April 1, 2011
By Kathy Dondzila
ANSWERS FOR PILOTS: Webinar on buying an aircraft set for April 20
This is the time of year when many AOPA members consider purchasing an aircraft. If you are looking to buy and have questions about the purchase process, AOPA has answers for you. AOPA’s staff of aviation technical specialists can help you determine a fair value for the aircraft you have in mind, and discuss costs, financing, insurance, inspections, aircraft records, and all the other considerations that go into making an informed decision to buy.
AOPA will host two free interactive webinars about buying aircraft on April 20 at 3 p.m. and 9 p.m. Eastern time. Sign up online. For an overview of what will be covered in the webinar, read this month’s online Answers for Pilots. And, as always, if you have an immediate question, give us a call at 800-USA-AOPA (872-2672).
Don Hull is an aerospace engineer in Huntsville, Alabama. In 2008, Hull’s doctor detected a heart murmur, which the doctor believed would be helped with medication.
The following year, the situation required surgery. At that time, Hull was told his mitral valve could be repaired and did not have to be replaced. Unfortunately, several days after the repair surgery, a second surgery was necessary to totally replace the valve. All of this left Hull with no medical.
Although he’d been an AOPA member since 1984, Hull had not joined AOPA’s Medical Services Plan. When he was told he would need surgery, Hull decided to add the plan, because he knew he wanted to get his medical back.
“My medical expired on March 31, a week before my surgery. I would have self-declared that I wasn’t able to fly, however,” he says. AOPA helped him submit a package to the FAA.
“What I submitted was more than 300 pages of my medical record, including 150 pages from the hospital where I had the surgery—it was every entry in my medical record from the day I went in to the day I was discharged,” Hull says. He did not submit anything to his AME or to the FAA without talking to AOPA first. “AOPA reviewed every piece of paper,” he says.
The review period might have added a few extra weeks to the process, but Hull says it was well worth it in terms of peace of mind. “I have heard horror stories of people’s paperwork being hung up for months, and I didn’t want that to happen to me.”
After he submitted his package, the FAA called to tell him it required four items and he had 30 days to submit them. “I went into panic mode and called AOPA. I realized that I could supply all four easily; in fact, they already had two of the items.”
At the end of June, Hull says, “AOPA sent me an e-mail saying they had just checked and that I would get my Special Issuance Class III Medical, and sure enough, a week later I got it in the mail.” The special issuance means that Hull must pass the medical exam every year instead of every two years. “From the standpoint of accurate advice, AOPA knows what they’re doing. There’s a peace of mind that comes from knowing you have a third party to talk to and to ask questions,” says Hull.
The pilot community is converging on the all-new AOPA Facebook page and we want you to join the conversation. We have consolidated our Facebook pages to make it even easier to connect with other pilots and engage in some hangar talk. Get a sneak peek at upcoming content in the magazine and the latest on what’s going on in general aviation. Like AOPA’s new page on Facebook today!
AOPA 421 AVIATION WAY FREDERICK, MARYLAND 21701
TOLL-FREE PILOT INFORMATION CENTER Call 800/USA-AOPA (872-2672) Click www.aopa.org
NEW ADDRESS? Send your new address and AOPA membership number to: AOPA, 421 Aviation Way, Frederick, Maryland 21701-4798 Fax 301/695-2375 Click www.aopa.org/coa-form.html
AOPA AIR SAFETY FOUNDATION Call 800/638-3101 Click www.aopa.org/asf/
AOPA CREDIT CARD PROGRAM Call 800/523-7666 Click www.aopa.org/info/cc/
AOPA AIRCRAFT INSURANCE Call 800/622-AOPA (622-2672) Click www.aopa.org/aircraftinsurance.html
AOPA LEGAL SERVICES PLAN Call 800/USA-AOPA (872-2672) Click www.aopa.org/legalservices.html
AOPA ONLINE TRAVEL Click www.aopa.org/travel/
OTHER AOPA MEMBER PRODUCTS Call 800/USA-AOPA (872-2672) Click www.aopa.org/memberproducts/
Technical Communications Manager, Kathy Dondzila, joined AOPA in 1990 and is an instrument-rated private pilot.
Special Issuance Medical,
Pilot Health and Medical,
A new steakhouse on Chicago’s North Shore is decorated with more than 200 vintage aviation photographs.
Members of the House General Aviation Caucus are asking the Department of Transportation to expedite rulemaking for third-class medical reform.
The Flying Aviation Expo will offer something for everyone at its inaugural event in Palm Springs, California.
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