Each 2 years the CFI certificate must be renewed.
There are three possible ways to have the CFI certificate renewed.
- Taking a checkride with an FAA examiner,
- Having 5 student recommendations for a succesful checkride, or
- Taking a course for a CFI renewal.
A course for a CFI renewal is called a Flight Instructor Refresher Course (FIRC) which is provided a number of ways. More recently, the required 3 stages plus the 4 stage electives (chosen by the CFI taking the renewal) make the course applicable to Flight Instructors with a Sport Pilot rating.
A typical course is:
Stage 1 – Industry Trends and Standards
Lesson 1 Safety Trends in General Aviation
Lesson 2 Transportation Security Administration (TSA)
Lesson 3 Security Related Special Use Airspace
Lesson 4 Sport Pilot
Stage 2 – Professional Educator
Lesson 5 FAA Industry Training Standards (FITS)
Lesson 6 FAA Safety Team (FAASTeam)
Lesson 7 Pilot Proficiency Wings Program
Lesson 8 Integrated Airman Certificate/Rating Application (IACRA)
Lesson 9 Effective Teaching
Lesson 10 Risk Management/Risk Intervention Strategies
Stage 3 – Aircraft Operations
Lesson 11 Technically Advanced Aircraft (TAA)
Lesson 12 GPS Navigation
Lesson 13 Aircraft Operational Limitations
Lesson 14 Takeoffs/Landings/Low Maneuvering
Lesson 15 Runway Incursions
Stage 4 – Electives (Pick 3)
Lesson 16 Practical Test Preparation
Lesson 17 Instructor Professionalism
Lesson 18 Flight Information Publications
Lesson 19 Flight Lesson
Lesson 20 Flight Lesson
Lesson 21 Flight Lesson
The actual FAA regulations for the renewal of CFI’s with a Sport Pilot Rating:
§ 61.425 How do I renew my flight instructor certificate?
If you hold a flight instructor certificate with a sport pilot rating you may renew your certificate in accordance with the provisions of §61.197.
The Sport Pilot CFI renewal refers to the Subpart H Private and above CFI renewal:
§ 61.197 Renewal of flight instructor certificates.
(a) A person who holds a flight instructor certificate that has not expired may renew that certificate by—
(1) Passing a practical test for—
(i) One of the ratings listed on the current flight instructor certificate; or
(ii) An additional flight instructor rating; or
(2) Presenting to an authorized FAA Flight Standards Inspector—
(i) A record of training students showing that, during the preceding 24 calendar months, the flight instructor has endorsed at least five students for a practical test for a certificate or rating and at least 80 percent of those students passed that test on the first attempt;
(ii) not applicable; or
(iii) A graduation certificate showing that, within the preceding 3 calendar months, the person has successfully completed an approved flight instructor refresher course consisting of ground training or flight training, or a combination of both.
(b) The expiration month of a renewed flight instructor certificate shall be 24 calendar months from—
(1) The month the renewal requirements of paragraph (a) of this section are accomplished; or
(2) The month of expiration of the current flight instructor certificate provided—
(i) The renewal requirements of paragraph (a) of this section are accomplished within the 3 calendar months preceding the expiration month of the current flight instructor certificate, and
(ii) If the renewal is accomplished under paragraph (a)(2)(iii) of this section, the approved flight instructor refresher course must be completed within the 3 calendar months preceding the expiration month of the current flight instructor certificate.
(c) The practical test required by paragraph (a)(1) of this section may be accomplished in a flight simulator or flight training device if the test is accomplished pursuant to an approved course conducted by a training center certificated under part 142 of this chapter.
To renew an expired Sport Pilot CFI certificate you must be retrained and recommended by a CFI and take a checkride with an examiner. It is almost like starting over but you do not have to take the knowledge tests again:
§ 61.427 What must I do if my flight instructor certificate with a sport pilot rating expires?
You may exchange your expired flight instructor certificate with a sport pilot rating for a new certificate with a sport pilot rating and any other rating on that certificate by passing a practical test as prescribed in §61.405(b) or §61.183(h) for one of the ratings listed on the expired flight instructor certificate. The FAA will reinstate any privilege authorized by the expired certificate.
Similarity, if the the flight instructor rating actually expired you must additionally be recommended by a CFI and take a practical test for an expired Flight Instructor Certificate.
§ 61.199 Expired flight instructor certificates and ratings.
(a) Flight instructor certificates. The holder of an expired flight instructor certificate may exchange that certificate for a new certificate with the same ratings by passing a practical test as prescribed in §61.183(h) of this part for one of the ratings listed on the expired flight instructor certificate.
(b) Flight instructor ratings.
(1) A flight instructor rating or a limited flight instructor rating on a pilot certificate is no longer valid and may not be exchanged for a similar rating or a flight instructor certificate.
(2) The holder of a flight instructor rating or a limited flight instructor rating on a pilot certificate may be issued a flight instructor certificate with the current ratings, but only if the person passes the required knowledge and practical test prescribed in this subpart for the issuance of the current flight instructor certificate and rating.