An update of the FAA’s web-based Integrated Airman Certification and Rating Application (IACRA) system should reduce the processing time involved in acquiring a student pilot certificate from two weeks to less than a week by making a temporary, printable certificate available after a short interval for security vetting. The temporary tickets will be valid for 120 days, during which time the permanent student pilot certificate should arrive.
The AOPA-backed changes to IACRA that went into effect Nov. 3 also make it easier to conduct the so-called birthday solos that were restored last July after several months of unavailability.
When the FAA restored the ability to solo on the student’s fourteenth or sixteenth birthday—depending on the solo privileges sought—the FAA required the student to submit a paper application to receive the certificate in a timely manner. The IACRA update now in effect will allow students to apply in IACRA, but the temporary student pilot certificate will not be printable from the console or made available until the student's fourteenth birthday.
“AOPA requested that the FAA make the temporary student pilot certificate available through IACRA,” said Justin Barkowski, AOPA director of regulatory affairs.
A rule the FAA issued last January, which took effect April 1, changed the process for obtaining a student pilot certificate by making it no longer possible to receive the ticket from an aviation medical examiner. Instead, students were required to apply through IACRA, with an authorized individual also signing the application, and wait for a permanent student pilot certificate to arrive in the mail.
“After the rule took effect, AOPA received a number of member complaints about processing times, with some applicants waiting weeks for a certificate,” Barkowski said.
The FAA has been working to expedite the processing and mailing of permanent student pilot certificates. With the newly effective IACRA update, “the time between applying and printing a temporary certificate should not be longer than a week,” he said.