Changes from 2007 to 2013

Pilot's Bill of Rights

Applicants for airman certificates or ratings, inspection authorizations, and airman medical certificates will find a new item in the paperwork for their practical test or medical examination: a Pilot’s Bill of Rights Written Notification of Investigation from the FAA.

The notification, which must be acknowledged in writing by the applicant at the time of the application, is among the provisions of an FAA order issued Aug. 8, 2012 in response to enactment of the Pilot’s Bill of Rights law, which was signed by President Barack Obama on Aug. 3. The law guarantees pilots under investigation by the FAA expanded protection against enforcement actions through access to investigative reports, and air traffic control and flight service recordings. It also requires that the FAA provide evidence being used as the basis of enforcement at least 30 days in advance of action.

The law and some of the required notifications will apply to the application of an airman certificate, including medical certificates even though these have not been considered “investigations” by the industry. The use of the term investigation in connection with applying for airman certificates is new and serves as a reminder to pilots to exercise caution and diligence when filling out official forms, and to seek assistance where necessary.

No other aspects of the application for airman certificates were changed.

Aircraft Re-registration

Effective October 1, 2010, aircraft owners are required to re-register their aircraft every three years.

Line up and Wait

ATC terminology changed on September 30, 2010, to bring the United States in line with standard International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) phraseology. Instead of the phrase “taxi into position and hold,” the controller now issues “line up and wait” instructions to indicate that you may taxi onto the runway and wait for a takeoff clearance. Just like “taxi into position and hold,” the new phrase is used when a takeoff clearance cannot immediately be issued because of traffic or other reasons. So, although the words changed, the meaning did not.

Taxi clearance - Cross only one runway at a time

On June 30, 2010, a major change went in to effect regarding taxi clearances. Prior to that date, a clearance to “Taxi to Runway 30″ allowed a pilot to cross all runways prior to reaching the assigned runway for departure. Now, however, ATC will clear you to cross only one runway at a time.

eAPIS – Electronic Advance Passenger System

Beginning May 18, 2009, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) required pilots who fly internationally to provide passenger information to CBP for flights departing from and arriving back into the U.S. using a new electronic reporting system, known as eAPIS. In order to use the eAPIS system, you must register for an online account. Once the account is approved—a process that CBP officials say takes about a week—you will be able to use the system to file passenger manifests electronically.


Satellite monitoring of 121.5 MHz emergency locator transmitters (ELTs) ended on Feb. 1, 2009. However, existing 121.5 MHz ELTs will continue to meet the FAA’s regulatory requirements after that date.

Even though the satellites will no longer monitor 121.5 MHz signals, the search and rescue community will still respond when notified through other means. ELTs were originally intended to use 121.5 MHz to inform air traffic control and pilots monitoring the frequency of an emergency. It will continue to serve in that role in a limited capacity, relying on fellow pilots and ground-based radio facilities to monitor the signals.

406 MHz ELTs are monitored by satellites and each contains a 121.5 MHz ELT within it. When linked to a GPS, it provides precise coordinates to search and rescue responders, narrowing the search area. Read more online about the differences between the two ELTs.

Medical Certificate Validity Revision

In July, 2008, the durations of both first and third class medical certificates were extended for pilots under age 40. Under the new regulation, third class medicals issued to pilots under age 40 became valid for a maximum of 60 months, up from 36 months. Additional changes can be reviewed online.