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General In-Person FIRC FAQsGeneral FIRC FAQ

I need to renew my flight instructor certificate within the next few months. What are my options?

You have several options available to you, each with their own advantages. They are:

  • Attend an approved Flight Instructor Refresher Course (FIRC).
  • Take an online Flight Instructor Refresher Course (eFIRC)
  • Take a practical test with the FAA or an authorized designated examiner.
  • Present a record of training showing that during the past 24 months you have endorsed at least five students for a practical test, and at least 80 percent (four students) passed on the first attempt.
  • Present a record that shows within the past 24 months that you have served as a company check pilot, chief flight instructor, company check airman, or flight instructor in a Part 121 or Part 135 operation, or in a position involving the regular evaluation of pilots in which the FAA inspector is acquainted with the duties and responsibilities of the position, and has satisfactory knowledge of its current pilot training, certification, and standards.

Which renewal method should I choose?

The one that fits your particular lifestyle and time constraints. Each renewal method has different advantages. 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.

How can I get more information on the dates, times, and locations of your programs?

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.

What do I need to do prior to attending an In-Person FIRC?

After registering for your In-Person FIRC, submit your application for CFI Renewal online before you attend the training.

  1. Watch our about Submitting Your Application for CFI Renewal>/a>
  2. Download ASI's Guide for Submitting Your Application for CFI Renewal for step-by-step instructions.
  3. Submit Your Application in IACRA
  4. Send ASI Your ID, CFI Certificate and FTN for Processing

Have not registered for an In-Person FIRC yet? Find an upcoming FIRC

Can I complete my 8710 at the In-Person FIRC seminar or do I have to do it online?

You can still fill it out at the In-Person FIRC, but it is not advised. Filling them out at the FIRC takes away valuable time from the content presentation and discussions. It is suggested by the FAA that all renewal applications be completed online.

We offer step-by-step resources to help you submit your application for CFI Renewal online before you attend the training.

  1. Watch our about Submitting Your Application for CFI Renewal>/a>
  2. Download ASI's Guide for Submitting Your Application for CFI Renewal for step-by-step instructions.
  3. Submit Your Application in IACRA
  4. Send ASI Your ID, CFI Certificate and FTN for Processing

I understand that the FAA requires positive identification of the applicant when submitting an 8710 form. What do I need to bring with me to accomplish this?

You can submit your application in IACRA online at before attending and then upload your photo ID, CFI Certificate and FTN to ASI for Processing.

If you did not completed your renewal application online before attending, you will need a government issued photo ID (e.g., U.S. driver's license, passport, government identification, or military identification card).

FAR 61.197 allows you to submit an application for renewal within four-months of your certificate's expiration date and still retain your original expiration month. How do you determine that renewal window? Does the 4-month period start the day of your FIRC graduation?

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.

What happens if I take a FIRC program more than four months in advance of my expiration date?

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.

What advantage is it to allow ASI to handle the paperwork to revalidate my CFI? Can't I just drop in at the local FSDO, show them my ASI FIRC graduation certificate, and let them take care of it?

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.

Submit your application for CFI Renewal online:

  1. Watch our about Submitting Your Application for CFI Renewal
  2. Download ASI's Guide for Submitting Your Application for CFI Renewal for step-by-step instructions.
  3. Submit Your Application in IACRA
  4. Send ASI Your ID, CFI Certificate and FTN for Processing

Have not registered for an In-Person FIRC yet? Find an upcoming FIRC

What is ASI's four-month guarantee?

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.

What if my flight instructor certificate has expired? Can I still renew on the basis of graduating from a FIRC?

No, you must hold a valid, unexpired flight instructor certificate at the time you submit your application for renewal. If your certificate is expired, 
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.

Although attendance at a FIRC certainly would be beneficial from a knowledge standpoint, it could not be used as the basis for your renewal.

I hold a flight instructor certificate with airplane and helicopter ratings. Will attendance at a FIRC program renew both ratings, or must I attend one program for my airplane rating and another for my helicopter rating?

You may attend any FIRC program and renew all the ratings on your flight instructor certificate.

Do I need to turn in my instructor certificate?

No, but you will need to turn in a legible (preferably color) copy of your flight instructor certificate along with your 8710. If you have already filed online with IACRA, you just need to upload your your ID, CFI Certificate and FTN for Processing.

If you still need to complete your application online with IACRA, follow these steps:

  1. Watch our about Submitting Your Application for CFI Renewal
  2. Download ASI's Guide for Submitting Your Application for CFI Renewal for step-by-step instructions.
  3. Submit Your Application in IACRA
  4. Send ASI Your ID, CFI Certificate and FTN for Processing
If you plan on submitting a paper application at an In-Person FIRC seminar, you will need to turn in a legible (preferably color) copy of your flight instructor certificate along with your 8710.

I was able to renew my certificate two years ago by taking it to the local FSDO and having it reissued based on the inspector's personal knowledge of me. I don't see that option listed under FAR 61.197. What happened?

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.

I recently added an instrument rating to my flight instructor certificate. I received my original certificate 12 months ago. Do I need to renew my original flight instructor certificate in another 12 months (24 months from the original issuance), or does the rating I just added to my instructor rating extend the renewal period?

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.

If I became ill or was forced to discontinue the program due to a family emergency, what would happen? Would I have to repeat the program, or would the FAA accept the circumstances and renew my certificate?

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.

I have a graduation certificate from a FIRC program I attended more than 3 months ago. I had intended to submit my application to the local FSDO right after the program, but work schedules and other problems caused a delay. Can I still renew my flight instructor certificate using my graduation certificate from the FIRC program I attended, or am I out of luck?

Unfortunately, you're out of luck if it is past the 120 days. 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.

My medical certificate expired last month, and I have not had time to get a new one. Do I need a current medical certificate to renew my flight instructor certificate at your program?

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.

CAN I SUBMIT A PAPER 8710 IF I DON’T WANT TO COMPLETE THE ONLINE PROCESSING?

Yes – you may fill out a paper 8710 and mail to us at:

eFIRC Processing
AOPA Air Safety Institute
421 Aviation Way
Frederick, MD 21701

When filling out the form, please use the Guide to Submit Application for Renewal document as reference. Pay particular attention to using the name on your current CFI certificate as well as citizenship, height, and gender. If you need to change your name, citizenship or gender or your height by more than two (2) inches, you have to do so at your local FSDO. You may not change those items with an 8710 for CFI renewal.

Sign and date the form with the date of your eFIRC course completion.

We'll still need to verify your ID for the 8710 just as we would if you were completing the application within IACRA. You can either scan and email an image of your CFI certificate to [email protected] or upload it on our "submit application for renewal" of the eFIRC.

My schedule will not allow me to devote a full weekend to a FIRC program. Can I attend and spend a day at one location and then finish the program requirements at a different location on a different day?

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 Air Safety Institute Online Flight Instructor Refresher Course (eFIRC) course.

I just discovered that my flight instructor certificate is missing, and I'm scheduled to attend a FIRC program next week. Will this prevent me from renewing, or can I submit an application form without my instructor certificate?

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.

Are meals provided for the In-Person FIRCs?

No, meals are not included with the In-Person FIRCs. We do this to keep the costs down and allow you to find the type of meal you are looking for. Both breakfast and lunch are on your own, but we do provide coffee and water during the seminar.

Where do I park if I drive to an In-Person FIRC?

Every event is different, but we work with every location, like hotels, to get free or discounted parking for each event. If you have questions about a specific location, contact the host location and get details on parking the day of the event.

Air Safety Institute

If you have any questions please contact us by email at [email protected] or call 800-USA-AOPA (872-2672) Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., ET.

If you run into an issue or have suggestions for edits or additions to the course please report them online at www.efirc.com/support. We appreciate any of your feedback on the course.