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Pilot license checks

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I'm not a pilot but I always wondered how and where do they check pilots for the license? Especially private pilots. Does it happen when landing at international airports? Do you need a license to fly around your private airfield?

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Normally not done until you do something wrong. Think of it like driving your car, license not looked at every time you get into your car, but get into an accident everything better be in order.

To rent a plane you will need your card on you.

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Roadblock mate! Check this guy being roadblocked in XP 😉

 

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Hi Folks,

The FAA conducts what they call "Ramp Checks" (random spot checks) in 15 years or so of flying - I've never seen one or had anyone ask to see my pilot's license... I've seen them chatted about with some fear and trepidation - but - my ducks are always in a row - so I wouldn't be very concerned about it... I guess they do have power and could theoretically ground you for the most miniscule of infraction...

Regards,
Scott

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In EASA land there are "SAFA" (Safety Assessment of Foreign Aircraft - for non-EU carriers) and "SACA" (Safety Assessment of Community Aircraft -- for EU carriers) inspectors who carry out spot ramp inspections. Not particularly uncommon, I gather, and as I understand they check (or try to check, depending on the time available) absolutely everything -- from crew documentation to procedures, the aircraft library and manuals, aircraft certification, maintenance records, safety equipment etc etc etc.

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For the airlines, the FAA will do random line checks, both for the pilots and attendants. They have inspectors for both groups. They will show up and sit in your jumpseat for a flight. They check all your papers, etc., and observe the flight from the js. Inspectors are assigned to each airline, though they dont necessarily have to be assigned to your airline to do a check, the ones that are will know your procedures and be typed in the plane as well. I will usually get one 1-2 times a year.

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Posted (edited)

As the other Scott mentioned, in the US we have the concept of ramp checks, where the FAA may show up and randomly check for the pilot's certificate (they're not actually referred to as a license, bur rather a certificate), valid medical and logbook (to show currency), as well as aircraft airworthiness certificate and logbooks.  These are not common, but do happen.

Otherwise, you'll need your documents if you have have any sort of enforcement action or otherwise mess up - the dreaded "please call the tower", after landing - or if there's some sort of accident.

If you own a plane, you'll likely need to provide documents to the insurance company in order to get insurance, including information on things like time-in-type, flight hours in the last year and so on.  Upon presenting these, the insurer may also require additional training and the CFI who provides that training will need to see your docs.  Similarly as a renter, the renting agent will want to see your paperwork as well and if you're just starting out with that organization will likely also require a checkout flight as above.

While it's certainly possible to get in the air without proper certification, medical or currency, you'd risk a lot do so, including some pretty hefty uninsured liability,

Scott

 

Edited by tttocs

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6 hours ago, scottb613 said:

The FAA conducts what they call "Ramp Checks" (random spot checks) in 15 years or so of flying - I've never seen one or had anyone ask to see my pilot's license... I've seen them chatted about with some fear and trepidation 

When I was about 16 or 17, I had just gotten signed off for solo flight and got checked one time at KAPV (Apple Valley, Ca). 

I had just landed after an hours flight in the desert working on maneuvers. I taxied in and shut down and was approached by a man I’d never seen. He identified himself, asked for my medical and the planes paperwork, of which I was able to locate and produce.

It wasn’t too big a deal since I had what was required and my instructor had already briefed me on what to do if I was ever checked. 

Never been ramp checked since however.

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Same in Australia. We are required to carry our "license" and medical at all times. Aircraft certification isn't required unless on an international flight. Never been ramp checked myself, but always make sure that documentation is in order (weight & balance, flight plans, maps/charts, flight manual etc)

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Years ago I remember an occasion where I was called up by Crewing on my  day off after a long trip and asked if I could possibly position an empty aircraft for them. Being the helpful sort of chap that I am I agreed to help out but mentioned that I’d just got back from a trip and hadn’t done any washing yet so didn’t have any uniform to wear. I said if they were happy for me to operate in what I was wearing now then I’d do them the favour and fly the plane for them.

As it happened the uk CAA decided to board the aircraft and carry out a ramp check just as we were in the cabin about to leave.They asked to see my first officers licence and started grilling  him  with all sorts of  technical questions about the operation , me however, they completely blanked and didn’t even acknowledge my existence, which suited me completely,I was quite happy to be ignored.

I must have been about 33 at the time, unshaven, wearing a pair of trainers , jeans and a T-shirt and obviously looking nothing  like the  747-400 captain that I actually was!

Who they actually thought I was ,hanging around with the first officer ,and why they seemed satisfied that the jet appeared to have only one pilot I’ll never know, but they seemed happy and left.

Im sure there’s a moral in there somewhere!

Jon

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1 hour ago, jon b said:

I must have been about 33 at the time, unshaven, wearing a pair of trainers , jeans and a T-shirt and obviously looking nothing  like the  747-400 captain that I actually was!

Being a freighter guy I see all types of dress.  I see the crews who dress like their passenger counter parts and I see the other extreme where the crew is wearing jeans, wife beaters, ropers, a leather jacket and a baseball cap.  It's an interesting world out there especially in the deep nights of the freighter world. 🙂

 

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I went to school in Toronto and I've only ever been checked when renting aircraft, same as what others have already said. I've never seen a spot check.

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One time when I was doing the auto freight phase of my career I was napping on a couch about 2AM and awoken by a FSDO inspector and he wanted to check everything from dispatch paperwork, aircraft log to fire extinguisher date tags. Twice in the corporate world but just a licence and medical check and asked if part 91 or 135 operation, and also by a customs and immigration inspector.That guy was notorious in the Boston area, I had seen him grill a crew about customs paper work once before and sure as heck about a year later we got the same guy and he was very thorough including a request to see license and a current medical certificates.

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I've never been checked although when renting an aircraft I always had to produce my FAA Certificate, a current FAA Medical Certificate (which I can't get anymore), and my log book with the date of my last biennial check ride (that isn't current anymore).

However that didn't actually stop me from flying it just got more expensive.  When I was weaning myself off of flying and got the urge I'd go down to the local FBO and rent a C-172 and an instructor to fly with me for an hour.  Never cross-country.  I always asked for biennial check and had him/her sign off on my log book.  

Noel

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