The FAA has published a new rule affecting how student pilot certificates will be issued in the future. In the past students would obtain a student pilot certificate from any Aeromedical Examiner (AME). Eff. April 1., students must apply in person at a Flight Standard District Office, through a designated pilot examiner (DPE), with a Part 141 flight school or a CFI.
The TSA is required to vet the application, upon which a plastic certificate will be sent to the student by the Civil Aviation Registry. Student pilots must still visit an AME to acquire a separate medical certificate. The new rule takes effect April 1, 2016 and is the result of a Notice Of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) born in 2010. Students with a current student pilot certificate are allowed to continue using it until it expires. Replacement certificates will cost $2.
A big topic of concern on many blogs and aviation related websites is the turnaround time for students and how this new rule may create even larger stumbling blocks for individuals seeking to get into general aviation. The FAA is estimating that three weeks from application to issuance of a student pilot certificate may be possible, however with TSA involved and growing pains to be expected, the outcome and result of this new rule remains to be seen.