History of this Service
Everything starts somewhere. And this short story will help answer questions like: Who are we? and, What are we really doing?
In the early-80s we did DataBases; lots of them! And we were (are) all pilots; old pilots! Personal computers had just arrived. And, for folks like us who had already been in (off and on) the computer business for 30 years, personal computers were toys.
Then one night, about 0300, one of us realized that we had the Airman Directory with pilot's names, addresses and medical class & exam data, and the AME list with names and addresses.
Every good idea has to have a catalyst. Yesterday's mail had produced a post card from our dentist saying: "Your 6 months are up. Get in here and get your teeth cleaned". Well, lights came on everywhere!! A few calls to AMEs convinced us that no one had thought of this before and it was, in fact, a new idea.
By the late 1997 we were mailing over 15,000 cards per month for over 250 AMEs telling pilots: "Your Medical Certificate is about to expire. Get in here and get an Exam: Stay legal".
Our service was "turnkey": We selected the pilots, printed the cards, printed the labels, paid the postage, took the cards to the Post Office and sent the list of pilots to each AME. After a couple of years some competition arrived, but no one meet us head-to-head in the market. Other services either just printed labels or printed cards and labels, and sent them to the AMEs to pay the postage and take them to the Post Office.
Then, in December '97, as result of a little tiff involving David Hinson, the Chief Council at DOT ruled that the Airman Directory was subject to the 1974 Federal Privacy Act *. The last public file was dated March 30, 1998 (The Gov't took over 3 months to react to the ruling). We sent letters to our subscribers and were "out of business" by late summer 1998.
Then, two things happened: 1) Many of our (coat tail) competitors didn't seem to realize that the data was getting older and more obsolete each month; they kept selling the service. That can't work, with a six-month trigger on ATP medicals, the data is worthless in less than a year; and, 2) AOPA, King Schools, Aerodata and we went to bat. A little history: Woodrow Wilson (as I recall) said: "The business of the nation is Business". No surprise, we are instantly joined by Hal Shevers of Sporty's Pilot Shop!! The real heroes here are the "Legal Eagles" at AOPA and Hal Shevers, supported by a little pressure from John & Martha King - safety related people. They got the job done. We tried to get Jeppeson involved; they're right down the road from us in Denver. Not interested; strange!! The family sold-out to Times Mirror several years ago (that's the LA Times). That might account for it.
Back in time: By late 1998 we had everything in place. There was a "rider" to the FAA's funding (reauthorization) bill that would make the data public. No luck!! We (and the Congress) were all trying to impeach Billy for loosing control of his zipper. So, the Congress passed the Omnibus Act, reauthorizing everything; with no changes.
Back to the drawing board: In 1999 "The Guys" added a rider to the 2000 Airport Funding Act, (would you believe it; opposed by, our friend, Sen. John McCain). Anyway, while he's out of town, the bill got passed and was signed by Billy on April 5, 2000. Meanwhile, our friends are still selling the obsolete March '98 data to AMEs; wired!!
The rider gave the FAA four months to get the data out: That meant August 5, 2000. The "word" was, that we would get the data by late Sept. or early Oct. (about 6 months). Well, guess who leaned on them to meet the Christmas mailing deadline. We got the data on Sept. 13, 2000 and it was up on our Webs Sites by Sept. 15, 2000. Its been a long 2.5 years!!
* We firmly support the 1974 Federal Privacy Act and find it interesting that it is now used mostly for "political issues". Upon examination of the Act and DOT Chief Council's ruling, it clear that the Airman Directory data is/was subject to the '74 Privacy Act. We find it very strange that it took almost a quarter of a century for the government to figure that out. And then, no Federal Employee was jailed for violating the law over that 24 year period; interesting!!
Airman Medical Service Co., Inc.
Phone: (800) 888-3575; E-Mail: AirBase@AirResearch.com
AME-MRO DataBase is a registered trademark of Airman Medical Service Co.,
Copyright 1997 - 2000. Airman Medical Service Co., Inc. All Rights Reserved.