What are the differences in the types of pilot
student pilot license (certificate) is designed
for the initial training period of flying. The
student pilot must have a flight instructor
present. He or she can solo after appropriate
A recreational pilot certificate limits the
holder to: specific categories and classes of
aircraft, the number of passengers which may be
carried, the distance that may be flown from the
departure point, flight into controlled
airports, and other limitations.
A private pilot certificate lets the pilot carry
passengers and provides for limited business use
of an airplane.
A commercial pilot certificate lets the pilot
conduct some operations for compensation and
An airline transport pilot certificate is
required to fly as captain by some air transport
Does my change of address apply to all FAA
your change of address applies to all FAA
However, the FAA does not confirm the receipt of
a change of address, nor do they automatically
send replacement certificates showing your new
address. To confirm that your change of address
was received by the FAA, call the Civil Aviation
Registry at 1-866-878-2498 or 405-954-3261,
press #1 for the Airmen Registry, and #0 to
speak with an examiner.
How do I obtain a commercial pilot certificate?
How long does it take the FAA to send out a
permanent certificate (license)
While the FAA sets minimum certification
requirements for air carriers (commercial
certificate with an instrument rating), each
airline sets its own minimum experience
requirements. For example, the FAA requires 250
total hours for a commercial pilot certificate.
However, few, if any, airlines use that amount
of flight time as their own minimum standard.
They may require 1,000 or 2,000 hours or more.
Also, market conditions (supply of pilots and
demand for air travel) influence what minimum
experience airlines require.
Furthermore, different air carriers may consider
some types of flight time more important than
others. Some prefer more jet or turbine
experience, while some may prefer more time in a
particular type of aircraft. Many airlines also
consider whether the applicant has a college
There are aviation job-search companies that
research hiring requirements and trends of all
U.S. air carriers. You can find these companies
through an internet search, and through
advertisements in flying magazines.
14 CFR Part 61, Certification: Pilots, Flight
Instructors and Ground Instructors, contains the
FAA requirements for all pilot certificates.
It typically takes about six to eight weeks
to process and send your permanent certificate.
You can check the FAA website to see what date
are currently processing. If they are processing
certificates dated later than yours, you can
submit an inquiry to them or call the Airmen
Registry at (405) 954-3261 or toll free at
What is the maximum age a pilot can fly an airplane?
In the U.S., there are no FAA age limits for
pilots except for commercial airline pilots
employed by airlines certified under: 14 CFR
Part 121. These airlines cannot employ pilots
after they reach the age of 60.
However, these pilots may stay on with a Part
121 carrier in some other role, such as flight
engineer. They can also fly for a company that
is not a Part 121 carrier.
What do I have to do to keep my pilot license
An FAA pilot certificate never expires.
However, you must be current on the following to
continue to fly as pilot-in-command:
* You must have made at least three takeoffs and
landings within the last 90 days, see 14 CFR
* You must have had a flight review within the
last 24 months, see 14 CFR 61.56.
A pilot who completes one or more phases of a
FAA-sponsored pilot proficiency award program
does not need to complete the flight review. See
14 CFR 61.56(e).
With the exception of glider flying and certain
flight instructor duties, you need a current
medical certificate. For commercial flying you
need at least a 2nd class medical certificate.
I'm a certificated (licensed) pilot. If I'm flying
with another certificated pilot can I log
Pilot-in-Command (PIC) time?
Since you are both certificated pilots, each
of you may log PIC time for the time you
are at the controls of an aircraft you are
I lost my original logbook. What do I need to do to
verify my flight experience?
Airmen may reconstruct lost logbooks or
flight records by providing a signed statement
of previous flight time to an FAA Inspector. To
substantiate and provide proof of experience,
airmen may use the following: aircraft logbooks,
receipts for aircraft rentals, operator records,
copies of airmen medical files and copies of FAA
form 8710-1, "Airman Certificate and/or Rating
To obtain file copies, airmen may write to the
following FAA offices:
FAA Airmen Certification Branch, AVN-46
P.O. Box 25082
6500 S. MacArthur Blvd.
Oklahoma City, OK 73125
FAA Aeromedical Certification Branch
P.O. Box 25082
Oklahoma City, OK 73125
How do I change the name on my certificate
You can find out how to change the
information on your FAA certificate, and have a
new one sent to you, by contacting the FAA.
How did aircraft nationality markings (N numbers)
In 1919, an international treaty assigned "N"
as the designator for U.S. aircraft. The United
States did not sign this agreement, however, so
use of the "N" did not become compulsory then.
In December 1926, the first U.S. Air Commerce
Regulations set up a system of licensing and
identification marking for aircraft. In March
1927, amendments to those regulations mandated
that U.S. aircraft engaged in foreign air
commerce display the letter "N" at the beginning
of its identification markings. Today, all
aircraft registered in the United States must
carry the "N" marking regardless of where they
How can I find the flying record for a pilot?
Information regarding availability of a
pilot's record is governed by the United States
Code (USC). For more information, please
contact the FAA Airmen Certification Branch AFS
760 PO Box 25082 Oklahoma City OK 73125-0082.
My certificates were stolen. Can I still instruct?
No, you cannot instruct without the
appropriate certificate(s) in your possession.
(Under 14 CFR 61.3, requirement for
certificates, ratings, and authorizations, "A
person may not act as pilot in command or in any
other capacity as a required pilot flight
crewmember... unless that person has a valid
pilot certificate or special purpose pilot
authorization... in that person's physical
possession or readily accessible in the aircraft
when exercising the privileges of that pilot
certificate or authorization.")
To request a faxed copy
While the normal processing time for replacing
certificates is four to six weeks, the FAA Civil
Aviation Registry can fax you a record of your
certificate(s) that is valid for 60 days--more
than enough time to receive the permanent
copies. To receive this fax, call the registry
at 1-866-878-2498 or 405-954-3261, press 1 to
reach the Airmen Registry, and 0 to speak with
an examiner. When requesting the fax, be sure to
state that you want a record of your medical
certificate to be included.