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How To Renew An Old Or Expired Pilot License

Are you on a quest to rekindle your love for the skies? If you’ve undergone training before, but haven’t flown in quite some time, you may need to take the proper steps to renew your pilot license. But, where do you start, who do you see and will you need to take classes again to become air worthy? Let’s take a closer look at these questions and more while we guide you through the process of getting back into the cockpit once more.

Does A Pilot License Ever Expire?

Thankfully, once you’ve passed the training process and become certified, your pilot license never expires. There’s no rule in the U.S. that says a pilot license expires. However, you will need to follow some simple steps to ensure that your certificate stays current and you’re legally qualified to fly the appropriate aircraft.

How Do I Renew My FAA Pilot License?

The renewal process for your FAA pilot license will depend on which type of certification you’ve achieved and where you operate. In order to keep your license current, you’ll need to complete the required flight reviews at regular intervals. However, here are some general rules for U.S. pilots, from private fliers all the way up to airline captains:

Private Pilots

Private pilots will need to first obtain a third-class medical certificate from an Aviation Medical Examiner (AME), which is valid for sixty months (five years) for pilots under 40 years and 24 months (two years) for pilots over 40 years. Next, you’ll need to complete a minimum two-hour Flight Review (FR) conducted by a qualified instructor. You must complete the FR must on the type of airplane you plan to fly. Following a successful FR, you’ll be awarded a plastic license which is delivered in about six to eight weeks.

Commercial Pilots

Similar to private pilots, if you have a commercial pilot license (CPL) you need to follow the requirements outlined in the FAA classification Part 61. However, unlike PPL holders, you’ll need to hold a current second-class medical certificate. This type of examination is more comprehensive than a third-class examination, and is valid for a maximum of one year. In addition to the two-year FR, you should also pursue an Instrument Proficiency Check to be eligible to utilize your instrument rating privileges.

Airline Pilots

Although the same FR laws apply to ATP holders, most of the major airlines require reviews at shorter intervals, and the FAA has recently taken steps to improve pilot competency by offering voluntary evaluations every nine months under the Advanced Qualification Program (AQP). Airline pilots also need to hold a first-class medical certificate, which includes the most in-depth look at your physical and mental health out of the three. The standards cover a wide range of medical conditions, including vision and hearing requirements, cardiovascular health, and neurological and psychiatric conditions.

What Is The Flight Review For FAA Pilots?

Sometimes called the biennial flight review, this is an evaluation of a pilot’s knowledge and flying abilities in an aircraft that must take place every two years for the pilot to be eligible to fly. The review includes a minimum of one hour of ground instruction and one hour of flight training. The objective of the test is to assess a pilot’s proficiency in flight theory, hands-on skills behind the control wheel and safety procedures. It’s a great way to refresh your aviation skills if you’re rusty.

Throughout the test, you’ll demonstrate your ability to perform various aircraft maneuvers, such as takeoff, landing and navigating, as well as various tasks that may be pertinent to your role as a pilot. You must also show knowledge in the various areas of FAA regulations, as well as the specific type of flying you’re doing (chartering passengers, performing stunts at shows, flying solo, etc.) and the style of aircraft in which you’re doing it.

Additionally, you’ll need to find a certified flight instructor (CFI) who is qualified to conduct flight reviews. This instructor must sign off on your logbook or provide another form of certification that shows you’ve completed the necessary criteria to become airworthy once again.

Renew Your License: Sign Up For Flight Reviews Or Lessons Today

Inflight is the leading pilot training organization in the Minneapolis/St. Paul region. Our goal is to develop your aviation skills by providing you with a high-quality training program and a team of expert certified flight instructors, ready to help you master the skies. Whether you aspire to achieve a private pilot certificate, an airline transport pilot certificate or anything in between, we have the resources to support you in reaching your goals. 

Reach out to us today to learn more about our comprehensive training offerings and knowledgeable flight instructors. For additional information on Inflight training programs, contact us or call (952) 698-3000.