Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past several years, you cannot help but hear and read of precautions that individuals should take to help prevent identity theft.  We pilots have another area of potential exposure to identify theft: The FAA Pilot Certificate Number.  From the early 1970s until just a couple of years ago, the FAA would issue a newly certificated pilot a certificate number that was the same as the person’s Social Security Number (SSN).  We are required to carry our pilot licenses while flying which means that they are usually kept in our wallets or purses.  Not only is there exposure from loss or theft, but when you complete an insurance application or pilot history form, you are usually asked to supply your FAA Pilot Certificate number.  These documents are transmitted through the mails, by fax, and sometimes over the Internet.  They are subject to handling by numerous persons and businesses who might not be taking any security measures to safeguard your precious SSN!

If your pilot certificate number is the same as your Social Security Number, you should be aware that you can now request a unique, 7-digit pilot certificate number from the FAA.  Full details and forms for downloading are available on the web at: http://registry.faa.gov/airmen.asp  In addition, this site will allow you to establish an account with the FAA which can be used to update your pilot certificate mailing address online without having to mail anything.  There are lots of other neat features available at this site including airmen searches and forms to request a copy of your pilot certification records.

FAA Pilot Certificate

Certain aircraft registry forms, such as Change of Address and Aircraft Bill of Sale, are available at: http://registry.faa.gov/aircraft.asp  However, if you need to register an aircraft, the use of an original, multi-carbon Aircraft Registration Application, AC Form 8050-1, is required.  Photocopies and computer-generated copies of this form are not acceptable to the FAA.