There are several physical documents required to be in the aircraft with the pilot:
–Pilot Certificate. The FAA standardized several years ago with a hard plastic version, which I have. There is a regulation for that – (14 CFR 61.19(g)). In the past, I had a paper certificate (which I laminated), but that doesn’t count anymore.
–Government Issued Photo ID. I think this is a new requirement, as I don’t remember that. Something like a Driver’s License. There is a regulation for that – (14 CFR 61.3)
–Medical Certificate. In general, the duration changes after age 40. In the past, I would get a second class medical (required for commercial pilots), which would auto-downgrade to a third class (required for private pilots). A non-commercial Private Pilot only needs a third class. I will cover medical in a separate blog post because now there’s something called BasicMed. My understanding is that a Private Pilot over 40 would have a medical for two years. The regulation is within – (14 CFR 61.23)
–Biennial Flight Review. Every 24 months, I need to have a BFR in order to fly. A Private Pilot certificate does not expire, and the BFR is how it’s regulated. The regulation is within – (14 CFR 61.56) and the requirement is a logbook signoff and CFI signature. This signoff is what needs to be in the aircraft with you. In my case, right now, my BFR process will probably be much more intensive than if I had been flying consistently. In general, it involves ground instruction and airwork with a Certificated Flight Instructor. You can also do a BFR in any Make/Model of aircraft, even if it’s not one you typically fly. For example, I typically flew Cessnas, and did a BFR in a Katana. But… the place you rent from may want currency from a CFI in the “other aircraft” – the Cessna.
–90-day Landing Currency. This is the last portion of a signoff that would need to be in your logbook and with you in the aircraft. In general, you’re avoiding being ramp checked in a remote airport from home, where you have to prove everthing. The regulation is – (14 CFR 61.57). For day currency, it’s three takeoffs and three landings within 90-days. I suppose that’s where touch-and-goes come in handy. For night currency (which is defined as one hour after sunset to one hour before sunrise) it’s also three takeoffs and three landings — but you need to do a full stop for each one. Of course, seeing as I’m current a Private Pilot, I get to keep track of these takeoffs and landings myself in the logbook. Ideally use the same pen – I remember that suggestion for some reason.