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FIRC ~ FAQ

FIRC Frequently Asked Questions

When is the next Flight Instructor Refresher Course or Aviation Seminar?

We do not have any FIRCs on the calendar at this time.

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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.

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How I can renew my flight instructor certificate?

1. Attend an approved Flight Instructor Refresher Course (FIRC). 2. Take a practical test with the FAA or an authorized designated examiner. 3. 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. 4. 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.

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The FAA requires positive identification of the applicant when submitting an 8710 form. What do I need to bring with me to prove my identity to the FAA?

You need a photo ID containing your picture, your current residential address, and a signature. Ideally, these three items should be on one identification card, and a driver's license is the preferred form. (Before coming to the FIRC, check to make sure your driver's license is current and shows your correct address). However, you can use more than one form of ID to establish your identification, such as a military ID or passport. Your application form must contain your actual residential address, and your ID must have that same address. Following the FIRC, you will then make an appointment with your local FAA FSDO to present your documents and renew your CFI certificate.

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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, submit your application, and you would retain your original expiration date of July.

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What happens if I take a FIRC program more than four months in advance of my expiration date? Will the FAA make my expiration date the end of the fourth month after I completed the FIRC, or will the expiration date be the end of the month in which I took the FIRC?

If you take the FIRC more than four months prior to your expiration month, and elect to carry your 8710, graduation certificate, and unexpired CFI certificate to the local FSDO yourself, it will be renewed for the end of the month in which you took the FIRC. However, the FIRC graduation certificate is good for only three calendar months, so applicants must be careful not to exceed that period.

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

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What are my options for renewal if my flight instructor certificate has expired?

You have only one option — a Practical Exam (check-ride). 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 of the ratings listed on that expired flight instructor certificate.

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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?

The regulation does not require you to attend an airplane or helicopter FIRC program. You may attend any FIRC program and renew all of the ratings on your flight instructor certificate.

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Do you renew my certificate at the flight instructor refresher course location?

Yes! We have received FAA approval as an Airman Certification Representative (ACR) and in most cases we can process your CFI renewal paperwork via IACRA. This will save you a trip to your local FSDO. In rare instances, if IACRA is down or if there are special issues with your situation, you may need to contact the FAA directly. Be sure to allow sufficient time to do this should you be nearing the end of your 24 months. Remember, your graduation certificate expires in 90 days after the FIRC.

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The FAA requires a flight instructor to have a certificate in his or her "physical possession," how am I to instruct if I surrender my certificate for renewal at one of your programs?

FAR 61.3(d) also states "...or other documentation acceptable to the administrator." The FAA's policy on this issue was revealed in the preamble of the Part 61 corrections document issued on July 30, 1997. It states that a FIRC graduation certificate is acceptable documentation to the administrator. You may carry your graduation certificate as evidence that you hold a flight instructor certificate until you receive your temporary certificate.

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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.

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Can I use a simulator to take a practical test for the renewal of my flight instructor certificate?

Yes, but FAR 61.197(c) only authorizes the use of a flight simulator or flight training device (FTD) when used in conjunction with an approved course under a Part 142 training center.

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What is the best way to renew my Flight Instructor Certificate?

We believe that attending an in-person, two-day, 16+ hour classroom course taught by the award winning instructors at Stick-n-Rudder Flight Training, LLC is the best methold of renewing a flight instructor certificate. You will learn far more from your peers, sharing experiences, and co-teaching the class than you will from sitting at your desk clicking your mouse for two days. Even if you qualify for renewal based upon your training and pass rate of students, you will benefit from attending our FIRC.

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Can I renew my CFI certificate online or do I need to attend a classroom course?

Yes, you may renew your CFI certificate using any number of online courses. It has been our experience, in talking with our students, that if you actually want to learn and improve your aviation teaching skills that the classroom course is the best option. If you just want to sit at a computer and click a mouse to satisfy the regulation, instead of actually learn something new and valuable, that is your choice.

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