Office of Aviation

FAA proposes pilot certificates with photos

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) announced today it is proposing that all pilot certificates include photos of the certificate holder.

This action follows a requirement that all pilot certificates be made of plastic and contain security features, such as a hologram and an ultraviolet-sensitive layer, to prevent tampering, altering and counterfeiting.

“The Department of Transportation is committed to keeping the traveling public safe,” said Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood. “This is an important safeguard to help make sure individuals can’t pose as pilots, whatever their intentions.”

Under the new FAA proposal, pilots would obtain new certificates on which their photograph would appear with a proposed expiration date of eight years. At the end of that time period, pilots would need to update their photo and obtain a new certificate.

“Our current certificates are plastic and tamper-resistant, but this proposal will make them even more secure,” said FAA Administrator Randy Babbitt.

If the proposal is finalized as proposed, all new airman certificates and flight instructor certificates would have to include a photograph. Existing pilots with a current commercial pilot certificate would have four years to comply, while a pilot with an airline transport pilot rating would have three years to obtain a new certificate with a photo. Existing private, recreational or sport pilot certificate holders would have five years to comply with the new requirement.

If finalized, the resulting final regulation will fulfill a provision of the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act, which requires the FAA to issue plastic, tamper-resistant pilot certificates with photos.

Under the proposal, the cost of the new pilot certificate would be $22. That amount is comparable to drivers’ license fees in many states and would have to be renewed every eight years.

The comment period for the proposed rule ends February 17, 2011. The rule is on display at the Federal Register: It will be published in the Register at: