FAA application = FAA investigation

September 11, 2012


Kathy Yodice

Kathy Yodice

  • Attorney, Counsel to AOPA 
  • Former FAA attorney 
  • Has assisted AOPA members for more than 13 years 
  • Pilot since 1994, owns a Cherokee 180 

Did you know that when you apply for an FAA airman certificate or rating or submit an application for a medical certificate that the FAA is “investigating” your qualifications? Most of us don’t think about the FAA application process as an “investigation” but that’s what the FAA statute says: “The Administrator of the Federal Aviation Administration shall issue an airman certificate to an individual when the Administrator finds, after investigation, that the individual is qualified for, and physically able to perform the duties related to, the position to be authorized by the certificate.” So, thinking about it, it makes sense to call the FAA’s review of your qualifications an investigation because the FAA is, after all, checking the information you have provided and examining whether you are entitled to be granted the certificate or rating that you seek. Still, in our aviation environment, the words “investigation by the FAA” seems almost always to imply that there is something wrong and that the FAA is looking into what you did wrong.

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