FAA Satey Team LogoSome flight schools and instructors have reported that delays in issuing permanent student pilot certificates was preventing solo flights.

Tina Buskirk, the FAA Safety Team manager for the Scottsdale Flight Standards District Office, sought some answers from the Airmen Certification Branch.

As a result, here is a set of questions and answers that might help flight schools and flight instructors with this topic.

A huge thanks to Tina for helping get some answers!

Question:  Recently in a meeting with several large, local flight schools and instructors it was noted that many are experiencing up to 6-8 weeks for their students to receive their permanent student pilot certificates, which holds them back from completing their solo flights.  I heard that temporary student pilot certificates are now being issued through IACRA, but, according to Advisory Circular 61-65F, these are not valid for solo purposes, excerpt below:


NOTE: A Temporary Airman Certificate will not be issued for use while waiting for the permanent certificate to be received. The permanent certificate must be in the pilot’s possession to exercise solo privileges.


Do you know if the Advisory circular or other publication will be updated to allow for the use of temporary student pilot certificates when soloing?  For now, we are taking the conservative route and advising schools to only solo upon receipt of the permanent certificate.


Answer:  No Student Pilot (IACRA or Paper application) is being issued a temporary certificate, as the applicant must be vetted by TSA first. If the applicant has made application through the IACRA system, then after vetting has been done, the airman will receive an email stating they can go back into the system and print their temporary certificate.    Only AFS-760 has the authority to issue the permanent student pilot certificate.  Student pilots are set to the system as priorities for vetting purposes, and as soon as the vetting is shown in the system (within a few days), the permanent certificate is issued in date of issue order, just like any other application.  With this being said, it means that they cannot exercise the privileges of their student pilot certificate until AFS-760 has actually issued the permanent certificate or in the case of IACRA until they receive the email stating they can now print their Temporary Certificate.  This is one of the advantages to using IACRA.  IACRA applications will receive a temporary certificate after vetting has been done.


In IACRA, once the airman has been vetted, they will receive a message (by email) that “Your Student Pilot Temporary Certificate is ready for you to print.  Log into IACRA then from your Applicant Console click the green “Temporary Certificate” button.


If the airman has not received the permanent certificate by their birthday or when they are to do their Solo, they can contact AFS-760 for “Temporary Authority to Exercise Privileges” of their Student Pilot Certificate or they can make the request for “Temporary Authority to Exercise Privileges” online through our website also.  This is only if the permanent certificate has been issued in the system.  If the airman doesn’t go back into their Airman Record to determine if the permanent Student Pilot certificate has been issued, then it very well could take 6-8 weeks before they receive the plastic hard copy permanent certificate through the mail.


There are updates in the works for Student Pilot certificates, which will most likely change the verbiage in your “NOTE”.  I can’t really say at this time.  Also, if you will pull the NOTICE N 8900.371 dated 7/23/16, there is information that may be helpful.  (Paragraph 5, a. Submission of Application).


Question:  Thanks so much for your response!  So, it sounds like, if a student pilot applicant applies via IACRA, they will only be issued a temporary student pilot certificate once the vetting has been completed by TSA.  And I further understand that this temporary certificate issued through IACRA can be used for solo flight privileges.


Do you mind if I forward your email to the local flight schools that had this question?  I know that they all use IACRA, and have been of the belief that they could not use the IACRA-issued temporary student pilot certificate for solo privileges.


Answer:  Yes, their temporary certificate can be used for solo flight.  This is the same concept as any temporary pilot certificate. (Program Analyst AFS760, Airmen Certification Branch)


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