Requirement for Certificates, Ratings, and Authorizations

Information on this page is from FAR/Aim 2013

§ 61.3 Requirement for certificates, ratings, and authorizations.

(a) Pilot certificate. No person may serve as a required pilot flight crewmember of a civil aircraft of the United States, unless that person—

Has a pilot certificate or special purpose pilot authorization issued under this part in that person’s physical possession or readily accessible in the aircraft when exercising the privileges of that pilot certificate or authorization. However, when the aircraft is operated within a foreign country, a pilot license issued by that country may be used; and

Has a photo identification that is in that person’s physical possession or readily accessible in the aircraft when exercising the privileges of that pilot certificate or authorization. The photo identification must be a:

  • Driver’s license issued by a State, the District of Columbia, or territory or possession of the United States;
  • Government identification card issued by the Federal government, a State, the District of Columbia, or a territory or possession of the United States;
  • U.S. Armed Forces’ identification card;
  • Official passport;
  • Credential that authorizes unescorted access to a security identification display area at an airport regulated under 49 CFR part 1542; or
  • Other form of identification that the Administrator finds acceptable.

(b) Required pilot certificate for operating a foreign-registered aircraft. No person may serve as a required pilot flight crewmember of a civil aircraft of foreign registry within the United States, unless that person’s pilot certificate—

Is in that person’s physical possession, or readily accessible in the aircraft when exercising the privileges of that pilot certificate; and
Has been issued under this part, or has been issued or validated by the country in which the aircraft is registered.

(c) Medical certificate. (1) A person may serve as a required pilot flight crewmember of an aircraft only if that person holds the appropriate medical certificate issued under part 67 of this chapter, or other documentation acceptable to the FAA, that is in that person’s physical possession or readily accessible in the aircraft. Paragraph (c)(2) of this section provides certain exceptions to the requirement to hold a medical certificate.

(2) A person is not required to meet the requirements of paragraph (c)(1) of this section if that person

  • Is exercising the privileges of a student pilot certificate while seeking a pilot certificate with a glider category rating, a balloon class rating, or glider or balloon privileges;
  • Is exercising the privileges of a student pilot certificate while seeking a sport pilot certificate with other than glider or balloon privileges and holds a U.S. driver’s license
  • Is exercising the privileges of a student pilot certificate while seeking a pilot certificate with a weight-shift-control aircraft category rating or a powered parachute category rating and holds a U.S. driver’s license;
  • Is exercising the privileges of a sport pilot certificate with glider or balloon privileges;
  • Is exercising the privileges of a sport pilot certificate with other than glider or balloon privileges and holds a U.S. driver’s license. A person who has applied for or held a medical certificate may exercise the privileges of a sport pilot certificate using a U.S. driver’s license only if that person—

1.) Has been found eligible for the issuance of at least a third-class airman medical certificate at the time of his or her most recent application; and

2.) Has not had his or her most recently issued medical certificate suspended or revoked or most recent Authorization for a Special Issuance of a Medical Certificate withdrawn.

  • Is holding a pilot certificate with a balloon class rating and is piloting or providing training in a balloon as appropriate;
  • Is holding a pilot certificate or a flight instructor certificate with a glider category rating, and is piloting or providing training in a glider, as appropriate;
  • Except as provided in paragraph (c)(2)(vii) of this section, is exercising the privileges of a flight instructor certificate, provided the person is not acting as pilot in command or as a required pilot flight crewmember;
  • Is exercising the privileges of a ground instructor certificate;
  • Is operating an aircraft within a foreign country using a pilot license issued by that country and possesses evidence of current medical qualification for that license; or
  • Is operating an aircraft with a U.S. pilot certificate, issued on the basis of a foreign pilot license, issued under § 61.75, and holds a medical certificate issued by the foreign country that issued the foreign pilot license, which is in that person’s physical possession or readily accessible in the aircraft when exercising the privileges of that airman certificate.
  • Is a pilot of the U.S. Armed Forces, has an up-to-date U.S. military medical examination, and holds military pilot flight status.

(d) Flight instructor certificate. (1) A person who holds a flight instructor certificate issued under this part must have that certificate, or other documentation acceptable to the Administrator, in that person’s physical possession or readily accessible in the aircraft when exercising the privileges of that flight instructor certificate.

(2) Except as provided in paragraph (d)(3) of this section, no person other than the holder of a flight instructor certificate issued under this part with the appropriate rating on that certificate may—

  • Give training required to qualify a person for solo flight and solo cross-country flight;
  • Endorse an applicant for a—
  • Pilot certificate or rating issued under this part;
  • Flight instructor certificate or rating issued under this part; or
  • Ground instructor certificate or rating issued under this part;
  • Endorse a pilot logbook to show training given; or
  • Endorse a student pilot certificate and logbook for solo operating privileges

(3) A flight instructor certificate issued under this part is not necessary:

  • Under paragraph (d)(2) of this section, if the training is given by the holder of a commercial pilot certificate with a lighter-than-air rating, provided the training is given in accordance with the privileges of the certificate in a lighter-than-air aircraft
  • Under paragraph (d)(2) of this section, if the training is given by the holder of an airline transport pilot certificate with a rating appropriate to the aircraft in which the training is given, provided the training is given in accordance with the privileges of the certificate and conducted in accordance with an approved air carrier training program approved under part 121 or part 135 of this chapter;
  • Under paragraph (d)(2) of this section, if the training is given by a person who is qualified in accordance with subpart C of part 142 of this chapter, provided the training is conducted in accordance with an approved part 142 training program;
  • Under paragraphs (d)(2)(i), (d)(2)(ii)(C), and (d)(2)(iii) of this section, if the training is given by the holder of a ground instructor certificate in accordance with the privileges of the certificate; or
  • Under paragraph (d)(2)(iii) of this section, if the training is given by an authorized flight instructor under § 61.41 of this part.

(e) Instrument rating. No person may act as pilot in command of a civil aircraft under IFR or in weather conditions less than the minimums prescribed for VFR flight unless that person holds:
The appropriate aircraft category, class, type (if required), and instrument rating on that person’s pilot certificate for any airplane, helicopter, or powered-lift being flown
An airline transport pilot certificate with the appropriate aircraft category, class, and type rating (if required) for the aircraft being flown;
(3) For a glider, a pilot certificate with a glider category rating and an airplane instrument rating; or
For an airship, a commercial pilot certificate with a lighter-than-air category rating and airship class rating.

(f) Category II pilot authorization. Except for a pilot conducting Category II operations under part 121 or part 135, a person may not:

(1) Act as pilot in command of a civil aircraft during Category II operations unless that person—
Holds a Category II pilot authorization for that category or class of aircraft, and the type of aircraft, if applicable; or
(ii) In the case of a civil aircraft of foreign registry, is authorized by the country of registry to act as pilot in command of that aircraft in Category II operations.

(2) Act as second in command of a civil aircraft during Category II operations unless that person—
Holds a pilot certificate with category and class ratings for that aircraft and an instrument rating for that category aircraft;
Holds an airline transport pilot certificate with category and class ratings for that aircraft; or
In the case of a civil aircraft of foreign registry, is authorized by the country of registry to act as second in command of that aircraft during Category II operations.

(g) Category III pilot authorization. Except for a pilot conducting Category III operations under part 121 or part 135, a person may not:

(1) Act as pilot in command of a civil aircraft during Category III operations unless that person—
Holds a Category III pilot authorization for that category or class of aircraft, and the type of aircraft, if applicable; or
In the case of a civil aircraft of foreign registry, is authorized by the country of registry to act as pilot in command of that aircraft in Category III operations.

(2) Act as second in command of a civil aircraft during Category III operations unless that person—
Holds a pilot certificate with category and class ratings for that aircraft and an instrument rating for that category aircraft;
Holds an airline transport pilot certificate with category and class ratings for that aircraft; or
In the case of a civil aircraft of foreign registry, is authorized by the country of registry to act as second in command of that aircraft during Category III operations.

(h) Category A aircraft pilot authorization. The Administrator may issue a certificate of authorization for a Category II or Category III operation to the pilot of a small aircraft that is a Category A aircraft, as identified in § 97.3(b)(1) of this chapter if:
The Administrator determines that the Category II or Category III operation can be performed safely by that pilot under the terms of the certificate of authorization; an
The Category II or Category III operation does not involve the carriage of persons or property for compensation or hire.

(i) Ground instructor certificate.
(1) Each person who holds a ground instructor certificate issued under this part or part 143 must have that certificate in that person’s physical possession or immediately accessible when exercising the privileges of that certificate.
(2) Except as provided in paragraph (i)(3) of this section, no person other than the holder of a ground instructor certificate, issued under this part or part 143, with the appropriate rating on that certificate may—
Give ground training required to qualify a person for solo flight and solo cross-country flight;
Endorse an applicant for a knowledge test required for a pilot, flight instructor, or ground instructor certificate or rating issued under this part; or
Endorse a pilot logbook to show ground training given.

(3) A ground instructor certificate issued under this part is not necessary:

  • Under paragraph (i)(2) of this section, if the training is given by the holder of a flight instructor certificate issued under this part in accordance with the privileges of that certificate;
  • Under paragraph (i)(2) of this section, if the training is given by the holder of a commercial pilot certificate with a lighter-than-air rating, provided the training is given in accordance with the privileges of the certificate in a lighter-than-air aircraft;
  • Under paragraph (i)(2) of this section, if the training is given by the holder of an airline transport pilot certificate with a rating appropriate to the aircraft in which the training is given, provided the training is given in accordance with the privileges of the certificate and conducted in accordance with an approved air carrier training program approved under part 121 or part 135 of this chapter;
  • Under paragraph (i)(2) of this section, if the training is given by a person who is qualified in accordance with subpart C of part 142 of this chapter, provided the training is conducted in accordance with an approved part 142 training program; or
  • Under paragraph (i)(2)(iii) of this section, if the training is given by an authorized flight instructor under § 61.41 of this part.

(j) Age limitation for certain operations (1) Age limitation. No person who holds a pilot certificate issued under this part may serve as a pilot on a civil airplane of U.S. registry in the following operations if the person has reached his or her 65th birthday:

Scheduled international air services carrying passengers in turbojet-powered airplanes;
Scheduled international air services carrying passengers in airplanes having a passenger-seat configuration of more than nine passenger seats, excluding each crewmember seat;
Nonscheduled international air transportation for compensation or hire in airplanes having a passenger-seat configuration of more than 30 passenger seats, excluding each crewmember seat; or
Scheduled international air services, or nonscheduled international air transportation for compensation or hire, in airplanes having a payload capacity of more than 7,500 pounds.

(2) Age Pairing Requirement. No person who has attained the age of 60 but who has not attained the age of 65 may serve as a pilot in command in any of the operations described in paragraphs (j)(1)(i) through (iv) of this section unless there is another pilot in the flight deck crew who has not yet attained 60 years of age.

(3) Definitions. (i) “International air service,” as used in this paragraph (j), means scheduled air service performed in airplanes for the public transport of passengers, mail, or cargo, in which the service passes through the airspace over the territory of more than one country.
(ii) “International air transportation,” as used in this paragraph (j), means air transportation performed in airplanes for the public transport of passengers, mail, or cargo, in which the service passes through the airspace over the territory of more than one country.

(k) Special purpose pilot authorization. Any person that is required to hold a special purpose pilot authorization, issued in accordance with § 61.77 of this part, must have that authorization and the person’s foreign pilot license in that person’s physical possession or have it readily accessible in the aircraft when exercising the privileges of that authorization.

(l) Inspection of certificate. Each person who holds an airman certificate, medical certificate, authorization, or license required by this part must present it and their photo identification as described in paragraph (a)(2) of this section for inspection upon a request from:
(1) The Administrator;
(2) An authorized representative of the National Transportation Safety Board;
(3) Any Federal, State, or local law enforcement officer; or
(4) An authorized representative of the Transportation Security Administration.

61.4 Qualification and approval of flight simulators and flight training devices.

(a) Except as specified in paragraph (b) or (c) of this section, each flight simulator and flight training device used for training, and for which an airman is to receive credit to satisfy any training, testing, or checking requirement under this chapter, must be qualified and approved by the Administrator for—
(1) The training, testing, and checking for which it is used;
(2) Each particular maneuver, procedure, or crewmember function performed; and
(3) The representation of the specific category and class of aircraft, type of aircraft, particular variation within the type of aircraft, or set of aircraft for certain flight training devices.
(b) Any device used for flight training, testing, or checking that has been determined to be acceptable to or approved by the Administrator prior to August 1, 1996, which can be shown to function as originally designed, is considered to be a flight training device, provided it is used for the same purposes for which it was originally accepted or approved and only to the extent of such acceptance or approval.
(c) The Administrator may approve a device other than a flight simulator or flight training device for specific purposes.

61.5 Certificates and ratings issued under this part.

(a) The following certificates are issued under this part to an applicant who satisfactorily accomplishes the training and certification requirements for the certificate sought:
(1) Pilot certificates:

  • Student pilot.
  • Sport pilot.
  • Recreational pilot.
  • Private pilot.
  • Commercial pilot.
  • Airline transport pilot.

(2) Flight instructor certificates.
(3) Ground instructor certificates.
(b) The following ratings are placed on a pilot certificate (other than student pilot) when an applicant satisfactorily accomplishes the training and certification requirements for the rating sought:
(1) Aircraft category ratings—
(i) Airplane.
(ii) Rotorcraft.
(iii) Glider.
(iv) Lighter-than-air.
(v) Powered-lift.
(vi) Powered parachute.
(vii) Weight-shift-control aircraft.

(2) Airplane class ratings—
(i) Single-engine land.
(ii) Multiengine land.
(iii) Single-engine sea.
(iv) Multiengine sea.

(3) Rotorcraft class ratings—
(i) Helicopter.
(ii) Gyroplane.

(4) Lighter-than-air class ratings—
(i) Airship.
(ii) Balloon.

(5) Weight-shift-control aircraft class ratings—
(i) Weight-shift-control aircraft land.
(ii) Weight-shift-control aircraft sea.

(6) Powered parachute class ratings—
(i) Powered parachute land.
(ii) Powered parachute sea.

(7) Aircraft type ratings—
(i) Large aircraft other than lighter-than-air.
(ii) Turbojet-powered airplanes.
(iii) Other aircraft type ratings specified by the Administrator through the aircraft type certification procedures.
(iv) Second-in-command pilot type rating for aircraft that is certificated for operations with a minimum crew of at least two pilots.

(8) Instrument ratings (on private and commercial pilot certificates only)—
(i) Instrument—Airplane.
(ii) Instrument—Helicopter.
(iii) Instrument—Powered-lift.

(c) The following ratings are placed on a flight instructor certificate when an applicant satisfactorily accomplishes the training and certification requirements for the rating sought:
(1) Aircraft category ratings—
(i) Airplane.
(ii) Rotorcraft.
Glider.
Powered-lift.

(2) Airplane class ratings—
(i) Single-engine.
(ii) Multiengine.

(3) Rotorcraft class ratings—
(i) Helicopter
(ii)Gyroplane

(4) Instrument ratings—
(i) Instrument—Airplane.
(ii) Instrument—Helicopter.
(iii) Instrument—Powered-lift.

(5) Sport pilot rating.
(d) The following ratings are placed on a ground instructor certificate when an applicant satisfactorily accomplishes the training and certification requirements for the rating sought:
(1) Basic.
(2) Advanced.
(3) Instrument.
61.7 Obsolete certificates and ratings.
(a) The holder of a free-balloon pilot certificate issued before November 1, 1973, may not exercise the privileges of that certificate.
(b) The holder of a pilot certificate that bears any of the following category ratings without an associated class rating may not exercise the privileges of that category rating:
(1) Rotorcraft.
(2) Lighter-than-air.
(3) Helicopter.
(4) Autogyro.

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