Pride Goeth Before A Fall
Two pilots walk into the waiting room of an Aviation Medical Examiner to renew the medical certificates that they carry along with their private pilot certificates. One believes himself to be in excellent health, and although he doesn’t need it, decides to “upgrade” to a first class medical. The other is content with keeping his third class medical. The “third class” pilot passes his exam with flying colors. The AME finds a minor eye problem however, in the case of the first guy. What happens?
- The AME must re-examine the applicant according to Third Class criteria only. There is no “one level” demotion.
- The AME must advise the applicant that he has to reschedule for another exam, and the applicant doesn’t receive any medical at all.
- The AME continues the exam, but must not inform the applicant until it is over as to the result, at which point the applicant has the option of receiving the next lower class of medical for which he qualifies, or coming back for another try.
- The AME can put the exam on hold, pending further work by a specialist, for a reasonable period of time (say, two weeks). Then, if the problem proves not to be a show-stopper, he can get either his desired class of medical, or one rung (or two) down.
Answer: You won’t find this in Part 61, 91, or anywhere else in the usual FARs. According to Dick Hiner, the former vice president of training at the AOPA Air Safety Foundation, when you apply for a medical certificate, you apply for the specific class on the application. If you don’t meet the requirements for the class for which you applied, the application must be rejected, and you walk out the door without any medical at all. The only thing that one can do is fill out another application for a lower class. However, you must reschedule with the AME. Not only that, but in a subsequent application, you are supposed to indicate that you have failed a previous medical exam and as you can guess, this opens up a can of worms. The best guidance then is to go for it, but only if you have a valid need or reason. So the answer, according to this, is B. (I did ask a local senior Aviation Medical Examiner about this situation and he indicated that there could be some leniency, but don’t count on it.)
Don’t Leave the AME Without It
Assuming that he or she has passed the exam, what should a student pilot applicant check, before leaving the office of the Aviation Medical Examiner? More than one may apply.
- that the AME has given them a Medical Certificate and Student Pilot Certificate (FAA Form 8420-2), and not just an FAA Form 8500-9 (Medical Certificate)
- that the AME has not checked the box marked “Medical Certificate” in block 62 of FAA Form 8500-8 (Application For Airman Medical Certificate or Airman Medical and Student Pilot Certificate).
- that he or she has signed your FAA Form 8710-2, Student Pilot Certificate, and that you have signed it, as well
- that the AME has returned your copy of FAA Form 8055-5, Application For Student Pilot Certificate, for your records.
Answer: A, and although it’s not as critical, B as well. The two forms mentioned in choice A look very much alike; the former states that it has that dual function, and it also has a “DD” at the top. Don’t laugh! This kind of mix-up has happened! If just the “medical” is issued to a student pilot applicant, it means that he or she could be flying without proper certification, and could be held responsible, if the FAA finds out. If the wrong box is checked in Block 62 (you get the right FAA form, but the wrong box is checked), it means that no record will exist that you are a student pilot. You wouldn’t receive possibly critical safety information, nor would you have a “pilot’s access” to DUAT online. Obviously, the AME should be the first one to check against this sort of error. (By the way, there is no such form as the FAA Form 8055-5 mentioned in choice D.)
Blowing In the Wind Question
The first person to propose the use of wind tunnels to gather aerodynamic data was:
- Francis Wenham, in 1871
- Samuel P. Langley in 1891
- Wilbur Wright in 1901
- Edme Mariotte in 1686
Answer: Mariotte wrote an aerodynamics paper titled “Following the Movement of the Waters” (Traité du mouvement des eaux et des autres corps fluides), published (posthumously) in Paris in 1686. His interests were quite varied: mathematics (navigation and the problem of determining longitude), optics (refraction and the “blind spot” in vision), hydrostatics (barometric changes, and the relation between gas pressure and volume), and the laws of motion and impacts of solid bodies. Early researchers studied wind not with tunnels, but “whirling tables” (swinging arms, automating what any child does with a rock on a string). Langley used such a device in the late 1880s and early 1890s. The Wright Brothers did construct a wind tunnel in the fall of 1901, and data derived from their tests were vital to the successful of the 1903 Wright Flyer, but they were not the first to propose one. (For example, in 1896, Albert J. Wells built a wind tunnel at MIT, for his mechanical engineering thesis, and even earlier, in 1871, one was built by Frank H. Wenham. (At the first meeting of the Aeronautical Society of Great Britain, an engineer named Francis Herbert Wenham delivered a paper entitled “Aerial Locomotion,” in which he drew the prescient conclusion that long, narrow wings would be most efficient. He had concluded this based upon measurements taken within his new invention, the wind tunnel, which he built in 1871 with John Browning.) However, the answer to the question, as it was worded, is D. (The answer to the question of who first built one would of course not be choice C, but choice A.)