Answer: You have several options available to you, each with their own advantages. They are:
Answer: You need a government issued photo ID (e.g., U.S. driver's license, passport, government identification, or military identification card).
Answer: No. The renewal window is four calendar months prior to your expiration date. For example, if your certificate expires in July, you could complete a FIRC as early as April 1 and you would retain your original expiration date of July.
Answer: If you take the FIRC more than four months prior to your expiration month, your new expiration date will be the end of the month in which you took the FIRC.
Answer: Unlike other FIRC providers, ASI does not charge extra for processing your CFI revalidation, and allowing ASI to handle the revalidation will save you an immense amount of hassle. If you decide to take your renewal program paperwork to the local FSDO yourself, be aware that you can no longer just walk into the FSDO. You must make an appointment - well in advance, in most cases - and be prepared to go through identification procedures. Also, all the extra security duties that have been assigned to FAA inspectors leave them with precious little time for routine duties, such as renewing CFI certificates. There have been cases where CFIs declined ASI's offer to renew their certificates, and then were unable to get an appointment with an FAA inspector until it was too late.
Renew your CFI through ASI, either live or online, no more than four months prior to your expiration date. When done in accordance with FAR 61.197b, and ASI handles your renewal paperwork, we guarantee you'll keep your original expiration date. For example, if your certificate expires August 31st, you may complete a FIRC anytime in May, June, July, or August and retain the August 31st expiration.
Answer: No, you must hold a valid, unexpired flight instructor certificate at the time you submit your application for renewal. Although attendance at a FIRC certainly would be beneficial from a knowledge standpoint, it could not be used as the basis for your renewal.
Answer: You have only one option — a checkride. The FAA refers to this as a "reinstatement." In most areas, this means a ride with your local FAA inspector, but some flight standards district offices (FSDOs) have authorized designated examiners to handle reinstatements. The good news is that you don't need to take a knowledge test, and one ride will suffice to renew all the ratings listed on that expired flight instructor certificate.
Answer: You may attend any FIRC program and renew all the ratings on your flight instructor certificate.
Answer: No but you will need to turn in a legible (preferably color) copy of your flight instructor certificate along with your 8710.
Answer: That option still exists but is not formally recognized in the regulations. An FAA inspector may renew your flight instructor certificate based on his or her personal knowledge of you as a flight instructor. You may, however, find inspectors reluctant to exercise this option.
Answer: An additional flight instructor rating "resets" the renewal clock. Because you were issued a new rating on your flight instructor certificate, you should have a certificate with an expiration date 24 months from the date you obtained that rating. That new date is your expiration date.
Answer: To receive a graduation certificate, you must complete the FIRC program. If sickness or some other type of emergency forces you to discontinue, you will be issued a certificate of partial completion listing the number of hours you attended. To obtain a graduation certificate, you must complete the remaining hours at your earliest convenience, but in no case later than the expiration date on your instructor certificate. One of the advantages of attending an ASI course is that we offer many programs across the nation, making it easy to complete the course. There is no additional charge for attending a second live ASI FIRC if, for emergency reasons, you were unable to complete the first one. You may also switch to the Online Flight Instructor Refresher Course (eFIRC). We will issue a refund for the tuition fee less $30 for the ASI course kit.
Answer: Unfortunately, you're out of luck. But you are really out of luck if your CFI certificate also has expired. Your FIRC graduation certificate expires three calendar months after the month of issuance for the purposes of the renewal. For example, if you completed the FIRC in April, your FIRC graduation certificate can only be used for the renewal of your certificate until the end of July. If you have enough time before your certificate expires, you may enroll in another FIRC, show you have endorsed at least five students for a practical test (80% must pass), or exercise other options outlined in FAR 61.197.
The graduation certificate itself is good for 120 days as proof that you have completed a FIRC for your renewal which is essentially your temporary certificate until you receive your new plastic card from the FAA.
Answer: No. A current medical is not required to renew your flight instructor certificate. In fact, a current medical is not even required to instruct as long as you do not act as the pilot in command of the aircraft.
Answer: There is no requirement to complete the record of pilot time section of the 8710 form for a flight instructor renewal. You may, however, want to do this for other reasons. It might serve as possible proof of previous time should you lose your logbooks.
Answer: The FAA has not provided any real guidance on this question, nor does the regulation prohibit it. The live FIRC program was not designed to be taken over an extended period of time. You may instead, consider taking the Online Flight Instructor Refresher Course (eFIRC) course.
Answer: You must submit a copy of your flight instructor certificate with an application form. If your certificate is lost, you may request a faxed confirmation notice directly from the FAA by calling 405/954-3261. This confirmation notice may be used in lieu of the actual certificate. You also can contact your local FSDO for assistance.
Answer: The one that fits your particular lifestyle and time constraints. Each renewal method has its advantages and disadvantages. Attending a FIRC program has a number of advantages over other methods, including a renewal based on student activity. Not only does it provide you with the latest information on regulations, technology, and teaching techniques, it also provides you with an opportunity to network with other flight instructors in your area. The Online Flight Instructor Refresher Clinics (eFIRC) provides the latest information and can be done at your convenience at home.
Answer: The Air Safety Institute offers FIRCs throughout the United States. Of course, the simplest way is to register online for the live weekend course NOW! You also can call 800/638-3101 and talk to one of our course registration specialists. They can help you locate a course that is convenient and take your registration right over the phone. The online Flight Instructor Refresher Course (eFIRC) is available anytime at www.efirc.org.
AOPA thanks our members for their continued support in protecting the freedom to fly.