On your journey to become a private pilot or if you have bigger aspirations and want to become an airline pilot, you must first obtain a student pilot certificate.

Thankfully, the requirements to get a student pilot certificate are very easy to meet, and the application process is simple.

How to Get a Student Pilot Certificate

  1. Make sure you meet the eligibility requirements listed below.
  2. Complete an application through the Integrated Airman Certification and Rating Application (IACRA) website or by paper using FAA form 8710-1.
  3. If using form 8710-1, submit it to a Flight Standards District Office (FSDO), an FAA-designated pilot examiner, an airman certification representative associated with a part 141 flight school, or a certificated flight instructor.
  4. If approved, just wait for your student pilot certificate in the mail.
  5. To fly solo, you must pass a medical exam to receive a third class medical certificate.

How Much Does It Cost to Get a Student Pilot Certificate?

If you apply for a student pilot certificate directly through the Flight Standards District Office (FSDO), there is no charge.

If you apply through an FAA-designated pilot examiner, an airman certification representative associated with a part 141 flight school, or a certificated flight instructor, you can expect to be charged a fee.

A fee must also be paid for the medical examination to obtain a third class medical certificate, which can be $75-200, depending on the location and the aviation medical examiner.

How Long Does It Take to Get a Student Pilot Certificate?

It usually takes three weeks to receive your student pilot certificate once you have applied and made sure that you have met all the requirements.

Utilizing the Integrated Airman Certification and Rating Application (IACRA) will bring this time down to 1-2 weeks.

Student Pilot Certificate Eligibility Requirements

The eligibility requirements for a student pilot certificate are very easy to meet:

  • You are at least 16 years old (14 years old to operate a glider or a balloon).
  • You can read, speak, write and understand English.

Student Pilot Certificate Medical Requirements

A third class medical certificate is required.

If you are in good health, you won’t have any problems passing the medical exam, which tests your vision, hearing, ENT, pulse, and blood pressure among other things, and confirm that you do not suffer from any disqualifying conditions.

A third-class certificate is good for 60 months if a pilot is aged 40 or under. If over 40, the certificate is valid for 24 months.

Related: Third-Class Medical Certificate Requirements

Student Pilot Certificate Limitations

A student pilot may not act as pilot in command of an aircraft:

  • 1. That is carrying a passenger
  • 2. That is carrying property for compensation or hire
  • 3. For compensation or hire
  • 4. With a flight or surface visibility of less than 3 statute miles during daylight hours or 5 statute miles at night
  • 5. When the flight cannot be made with visual reference to the surface
  • 6. In any way that is contrary to the limitations placed in the pilot’s logbook by an authorized instructor

When is a Student Pilot Certificate Required?

A student pilot certificate is required to fly solo, which is necessary to work towards your private pilot license.

If you just want to experience flying a plane or take flying lessons, a student pilot certificate is not necessary.

Must a Student Pilot Certificate Be Carried At All Times?

No. When you are piloting an aircraft in solo flight, you must have your student pilot certificate on you.

How Long is a Student Pilot Certificate Good For?

As of April 1, 2016, a student pilot certificate doesn’t expire unless it was issued before this date, in which case the certificate expires either 24 or 60 months from the date of issuance.

Once you have completed the requirements of higher certification, a student pilot certificate will be surrendered and superseded.

What is a Temporary Student Pilot Certificate?

A temporary student pilot certificate is a certificate that can be used for solo flight while you await your standard student pilot certificate, just as long as it has been issued and printed

Once you have applied, it should take no longer than a week for a temporary certificate to be issued and be available to print.

A temporary student pilot certificate is valid for up to 120 days once it has been issued.

How to Become a Private Pilot

After obtaining a student pilot certificate, the next stage for most pilots is to obtain a private pilot license.

Obtaining a PPL requires logging 35-40 hours of flight hours, and passing a written knowledge and practical test, which enrolling in an online ground school can help with.

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