May 14, 2007

Still Alive

Off to Oakland airport for my US third class medical exam. Despite my general decrepitude I guess I'm not too worried about passing (I don't think I've seen a doctor for anything other than a checkup or for flu or something like that for years and years), but there's always something in the back of my mind each time I do this that wonders whether I'll fail this time….

I've used the same AME (Airman's Medical Examiner) since I started flying, so I know what to expect. He's an, umm, character, a guy I rather like; locals probably know exactly who I'm talking about: his office has a hand-written note on the door warning that you're about to enter a "politically-incorrect office!!" (the extent of the un-PCness is really just his dislike of bureaucracy, the FAA in particular, judging by the other amusing hand-written notes around the walls), he knows a lot of the places I knew as a kid in Scotland (like Tighnabruaich and the little pitfalls in its pronunciation…), he's an experienced GA pilot, with an office decorated with snapshots of him, his family, and various people who've passed through his office all in planes or standing next to planes or in military garb in military cockpits, and he's quietly jubilant that his favourite team West Ham had just beaten Manchester United over the weekend at football (West Ham beats Man United?! One of the signs of the apocalypse if you ask me, but never mind).

There's really not much to say about a third class medical: the exam itself is pretty perfunctory, covering the absolute basics (heartbeat, urine sugar levels, hearing, eyesight, blood pressure, etc.); I suspect the hard parts are when you've had recent medical treatment you have to explain to the FAA (see Aviatrix's blog for a long and mostly depressing — but ultimately successful — story of one person's struggles against the Canadian version of the US's FAA).

So I fill in the form, identically to the last time as far as I can tell, and thirty minutes or so later I have a new medical, signed sealed and delivered for the next two years (yes, I'm old enough to be on the two year cycle). I guess it's nice to know that I'm officially Still Alive…

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