I am 83 years old and it has been over forty years since I piloted an aircraft and would like to go back to flying again. I hold a single engine rating and had flown several hundred hours, but my log book is long gone. Much of my time was ferrying new Cessnas from Kansas to Houston for a dealer. Other than a physical and a checkride what would I realistically need to resume flying again without endangering myself or others?

  • $\begingroup$ Hi J W Clampitte, welcome to the forum. Just FYI, our group insurance is limited to pilots under 80 years of age. I think the premiums go up steeply for older flyers, you might want to check that $\endgroup$ Jan 15, 2019 at 10:45

2 Answers 2


Much has changed in 40 years, including airspace designations, ATC communications, and new regs. If I were you I would take an online Private Pilot Ground School to learn about all the new changes. These courses are not too expensive and it well worth the money.

The AOPA does have a Rusty Pilot Seminar as well (link).

Also it might be worthwhile just to sit in the passenger seat of a plane for a while to re-familiarize yourself with how it all works.

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    $\begingroup$ Thanks, I have ridden along a couple of times with a friend and that is what stirred up my curosity to fly again. Health is good and I will take you advice. My flying was mostly VFR with a little ADF thrown in. $\endgroup$ Jan 14, 2019 at 19:16
  • $\begingroup$ ADF, those are disappearing fast. Moving map GPS is what most things are transitioning too. Get a nice iPAD with Foreflight software, GPS receiver, something new to play with. $\endgroup$
    – CrossRoads
    Jan 14, 2019 at 19:32
  • $\begingroup$ Does Foreflight run on other tablets? foreflight.com I don't believe it does. IPad with cell-phone is suggested (don't need a phone account, just need the cell-phone for the GPS) foreflight.com/support/buying-guide $\endgroup$
    – CrossRoads
    Jan 15, 2019 at 12:52
  • $\begingroup$ @CrossRoads: No, it doesn't, unfortunately. $\endgroup$ Jan 15, 2019 at 19:12
  • $\begingroup$ Do you even need the cell-phone if you have an LTE-enabled iPad? They have GPS hardware. $\endgroup$
    – T.J.L.
    Mar 21, 2019 at 20:48

Certificate, Medical and Flight Review

FAR Part 61 explains what is needed to exercise the privileges of your pilot certificate. For this answer, I will assume that you are certificated as a private pilot.

Certificate: Your certificate does not expire, so, presuming you are still in the FAA database, you should be able to pay a small fee to have a duplicate sent to you, if necessary.

Medical: Here you have some options. As a private pilot you may now operate under sport-pilot regulations (day-VFR, restrictions on aircraft seats, weight and stall speed). The basic med rules are still less restrictive, and of course you may still obtain a third class medical for full privileges. If you think you may have trouble with a third-class medical, it would be good to research your options before scheduling an examination.

Flight Review: Finally, you must have a CFI endorse your competence with a flight review. This is normally a two-hour affair, one in the air and one on the ground, but in your case, as others have said, you may want to study and perhaps take several refresher flight lessons.

  • $\begingroup$ If you're still in the system, you can request a duplicate certificate here faa.gov/licenses_certificates/airmen_certification/… $\endgroup$
    – CrossRoads
    Jan 16, 2019 at 13:58
  • $\begingroup$ You may be able to get a Basic Med certificate vs Class III medical. More info here faa.gov/licenses_certificates/airmen_certification/basic_med and faa.gov/documentLibrary/media/Form/FAA_Form_8700-2.pdf $\endgroup$
    – CrossRoads
    Jan 16, 2019 at 14:02
  • $\begingroup$ @CrossRoads Can't get BasicMed if you haven't had a 3rd class since before 7-14-2006. Have to get a 3rd class first $\endgroup$
    – TomMcW
    Jan 16, 2019 at 22:12
  • $\begingroup$ Thanks. I had taken ~12 years off, and then just a Class III without knowing the Basic Med existed. Also found out about the new plastic licences too, missed those coming out a few years back, $\endgroup$
    – CrossRoads
    Jan 17, 2019 at 2:48
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    $\begingroup$ also, if you lost your log book, you may need to get re-endorsed for complex/high performance, etc. Convince a CFI that you still know how to do that, and have them endorse your logbook $\endgroup$ Mar 21, 2019 at 22:44

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