How do I attract new pilots to my exisiting web site?
This is a difficult proposition. No matter how much $$ you spend on your web site, it does no good if no one finds it! We solve the publicity problem for you. If you go to a typical search engine such as Google.com and enter search terms like "flight" and "physical" you will get up to a million relevant returns. We are consistently number one or two on the output list and depending on the search terms you use, this search engine output usually numbers in the hundreds of thousands of "query results". Assuming an individual AME site even gets listed, it is rarely in the top 100 of the search results, so it is doubtful that it will be noticed by the pilot. To illustrate this problem and our solution, A Google search on 20 Nov 2006 yielded 28,999,000 relevant sites, and FlightPhysical.com site was number one on the output list! Ranking on this list changes daily, but we are always at or near the top because output order is based on Internet-wide popularity. FlightPhysical.com's traffic has grown exponentially over its first 4 years and our listing serves thousands daily and generates more "hits" than any single AME trying to promote his/her site. From 1999-2006, we have gradually climbed to the top of all Internet search engines. Collective sites rank highly and should be used to funnel traffic to your home site. You will increase your site's page rank in search engines when you have popular sites (like FlightPhysical.com) maintain inbound links to your web address. Take advantage of our popularity by linking from our site to your existing one for only $2 per month.
Many practices already have external websites, but if you don't have one yourself, you know that you have a free internal site with us! We believe the sooner you establish an Internet presence, the better. Hosting services and e-commerce companies charge anywhere from $25 a month to $3000 for full website development and maintenance. Sometimes, Internet service providers (ISPs) will offer some free space to you on a subdirectory (e.g. http://www.someoneelse/theirdomain/subfolder/yourspace.com). These are all great hosting options, but they are not targeted to a pilot audience. This means it can be difficult for pilots to find your site. Fortunately, your existing or future external site is easily integrated (linked) with our site. Whether we link or host your site, use us to drive pilot traffic to you.
We have had over two million page views since inception and currently serve pages to about 3000 visitors per day. Our site represents 4500 AMEs, and we have a full time staff working on publicity. We attract one audience -- pilots needing physicals, and we channel thousands of pilots to AMEs through FlightPhysical.com. If you have a fully capable website, place a link from a FlightPhysical.com profile page to your own site. We no longer require a return link as a courtesy, but we do charge $2 per month for outbound links if you are an otherwise non-paying AME customer. If you subscribe to any of our paid services, the outbound link fee is waived. See our fee schedule for more info on upgrade options.
We can help you use your Internet to increase the efficiency of your practice. Our enhancements expedite pilot visits and improve their overall satisfaction with your service. The FAA and pilots recognize the potential power of the Web--don't be left scrambling. Oklahoma City is aggressively employing and refining the latest technology to bring clinical data into its central databases, but the overall business end remains the AME's responsibility. The FAA intentionally stands clear and allows us to run our practices as commercial businesses. FlightPhysical.com aims to help with the annoying but necessary logistic aspects of your practice. We offer services that you in turn pass on to your pilots. Scheduling and locating AMEs is one of pilots' biggest grievances. Our top-ranked national database puts your practice's web page just a mouse click away. Additionally, my office staff (and probably yours) is required to pass out repetitive information all day long. Giving verbal directions 20 times a day gets old. This telephone tedium is not a highlight of their jobs! All of this can be automated.
Using the Internet to post information and expedite the administrative aspects of doing FAA physicals makes sense. Pilots can load routine demographic information before they even arrive at your office. They can print out maps or driving directions to your office. This cuts total office time and benefits all parties. Pilots hate playing phone tag and waiting on hold as much as your staff dislikes making them wait. Pilots reduce total office time by scheduling and paying online. Soon, pilots will be able to complete the majority of the Flight Physical transaction on-line before they even arrive at your office! As flight doctors we are especially well suited to accepting on-line reimbursement because pilots seldom force us to deal with third party insurance payers. Start today by viewing or modifying your default web site. You can catch up quickly with your on-line colleagues.
How do I become an AME? To become and Aeromedical Examiner (AME), you must first contact your Regional Flight Surgeon and verify a need in your local area. Regional allotments are carefully controlled to insure a proper match between demand for AME services and active AMEs approved in the area. Your FAA designation will be for a specific practice location, and if you move, you will have to be re-approved for the new location. If there is no current opening for an AME, you will be put on a waiting list. Prior to receiving designation as an FAA approved Aeromedical Examiner, you must also undergo training. For more details, see the Prospective AME web page. Return to Index of FAQ's
Why do you have "www" in front of FlightPhysical.com sometimes? WWW stands for World Wide Web and it is optional with some sites including FlightPhysical.com. The http:// is also rarely needed; it stands for "hyper text transfer protocol." In modern browsers, all you have to type is flightphysical into the URL (uniform resource locator) or address line and the rest is added by default. If you are having trouble, just type in the full address: http://www.FlightPhysical.com. The characters in FlightPhysical.com are not case-sensitive; it doesn't matter if you use some, all or no capital letters. Return to Index of FAQ's
Linking to your site from FlightPhysical.com solves the AME's number one problem--Internet publicity. All AMEs with their own external sites share a tough problem:
How will Pilots use this website? To many pilots, the FAA physical exam is a necessary evil anything that can streamline the process will be greatly appreciated! Pilots use the Internet frequently (much more so than doctors) and they all need to find you when their medical certificate is expiring. They will find FlightPhysical.com through links at typical pilot sites and search engines, then they will find you as they query our database by location. If you elect to use advanced features in the future, they can schedule and pay online, too! Return to Index of FAQ's
What made you think of this? From John Ogle, CEO: I am a pilot as well as an AME and I understand the aeromedical certification process well--from both ends. I created this website because I dislike playing telephone tag and sitting on hold and as much as anyone. I actually thought of this while on hold trying to get through to another physician! The FAA exam itself is great, as a flight doctor I've performed hundreds of flight physicals (maybe thousands?)...as a pilot, I've had about a dozen myself. Overall, I admire the exam process. It is highly evolved, and I certainly applaud the FAA for recent efforts to expedite data transfer to Oklahoma City via the Internet version of AMCS. Now the business end of the process can become equally efficient.
Most people underestimate the complexity of maintaining and designing a web site, but the AMEs, pilots and computer experts at FlightPhysical.com have years of experience. We can help you each step of the way, so that you will establish a strong Internet presence. This will be useful to your patients and pilots, and the professional web sites that we help create will be fully scalable and upgradeable. It is best to visualize the entire process in 4 independent parts: registration, design, hosting and publicizing.
How do I add my own pictures to my site? To add pictures, email us the pictures as attachments. Small, web-ready pictures can be posted on your site for free. Indicate whether you want the image to appear in the upper right hand corner or as a large picture in the middle of your site. If you want the picture in the upper right portion, max pixel width is 150. For detailed layout requirements, you will need to upgrade to a static site, but you can send small custom pictures to replace the "default" graphics on your site, even if you stay at the "free" level of service. Regardless of whether you upgrade or not, your digital image must be prepared for the web, and there is always a compromise between file size and image quality. The image(s) must have reduced color depth--ideally 256 colors, but must be below 24 bit color. Resolution should be no greater than 72 dots per inch for the desired display size. Greater resolution will degrade our server's performance with exaggerated file transfer requirements, and this is wasted graphical information because your pilots, patients and web viewers will only be able to display to their monitor's resolution of 72 DPI. In plain English, un-processed images increase your page's load time, thus slowing down the web viewing experience. Despite imparting this download penalty, you are delivering no extra quality when you try to publish un-optimized images. If your image is not ready for the web (well compressed jpg or gif with low to moderate color depth and total file size less than 200 KB, max pixel width less than 500), we will professionally process any of your digital images for a one time $10 fee. Simply email us what you have and pay online at our payment page.
The FAA states: The AME is to conduct all medical examinations at their designated address only. An Examiner is not permitted to conduct examinations at a temporary address and is not permitted to name an alternate Examiner. During an AME's absence from the permanent office, applicants for airman medical certification shall be referred to another Examiner in the area.
Current AMEs are authorized a single "primary" directory listing for free and can purchase second listings for $3 per month by sending us email requesting the second listing. This nominal fee helps offset the cost of maintaining this site (we receive no money from the FAA). Additional listings must be added manually and updated by hand as the FAA data changes.
Most of your AME web site content can be updated through our Modification form, but to update your "official" address, fax or primary phone number, you must submit corrections/updates through your Regional Flight Surgeon. We apologize for this inconvenience, but the FAA must maintain control of the central database. We link directly to their list of addresses and phone numbers, then augment that data with unlimited additional (promotional) data that is under direct control of FlightPhysical.com. We will post secondary toll free, cell, pager or back office numbers, but the "official" primary phone number, address and fax number must be updated through the FAA. Through our Modification form, you can add second phone numbers, office hours, education, second degrees or anything else unique to your practice and helpful to your pilots, but primary demographic info must route through the FAA. Don't worry, you will never have to submit more than one change of address. After the FAA gets your change, we will get it automatically from them. If you want a complete second listing, see below.
It is critical to claim a domain name (web address) before the one you want has already been registered by someone else. The best names (www.yourdomain.com) get grabbed quickly--about 30,000 per day. It is best to let us register the name to simplify future hosting options, insure privacy, and maximize cost-effectiveness. We buy names in bulk and offer domain names for $15 per year (vs $35/year for Verisign/Network Solutions) You can purchase a domain name (www.yourpractice.com) from hundreds of competing registrars, but many are over-priced, and more importantly many registrars maintain very inflexible policies which severely limit your future hosting options (24 hour publishing of your web pages). You can register with anyone, but if you've not yet purchased your domain name, you should consider allowing FlightPhysical.com to register on your behalf. This service is offered to current AMEs only, and our name will appear as a Proxy owner. You still control the domain and have full benefits of ownership. You can:
The benefit of a FlightPhysical.com registration is that the Whois database will publish our name, addresses and phone numbers instead of your personal identifying information. That way, you are protected from spammers, scammers and other intruders. Allowing the AMEs and Internet professionals at FlightPhysical.com to manage your registration is free and this will reduce your headaches during all phases of development. We help you each step of the way, and you have numerous hosting options with FlightPhysical.com. We maintain flexible "pay-as-you-grow" policies. Our services are guaranteed and there are no long term contracts for AMEs. ( You lost me, please explain about the differences between hosting and registering and other parts of building a web presence).
How will FlightPhysical.com change in the future? Like all modern Internet innovations, FlightPhysical.com is a work in progress. It will advance as technology evolves. Our full-time staff is constantly scanning the Internet for promotion and affiliation opportunities. We have finally achieved excellent position in the search engines. If pilots search for "FAA flight physical" in any major search engine, they will find us and then be routed to your page. You are free to use as little or as much of our services as you desire Barring unforeseen inflation in hosting costs (I expect just the opposite), I intend to continue hosting all US AME's for free, but we may start charging for optional services such as online billing and scheduling as these services improve. Email and promotional services will always remain free for AMEs. In the future, we hope to permit pilots to upload their administrative information via the Internet prior to arriving at your office to make the visit even quicker and more painless. Imagine having a baseline electronic record on new pilots before they even arrive at your office! You will have many opportunities to expand your site as more and more of your pilots (and other patients) become comfortable with this medium. Your practices web site can contain any material you desire (as long as it does not violate decency or copyright laws). Return to Index of FAQ's
My Map doesn't show my location correctly, how can I fix it? These maps are dynamically generated from address data passed to the map generation servers "behind the scenes." This process is usually very efficient and "transparent" to your users. On your default site, we have passed your address exactly as it is listed in the official FAA database. Occasionally, some AME address formats are not recognizable by the automated MapQuest map creation servers, but this is easily corrected. To correct the problem, go directly to the MapQuest site and input modified addresses until you find one that generates an acceptable map, with your location accurately represented. Some AMEs have used their neighbor's street address or a nearby intersection to fine tune the appearance of their Maps. MapQuest prefers a simple numerical street address or intersection, city, and state. After you identify an acceptable address, city and state, then you can send the "Map Address" to FlightPhysical.com via the AME Modification form. This should correct the appearance of your dynamically generated map. This will not affect your official address or the printed address listed on your web site or listed on our directory output. Alternatively, you can generate a static map image from MapQuest or elsewhere and customize it anyway you desire then send the .jpg or .gif image as an email attachment to flightphysical.com's map division. Return to Index of FAQ's
Why are you doing this, how will you fund the project? I believe that we can build FlightPhysical.com into a professional, user-friendly website with minimal out-of-pocket cost. We operate from private funding sources and are not part of the FAA. We hope to recover expenses in the future by adding commercial services to those AME's who want to become fully automated in their practices. Of course, hosting, email and advertising offers mentioned here will remain free for all AMEs. At the present I don't plan to advertise (with banner ads) from our site. I don't anticipate advertisements on our web pages would generate substantial income during the start-up period; however, I reserve the right to do so in the future. We promote our site (to bring pilots to FlightPhysical.com) by listing in hundreds of online search engines and directories. We are currently listed in 1,410 public search directories, and that number grows daily. Return to Index of FAQ's
How much will it cost me? I invite you to participate in this project from the start. Our current focus is to get FlightPhysical.com established, and we will not charge for providing you with a dynamic, multi-page site. We offer you a free customized website that points pilots to your practices homepage 24 hours a day from anywhere in the world. If you want your own domain, that will cost $15 - 35 per year. This fee is paid directly to the InterNIC (the agency responsible for registering domains). Owning your own domain is purely optional, but if you want one, you can be "hosted" by the FlightPhysical.com web server for $15/month. If you want your own domain, you should check here to see if the domain you want is available and claim it before someone else does. For more details see our pricing page. Return to Index of FAQ's
Why Now? The Internet is integral to clinical practices today more than ever. The earlier the on-line transition is made the better. Because of the nature of our jobs, we are in a unique position to use this tool today. We are among a small subset of practicing doctors who have used the Internet clinically since 1999 (AMCS). Pilots, as a group, are extremely "internet-savvy," and FlightPhysical.com improves your practices accessibility. More importantly, if you choose to take advantage of advanced options, it will ultimately decrease office staff workload. You already have the Internet access, we will help you transition to a more efficient "e-practice"! Return to Index of FAQ's
What is a domain and why would I want one? A domain is a type of address on the Internet. It is your own part of cyberspace. In practical terms, it is part of the URL (uniform resource locator) between the www and the .com (or .net or .org). With our website, www.FlightPhysical.com, "FlightPhysical" is our domain. There can only be one account holder for every Web Address. This is why Web Addresses have to be registered by an international authority (the InterNIC). If you are curious, the first step in registering a Web Address is to check to see if the name you want is already registered by someone else. You can check here to check now. Unfortunately, many AMEs are discovering that most common names are already taken by someone else. You don't need your own domain to use our services and benefit from our advertising, but it will enable you to "reserve" a specific Web Address for future development. If you don't get your own domain, you will have a subdirectory (partitioned space) as a part of our collective domain. This can be built into a multi-page, directly accessible web site. If you choose, you can register your own domain and link it to this site.
The main advantage of possessing your own domain today is the future right of ownership. Like a copyright or trademark, domains are a type of intellectual property. Some have been sold on the secondary market for hundreds of thousands of dollars (pretty good return on $35). In general, the more obscure the name, the less valuable they are. I don't recommend you speculate on domain names (an unethical practice known as "cyber-squatting"), but you should register your clinic or personal name as soon as possible if it is still available. Once your domain has been registered by someone else (maybe someone in Australia with your same name), then you are too late. Worldwide since mid summer, 30,000 domain names have been claimed daily. If you think you might want to own your own domain sometime in the future (ie. www.jetdoctorbob.com or www.billsmith.com), then you should check here to see it is still available and reserve it now. You will always have time to develop your domain later. For more info about domains click here. Return to Index of FAQ's
How do I check to see if my domain is available? If you think you might want to own your own domain sometime in the future, then you should check here to see it is still available and reserve it now. After ensuring that your domain is still unclaimed, then you must "lease" it. You will pay a third party (network solutions or register.com) $35 per year. You no longer must have a hosting arrangement at the time that you claim the domain. Parking or "reserving" the domain requires no technical information but some AMEs have had problems getting their domains "released" or "unparked" after they registered them. If you have any questions, please email us. We can register your domain for you for free and handle all the details. Return to Index of FAQ's
What is an Internet Directory? An Internet directory, such as Yahoo, is an organized database of websites based on logical breakdowns of content. In general, they are much more efficient than standard search engines because they return smaller sets of "search results" making them more useful. We will be listed in directories and search engines. I don't advise stopping your yellow pages subscription just yet, but Internet directories will eventually replace phone books and they reach more people, and they are faster and cheaper! Search Engine and Directory optimization is an evolving art. Everyone wants their web site ranked highly in the output of the major search engines. We have a team devoted to achieving high ranking for flightphysical.com and to date they have been quite successful. You will directly benefit from our high ranking. Rankings change daily, but as of Nov, 2006, a Google search query using terms "Flight Physical" returned 28,200,000 pages and our site was ranked number one! Return to Index of FAQ's
Don't I already have an Internet Listing? Yes, you already have a non-modifiable listing that appears on the FAAs directory of examiners web page. Though improving, directories outside of FlightPhysical.com are rather cumbersome to use, and I doubt many (if any) of your pilots have found you through that route. FlightPhysical.com aims to be very different. Back in Sep 26th, 1999 we we listed in 1410 search engines (easy to find), and today we are top ranked in Google, Yahoo and all major search engines. We are very user-friendly and infinitely scalable and customizable. Already hundreds of AMEs have begun customizing their sites on our directory, and the remainder have default sites which still provide useful address and phone info for pilots. We get almost 2000 site visits a day! Future growth potential of your site is almost unlimited, and because it will reside on a common "server" computer with other AME's the evolving services will be tailored specifically to your needs and maximal AMCS integration. FlightPhysical.com is a private company run by and for pilots and AMEs. Return to Index of FAQ's
What is Domain Hosting? Hosting is a service provided by a company that publishes web information on its high-speed computers connected to the Internet 24 hours a day. These hosting companies vary tremendously in price and quality. They provide "space" which is analogous to accessible data on a hard drive, and they provide "bandwidth" which is the rate at which they accept inquiries and pass out information. The host servers for FlightPhysical.com are superb. They offer unlimited bandwidth, multiple OC-3 lines, and all data is backed up continuously on auxiliary computers. They are extremely fast because the servers are not plagued with rate-limiting ISP (Internet Service Provider) functions. Any slow transfers of FlightPhysical.com would probably be the result of the user's ISP. Return to Index of FAQ's
How do we set up the online payment stuff? Online financial transactions have proved safe and efficient. Our AME / pilot relationship is unique in medicine. Seldom do we bill 3rd party (insurance) payers. Flight physicals lend themselves to an automated payment process. Both AMEs and pilots benefit from the paperless efficiency of online payments.
There are many secure ways to accept Internet payments. Hundreds of companies offer merchant accounts and online payment solutions. If you have you own Internet capable merchant account (versus "swipe only" accounts) then incorporation of the necessary codes into your site will be very easy. Contact us and we can help you set up credit capture on your FlightPhysical.com hosted site. Return to Index of FAQ's
How will you promote this to pilots? I think it will be easy to recruit pilots to our site and quickly route them to you. The message to pilots is something like this: To pilots: Regardless of what we fly or where we live, all of us as pilots share the legal responsibility to keep our airmen medical certificates current. Like taxes and BFRs, periodic medical exams are unavoidable requirements of our profession. As both a commercial pilot and a physician, I understand the value of your time and aim to streamline the periodic hassle of renewing your aeromedical certification. FlightPhysical.com aims to expedite the process of finding a qualified doctor and scheduling your periodic Class 1, 2 or 3 FAA flight physical. As this site grows, you will be able to locate a nearby Aeromedical Examiner (AME) online, view his or her office schedule, schedule yourself at a convenient time, and even pay for your exam online. If you like you may even input demographic and administrative information ahead of time to further reduce the length of time you spend at the flight doc's office! Return to Index of FAQ's
What is the relationship between FlightPhysical.com and the FAA? FlightPhysical.com is a private company with private funding. We use no government funding and are not formally attached to the FAA. We do enjoy a cooperative relationship with the FAA in which we mirror public information on our site and decompress their public education function. One of the FAA's major missions is to disseminate public data such as Aeromedical Standards information and the official AME directory. We assist in this release of public information via our highly visible web site. To insure current data, the FAA provide us electronic database updates every month. This is especially important for our maintenance of "default" AME sites for those who are not actively participated in FlightPhysical.com's promotional services. Like you, we are designated aeromedical examiners and FAA licensed pilots. We respect the ethics of the exam and the need for confidential and impartial data transmission to Oklahoma City, but we also recognize the demand for an organized, collective use of the Web to promote more efficient practices in the Internet Age. Return to Index of FAQ's
What are the computer system requirements for using FlightPhysical.com? You can actually sign up right here and use any internet capable computer to begin reaping promotional benefits immediately. Any browser and any ISP will work. For more advanced uses (scheduling and billing), the requirements are the same as those for the AMCS-Internet version: (1) An IP (Internet Protocol) dial-up or network connection (2) An Internet service provider to provide this connection (3) A web browser such as Internet Explorer or Netscape Navigator is best. If you opt for online payments then the browser must be 128-bit encryption capable (all modern ones are). The site is compatible with any computer including Macintosh and Windows 95/98/NT. Return to Index of FAQ's