If you’re a non-current pilot, rusty pilot or lapsed pilot, we want to be the first to welcome you back to flying!
Think you’ve lost too much and forgotten everything? Afraid it’ll be like starting over? No worries, We’ll get you back in the left seat fast!
Returning to aviation, you should familiarize yourself with changes to procedures and regulations in order to make a smooth transition back to flying. The following information highlights changes in regulations and procedures that have affected the aviation industry.
To rejoin your fellow aviators in the sky, you’ll need:
Flight Review per § 61.56
Your sport, private pilot or higher certificate is good for life. If you stopped flying years ago, you just need to get a “flight review”, to become legal to fly the light-sport aircraft (LSA) you are currently qualified to fly as a sport pilot. Flight Reviews are performed by a flight instructor and required every 24 months to be a “current” pilot. The specific regulation that allows existing pilots to fly LSA and specifies the details of who can do what is FAR 61.303.
Three takeoffs and landings per § 61.57
To carry a passanger you must have 3 takeoffs and landings 90 days prior in the make/model of aircraft
Medical fitness § 61.303 sport, § 61.23 private
The main benefit for you as a non-current pilot is that sport pilot privileges require you to only have current and valid state driver’s license to establish medical fitness. You do not need an FAA third-class medical!
FAA medical certificate application suspended, denied, or revoked
Unfortunately, if you have had your most recent FAA medical certificate application suspended, denied, or revoked by the FAA you are not allowed to operate using your driver’s license. You must go back and clear the medical problem with the FAA which usually is not easy. But, once you get this cleared, you can let your medical expire and then operate as a sport pilot using your driver’s license as medical eligibility. Make sure you do not fail a medical, use your driver’s license and fly LSA as a sport pilot if there is any question as to passing the medical. Part § 67 was more details on specific requirements.
If you’re a private pilot wanting to fly aircraft that does not meet the criteria of light-sport aircraft (LSA), you’ll have to get an FAA 3rd class medical. However, the flight review and three takeoffs and landing currency can be done in a LSA.
Plastic pilot certificate
If you haven’t yet, you’ll have to upgrade to a plastic pilot certificate. All pilots had to upgrade to a plastic pilot certificate by March 31, 2010. Plastic certificates are deemed more counterfeit-resistant. All newly issued plastic certificates automatically include the English Proficient endorsement, which is required to comply with the International Civil Aviation Organization’s (ICAO) rule that all member countries (that includes the U.S.) issue pilot certificates that state the pilot is English Proficient if that pilot plans to use the certificate outside of his or her home country.
GA Airport Security
Airport security at general aviation airports is determined by the airport owner/operator according to recommendations made by the FAA and Transportation Security Administration (TSA). You’ll want to become familiar with the security procedures that may be in place at your local airport.