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By Craig Brown
Q: I was looking at the ratings and limitations on my pilot certificate, and it occurred to me that student pilots have no aircraft privileges or limitations on their certificate. How do student pilots obtain privileges or receive limitations?
A: Student pilot certificates are issued without any ratings. A private pilot will usually start out with a rating such as airplane single-engine land, rotorcraft helicopter, or glider, but student pilots have none of those. They can fly all those aircraft, of course, with the proper instructor endorsements. It’s all about the logbook endorsements as a student pilot certificate affords no privileges without them.
The ability to solo, fly cross-country, or fly a specific aircraft, among other privileges, is accomplished by receiving the required training and then a corresponding logbook endorsement. Student pilots then carry that logbook on each flight to show authority to operate on that flight and in that aircraft.
Instructors should have a copy of Advisory Circular 61-65H (available from faa.gov), as it contains all the endorsements a pilot will ever need. This advisory circular contains 14 specific student pilot endorsements, in addition to others a student may need, such as tailwheel, complex airplane, or Robinson R22 awareness training.
Under FAR 61.89, students are on a short leash. Among a host of limitations, students cannot fly in a manner contrary to any limitations placed in their logbook by their instructor. Instructors may impose stricter limits than the FAA, based on their personal knowledge of a student’s abilities.
For more information, contact AOPA’s Pilot Information Center at 800-872-2672 or [email protected].
Craig Brown is a senior aviation technical specialist in the AOPA Pilot Information Center.