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47 CFR 87.87 requires the captain of a US registered aircraft to have their Restricted Radiotelephone Operator Permit (RP) unless it is a domestic flight.

How do you go about getting one? I used the FCC's website a long time ago and remember that it is terribly confusing. A great answer would include step-by-step directions for those that haven't had to do it yet!

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You have to use the remarkably obtuse FCC Universal Licensing System if you want to request a license online. You'll specifically need FCC Form 605, the apparently very-accurately-named "Quick-Form Application for Authorization in the Ship, Aircraft, Amateur, Restricted and Commercial Operator, and General Mobile Radio Services".

From there, you're on your own, I'm afraid. I applied for mine years ago and it looked identical.


Do note that this is essentially a fee on operators who fly internationally, as there's no exam to complete and no proof of eligibility to provide. You simply request the license and pay the application costs. It's a bit silly.

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  • $\begingroup$ Believe it or not this process was more obtuse before the ULS. They really are trying to make things less terrible. (I won't say they're succeeding, but they are trying...) $\endgroup$ – voretaq7 Jan 6 '14 at 8:01
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    $\begingroup$ It seems silliness tends to persist. I got mine in 1969 but have never been asked to show it. $\endgroup$ – Terry Jan 11 '15 at 3:49
  • $\begingroup$ International law requires licensing of all radio stations and operators. The FCC has shortcut that within US territory by licensing all US aircraft and pilots "by rule", but if you want to fly outside the US, the FCC needs to issue you a real license like other countries do, and they charge a tiny fee to cover their costs. The FCC's only blame in this is their hideous web site. $\endgroup$ – StephenS May 1 at 23:10

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