Before your first solo flight, you will need to obtain a Student Pilot Certificate from the FAA. If you are pursuing the Sport Pilot license, this is all you will need from the FAA. If you are pursuing the Private Pilot license, you will also need to separately obtain a Third-Class Medical from an Aviation Medical Examiner.
To apply for the Student Certificate, you will submit an electronic application via the FAA’s IACRA system:
- First, visit the IACRA website and register. There is a block on the application for your certificate number. Leave this blank.
- At the end of the registration process, IACRA will show you your user ID and your FTN. Make note of your FTN. Your CFI will need it later to complete your application.
- Log in to IACRA with your new account.
- Select “Pilot” as the application type.
- Select “Student Pilot” from the Certifications block.
- Click “Begin Application”.
- Complete the remainder of the application process.
- Once you have reviewed and submitted your application, meet with your CFI in person. Bring your driver’s license, proof of US Citizenship (birth certificate or US passport) and the FTN you received when you registered for IACRA.
- Your CFI will look over your documentation, log into IACRA and complete your application.
- The FAA will review your application. The TSA will perform a background check. Once this is complete, you will receive a new plastic Student Pilot certificate in the mail.