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CFI Protect Renewal Process

How often do I need to renew my CFI?
A flight instructor needs to renew their CFI certificate every 24 calendar months from the month in which it was either issued, renewed, or reinstated.
What happens if I let my CFI certificate expire?
A flight instructor needs to renew their CFI certificate every 24 calendar months from the month in which it was either issued, renewed, or reinstated.aIf a flight instructor allows their CFI certificate to expire, they will need to have it reinstated. This can be done by adding an additional flight instructor rating, such as a CFII or MEI. Or, the instructor will need to take a CFI reinstatement check-ride. Another knowledge test is not required for reinstatement check rides.
How do I renew my CFI?
FAR §61.197 outlines the renewal requirements for a CFI. These include:
  • Passing a practical test, a flight instructor rating.
  • Submit proof to the FAA that you have signed off at least five students for a practical test within the last 24 months, and at least 80% of those signed off passed on the first attempt.
  • Submit proof to the FAA that within the past 24 months, you served as a company checkpilot, chief instructor, company check airman, or flight instructor in a part 121 or 135 operation or in a position involving the regular evaluation of pilots.
  • Graduate a flight instructor refresher course within the preceding three calendar months.
  • Submit proof to the FAA that you passed an official U.S. Armed Forces military instructor pilot or pilot examiner proficiency check.
Where can I go to attend a FIRC?
For those pilots who enjoy the camaraderie and experience of a classroom environment, there are Classroom FIRC’s offered by several providers. For those pilots who do not want to attend a formal class, several providers offer online FIRC programs. These courses enable the participants to take the course from wherever they may be and on their schedule.
Tell me about the FIRC Process.
The course consists of 16 hours of training. Thirteen lessons are designed to remind you of the basics and inform you of new and updated policies, procedures, and regulations. There are two quizzes, one after Lesson 6 and one at the end of the course. Once you complete the FIRC, you will be presented with a graduation certificate. You will need to submit your graduation certificate and required documents to either one of our ACR’s or bring them with you to the FSDO. Regardless of whether you use our ACR service or go to the FSDO, you must do this no later than the expiration date on your certificate.
How do I renew at a FSDO?
If you decide to renew at your local FSDO, you will need to call and schedule an appointment. You will need to complete and submit an application on IACRA and then present the following to the inspector when you arrive for your appointment. Remember, your appointment must be scheduled on or before the expiration date on your flight instructor certificate. Many FSDO’s have limited daily appointments, so plan ahead.
  • Your FTN and Application ID
  • Your graduation certificate
  • Your plastic CFI certificate
  • Your Identification
The closest FSDO is 14 hours away; now what?
If it isn’t convenient for you to go to a FSDO, you can work with a FIRC “ACR” (Airman Certification Representative). An ACR can process your renewal on behalf of the FAA. ACR’s can either process your paper or IACRA application. While there is usually an additional charge for the ACR service, many participants select this option due to the ease and convenience.
How early can I start my renewal?
You can start your renewal at any time. However, it is essential to note that §61.197(b)(ii) states that “the approved flight instructor refresher course must be completed within the three calendar months preceding the expiration month of the current flight instructor certificate.” This means that if you wish to keep your current expiration date, you can begin your renewal three months before your expiration date. If you start your renewal any earlier, you will receive a new expiration date. Do not wait until the last minute to begin your renewal. The only exception that the FAA allows is for active-duty military personnel who were out of the country on official military business and had the documents to verify so.
How do I figure out what my expiration date is?
The FAA has already done this for you. Look at the back of your Flight Instructor Certificate, and you will see your expiration date.
For more information, visit or call 800-268-6198.