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Sport Pilot TrainingFour Perks of Learning to Fly Light Sport
By Kyle Garrett
The fastest growing and possibly most exciting sector of aviation in the United States is Light Sport. Sport Pilots and LSA are a recent development created with the intent of reducing the cost and length of training by reducing certain regulations. If you're primarily seeking a way to enjoy flying as a hobby, Light Sport is a perfect match for you. You may want to consider several perks of the unique nature of Sport Pilot training including: less cost, no required medical examination, and less-expensive and more technologically-advanced aircraft.
A Sport Pilot Certificate is less costly
The Sport Pilot Certificate is essentially a modified Private Pilot Certificate with a few restrictions designed to reduce training costs. In exchange for only flying during daylight hours, only carrying a maximum of one additional person, and sticking with a certain subset of aircraft, the minimum hours of flight training required is 20 hours, half that required for a Private Pilot Certificate. If that doesn't sound too restricting, you may find a Sport Pilot Certificate is perfect for you.
A Sport Pilot Certificate doesn't require a medical examinations
Another area where Light Sport is unique, if not pioneering, is medical examinations. All other certificates require a medical examination. Generally speaking, Light Sport does not. Essentially, sport pilots can self-certify their medical fitness by having a valid drivers license and filling out a form. Considering the average cost for a visit to an aviation medical examiner, this isn't much of a cost savings, but it does save some pilots a lot of hassle. The bottom line is that you can certainly get a medical and fly Light Sport, but if you want to avoid a few regulatory hoops you can self-certify.
Light Sport Aircraft are less costly and more advanced
One of the most exciting perks is the aircraft you can fly are typically less costly and, being newer generally, are usually more technologically advanced. There are two kinds of aircraft: legacy LSA and LSA. "Legacy" LSA are generally pretty basic, but offer the lowest costs thanks to their age. These aircraft are some of the time-honored classics of light aviation, like the Piper Cub or Aeronca Champ. Regular LSA, on the other hand, are fairly new, but you can buy a new Light Sport Aircraft for less than a third of heavier entry-level plane, like a Cessna 172. These newer LSA generally boast high fuel-efficiency, sport glass cockpits, and are easy to fly.
Light Sport Aircraft are easy to fly
LSA of any type are usually light and easy to fly and the newer LSA offer advanced avionics that supplement their delightful flying characteristics. They can require a bit more attention than their larger counterparts, thanks to their quick response to control inputs, but make no mistake, LSA are great aircraft. Their light and efficient designs mean they don't feel heavy or sluggish in the air, which manifests as lighter than normal stick forces required to maneuver. LSA's ease of handling will enhance your flight training and your enjoyment of every flight. Furthermore, most new Light Sport Aircraft feature glass cockpits, which offers a more centralized and efficient display of the primary flight instruments.
As you can see, Sport Pilot and LSA are a great way to learn to fly. Further, if you're primarily seeking a way to enjoy flying as a hobby, Light Sport is perfect. The cost savings, lack of required medical exams, and less-expensive and more technologically-advanced aircraft that are easy to fly combine to make the excitement of flying that much more accessible.
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