Sport-Pilot Training

Sport-Pilot Training

So let's go over the new rules. Sport pilots need the following training:

  • A minimum of 20 hours flight time including 15 hours with a certified instructor and 5 hours solo (by yourself)
  • Two hours of cross-country flying (more than 75 nautical miles)
  • Pass the FAA knowledge test (30 questions requiring a 70 percent or better score)
  • Three hours of training in preparation for the FAA practical test (called the checkride)
  • Pass the FAA practical test
  • Present a valid automobile driver's license or a third-class FAA medical certificate as proof of medical health
Wing Tips

Some folks think the most important new rule is the medical requirement for sport-pilot certificates. Private-pilot and higher certificates require an FAA medical examination and sign-off, intentionally restrictive to make sure airline pilots are in top condition. In most cases, the medical requirement for the new sport-pilot certificate is simply your valid driver's license. If you can drive, you can fly. The exception is for pilots whose third-class medical certificate has been denied, suspended, or revoked. In these cases the FAA requires reapplication for a new medical certificate.

 With the certificate, the sport pilot can ...

  • Fly in non-radio-controlled U.S. airspace and certain radio-controlled airspace (with training and endorsement).
  • Fly up to 10,000 feet above mean sea level (MSL).
  • Fly with visual reference to the surface under visual flight rules (VFR), daytime only.
  • Fly an aircraft that meets the following LSA guidelines:
  • Single-engine (non-turbine) aircraft with fixed (not retractable) landing gear
  • Two occupants, including the pilot
  • 1,320 lbs. maximum gross weight (including the plane, passengers, luggage, fuel, etc.)
  • Maximum airspeed of 120 nautical miles (about 138 miles) an hour
  • Maximum stall speed of 45 knots (51 miles an hour)
  • Have fun!
Flying Words

A stall occurs when wings lose some or all of their ability to lift the aircraft due to the wing angle. A knot is one nautical mile (6,076.12 feet) per hour, about 15 percent longer than a standard or statute mile. To convert knots into miles per hour, multiply by 1.15. To convert miles per hour into knots, multiply by .869.