A Gold Seal on a Certified Flight Instructor’s (CFI) certificate indicates that they have a high level of personal qualifications and good records as an active CFI. There are also plenty of great instructors without a Gold Seal, either because they never applied for one or simply don’t have enough students taking check rides within the specified time period. No special privileges come with this added seal, but it does renew your CFI certificate for an additional two years when obtained.
The Flight Standards Information Management System (FSIMS)
is a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) order (8900.1) that “directs the activities of aviation safety inspectors (ASI) responsible for the certification, technical administration, and surveillance of air carriers, certain other air operators conducting operations in accordance with the appropriate part of Title 14 of the Code of Federal Regulations (14 CFR), certificated airmen, and other aviation activities.”1
Volume 5, Chapter 2, Section 13 of this order is titled “Issue a Gold Seal Flight Instructor Certificate.”2 First, let’s look at the requirements for instructors seeking a Gold Seal added to their flight instructor certificate.
According to the order, an acceptable applicant:
- Holds a Flight Instructor Certificate and, at least, a Commercial Pilot Certificate with an instrument rating or an ATP Certificate (unrestricted or restricted) with instrument privileges. Glider flight instructors need not hold an instrument rating;
- Holds a Ground Instructor Certificate with an advanced or instrument ground instructor rating; and
- Within the past 24 months has accomplished one of the following:
- Trained and recommended at least 10 applicants for certificates or ratings, and at least 80 percent of these applicants must have passed the flight test on their first attempt;
- Conducted at least 20 practical tests as a Designated Pilot Examiner (DPE) or 20 graduation tests as chief flight instructor for an approved pilot school course; or
- A combination of the above two (two practical tests equal one trained and recommended applicant).
If you meet these requirements, you should fill out FAA Form 8710-1 on the Integrated Airmen Certification and Rating Application (IACRA), selecting the addition of a Gold Seal. Then, call your local Flight Standards District Office (FSDO) and setup an appointment with an Aviation Safety Inspector (ASI) or Aviation Safety Technician (AST).
According to the same order, you’ll need to bring the following documents with you:
- Form 8710-1 for Gold Seal Certificate;
- Acceptable Form of Identification;
- Flight Instructor Certificate;
- Ground Instructor Certificate;
- Commercial Pilot Certificate with an instrument rating or an Airline Transport Pilot Certificate (ATPC) (unrestricted or restricted); and
- Reliable record of flight instruction.
That last part is important: “reliable record of flight instruction.” Besides the basic required information you are supposed to record as a flight instructor as shown in my previous article, Flight Instructor Record Keeping, make it easy for the ASI/AST and have each student’s FAA Tracking Number (FTN) included in the record, as well as a simple format displaying the date of the practical they took, what rating it was for, it’s outcome, and the name of the DPE. Having this info readily available will make the verification of your eligibility quick and painless, resulting in just a few minutes in and out to get your temporary Gold Seal certificate issued.
That’s it! Welcome to the club.
- Federal Aviation Administration. (November 21, 2016). Order 8900.1, Volume 1, Chapter 1, Section 1: General Handbook Information. Retrieved December 6, 2016 from http://fsims.faa.gov/PICDetail.aspx?docId=8900.1,Vol.1,Ch1,Sec1
- Federal Aviation Administration. (July 24, 2013). Order 8900.1, Volume 5, Chapter 2, Section 13. Issue a Gold Seal Flight Instructor Certificate. Retrieved December 6, 2016 from http://fsims.faa.gov/PICDetail.aspx?docId=8900.1,Vol.5,Ch2,Sec13