FAA Airman Certificate Revocations

If you tested positive on a DOT Alcohol/ Drug Test, or were convicted of falsifying an FAA form, the FAA may revoke your FAA Pilot Certificate, Ratings, and/or your Airman Medical Certificate.

Revocation Period

The standard FAA revocation period for Airman Certificates is one year. Seek legal council from an aviation attorney or union lawyer as soon as you become aware that you could be subject to revocation, as the terms of the revocation often times can be negotiated.

Knowledge Tests

You can begin the path to Airman Recertification by completing your Knowledge Tests. You do not have to wait until your revocation period is over or you have your medical to do this. FAA Knowledge Tests are valid for two years after you take them. Most pilots buy FAA Knowledge Test Study Guides from a local or online pilot shop. You will need to take the Private Pilot Airplane, Instrument Airplane, Commercial Pilot Airplane, and Airline Transport Pilot Multi Engine Airplane Knowledge Tests. In order to take the ATP Multi Engine (ATM) Knowledge Test, you’ll have to comply with FAR 61.156. There are several providers for this. Any current Certified Flight Instructor can sign you off for your Knowledge Tests. The FAA website contains a list of current Knowledge Testing Centers.

It will likely work best if you prepare to take your Private and Commercial knowledge tests at the about the same time. The aerodynamics, airspace, and performance sections are basically the same. The only difference is the FARs governing Private vs. Commercial Pilots. After completing those, you can then take your Instrument Airplane and ATM tests. They also are similar, though not as close as the others.


The flying time you have previously flown still counts for your ratings and is not lost with a revocation. You will not have to fly 40 hrs. to get your Private Pilot License. You will have to prove you have the flying time required for each license or rating. To do that, you’ll need to bring ALL of your logbooks. If you can’t find all of them, call your FAA Designated Examiner and discuss alternate means. Many professional pilots haven’t been keeping their logbooks current, but they need to be as current as possible so you have an accurate flight time record to date. Your flight training and each check ride will be recorded in your current logbook, not a brand new one you bought just for this occasion.

Flight Training

FARs require you to fly a minimum of three hours in preparation for each check ride/ Practical Test, more if needed to become proficient in all maneuvers. To do Private, Instrument, and Commercial Single Engine will require nine hours of flight training. Each check ride takes about 1.5 hrs flight time, so the minimum Single Engine aircraft rental time will be 13.5 hours. With a fairly current student, no aircraft issues, and perfect weather, a CFI could potentially prepare you in about four days for those three check rides. It is always prudent to allow more time for contingencies such as weather, airplane problems, or if you’re not as current as you think. In the winter time in northern climates, weather will become an issue. To prepare for the Multi Engine Rating, that will be another three hours of training, and check ride. Check with your HIMS Chair/ Union/ Company Training Dept. to verify if you’ll be required to have an ATP or just Commercial Multi Engine for your return to your company. Any FBO/ Flight School and any FAA Airplane Designated Examiner can help you complete this process. Most have never had exposure to a pilot with revoked certificates or a Special Issuance Medical, so it is best to communicate beforehand regarding your situation. There are a few across the county who’ve helped several of our pilots after revocations and can streamline the process.

If your CFI was expired at the time of your revocation, it likely was not revoked. Should that be the case, it would only require one check ride (no written tests) to reinstate all your CFI ratings. Should you be interested, this might be a good time since you’ll be proficient again and it will likely not take much more to regain instructing proficiency.

Check rides

You can not make application for your new Airman Certificates until your revocation period is over. Your revocation letter specifically states when that date is. The FAA says an Examiner can do no more than two check rides a day, so you could potentially do Private and Instrument check rides the first day, Commercial and Multi Engine the next.

Must Do

  • Find logbooks, get them up to date, and bring all with you.
  • Find date and number of your last Pilot Certificate. Make a copy before you send them to the FAA. If you don’t know the number and date, call FAA Airman Records 405-954-3205 and they can provide that information.
  • Obtain current Sectional, Low Altitude, and Approach Charts before starting training.
  • Bring Passport or other proof of citizenship. If you are not a U.S. Citizen, you need to receive permission from the TSA before beginning flight training. This permission is valid for a year.