A sport pilot certificate is much like an ordinary driver's license.
It allows you to fly an airplane and carry one (1) passenger
and baggage, although not for compensation or hire.
benefit is that a Sport Pilot is not required to have any
Class of FAA Medical Certificate to operate under the Sport
Pilot Privileges. One caveat to this is that an applicant
cannot have ever been denied a medical certificate or had a
medical certificate revoked.
Sport Pilots are also
subject to specific operational limitations and aircraft
requirements. For example one operational limitation is
Sport Pilots are not allowed to operate at NIGHT. In regards
to aircraft, LSA aircraft fall into a very defined
The FAA defines a light-sport
aircraft as an aircraft, other than a helicopter or
powered-lift that, since its original certification, has
continued to meet the following:
- Maximum gross takeoff
weight—1,320 lbs, or 1,430 lbs for seaplanes.
- Maximum stall speed—51 mph (45
- Maximum speed in level flight
with maximum continuous power (Vh)—138 mph (120 knots) CAS
- Single or two-seat aircraft
- Single, reciprocating engine
(if powered), including rotary or diesel engines
- Fixed or ground-adjustable
- Unpressurized cabin
- Fixed landing gear, except for
an aircraft intended for operation on water or a glider
- Can be manufactured and sold
ready-to-fly under a new Special Light-Sport aircraft
certification category. Aircraft must meet industry consensus
standards. Aircraft under this certification may be used for
sport and recreation, flight training, and aircraft rental.
- Can be licensed Experimental
Light-Sport Aircraft (E-LSA) if kit- or plans-built. Aircraft
under this certification may be used only for sport and
recreation and flight instruction for the owner of the
- Can be licensed Experimental
Light-Sport Aircraft (E-LSA) if the aircraft has previously
been operated as an ultralight but does not meet the FAR Part
103 definition of an ultralight vehicle. These aircraft must
be transitioned to E-LSA category no later than January 31,
- Will have FAA
- Aircraft category and class
includes: Airplane (Land/Sea), Gyroplane, Airship, Balloon,
Weight-Shift-Control ("Trike" Land/Sea), Glider, and Powered
- U.S. or foreign manufacture of
light-sport aircraft is authorized.
- Aircraft with a standard
airworthiness certificate that meet above specifications may
be flown by sport pilots. However, the aircraft must remain in
standard category and cannot be changed to light-sport
aircraft category. Holders of a sport pilot certificate may
fly an aircraft with a standard airworthiness certificate if
it meets the definition of a light-sport aircraft.
- May be operated at night if
the aircraft is equipped per FAR 91.205, if such operations
are allowed by the aircraft's operating limitations and the
pilot holds at least a Private Pilot certificate and a minimum
of a third-class medical.
aviation regulations require a
20 hours of flight time to be eligible for the sport pilot
certificate. This consists of dual and solo flight time.
"Dual" implies that an instructor is on board the aircraft
with the student, while "solo" implies that the student be
the sole occupant of the plane.
instructor teaches the student all necessary fundamentals
and maneuvers prior to solo. During solo flight, the student
practices what has been taught up to that point in training.
After soloing in the local area for several flights, the
instructor teaches cross-country flying techniques. The
student then performs solo cross-country flights for a
minimum of 5 hours. (Usually 3 different trips on 3
WRITTEN TEST REQUIREMENTS AND TRAINING
The FAA written test consists of 40 multiple-choice questions
selected from the FAA Sport Pilot Question Database. You must
obtain a score of 70% or better on the written test.
The Written Test Prep Course, offered by GLEIM
Aviation Books and various other aviation publication sources,
provides the basic aeronautical knowledge essential to sport pilots. The course is designed to complement flight training and
to assist the student in preparing for the FAA written
FLIGHT TEST REQUIREMENTS
At the completion of training, the student is required to
pass a flight test given by an FAA designated flight examiner.
This test consists of a ground oral examination and a flight of
approximately 1 to 1 ½ hours. There is an examiner’s fee of
approximately $300.00 for the flight test that is paid directly
to the examiner.
TIME TO OBTAIN YOUR PILOT CERTIFICATE
Although the FAA minimum requirement is 20 hours of
flight instruction, an individual pilot may need a few more
hours to be ready. The final
cost to obtain for your Sport Pilot Certificate will vary
according to the student's individual skill and the aircraft
used in training. It is in the student's best interest to study
diligently and to schedule lessons as frequently as possible to
The total process usually takes several months and a good
deal of your time due to commuting, ground
instruction, aircraft preflight, bad weather, airplane
express your interest in Sport Pilot training