What steps are needed to obtain a student certification?

3 Replies

What steps are needed to obtain a student certification?

Posted by Jessie Hicks on Nov 1, 2018 12:22 pm

It might sound like a stupid question, and if it is please excuse my ignorance, but would any of my fine fellows care to elaborate? I am a deer in the headlights at this moment. I am so enamored with everything aviation that I have trouble finding where to start. Any specific links that I should check out? I love this community it is always so helpful. 
Jessie R. Hicks
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Re: What steps are needed to obtain a student certification?

Posted by Brennan Callan on Nov 1, 2018 12:42 pm

Hi Jessie, et al.,
I tried to see the early conversation on this thread because I might have missed something you wrote earlier.  Are you talking about the FAA Student Pilot?  That is obtained one of a few ways: www.faa.gov, then use their search engine.  You can visit the local Flight Standards District Office (FSDO) (with an appointment made 2-days or more in advance) and they will give you the most current form to fill out.  It is a FORM 8710.  If you want the application to be just for LIGHT SPORT CERTIFICATE or that you are working toward the RECREATIONAL PILOT or the PRIVATE PILOT, then you want to be specific about that.  There is a new webpage where you can submit your request, but this site will expect you have an instructor right now that is going to look at your driver's license to confirm your demographics.  If you visit the local FSDO, then they look at your driver's license in person.  Once you submit your form, then in a couple of weeks, you should get your card.

A benefit of visiting the FSDO is that if you do not presently have a CFI helping you, then you can still get the STUDENT PILOT ID without being connected to any particular flight school. 

Some flight schools charge a fee to get them to help you process your paperwork.  The FSDO is required by Congress to help you FOR FREE.

You can find the FSDO list on www.faa.gov

Just so you or everyone knows, a good number of FREE BOOKS are available online with the FAA and anytime you see a reference to various FAA books, you should first use their search engine to locate the books because they have many more that are not listed/linked on their MANUALS page.  Also check their site to obtain your AERONAUTICAL KNOWLEDGE BOOKS because the various aviation publishing companies just put their own covers on those free books and republish the books AT A COST TO YOU.  As I have written in other posts, the costs of aviation is outrageous and this is why I encourage folks to visit the FAA.gov to find the FREE BOOKS.

In another note of yours today Jessie, there was a discussion of the Civil Air Patrol's Aerospace Education Program and I responded on that thread that the details for teachers is on: https://www.gocivilairpatrol.com/programs/aerospace-education/announcements/careers/educational-preparation/aerospace-schools/

It is not always easy to see the full discussions folks are having on this site.  I get email versions of the notes and it only gives the last person's notes.  It does not show me the full thread even if I click the button, SEE ON THE SITE.  It is always helpful to put all details in reply notes.

Best wishes everyone,
Aeronautical Scientist

Re: What steps are needed to obtain a student certification?

Posted by Jessie Hicks on Nov 1, 2018 2:33 pm

Thank you Brennan, once again you have been very helpful and informative. I often look for free information or low-cost versions before I go out an purchase anything. I have found tons of aeronautical stuff on google play that are relevant and free. Some are just as you said, reprints of the FAA material with the companies cover on it for an outrageous price. As an educator, I have been dealing with the ridiculous price of textbooks for over 5 years now. Many of the ways we find to work around things are to buy an older edition, same material different cover with maybe one page worth of new information, this is a reasonable and effective way to obtain material needed for a class. These textbook companies think that they have captive markets and try to take advantage of it, but Amazon and others have helped to ease the burden, So now we find that these textbook companies have begun to sell digital editions, which in most cases are subscriptions to access the material and after your subscription ends you lose the access. What a way to perpetuate sales, no more buying one book and keeping it for your own reference library.
Again I say thank you for your very kind and straight shooting honesty. Have a great day!
Jessie R. Hicks

Re: What steps are needed to obtain a student certification?

Posted by Ronald Levy on Nov 2, 2018 9:04 am

While you can go to the FSDO to obtain your Student Pilot certificate, any designated pilot examiner (DPE) can do the same, and that may be a lot more convenient.  Helping people apply for a Student Pilot certificate is very low on the FSDO's priority list, and it may be a long time before you can get an appointment to do that, not to mention they're only open business hours on weekdays, while DPE's are generally available evenings and weekends as well as normal business hours.  Also, one no longer fills out a paper 8710-1 -- this is done on line via the FAA's IACRA system.  The best way to go about this is to talk to the flight school where you'll be taking your training -- they can show you how to use IACRA and hook you up with the local DPE to complete the process.

That said, since you're already an AOPA member, I suggest you start at AOPA's "Learn to Fly" web page:


I think you'll find this section of AOPA's web site answers not only the questions you have, but many questions you would not have thought to ask.