Start preparing for your FAA medical examination in advance. The extra work will pay off when you leave the AME's office with your medical in hand.
Your first step should be to work through AOPA's TurboMedical Interactive Medical Application Form. The form is exactly like FAA Form 8500-8, which you must fill out at the AME's office. While TurboMedical cannot replace the actual FAA form, you can use it as a guide.
The online form will flag any answers that could cause your medical to be deferred. It will provide an explanation or links to information about a medical condition or any documentation that you will need to supply to the AME.
You can also save the information. This is handy because you will be able to come back to it in two or three years and see what you reported on your last medical application.
Check out AOPA's Medical Certification Tips to Know Before You Go Web page. You can use this as a checklist to make sure you have all of the necessary medical records and reports.
If you were hospitalized or had surgery since your previous medical, AOPA lists what medical records you will need to submit for review. This can include a current status report by a physician that summarizes your medical history and current condition. You may also be required to submit a current status report if you are renewing a special issuance authorization.
If you're exercising private pilot privileges, you have two to three years (depending upon your age) between visits to your aviation medical examiner (AME), and during that time, it is easy to forget all of your doctor visits, new medications, and changes in medical condition.
But you must have documentation for all of those changes when you go to the AME so that he or she won't have to automatically defer your medical application.
Even if you have all of the proper documentation during your AME visit, the doctor still might need to defer your application. (Certain medical conditions must be deferred.) However, your application is likely to pass through the FAA's medical division more quickly because the agency probably will not need to request more documentation.
August 24, 2006