Requires Changeover By March 2010
When it comes to the
question of "paper or plastic?" the FAA has given its final answer.
This week, the FAA released its final rule on the matter,
announcing the required switch to plastic pilot certificates by
March 31, 2010.
The Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association states its members
"overwhelmingly" supported the move, when the FAA first proposed
the matter in 2005. In addition to being far more durable than
traditional paper certificates, the plastic cards also offer
greater resistance to counterfeiting.
Temporary, student, and flight instructor certificates are not
impacted by the change. Those with nonpilot certificates -- such as
ground instructors, flight engineers, and mechanics -- will
have three additional years to change over to the plastic
Those pilots will a particular attachment to their paper
certificates, or the original issuance date (the plastic
certificate will have a new one,) will still be able to keep their
paper certificates -- they just won't be able to use them to
Pilots may request the plastic certificate through the
FAA’s website, at a cost of $2. That fee will be waived,
however, if you change your pilot certificate number from your
Social Security number, according to the pilot advocacy group.
AOPA notes pilots might want to wait a few weeks before
requesting their new certificates, as the FAA is currently
processing replacement certificate for pilots who fly
internationally to meet the "English proficient" endorsement
required by the International Civil Aviation Organization.
If pilots should miss the 2010 deadline, they won’t have
to take a checkride or any exams to get back in the air as pilot in
command; they'll simply need to request the plastic certificate...
but until they receive their new certificates, those pilots won't
be able to fly as PIC.