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Online is the answer

Steeling yourself to come face to face with the FAA's aircraft registration or bill of sale forms? Or resigned to muddling over which boxes to check on your medical form while you wait in the aviation medical examiner's office?

Then it's time to visit AOPA Online, where the Aviation Services department has designed several interactive forms to guide members through the process — one that can approach the complexity of completing an income tax return. "This breaks each of these forms into smaller chunks, or sections. It's user-friendly, and of course doing it online saves time," says David Missel, an AOPA Aviation Services technician.

All of the interactive forms, including TurboMedical, which gathers the most sensitive and confidential information, offer applicants the option of saving their responses on AOPA's secure Web server or deleting them at the end of a session. Members are led through the forms with easily understood explanations, and are alerted to incomplete responses or inconsistencies.

A completed online form may be printed to use as a reference when completing the hardcopy form or, in the case of the airman certificate application, may be printed and taken to the FAA examiner administering the flight test. Having a reference minimizes the potential that an omission or error on the form will result in delays in processing at the FAA.

The following interactive FAA forms are currently available on AOPA Online (they also continue to be available in hardcopy on request):

  • Application for Airman Medical Certificate (Form 8500-8)
  • Aircraft Bill of Sale (Form 8050-2)
  • Aircraft Registration Application (Form 8050-1)
  • Airman Certificate and/or Rating Application (Form 8710-1)

Plans call for a fifth interactive aviation form, the NASA Aviation Safety Reporting System (ASRS) form (ARC 277B), to be available to members as soon as late October, Missel says.

The forms, each tested by aviation specialists before being activated online, include step-by-step instructions. Similar in some respects to income tax software, the forms also allow applicants to respond to questions in any order and to make any number of revisions.

Other interactive forms will be developed as the need arises, with priority given to the hardcopy forms most frequently sought by members. These hardcopy forms are mailed to members when requested, resulting in postage costs for AOPA and wait time to receive the forms for members.

"[The online form] gets us away from sending out so much paperwork," Missel says. The forms are less intimidating, result in fewer mistakes, and "save the association money that can be spent on other projects we're working on — issues such as Meigs Field and battling the TFRs."

As an AOPA member, you have access to the best resources anywhere for information and answers for pilots. AOPA provides information for its members through a vast array of communications technologies. You can reach experts in all fields of aviation via AOPA Online (, the AOPA Pilot Information Center (800/USA-AOPA), and e-mail ( [email protected]). Aviation technical specialists respond promptly to member requests while AOPA Online provides members with access to information and resources 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The toll-free AOPA Pilot Information Center gives you direct access to specialists in every area of aviation. The center is available to members from 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. Eastern time, Monday through Friday.

AOPA Web resources

These aviation subject reports provide answers to frequently asked questions. The AOPA Aviation Services department (800/872-2672) answers more than 100,000 calls a year from members needing assistance with a variety of aviation-related issues.

A complete listing of the nearly 100 online forms, interactive and noninteractive, that are available on AOPA Online. Scroll down to the FAA forms to access the interactive Aviation Services forms.

TurboMedical may be completed online, printed, and used as a reference to minimize the potential for error when completing the hardcopy Application for Airman Medical Certificate.


Updated Friday, May 30, 2008, 4:16 PM

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