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FAA wants photos on pilot certificates

The US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has announced proposals for all pilot certificates to include photos of the certificate holder.

This action follows another requirement that the certificates themselves be made of plastic and contain security features, such as a hologram and an ultraviolet-sensitive layer, to prevent tampering, altering and counterfeiting.

“The Department of Transportation is committed to keeping the travelling public safe,” said Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood. “This is an important safeguard to help make sure individuals can’t pose as pilots, whatever their intentions.”

Under the new proposal, pilots would obtain new certificates on which their photograph would appear with a proposed expiration date of eight years. At the end of that time period, pilots would need to update their photo and obtain a new certificate.

“Our current certificates are plastic and tamper-resistant, but this proposal will make them even more secure,” emphasised FAA Administrator Randy Babbitt.

If the proposal goes through, existing pilots with a current commercial pilot certificate would have four years to comply, while a pilot with an airline transport pilot rating would have three years to obtain a new certificate with a photo. Existing private, recreational or sport pilot certificate holders would have five years to comply with the new requirement.

Under the proposal, the cost of the new pilot certificate would be $22. That amount is comparable to US drivers’ licence fees in many states and would have to be renewed every eight years.

The comment period for the proposed rule ends 17 February 2011.

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