(a) A temporary remote pilot certificate with a small UAS rating is issued for up to 120 calendar days, at which time a permanent certificate will be issued to a person whom the Administrator finds qualified under this part.
(b) A temporary remote pilot certificate with a small UAS rating expires:
(1) On the expiration date shown on the certificate;
(2) Upon receipt of the permanent certificate; or
(3) Upon receipt of a notice that the certificate sought is denied or revoked.
My Commentary on Section 107.64 Temporary certificate.
If you want to obtain a temporary certificate immediately, the Part 61 certificated pilot with a flight review should go to an FAA aviation safety inspector, a designated pilot examiner, or an airmen certification representative who has the ability to receiving the 8710-13 form and ALSO issue a temporary certificate right there.
When the applicant uses this online option, the application will be transmitted electronically from the applicant to the Airman Registry. The only electronic signature that will be reflected on the IACRA application will be the applicant’s. The applicant will then receive a confirmation email once his or her application has completed the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) vetting process. The email will provide information that will allow the applicant to log into the IACRA system and print a copy of the temporary certificate.
A CFI is not authorized to issue a temporary certificate. They can process applications for applicants who do not need a temporary certificate. If using IACRA and the applicant is utilizing a CFI as the FAA representative, the applicant can print their own temporary airman certificate after receiving an email from the FAA notifying them that it is available. If using the paper method and the applicant is utilizing a CFI as the FAA representative, the applicant will not be issued a temporary airman certificate. Once the FSDO has signed and approved the application, it will be mailed to the Registry for the issuance of the permanent certificate.
Several commenters, including the Electronic Frontier Foundation, Washington Aviation Group, and Event 38 Unmanned Systems, opposed the requirement for small UAS operator applicants to undergo a TSA background check prior to receiving their operator certificate. Many of these commenters pointed out that it is highly unlikely that an individual who poses a threat to national security would seek to obtain an airman certificate and go through the TSA vetting process.
Several commenters argued that pre-screening applicants is extremely burdensome for entrepreneurs and small businesses, and creates a barrier to market entry. Some commenters argued that 49 U.S.C. 46111 does not require the FAA to wait until hearing back from TSA prior to granting the certificate, or that it does not confer the authority to pre-screen applicants for an airmen certificate. One commenter suggested that the knowledge testing centers be able to issue temporary certificates upon passing the knowledge test, which could be revoked if the TSA vetting process indicated that the individual should not be issued a remote pilot certificate.
As discussed previously, 49 U.S.C. 44903(j)(2)(D)(i) is unambiguous and states that the vetting must be completed before the FAA may issue an airman certificate. Given the relatively short time the vetting takes for the overwhelming majority of applicants, it is difficult to identify a burden that is not outweighed by the clear benefit of ensuring that certificate holders do not pose a threat to national or transportation security. Section 44903(j)(2)(D)(i) explicitly states that TSA screening of an individual must take place “before” that individual is certificated by the FAA.
In addition, 49 U.S.C. 44903(j)(2)(D) and 46111 vest the authority for vetting with TSA. Specifically, section 46111(a) states that “[t]he Administrator of Federal Aviation Administration shall issue an order amending, modifying, suspending, or revoking any part of a certificate issued under this title if the Administrator is notified by the Under Secretary for Border and Transportation Security of the Department of Homeland Security that the holder of the certificate poses, or is suspected of posing, a risk of air piracy or terrorism or a threat to airline or passenger safety.” (Emphasis added). Thus, under § 46111, the FAA’s role in the vetting process is ministerial; the FAA acts on findings that have been made by the TSA, but it is TSA that makes the actual security determinations. Because the authority for making the pertinent security determination is vested with TSA, the Department does not have jurisdiction to alter the criteria and requirements of that determination in the manner suggested by the commenters.
The FAA acknowledges, however, the commenters’ concern regarding the estimated 6-to-8-week timeframe associated with processing the certificate application. In response, this rule will allow an applicant who already holds a part 61 pilot certificate to obtain a temporary remote pilot certificate immediately upon FAA receipt of his or her application. The FAA is able to issue a temporary remote pilot certificate to part 61 pilot certificate holders prior to completion of new security vetting because these individuals have already been successfully completed the TSA vetting when they obtained their part 61 pilot certificates.
The FAA will also issue a temporary electronic remote pilot certificate to all other applicants who apply through IACRA upon successful completion of TSA security vetting. The FAA anticipates that, while it may take the FAA 6 to 8 weeks to issue a permanent remote pilot certificate, a temporary remote pilot certificate can be issued in about 10 business days. The temporary remote pilot certificate will allow the certificate holder to exercise all the privileges of the certificate, thus significantly reducing the waiting period prior to being able to operate as a remote pilot in command under part 107.
Just like a temporary pilot certificate issued under part 61, a temporary remote pilot certificate with a small UAS rating will be valid for 120 days after issuance. This will provide sufficient time for the FAA to complete its processing of the certificate application and issue the applicant a permanent remote pilot certificate. The temporary certificate will automatically expire once the applicant receives a permanent remote pilot certificate with a small UAS rating. The temporary certificate will also expire if the FAA discovers an issue with the certificate application and issues the applicant a notice that his or her certificate application is denied or the certificate (if one has already been issued) is revoked.
The FAA defers to TSA on whether current part 61 pilot certificate holders will have to continue to undergo the vetting process in order to receive a non-temporary remote pilot certificate with a small UAS rating. The FAA also notes that applicants who have passed STAs for other federal programs, received background checks, or hold U.S. passports will still need to satisfy TSA’s STA specific to the statute that requires security vetting prior to issuance of an airmen’s certificate (49 USC 44903). The FAA does not have jurisdiction to accept alternative documentation instead of a TSA security finding because, as discussed earlier, 49 U.S.C. 44903(j)(2)(D) and 46111 vest the pertinent jurisdiction in the TSA. In response to DJI, the FAA notes that a complete TSA vetting process is an integral part of the requirements of this rule because it reduces the risk of a person who poses a security threat obtaining an airman certificate under part 107.