Plastic Student Pilot Certificates Start April 1st

PilotCertThe final FAA rule for the proposed new student pilot certificates was issued in the Federal Register today. Fortunately the idea of photos and biometric IDs was dropped, but student pilots will no longer get their certificates from their AME. Instead they will apply in person at their FSDO (unlikely), through a DPE, with a Part 141 flight school, or a CFI. The Civil Aviation Registry will then send a plastic student pilot certificate to the applicant after successful security vetting by the TSA. This plastic certificate will not expire but a separate medical will still be obtained from an AME with the current duration. Receipt of a student pilot certificate is required prior to exercising the privileges of a student pilot certificate (i.e., prior to solo flight). Current estimates indicate this could potentially take three to four weeks.

Since the student pilot certificate will be plastic, flight instructors will only endorse a student’s logbook instead of both their certificates and logbooks. This change takes effect on April 1, 2016. The CFI’s endorsement for a student pilot will remain valid for 90 days. We will provide details as they become available…

Author: David St. George

Master CFI, 141Chief Instructor, FAA DPE, ATP (ME/SE)

5 thoughts on “Plastic Student Pilot Certificates Start April 1st”

  1. Currently IACRA recognizes me, in the role of Recommending Instructor, but for the purposes of certifying an applicant for a Student Pilot Certificate, I do not have any authority. The regulation makes me an “authorized individual” but no such role is available to me. Any word on when or how Flight Instructors will be authorized in IACRA.

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  2. Will a student pilot be able to apply and receive the new plastic certificate before the paper certificate expires? Example: The unfortunate student whose current student certificate expires 31 March 2016–of course this student could/should get a new paper certificate this month or next. But then what about the student pilot that is about to be deployed and expects to pick up training when he/she returns in 12-18 months & their paper certificate expires while they are away? They often get a month of leave upon their return. This is prime time for training. It would be shameful for our industry to make them waste that time waiting for a new certificate.

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  3. One more scenario. Currently an AME may issue a Student Pilot Certificate to a 15 year old who is within 30 days of being 16 years old and therefore eligible to (after meeting all the other regulatory requirements) solo on his/her 16th birthday. Of course the current paper certificate is issued with a notation in the Limitations box, something to the affect of, “not valid for powered flight before mm/dd/yyyy [date of 16th birthday].” As an authorized individual will Flight Instructors be able to certify an IACRA application for a student pilot before they are 16 years old so that they may have the certificate on their 16th birthday? One answer might be for the applicant to see a Glider Flight Instructor who, presumably will be able to certify 14 year olds for student pilot certificates.

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