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CFI Brief: SPAR

Back in January, the FAA announced changes to the Student Pilot Application Requirements (SPAR), effective April 1st, 2016. Well that time has fast approached and these changes will go into effect tomorrow Friday April 1st, 2016, and this is no April fool’s joke. I have previously written a CFI Brief on this change and it can be viewed here. Now to make sure everyone’s on the same page and understands exactly how the changes will affect them, let’s recap a few things.

As a student pilot, if you already have a student pilot certificate issued under part 61 prior to April 1st you are good to go. No action is required on your part; your student pilot certificate will remain valid until the listed expiration date on the certificate (24 months from the date issued). However, if your student pilot certificate is set to expire soon and you are still undergoing training as a student pilot (meaning you have not yet obtained a Sport, Recreational, or Private Certificate) you should keep reading.

Any new student pilot applicant seeking a student pilot certificate or a renewal of a student pilot certificate beginning April 1 will need to accomplish the following two steps.

Step 1. As the student applicant you will need to fill out an application form known as an 8710-1 (Airman Certificate and/or Rating Application) or the electronic variant IACRA (Integrated Airman Certification and Rating Application). Any flight school or certificated instructor can assist you with this. Or you may contact me and I would be happy to walk you through the process (CFI@asa2fly.com).

Step 2. Next you must in person submit your completed application to one of the following: Flight Standards District OfficeDesignated Pilot Examiner, Certified Flight Instructor, or Airman Certification Representative.

Once submitted, a few things will take place. The application will be handed off to the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) and a security vetting process will begin. Once the TSA has determined you are not a threat, the application will be processed through the Civil Aviation Registry who will in turn issue you a plastic student pilot certificate. The whole process is said to take about 21 days; the good news is that your certificate will not expire so this process only needs to be accomplished once.

One of the questions I hear frequently from CFIs is whether or not they will need to have their students “upgrade” to the new student pilot certificate. The answer is no. If your student already has a valid student pilot certificate issued under Part 61 prior to April 1st they will not need to go through the application process of obtaining a new plastic certificate. As a CFI, you may now potentially have students with either the old style combo medical/student pilot paper certificate or the new plastic certificate. Regardless of the certificate style, all endorsements will now be given in the student’s logbook, adhering to the updated regulations outlined in CFR Part 61.

I recommend that if you have already endorsed your student for solo flight by signing the back of their certificate you update that endorsement prior to their next solo flight. Your updated endorsement should be given in the back of the student’s logbook adhering to the new regulations. Below is an example of an endorsement for solo flight that would be given in a student’s logbook.

Solo flight (first 90-day period): § 61.87(n).

I certify that (First name, MI, Last name) has received the required training to qualify for solo flying. I have determined he/she meets the applicable requirements of § 61.87(n) and is proficient to make solo flights in (make and model).

/s/ [date] J. J. Jones 987654321CFI Exp. 12-31-19

Or

Solo flight (each additional 90-day period): § 61.87(p).

I certify that (First name, MI, Last name) has received the required training to qualify for solo flying. I have determined he/she meets the applicable requirements of § 61.87(p) and is proficient to make solo flights in (make and model).

/s/ [date] J. J. Jones 987654321CFI Exp. 12-31-19

The difference between the two is highlighted in bold.

All regulatory changes affecting the ASA FAR/AIM are available in PDF format via the ASA website: www.asa2fly.com/farupdate. I encourage you to sign up to receive these regulatory changes via email; you can do so by following the link below.

http://www.asa2fly.com/FARAIM-FAR-FC-FAR-AMT-W23C162.aspx

You can also view all changes to the Student Pilot Application Requirements (SPAR) in the Federal Register; I have included a link below.

https://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2016-01-12/pdf/2016-00199.pdf

If you have any question regarding SPAR, please feel free to leave me a comment with your question or send an email to CFI@asa2fly.com .

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