As some of you may know, 14 C.F.R. 61.73 permits military, and former military, pilots to apply for certain FAA certificates and ratings based upon their military experience. The regulation lists the requirements that must be met for the FAA to issue a certificate or rating.
Recently an airman asked whether Section 61.73 can be used more than once. The airman had apparently been issued FAA certificates/ratings using Section 61.73. But the FAA later revoked the airman’s certificates for FAR violations unrelated to the airman’s military experience.
In that situation, the airman was wondering whether he could again use Section 61.73 to have the FAA issue certificates without the airman having to otherwise meet the 14 C.F.R. Part 61 requirements a non-military applicant would have to satisfy. Unfortunately, that is not an option. Here’s why.
How Section 61.73 Works
Generally, a military pilot or former military pilot who has not been removed from flying status for lack of proficiency or because of a disciplinary action involving aircraft operations, may apply on the basis of his or her military pilot qualifications for FAA certificates or ratings. The pilot must satisfy the requirements and submit the necessary documents identified in Section 61.73 for the particular certificate or rating. If the requirements are met and the appropriate documentation is submitted, the FAA will issue a corresponding FAA certificate or rating.
What Happens If The FAA Later Suspends or Revokes the Certificate/Rating ?
After the FAA certificate/rating is issued, the FAA will not reissue that same certificate/rating based upon the airman’s military experience if that certificate/rating is later suspended or revoked. Although Section 61.73 doesn’t say this directly, it is possible the FAA relies on Section 61.73(a)’s language precluding its use when the airman “has been removed from flying status for lack of proficiency or because of a disciplinary action involving aircraft operations.” But that language appears to be in connection with the airman’s military pilot experience.
However, even though the Section 61.73 isn’t clear, the FAA does provide some guidance to its inspectors. Volume 5, Chapter 2, Section 15 of FAA Order 8900.1 specifically states that “a person whose FAA airman certificate has been revoked, suspended, or surrendered shall not be eligible to have that certificate reissued under § 61.73.” And although Order 8900.1 isn’t a regulation, FAA inspectors are required to follow its guidance.
But what does “that certificate” mean? The certificate that was revoked, suspended, or surrendered, or a “new certificate” based upon a new application? Well, according to a letter issued by the FAA’s General Aviation and Commercial Services within Flight Standards, an airman whose certificate was revoked may reapply for a “new certificate” under § 61.73 once the airman is again eligible to reapply.
If you are a military pilot, or former military pilot, you have the opportunity to apply for FAA certificates or ratings provided that you meet the requirements of Section 61.73. Once you receive an FAA certificate or rating using this method, you will also be able to use Section 61.73 to reapply if that certificate or rating is later suspended or revoked.