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Sport Pilot Training - Three Main AdvantagesIs a Sport Pilot License In Your Future?
By Kyle Garrett
The Light Sport category is the fastest growing category of aircraft and pilots in the United States. It is a recent development intended to reduce training costs, training time, and regulations. Light Sport is a perfect match for you if you're looking to fly alone or with one other person on leisure flights. Due to the nature of the category, there are several notable benefits to Light Sport Training including: less cost for license, no required medical exam, and less-costly, technologically-advanced aircraft..
Light Sport License Costs Less
Light sport licenses are seemingly designed with cost in mind. The minimum required flight time for a Light Sport license, is 20 hours. That is half the time required for a private pilot. Why are there less requirements? Light Sport pilots are limited to day flying under visual flight rules. In other words, you must be back on the ground by sunset and no flying in bad weather. Also, Light Sport pilots are only allowed to carry one passenger. This means that the aircraft are typically smaller and very efficient.
Medical Examinations Not Required
Another of the benefits of Light Sport training is that if you have a driver's license, you don't have to undergo a medical exam. While this might not represent much of a cost savings over the course of your training, since medical certificates are good for so long, but it does mean fewer regulatory hoops for you to jump through. This can be a great benefit if you're concerned about the medical exam or the accompanying forms. Either way this saves some time and money and gets you in the air.
Aircraft Less Costly and More Advanced
Perhaps the greatest benefit, or at least the most fun, is the aircraft are typically less costly and are usually more technologically-advanced. You can buy a new Light Sport Aircraft for less than a third of heavier entry-level planes like the Cessna 172 or Piper Warrior. In fact, both Cessna and Piper offer Light Sport Aircraft that are well liked among Light Sport pilots. This type of aircraft is rapidly changing, but they often share many characteristics such as fuel-efficiency, glass cockpits, and they are easy to fly.
Aircraft in this category offer fuel-efficiencies that are roughly twice as good as many general aviation aircraft. Rather than burning nine gallons per flight hour at cruise, you are looking at between four and five gallons per hour at cruise. Since fuel costs make up a significant part of flying costs, whether you are buying or renting an aircraft, you will be able to fly for less.
Most new Light Sport Aircraft feature glass cockpits, which is a growing trend in general aviation. Flying with a glass cockpit offers a more centralized and efficient display of the primary flight instruments. The displays show the same information as the standard round gauges of old, but they do it on one central display rather than multiple gauges scattered around the cockpit. Glass cockpits are the new standard and Light Sport Aircraft are an easy, affordable point of entry.
A final perk is that Light Sport Aircraft are usually light and easy to fly. They offer quick response to your control inputs and they don't feel heavy or sluggish thanks to their light and efficient designs. With that combination, you can't really go wrong. The ease of handling will enhance your learning in early stages of training, and enhance your enjoyment of every flight.
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