a pilot is flying an aircraft. This may be oversimplified, but the FAA bases its risk assessment in part on whether the pilot is carrying passengers for hire. A private pilot is allowed a relatively higher risk with a given medical condition than a commercial or ATP-rated pilot conducting passenger-carrying revenue flights. According to Gary Crump, AOPA’s director of medical certification services, “The FAA as a regulatory agency practices evidence-based medicine, and makes certification policy based upon the best available medical data regarding incapacitation risk.”

You may be holding a higher class medical certificate than you need, but it may not be in your best interest. Read more about this online and call AOPA’s Pilot Information Center with questions 800-USA-AOPA (872-2672).

Go green by renewing your membership online

Renewing online is safe, secure, and convenient. Online renewal eliminates the cost of sending renewal notices and it’s an easy two-step process that takes only minutes when convenient for you, and you’ll receive an automatic confirmation receipt of your renewal. AOPA puts these savings toward fighting proposed user fess, protecting airports, and providing valuable resources and services for its members. Visit the Web site to renew your membership the “green” way.

Notice of annual meeting of members

The annual meeting of the members of the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association will be held at noon on Friday, September 11, 2009, at Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association, 421 Aviation Way, Frederick, Maryland 21701, located on the Frederick Municipal Airport (FDK), for the purpose of receiving reports and transacting such other business as may properly come before the meeting, including the election of trustees. —John S. Yodice, secretary

Hurricane protection: Out of harm’s way

For J. Barry Mitchell, who lives on Florida’s west coast, having Hurricane Protective Coverage on his two aircraft is important. Through the AOPA Insurance Agency, Mitchell automatically receives this benefit as part of his broad coverage endorsement.

“It’s a terrific benefit, which pays expenses to move the aircraft from harm’s way to a safer location,” said Mitchell, and includes hiring a ferry pilot if Mitchell can’t fly it out himself.

Hurricane Protection Coverage kicks in when the National Weather Service issues a hurricane watch or warning for the area where the aircraft is based. The insurance company will reimburse the policyholder for a portion of the reasonable costs associated with protecting the aircraft by relocating it outside of the hurricane’s predicted path. There must already be physical damage (hull) coverage in force, and the aircraft must be relocated to another airport that is outside the warning or watch area and at least 100 nm distance from home base.

Kathy Dondzila

Kathy Dondzila | Manager, Technical Communications, Pilot Information Center

Technical Communications Manager, Kathy Dondzila, joined AOPA in 1990 and is an instrument-rated private pilot.