AMCS Use Mandatory in `99

Editorial, by Jon L. Jordan, MD, JD

Effective October 1, 1999, the Office of Aerospace Medicine will require that all Aviation Medical Examiners transmit FAA Form 8500-8 via the Aeromedical Certification Subsystem (AMCS). AMCS is a free, PC-based software spackage that provides for the recording, validation, and electronic transmission of the airman medical certificate.

Currently, there are approximately 500 new AMEs who are on the AMCS, as this has been a requirement for all new AMEs since January 1, 1995. Also, there are approximately 1,100 experienced AMEs who have requested AMCS and are now using it. Verbal and written comments from AMCS users have been laudatory.

The AMCS is used to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of the airman medical certification process by:

  1. Reducing paperwork.
  2. Eliminating errors of omission on airman medical certificate applications.
  3. Enabling the transmission of airman medical (FAA Form 8500-8) data 24 hours a day to the Civil Aerospace Medical Institute's Aeromedical Certification Division in Oklahoma City.
  4. Allowing review by the Aeromedical Certification Division shortly after transmission.
  5. Enabling AMEs access to airman electronic files to easily retrieve data for prompt response to airman inquiries, and reduce data entry time on subsequent visits by the same airman. The best part is that the AMCS software and technical telephone support is provided free to AMEs. Furthermore, transmission costs are supported by a toll-free number provided by the FAA for AMCS nationwide access.
Another important change for our Senior AMEs, effective October 1, 1999, is that all will be required to transmit their ECGs via digital electronic data transfer. This will save time and money, and will result in clearer and more accurate ECGs. Analog ECGs will no longer be accepted, as they contain unacceptable levels of distortion that increase the possibility of misinterpretation.

The Aeromedical Certification Division is now upgrading AMCS hardware and software to meet the Year 2000 requirements while also improving the system's performance. For technical information regarding hardware requirements for AMCS and ECG transmission, see Looking to 1999 in this issue of the Bulletin.

Computer and software technologies are rapidly evolving. Accordingly, we intend to adopt this technology to improve our capability to quickly and accurately assess huge amounts of information. To the Aviation Medical Examiner using these new tools, this means processing examination information more seamlessly. To the airmen, especially professional pilots, the quality improvements in obtaining certification decisions will be remarkable.