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What are the differences in the types of pilot licenses (certificates)?

A 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 instructor endorsements.

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 hire.

An airline transport pilot certificate is required to fly as captain by some air transport operations.

Does my change of address apply to all FAA certificates?

Yes, your change of address applies to all FAA certificates.

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?

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 degree.

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.

How long does it take the FAA to send out a permanent certificate (license)
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 they 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 1-866-878-2498.

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 current?

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 61.57.
* 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).

Medical Certification
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 qualified in.

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 Application."

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 (license)?

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) begin?

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 operate.

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.

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