If you are flying on a temporary airmen certificate that is about to expire, the FAA has made it easier for you to request an extension. You don't even have to leave your home computer.
The FAA added a new feature to its Airmen Certification Web site that allows you to submit an online request for temporary authority to exercise certificate privileges. All you need to do is establish an online account with the Airmen Certification Branch. Within minutes, the FAA can send the permission via an e-mail or fax. The extension is good for 60 days.
"This makes it easy for pilots to request an extension ," said Woody Cahall, AOPA vice president of aviation services. "With the click of a few buttons, pilots can receive permission from the FAA within minutes to continue flying."
Because of the high number of airmen certificates that the FAA is processing, the administration recommends that pilots first check its Interactive Airmen Inquiry Web site to see if their certificates have been entered into the database. Before you can begin a search for your certificate, you must fill in some information about yourself, including your name, address, and the reason for your search. Calling the Airmen Certification Branch (866/878-2498) should be a last resort.
The FAA also lists on its site the issuance date of certificates that it is currently processing. If your certificate was issued after that date, then it has not been processed yet and there is no need to call or request an extension. If it is listed in the database, and you are nearing the end of your 120-day temporary certificate but don't have your permanent, request an extension online.
Members flying on temporary certificates have been calling AOPA's Pilot Information Center (800/USA-AOPA) to find out why they haven't received a permanent certificate in the mail when they have only a few days left on their temporary. Temporary certificates, which are issued by designated pilot examiners (DPEs), are good for 120 days.
In some cases, it is taking close to 120 days for pilots to receive their permanent certificates. Those who fly for a living, like flight instructors, are particularly concerned because not having the permanent certificate could mean a loss of income.
"Every pilot is eager to receive his permanent certificate in the mail, so it is natural to worry a little when the permanent hasn't arrived, and there are only a few days before the temporary expires," said Cahall. "Now, pilots can put their minds at ease by going to the FAA's Web site, researching their certificates, and requesting an extension if necessary."
For more information, contact AOPA's Pilot Information Center at 800/USA-AOPA or by e-mail.
September 2, 2004