Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Pilot medical exams added at Share Medical Center, Alva, Oklahoma

By Lynn L. Martin
January 3, 2012

The Share Medical Center announced this week that Dr. Elizabeth Kinzie, M.D., is now an approved Airman Medical Examiner. That is a great service to this area and will draw pilots from several directions.

The FAA requires pilots to be examined by an official AME on a regular basis to make sure they are healthy enough to operate an aircraft. There are several classes of medical certificates.

A Class I certificate is required for air transport pilots who fly large aircraft. These pilots are required to be re- examined every six to twelve months depending if they are under or over 40. Class II and Class III certificates last longer.

A Class II certificate is needed if you wish to fly with a commercial license. That type of license is for those who operate smaller aircraft for hire.

A Class III certificate is needed for private pilots. Besides light planes, this category also includes specialty licenses such as gliders, hot air balloons, etc.

A relatively new category is "sport pilot." Only a valid car driver's license is needed to prove medical condition on that one.

The above is a very short summary of the FAA rules on the topic. Do not expect this presentation to cover all the nooks and crannies of the law.

Dwindling Number of AME's

When I first moved to Alva, Dr. Hinkle provided such pilot medical examinations. Later, I went to Dr. Simon until he retired. I think Dr. Self provided the service for awhile and then dropped it because of the paperwork hassle and time required to go hear the FAA say how it should be done.

So Alva has been at least a couple of decades without such a medical service.

I hold a third class certificate. As I recall, I visited an elderly doctor in Enid for a couple of renewals. He had reduced his practice to nothing but pilot examinations. He was probably in his 80's. After he retired, I found an examiner in Wichita for one round.

Then a Woodward physician started offering the service and I saw him every two years for a couple of renewals, then he moved. My last three medical certificate examinations have been by Dr. Neil Suther at Buffalo, Okla. On the last visit, about a year ago, he told me he was reducing his practice to maybe half time.

Today, I made a call to Dr. Suther's office and the secretary said he is very much full time but has talked about the half-time business for the last five years . . . so I should ignore that. He is still doing medical certificates and she commented, "He has added cosmetic surgery." And I said, "Wow."

My point in reciting all the distant places I've had to travel is to show the difficulty in finding a physician who will perform the medical certificate examination. Besides the time needed for the examination, usually about an hour, the doc has to fill out a bunch of paper work and send it to the FAA, then there is the recurrent training the FAA requires in OKC that cuts into a physician's other appointments when they have to travel for that.

So I am delighted to hear the Share Medical Center has announced that Dr. Elizabeth Kinzie, M.D. is going to provide that service. I bet a lot of pilots will travel to Alva for this service. They've simply got to get the word out. 

By Lynn L. Martin 

Original article:  http://news.mywebpal.com