As a bit of background, you might recall the Legal Services Plan (LSP) and Medical Certification Services (MCS) were two separate offerings until they were combined in May, 2012 to create the AOPA Pilot Protection Services (PPS) program. The main reason AOPA combined the LSP and MCS was to help protect both your pilot and medical certificates with one plan - at nearly half the cost.
As an instrument-rated private pilot and long-time Plan participant myself, I’ll have to admit that I didn’t fully appreciate the comprehensive benefits of the AOPA Pilot Protection Services program until I started working here a couple of years ago. Based on my experience, I hope to shed some light on what I’ve learned and how PPS could be extremely beneficial in helping to protect your certificates.
During an average year, the LSP staff typically assists between 3,500 and 4,000 individual pilots with their aviation-related legal matters. For many of those members, there seems to be a general misconception that they should only call us AFTER something has happened and they need to speak to an attorney. Although those urgent-type calls are one critical aspect of the service we provide, you should also know we provide consultations on a wide array of matters to help pilots avoid getting unwanted attention from the FAA in the first place. For example, we’re happy to discuss questions you have about a Federal Aviation Regulation (FAR), FAA and NTSB reporting requirements, the legal aspects of BasicMed, operating your drone in the National Airspace System (NAS), or questions on any number of other aviation-related matters.
Anyone who holds an FAA-issued medical certificate knows some of the questions on the medical application can be confusing, especially if you have had a change in your health since the last application you submitted. Our Medical Certification Services staff of experienced specialists will review your medical application and any supporting documents before you provide them to the FAA. This critical service can help avoid unwanted scrutiny of your medical records, unnecessary delays in the review and evaluation of your medical application, and possibly a denial of your medical certification, so you can keep flying.
For those airmen who are considering flying under the new BasicMed rules, our Medical Certification Services staff will discuss your medical history to help you determine if you can operate under the new regulations and what you have to do to continue operating under BasicMed moving forward.
For less than the cost of one hour of flight time in most single engine airplanes, you get all these benefits and much more.
Fly safe and I’ll see you in the skies,
Pilot Protection Services