One of the best parts of becoming a licensed pilot is that you’ll forever be one. Once you earn your wings and join the ranks of this thrilling industry, you’ll be able to say that you’re a licensed pilot, even if you haven’t flown in decades. Of course, there are some caveats with that statement, but that doesn’t mean it’s hard to stay up-to-date with the practice of flying. And, since the pilot shortage crisis is now in full swing, and airlines are hiring massive numbers of employees at record salary rates, it may be a good time to dust off your aviators and hop back in the cockpit.
Let’s explore some more information about how you can keep your pilot license active so you never have to stay grounded.
How Long Does My Pilot License Last?
After you spend the time and money and pass your tests to obtain a license, you’re officially considered a pilot for life. Only revocation by the FAA, in the event of something like a false statement or breaking the rules for paid flight, can result in the loss of licensure. However, there’s a difference between having a license and exerting the privileges granted by that license. So, what exactly do you need to do to be able to legally fly?
What Do I Need To Do To Keep My Pilot License Active?
In order to fly solo, you need three things: a government issued ID, a medical certificate and an endorsement from a qualified professional after passing a required flight review. Let’s explore these items in more detail.
Government Issued ID
In order to be eligible to fly, you must always carry a valid form of ID that proves who you are. Most pilots simply use their driver’s license, but any government issued ID will work, whether a military ID, passport or resident card.
To fly as a pilot, you’ll also need the proper medical certificate. Airline transport pilots must carry a first-class medical certificate, commercial pilots must carry a second-class medical certificate and private pilots must carry a third-class medical certificate. Issuing requirements and health criteria vary based on your level of certification. Generally, these need to be reissued every five years up to the age of 40, followed by every two years.
For those who haven’t flown in several years and need to renew their medical certificate, complete an application through the FAA’s MedExpress website prior to visiting an Aviation Medical Examiner (AME).
Flight Review (BFR)
Under FAR 61.56, you cannot act as pilot in command unless you’ve accomplished a flight review in an aircraft similar to the one you intend to fly within the preceding two years. This is a requirement of every civil pilot in the U.S.
Sometimes called a Biennial Flight Review, this typically takes place every two years to ensure that you’re proficient with your aircraft and can follow protocol. It’s not a test, your instructor simply endorses your logbook, so you can’t pass or fail. Over the course of about an hour and half, you’ll review whatever areas of flight are relevant to your needs and capabilities. If you’ve recently achieved a new certification or rating, whether private, commercial or certified flight instructor, that fulfills the BFR requirement.
What If I Want To Fly Passengers?
If you’re a commercial pilot who wants to make money flying passengers, you’ll need to meet the above qualifications in addition to some practical take-offs and landings. You must have completed three take-offs and landings within the last 90 days (according to day/nighttime flying). This only applies to those with a commercial certification or higher.
It’s Not Hard To Keep Your Pilot License Active
Overall, it’s easy to keep your pilot license active, as long as you follow the proper procedures to stay current with your style of flying. Remember, you’ll need to first complete a proper flight training course and become licensed, but once you’ve passed that test, you’re considered a pilot for life. After that, it’s keeping up with periodic responsibilities, like renewing your medical certificate, passing the proper flight review and making the necessary practice runs before carrying passengers.
For those that need help getting back in the cockpit, Inflight Pilot Training is here to help – we can provide you with the proper reviews, licensing solutions, airplane rentals or anything else you need to get back your confidence.
Keep Your Pilot License Active: Sign Up For Lessons At Inflight Pilot Training
Inflight is a leading pilot training company serving the Twin Cities and surrounding areas. With a reputable training program and extensive roster of highly skilled, certified flight instructors, it’s our goal to help you become a more competent aviator. From private pilot certificates to airline transport pilot certificates and everything in between, we can help you reach your goals – get in touch with our team of flight instructors to find out more.
For additional information on Inflight training programs, contact us today or call (952) 698-3000.