Sometimes, the best presents require keeping the biggest secrets. Nancy Williams' effort to get her husband his medical for Christmas certainly was a secret to him - one that involved his flight instructor, the world's largest general aviation association, and a government agency.
Thanks to help from AOPA and the FAA Aeromedical Certification Division, Henry Williams, a student pilot, received his medical and soloed before Christmas.
"He'd met all the qualifications and had been ready for some time," Gerald Phillips, Henry Williams' instructor, wrote to AOPA. "I soloed him...the day after he'd received the faxed medical. It was almost as great a present to me as it was to him."
AOPA's medical certification staff works daily to help thousands of pilots a year get their medical certificates. And Phillips advised Nancy Williams that AOPA was the place to turn for help.
"Many pilots worry about getting and keeping their medical certificate, and we continually work with the FAA to help our members receive their certificate as quickly as possible," said Gary Crump, AOPA director of medical certification. "Even though we can't get every pilot's medical back in time for a special occasion, it was wonderful to get this one done for Christmas."
AOPA's medical department has the ability to check the progress of a member's medical application certification through the FAA by way of an online "status request." This process recently was enhanced with security encryption to further ensure the confidentiality of members' medical records.
Now, with his medical certification complete, Henry Williams can enjoy the thrilling part of being a student pilot - flying solo.
"[He] is a great guy and will make a great pilot, particularly with an exceptional wife who supports him and AOPA behind him," Phillips wrote.
January 6, 2005