Don't pass up the opportunity for a local check out. It perhaps need only be a ground briefing about local information and a couple of circuits if your skills are fresh. You will always learn something during a check out. The notion that you resist a few circuits with an instructor in a new environment, different plane, or after a while away from flying will make the aircraft provider think even more that you should have one. Though some states are quiet, some have really busy airspace, and local traffic patterns best learned in the company of a local pilot.
That is about all I can tell you at this point.
There is another route that I mistakenly followed for a while till I figured it out. It is a "Conversion" to an FAA license. Don't go there (unless that is what you want) It requires a medical and I think flight test. Being able to rent in the USA just requires paperwork and a meeting with FAA. I think that is what PilotDAR is talking about too. Same as me.
I can report back after my meeting.
What you're after is a certificate based on a foreign licence (section 61.75).
Send them the form and copies of all the things mentioned on the form (I e-mailed them). Wait a few months for the verification letter to arrive in the mail (took about a month for me). Then visit their office with the verification letter (valid for 6 months I think, so don't sit on it), your original documents, ID, logbook, etc. (arrange with their office ahead of time so they know what you're looking for - the section 61.75 application). You should get your certificate in a few weeks.
1. Have your night rating done or you will get a certificate restricted to day only. The US certificate by default includes night.
2. If you have an instrument rating, you can go do a written test and get it included too.
Once you have the certificate, you'll need to do a BFR before you can fly a US aircraft.
You'll need a flight review (new name for the BFR). You can likely combine that with a check on type. Bring your logbook, they'll give you a sticker.
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flight reviews, IPCs, checkouts, etc, are exempt from the TSA requirements. You only need it for initial training on aircraft over 12,500 lbs (theres exemptions at most providers for under 12501 lbs) and for training towards a new certificate or rating. there's even an exemption for recurrent training on large aircraft.
I thought I should get back and update this. As mentioned earlier, I was in the process when this thread was started. After applying, I received a letter stating I had to visit the office that I had requested (Minneapolis FAA) before July 31 to have the interview to obtain the license. I ended up in Minneapolis on short notice, for other reasons (sick dog) so had not made an appointment. I contacted the office a day or two before I was to be there and the contact person got back to me and was very accommodating. (The letter I received stated I must make an appointment, iirc, 3 weeks ahead?) She was very nice, we managed to get together and I basically filled out another application like I had done before, almost like an insurance ...hours flown, etc.. Another fella there reviewed my log book (I think more out of curiosity than anything) but after about an hour, I was done and issued a temporary airman certificate. I have not received the official one in the mail yet. So in the end, it went very well. I think the link I used to get started was the BC one mentioned in an earlier post. It contains a good article on the process too. The staff at the FAA were very pleasant to deal with. I might have gotten a bit of slack because of my situation with my pet, but if you set up the appointment ahead, and are pleasant, the process itself easy.
You will need your log book, Pilot license and passport.
Not sure if I will ever use it but nice to have should my wife and I find ourselves with some time stateside and I have the itch to fly.
Renting a plane on a trip is easy. I have flown in two places in the US and would do it more if I could fund it. Flying in a vacation spot is great fun.
My point? Unless I was going to be doing at least a few seperate flights or one well over two hours, and more often than every two years. I don't think I would bother getting an FAA certificate.
Some of my reasons silly as they are as follows.
If you hold the one not attatched to your Canadian license.
- You need a seperate medical.
- Also you need a bi-annual flight review
- I have someone to help work the radios and make sure we are in in the right spot for local calls and check points.
- I can just relax and look around while flying. I'm on vacation, I want to get to looking at the area not demonstrating maneuvers.
- In case of something particularly interesting such as whales near Maui, the instructor can take full control, you could even take pictures if you wish.
- Instructor is on the clock. It will get pricey if you are going to fly for five hours and they might not even want to stop for lunch off base.
- Instructor is occupying a seat you might want to use for someone else.
For example. $270 dual $190 solo. (Really loose $ conversion estimates for demonstration purposes)
1.3 renter's check $351. 2.1 solo flight $399. Total $750
2.7 dual $729
To word this another way, if the instructor is $80 per hour the check ride $351/$80 is nearly 4.5 hours worth. I start saving money having done one after 4 hours solo flying, plus I needed to spend time earning my solo flight.
If I'm just going for a quick local flight occasionally it's great fun to just book a plane and instructor for 2 hours and go.
Then again, the renter's check is flying too so, it's all good.
Certainly something to consider.
Good points all around!