CFI Reinstatement

You let your CFI expire?

Expired CFI – Reinstatement

A Flight Instructor certificate expires every 24 calendar months. There are many different methods available to renew an Unexpired Flight Instructor certificate. But once the certificate has already expired, then it needs to be reinstated.

The process of reinstatement involves taking a checkride with an FAA examiner. Written exam is not required.

If you had a CFI, CFII and MEI (all 3 ratings), then you can pick any ONE of the ratings and take a practical exam for it and this should result in complete reinstatement. If you did not have all 3 ratings, then consider adding the one that’s missing.

Choosing CFII or MEI is usually a better choice. They both can be completed in 3-4 days each. I’d also go and attend some FAA approved FIRC program. I personally have been using American Flyer’s online FIRC for about 20 years now. They have a lifetime renewal membership for cheap.

You should also visit FAA Safety website and go through the available online safety seminars.

Visit our CFI Reinstatement page, and enroll to get your’s reinstated.

And yes, it is 3-4 days of training even if you have not flown a small airplane in a while. We have been helping pilots get this taken care of for more than 2 decades now. We will help with making this process very easy for you.

10 Ways to Renew you CFI

10 way to renew CFI
Renew your CFI

I am working on renewing my CFI certificate and associated ratings, which are about to expire on Nov 30. It is allowed to complete the renewal process and obtain a new CFI certificate within 3 months prior to the expiration date and still retain the original expiration date (Nov 30 in this case) 2 years down.

There are 10 ways listed here to renew a CFI certificate, and at least 9 to renew before expiration. If the certificate is allowed to expire before renewal, then there is only one way; #1, by taking a practical test and get CFI Reinstatement done.

Take a practical test (checkride) –

This method is usually used by someone whose CFI has already expired, but in any case, this method is still an available option to renew unexpired CFI certificate as well. Once a CFI certificate expires, you must pass a checkride for any one rating (CFI, CFII or MEI) on the CFI certificate and renew the certificate with all the rest of the ratings as well.

Take a practical test (checkride) for an additional CFI rating –

If you do not have all the CFI ratings on your certificate, you can train and pass a checkride for an additional flight instructor rating; this will renew your CFI and associated ratings.

Maintaining 80% Pass Rate of 1st Time Recommendations –

Maintaining and demonstrating via proper documentation, first time pass rate of at least 8o% out of a minimum of 5 recommendations for a practical test in the preceding 24 month period.

Serve as a check airman in part 91, 121, 133 and 135

Demonstrating your experience evaluating other pilots may allow you to renew your CFI. Proper appointment credentials and logbook entries can be used to document such experience.

Attending and successfully completing industry sponsored Flight Instructor Refresher Clinic (FIRC).

There are numerous options in this category. One may attend and complete this course in person, or online.

Attending an FAA sponsored CFI workshop.

Information and announcements about upcoming CFI workshops are made in most aviation print media, and at

Participating in FAA Wings program –

A CFI may utilize FAA Wings Program for CFI renewal as well. Here are the requirements – (1) be a participant in FAA Wings Program, (2) Provide 15 hours of flight training to other participating pilots (3) Sign off at least 5 other pilots for their phase of this program.

Earn Gold Seal Certification –

Maintain and demonstrate that you have over 80% first time practical test passes out of a minimum of 10 recommendations (sign-offs) in the preceding 24 calendar months. This will get you a gold seal and also renew your CFI certificate. This can only be used once in a lifetime.

Earn or renew Master CFI designation –

Earn or renew a Master CFI designation (there are 2 different programs for this)  for renewal of a CFI certificate.

Renewal based on duties and responsibilities –

In rare cases, an FAA inspector may allow a CFI to renew based on his/her duties and responsibilities within the FSDO’s jurisdiction and FAA inspector’s thorough and personal knowledge of your activities. Contact the FAA FAASTeam (Safety Team) Manager in your FSDO.

If your CFI Certificate has already expired, then read this – CFI Reinstatement

First published in 2003 by Robert Jex, CFI

CFI Expired? How to Reinstate it? Part II

Read the Part I of this series by clicking here. This post is in continuation of the discussion in the previous one. One important document that I missed to mention in the previous post was an FAA Advisory Circular AC61-65E. This document provides additional information on how to reinstate or renew a Flight Instructor certificate, among all other pilot and instructor certificates. Refer to paragraph 24, on page 20. And here is what it says:

24. EXPIRED FLIGHT INSTRUCTOR CERTIFICATE. The requirements for holders of an expired flight instructor certificate to obtain new certificates are located in section 61.199. A practical test is required in the exchange of an expired flight instructor certificate. A DPE or an ASI will not reinstate expired flight instructor certificates unless the applicant passes a practical test.
a. The holder of an expired flight instructor certificate (i.e., a flight instructor certificate that conforms to section 61.5(c)) may exchange that certificate for a new certificate (except for a flight instructor certificate with a sport pilot rating) by passing one practical test, per section 61.183(h), for one of the aircraft ratings held on that person’s expired flight instructor certificate.
NOTE: If the practical test is for a flight instructor certificate with a sport pilot rating, the examiner may only issue that rating and provide endorsements for the category and class privileges tested.
b. Flight instructor ratings or limited flight instructor ratings on a pilot certificate are no longer valid. To reinstate instructor privileges, all requirements for initial issuance of a flight instructor certificate must be met.

Interpretation of the above, to remove any misconceptions:

  • If your CFI certificate (irrespective of the ratings it holds) has expired, you HAVE TO take a practical test. End of the story.
  • Since about 7-8 years now, there is no separate “oral” or “flight” test. There is only one test, and that is called the practical test. So there is NO WAY OUT of “oral” portion by taking a CFI Refresher Course (16 hours ground) or anything else.
  • UNDERSTAND – Flight Instructor Ratings are different than Aircraft Ratings. :-). Some think that if they hold a CFI certificate with instrument airplane (or CFII) they can go on a simulator and simply take the CFII checkride and get their CFI reinstated. It doesn’t work that way. You can take your CFI reinstatement practical test in “one of the aircraft ratings”, that means Airplane Single Engine or Airplane Multi Engine (could be Land or Sea, but that would be a whole different topic though). This DOES NOT mean flight instructor ratings, like CFII.
  • To reinstate instructor privileges, all requirements for initial issuance of a flight instructor certificate must be met.

CFI Expired? How to Reinstate it?

Many Pilots cum Flight Instructors, when they move on to the airlines business end up letting their CFI certificate expire. And then down the road when a need or the passion rekindles again, they realize that it has to be reinstated. So, the question arises: How do I go about renewing or reinstating my CFI certificate? Note that this discussion is about the expired flight instructor certificates. If yours has not expired yet, then you should also read the 10 ways to renew your CFI certificate.

Expired Flight Instructor
Expired CFI

Here is a list of few things you need to know about the expired flight instructor certificates, and how to reinstate them (or renew them):

  • Flight Instructor certificates expire every 24 calendar months. If not renewed before the expiration date, then you have to go through reinstatement procedure.
  • To reinstate a CFI certificate (irrespective of the ratings you have on it, i.e. CFII, MEI) you have to take a checkride with either an FAA DPE or an FAA Inspector. In either case, it is a checkride with oral and flight portion.
  • Most FSDOs have authorized DPEs who can conduct your CFI reinstatement checkride and upon successful completion issue you a new temporary CFI certificate with all the ratings you originally had on it. You can try getting a “free” checkride out of the FSDO inspector, but from my experience, it is very difficult. There is a reason why they have DPEs authorized for this purpose. But your mileage may vary from FSDO to FSDO.
  • You may take most of the CFI reinstatement checkride in a non-complex aircraft, but you will still have to do the takeoffs and landings, and emergency procedures in a complex aircraft. So if you are planning to go this route, make sure you have 2 aircraft available at the time/place of the checkride, and you are ready to prove the airworthiness of both aircraft, and that you have the POHs mastered for both aircraft as well.
  • The CFI reinstatement checkride will definitely cover the VFR maneuvers, like ground reference maneuvers, emergency procedures, slow flights and stall etc. Think about it, if you are going to get your CFI certificate back, you are getting all those privileges back as well. And we want you to be safe, so use this as an opportunity to brush up and get back in shape.
  • Now, if you are missing a rating on your expired CFI certificate, for instance, instrument airplane, or multi engine, then you may want to think about getting your CFII and/or MEI rating added on. This way you won’t have to take any reinstatement checkride, and your add-on rating checkride will get you your CFI certificate reinstated.

So, what is the best way to get the CFI reinstated?

  • Go find yourself a good flight instructor or a school  and go through some ground and flight training, take your CFI reinstatement checkride and you are done! This is the fastest and easiest way.
  • Before you schedule any training session, I would recommend that you read through the latest FAR/AIM sections pertinent to the CFI checkride, Airplane Flying Handbook (back to back), Pilot’s Handbook of Aeronautical Knowledge (back to back), Fundamentals of Instruction (back to back).
  • Also, if your instrument knowledge and skills have deteriorated, might as well review the Instrument Flying Handbook and get your knowledge up to the par.
  • The 2 steps that I stated above – this will make your and your instructor’s life easy, and save you a lot of time and money. It is recommended that you take a CFI Refresher Course (not required, but very helpful) online, or at some school (16 hours) to review all the knowledge as stated above.
  • For the ones who are missing a rating on the CFI certificate, your best bet is to simply get your CFII or MEI (and in some cases your single-engine add-on) ratings. Kill 2 birds with one stone.
  • Lastly, do not let this happen to you again! Even if you are not in teaching aviation business anymore.

Refer: 14 CFR 61.183 and 14 CFR 61.199