How to Obtain a Pilot’s License with a Prior Record


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Obtaining a light aircraft license, sport aircraft license, commercial license or even a helicopter license is not an easy task without any complications, but it becomes a more difficult task if you have a prior criminal record. No one convicted of a prior felony is prohibited by the United States’ Federal Airline Regulations when it comes to obtaining a private pilot license or a commercial license. The only prohibitions are placed on drug and alcohol related convictions.

Requirements for an Aviation License

When attempting to obtain a pilot license or a helicopter license, the applicant must fill out a variety of forms that ask for the medical history of the applicant, the identification of the applicant, and other personal information. An applicant that has been convicted of a felony prior to applying for a pilot’s license will need to disclose this information on the medical form. Other requirements to become a pilot include the following:

  • The applicant must have passed a medical exam where a physical was given, a blood test was taken, and an eye test was administered
  • The applicant must be at least 17 years old for a private license and 18 for a commercial license. If 18, must hold a private pilot license to apply for a commercial license.
  • The applicant must have a current FAA third-class medical certificate
  • The applicant must have logged at least 40 hours of flight
  • The applicant must have at least 20 hours of flight with an instructor
  • The applicant must have at least 10 hours of solo flight
  • The applicant must pass the FAA Private Pilot Airmen Knowledge written test
  • The applicant must pass a FAA Private Pilot flight exam

How to Apply for a Plane License

Before beginning a flight school course, the applicant must obtain a medical certificate from a qualified doctor practicing in aviation medicine. The FAA does not prohibit applicants with a prior criminal record from obtaining a pilot’s license because their laws only state that the applicant must be of good character. This leaves a lot of room for the FAA to deny anyone whom they do not see to be fit as a pilot. The application should be submitted to the FAA directly and if an applicant is not completely honest on the form then he or she will be denied their request. Once a license is obtained, it will be more difficult for a person with a prior record to obtain a job in the flight industry, but they will still be allowed to fly their own plane.

Aviation License Legal Help

An aviation attorney will be able to help anyone applying for a pilot’s airplane license because he or she will know the laws and requirements of the state where they practice. An aviation attorney will also be able to fight for the applicant if their application has been denied by the FAA without explanation.

Checking Status

An applicant can check the status of their pilot’s license application by logging onto the FAA’s website or calling them directly. The applicant could also have their aviation attorney check into the status of their application for them.

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