It’s not just the clerk at the grocery store making the “paper or plastic?” inquiry these days. The FAA also wants to know what your certificate is made of since, come April 1, the paper one won’t be legal anymore.
In February 2008 the FAA announced the phasing out of paper airman certificates. The deadline for replacement is March 31. Pilots with the paper certificates after that date will not be able to exercise their flying privileges, except for a temporary certificate issued under 61.17 or a student pilot certificate issued under paragraph (b) of CFR 61.19 (h).
The plastic certificates, which are about the size of a credit card and have a hologram imprinted on them, are more difficult to counterfeit than the paper ones.
While the change has been in the works for quite a while, many pilots have apparently delayed getting their tickets replaced. As a result, there is a backlog of requests in Oklahoma City, FAA officials said.
There are two ways to replace a certificate. You can request a replacement certificate online at FAA.gov/Licenses_Certificates or you can mail an application for replacement of lost, destroyed, or paper airman certificate form or a signed, written request stating your name, date and place of birth, Social Security number and/or certificate number, and the reason you need a replacement.
You must include a check or money order for $2, made payable to FAA, for each certificate you request. The latter has made some pilots grumble, as they have held the paper certificates for decades and now have to spend money to replace them.
For more information: 866-878-2498 or FAA.gov.