Online Now, The New Web-Savvy FAA...

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The FAA Giveth Replacement Airman Certificates...

In the past, getting a replacement certificate meant being grounded four to six weeks while awaiting the official paperwork in the mail. (The Feds remind us that it is illegal to fly without an airman certificate.) But if you're one of those unlucky sods who washed your airman certificate along with your last pair of jeans and now need a temporary replacement, rejoice! The agency has now set up an online service to send you a temporary certificate via fax or e-mail in hours or days instead of weeks or months. In addition, you can also request a permanent certificate and pay the whopping $2 fee for it online. FAA spokesman Roland Herwig tells AVweb that the agency typically processes about 50,000 applications for replacement certificates each year. However, in the last 10 or so months that has spiked to about 100,000 because pilots want the cool new laminated certificate with hologram introduced last year at Oshkosh. If pilots have a readable airman certificate but want the attractive new one, what should they do? "Just wait," says Herwig. "We're pretty swamped right now." He jokingly adds, "But I understand that none of the pilots sitting around the hangar talking want to be the last to get the new certificate." In addition to requesting a replacement certificate, pilots can also use the new online service to renew reserved "N" numbers, request copies of aircraft records, change addresses and report a change in gender. No, we are not kidding.