September 24, 2012
By Gary Crump
Hopefully, by now you’re aware that on Oct. 1 the paper version of the FAA airman medical application will be retired and all medical applications will be completed online. The FAA’s MedXPress went live back in 2007 to complement the hard-copy FAA Form 8500-8. However, the plan all along was to comply with federal guidelines to move to electronic documentation and phase out the paper form, and that time has come.
This really is a step forward for the FAA’s record keeping and will result in greater efficiency of the agency in managing and processing airman medical records, and that will ultimately improve on the time it takes to approve deferred medical applications.
The process is relatively simple, and a very good user guide will help you through the registration and application steps. The first step, then, is to go to the MedXPress website. You will create an account and answer three security questions. You will need an email address, so if you don’t have email, you will need to set up an account through one of the several free email providers such as Yahoo, Gmail, or Hotmail.
You will receive a confirmation of the account request, and a temporary password will be sent to your email that you will change to a password of your choice. Once that’s done, you will click on “Form 8500-8” and start completing the application. If you have more than 20 minutes of inactivity while in the form, the session times out, but you will get a prompt to save your work, so be aware of the time so you don’t lose your information.
When you have completed the application and are satisfied that all the answers are correct, click the Save button if you need to come back later to finish the application. If you are ready to submit, you can click the Show Validation Errors button and the form will validate your responses. Then, you type in your password at the bottom of the form and hit the Submit button. This serves as your “electronic signature,” and your application is filed.
Finally, click on the Exam Summary button to print a copy of the application. You will see a confirmation number at the bottom of the page. Take that hard copy with you to the AME. The confirmation number is what the AME will need to retrieve the exam from the system and complete the process. You will also receive an email with the confirmation number.
Once you submit an application, you have 60 days to see your AME to finish the physical examination. If the AME doesn’t retrieve the exam using your confirmation number within that time, the exam will be deleted from the system and you will have to start over.
Next time you go back to MedXPress, your previously entered demographic information will be pre-filled, so that will save a little time. There is an FAA help line phone number if you get stumped; if you have general questions about MedXPress, contact the Pilot Information Center at 800/872-2672.
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