Military IPs: Renew Your CFI by Mail!

A few years ago, the FAA updated 14 CFR 61.73 allowing military Instructor Pilots to get or renew a CFI ticket by taking a single written exam and presenting the results along with proof of a military IP rating. (In the USAF the supporting document is a Form 8.) This is a great deal for military IPs and was really long overdue.

Unfortunately, many military bases are located a long way from the nearest FSDO and it's a huge pain to get to one in person to do the renewal paperwork. I live in Del Rio, TX, just a couple hours from the San Antonio FSDO and was looking at an expiration date of 7/31/13. The San Antonio FSDO isn't the easiest to work with. Security concerns mean they will not let you in the door without an appointment. If you call, they'll explain that they only make appointments for Tuesdays and Thursdays. So much for just leaving early on Friday and stopping by...I'd have to take an entire day off work to make it happen. At least that's what I thought until I wrote a pleading email to one of their inspectors. He replied that I could submit everything by mail; just follow these directions. Long story short, I did just what he said and it worked! I sent everything in by mail and had my temporary CFI ticket within days. The expiration date did't even get moved up.

Yes, it's as good a deal as it sounds. Take advantage of this by sending the following to your FSDO:

(You can find this list in FAA Order 8900.1, Vol 5, Ch 2, Section 11, Para 5-504(D))

  1. A completed and signed FAA Form 8710-1
  2. Your permanent (plastic) CFI certificate. (I know, this is scary. Per Paragraph 5-504(D)(7) in the aforementioned FAA Order, photocopies of the CFI certificate and your 8710 are a valid substitute while you wait.)
  3. A notarized* copy of your photo ID (driver's license, military ID, passport, etc.)
  4. A notarized* copy of the document that says you're a military IP. (I used my Form 8.)

*The notary thing isn't such a pain. Google said that most copy shops and banks in town had notaries. I stopped by The Bank and Trust and their notary helped me out for free.

And that's it. Don't waste your time skipping work to stand at the customer "service" desk in your FSDO trying to explain to an FAA Inspector what a Form 8 is. Just drop it in the mail, sit back and relax!

It's worth noting that the 8900.1 also specifies that your Form 8 (or equivalent) must be less than 1 year old to renew your CFI. I guess that makes sense. However, there is no limit to how old it can be for an initial issue. If you were a C-130 IP in Vietnam, you can use that Form 8 today to get your initial MEI (or add the MEI to an existing CFI.)

I hope this helps and please spread the word!

Jason