The FAA Throws AMEs A Curve

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AMCS Internet Access Mandatory October 1

Notice to All AMEs:

AMCS Internet Access Mandatory October 1

Aeromedical Certification Division Staff Report

Because of "Year 2000" compliance issues, we will have a new Aeromedical Certification System (AMCS) Internet software program in place by October 1, 1999. Aviation medical examiners (AMEs) who are currently using the DOS-based Version 9.5 of AMCS to transmit FAA Form 8500-8 medical examination data to the Federal Aviation Administration will no longer be able to use it on that date. Instead, you will use your computer and modem to access the Internet to electronically submit examination data to the AMCS. Additional information will be provided in the summer issue of the Bulletin.

To describe how the new system will work, we have compiled 19 typical questions about the new way of doing business.

1. How do I become an AMCS Internet v1.0 user?

You will be notified and sent an instruction package with the Web site address and log-on information when the AMCS Internet v1.0 is ready to go on-line.

2. What are my responsibilities as an AMCS Internet user?

An AME who participates in the AMCS program will be responsible for entering and transmitting all FAA Form 8500-8 application data using AMCS Internet v1.0. Once you have entered the data using the AMCS Internet v.1.0, you will then mail the original copy to the Aeromedical Certification Division in Oklahoma City.

3. How long does it take to enter FAA Form 8500-8 application data into the AMCS?

Once the initial learning curve has been passed, we estimate that a reasonably proficient individual can enter an average application in five to seven minutes. Individuals with previous PC and Internet experience will generally find the AMCS Internet v1.0 to be a very easy application to learn. Individuals with no computer and Internet experience will generally require a slightly longer time to become proficient. Please note that the five- to seven-minute estimate is partially offset by the amount of time that was previously spent in typing the back of the form. The AMCS Internet v1.0 will be able to copy previous application history for print outs. This, combined with a faster processor and Internet connection, will significantly reduce data entry time.

4. What does the new AMCS do for me?

Assists you in eliminating accidental, missing, or out-of-range data on the FAA Form 8500-8

Warns you of data that do not meet certification standards

Allows you to exercise your best judgment to take proper certification actions.

5. Do I have to enter the data while the applicant is in the office?

No. But you must enter and validate the application before issuing the certificate to the applicant. The application will be automatically transmitted during validation. If you do not enter the application data while the applicant is in the office, we recommend that you either have the applicant return to pick up the certificate, or mail it to the applicant.

6. What computer hardware/software do I need?

The AMCS Internet v1.0 system requirements will support most computer operating systems and platforms. However, whatever computer system you use must be able to support:

An Internet Protocol (IP) dial-up or local area network connection

An Internet Service Provider (ISP) to provide the IP dial-up or network connection

The latest versions of World Wide Web browsers Microsoft Internet Explorer® or Netscape Navigator®

When considering a new computer system or upgrade, we recommend that, for maximum performance, you also consider the latest computer industry standards and models.

7. How much does the AMCS Internet v1.0 software cost?

There is no software for you to install on your computer. The only cost will be for your Internet service provider connection.

8. Will the AMCS Internet v1.0 work on my Macintosh?

AMCS is designed as an Internet resource, so you will be required to run the latest Macintosh version of either Microsoft Internet Explorer® or Netscape Navigator®.

9. When will the AMCS Internet program start?

It will become operational and on-line some time before October 1999. The program is currently under development.

10. Whom do I call for help?

When the AMCS Internet version goes on-line, then you will able to call the AMCS Hotline during normal business hours and they will answer your questions.

11. Do I send my applications to the Region if I'm either a new AME or a new senior AME?

New AME policies vary from Region to Region. Please contact your Regional Flight Surgeon for more information. However, all applications are to be entered via the AMCS Internet v1.0.

12. Do I have to transmit all of my applications using the AMCS Internet v1.0? What if they contain extensive lab reports?

All applications, including deferrals, should be entered using the AMCS Internet v1.0. Attachments may be mailed with the original form with the signature and a cover letter on your office letterhead identifying the airman by name, social security number, and application date. Any additional comments about the applicant may be entered in Item 60.

13. What sort of documentation is available?

AMCS Internet v1.0 is still in development and we will begin testing it soon. We will send documentation availability announcements to you when available.

14. What sort of training is available?

Training announcements will be sent out when the software program has been validated and is ready for use by AMEs.

15. What time of day can I connect?

You can connect to the Internet 24 hours a day, seven days a week. If you have trouble connecting, contact you local ISP. If you have trouble using AMCS Internet v1.0, you will be able to contact the AMCS Internet Hotline during regular business hours, and they will investigate the problem.

16. Do I need a special phone line?

Although a special phone line is not necessary, you may find it convenient.

17. What speed modem should I use?

Whatever modem and speed is compatible with your ISP. A fast modem will allow a fast Internet connection.

18. May I have the applicant enter the information from the front of the FAA Form 8500-8 directly into the AMCS Internet version?

No. The applicant should not enter the data from the front of the form into the Aeromedical Certification System because he or she could conceivably view data on your other aviation medical applicants.

19. Can I use this software for military and Air Traffic Control (ATC) applications?

No. There currently are no plans to use the AMCS Internet program for entering ATC or military applications.

Dr. Silberman manages the Civil Aeromedical Institute's Aeromedical Certification Division.

Next: Aeromedical Certification in 1999 and Beyond