Thursday, December 27, 2012

New FAA Medical Process with MedXPress

It was that time again to renew my FAA medical, and if you are like me then you are new to the FAA's online process. The FAA have stream lined the process on a new web site at  medxpress.faa.gov. The Stuck Mic AvCast did a recent episode on the process on MedXpress. Having just finished I'll recap what I did.

First if you are a 20-something like me the the online form at MedXpress is extremely easy to fill out to set up an account on the MedXpress site. The site only has one form to fill out. FAA Form 8500-8. This is the old form that you used to fill out at the doctors office. After filling it out online you can print it out and save it as a PDF file. I love saving things as a PDF I have a folder in the DropBox cloud service that I keep all of my important papers so I don't lose it.




This online process is just for the FAA Form 8500-8 so if you have any special considerations those must still be filled out by hand. I recently got LASIK and didn't really know what to do. I asked around on the web and some one said to call AOPA. They have a medical staff there to answer question. I called them up and they said I need to have my Optometrist fill out the FAA Form 8500-7. I did and brought it with me to my Aviation Medical Examiner (AME).

I am pretty young and don't really have problems with my medical. Since moving to San Diego I wanted to find a AME that was the best price and I think I found him. He is retired, only works 2 days and only does aviation medicals. The best part is he only charges $60. (I know score.) The office was a little behind and since I didn't had extra paperwork or any work really for them they only charged my $40. I hope everyones medical experience can be that good.

The medical it self is no longer a thick brown paper with embossed numbers on top. Its now just a computer print out that you cut out the medical.



When I saw it I was initially turned off. It's just a piece of paper and a computer print out but then I thought its only a computer print out. Meaning I'll scan it and put it in the DropBox on my computer and if I lose or it gets ruined since it's just a print out I'll just print another one. Too easy. Thank FAA for making it simple.

Friday, December 21, 2012

T'was the night before Christmas, and out on the Ramp

This poem has been around the internet a while and probably on paper longer. Just a quick search I found it on AvWeb in 2006 and on an Airline forum in 2003. Another had posted it again this year and it made my smile so I thought I'd recored it here. I got bored and added the links in below.




T'was the night before Christmas, and out on the ramp,
Not an airplane was stirring, not even a Champ.
The aircraft were fastened to tie downs with care,
In hopes that -- come morning -- they all would be there.

The fuel trucks were nestled, all snug in their spots,
With gusts from two-forty at 39 knots.
I slumped at the fuel desk, now finally caught up,
And settled down comfortably, resting my butt.

When the radio lit up with noise and with chatter,
I turned up the scanner to see what was the matter.
A voice clearly heard over static and snow,
Called for clearance to land at the airport below.

He barked his transmission so lively and quick,
I'd have sworn that the call sign he used was "St. Nick."
I ran to the panel to turn up the lights,
The better to welcome this magical flight.

He called his position, no room for denial,
"St. Nicholas One, turnin' left onto final."
And what to my wondering eyes should appear,
But a Rutan-built sleigh, with eight Rotax Reindeer!

With vectors to final, down the glideslope he came,
As he passed all fixes, he called them by name:
"Now Ringo! Now Tolga! Now Trini and Bacun!
On Comet! On Cupid!" What pills was he takin'?

While controllers were sittin', and scratchin' their heads,
They phoned to my office, and I heard it with dread,
The message they left was both urgent and dour:
"When Santa pulls in, have him please call the tower."

He landed like silk, with the sled runners sparking,
Then I heard, "Left at Charlie," and "Taxi to parking."
He slowed to a taxi, turned off of three-oh,
And stopped on the ramp with a "Ho, ho-ho-ho..."

He stepped out of the sleigh, but before he could talk,
I ran out to meet him with my best set of chocks.
His red helmet and goggles were covered with frost,
And his beard was all blackened from Reindeer exhaust.

His breath smelled like peppermint, gone slightly stale,
And he puffed on a pipe, but he didn't inhale.
His cheeks were all rosy and jiggled like jelly,
His boots were as black as a cropduster's belly.

He was chubby and plump, in his suit of bright red,
And he asked me to "fill it, with hundred low-lead."
He came dashing in from the snow-covered pump,
I knew he was anxious for drainin' the sump.

I spoke not a word, but went straight to my work,
And I filled up the sleigh, but I spilled like a jerk.
He came out of the restroom, and sighed in relief,
Then he picked up a phone for a Flight Service brief.

And I thought as he silently scribed in his log,
These reindeer could land in an eighth-mile fog.
He completed his pre-flight, from the front to the rear,
Then he put on his headset, and I heard him yell, "Clear!"

And laying a finger on his push-to-talk,
He called up the tower for clearance and squawk.
"Take taxiway Charlie, the southbound direction,
Turn right three-two-zero at pilot's discretion"

He sped down the runway, the best of the best,
"Your traffic's a Grumman, inbound from the west."
Then I heard him proclaim, as he climbed through the night,
"Merry Christmas to all! I have traffic in sight."

Author Unknown

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Call Sign: "Atlas"

Today I official graduated from ASTAC school I received my call sign "Atlas". Not the paper map, the greek god charged with holding up the entire world. Ya I know I'm awesome at least today. The story behind a call sign is never really fully told but I did have a lot on my shoulders during the course and still made it through, now on to the fleet.
The middle 5 is our class with instructors on the ends. From left to right our class call signs: Jeeves, Snorlax, Atlas, SAP, Siri

In Greek mythology, Atlas was the primordial Titan who held up the celestial sphere.