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Sport Pilot TrainingLearn What It Takes to Succeed
By Kyle Garrett
How would you like to learn to fly in an ultra-modern plane with a glass cockpit for half the money and time of earning a private pilot license in a beat up 30 year old airplane with a "steam gage" cockpit? For many people sport pilot training offers a lower-cost alternative to traditional flight training. However, the sport pilot certificate is not without it's limitations. But if you can live within the sport pilot rules, getting the Federal Aviation Administration's (FAA) newest pilot license may be perfect for you. Read more about sport pilot licenses.
Sport Pilot Training Requirements
Many traditional flight schools are adding sport pilot training, and many more schools are opening up to specialize in both LSA and sport pilot training. Here's the requisite "laundry list" of FAA requirements to earn a sport pilot license:
- You must be at least 17 years old
- Be able to read, speak, write, and understand the English language.
- Log a minimum of 20 total hours of flight time as follows
at least 15 hours of dual instruction with a qualified flight instructor
at least 2 hours of cross country dual instruction
at least 5 hours of solo flight
- Log at least one solo cross-country flight covering a minimum of 75 nautical miles (nm) to two different airports with full-stop landings, and, at least one leg must cover a distance of 25 nm or more.
- Log at least 3 hours of dual instruction in the preceding 60 days
- Pass the Sport Pilot Knowledge Test (written test)
- Pass the Sport Pilot Practical Test (flight test)
- Hold a valid U.S. State driver's license or FAA medical certificate (any class)
Sport Pilot Limitations
Before you head off to your local airport, keep in mind the limitations of the sport pilot certificate. For example, you can only fly one passenger, so if you have the need to fly more people than that, you'll need to earn your private pilot license. Also, sport pilots are limited to a relatively slow max speed of 120 knots, cannot fly in the dark or in bad weather, and cannot go above 10,000 feet unless to clear terrain. Sport pilots cannot earn any additional ratings (like the instrument rating) without first earning a private pilot license, although time logged in your LSA can be counted towards the experience requirements for additional ratings and licenses.
Is Sport Pilot Training Right For You?
The bottom line for aspiring pilots is that sport pilot training is right for you if funds are short, you want to fly modern, glass panel aircraft, and you can live within the sport pilot limits. If you have a health condition which automatically disqualifies you from obtaining an FAA medical, the sport pilot license is literally the only way to go. But if you need more passenger seats, cargo, range, speed, and altitude, please check out the section on becoming a private pilot.
More Sport Pilot Training Info
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- Sport Pilot Aircraft What Makes a Light Sport Aircraft Different?
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- Three Signs You're Getting Quality Sport Pilot Training
- Four Perks Of Learning To Fly LSAs
- Advantages of Sport Pilot Training
- Sport Pilot Requirements
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