The FAA’s final rule and effective date on Sport Pilot and Light Sport Aircraft was Sept. 1, 2004.
What is light-sport?
Light-Sport Aircraft (LSA) is a category issued by the FAA – IF the aircraft meets the FAA’s definition of light-sport aircraft (LSA)
Light Sport Aircraft (LSA) defined thus Per FAR 1.1, Definitions and Abbreviations
- Max takeoff weight for LTA (lighter-than-air) Airships & hot air balloons 660#
- Aircraft 1,320 #
- Seaplane 1,420#
- Airplane Max Speed not more than 120 CAS (Calibrated Airspeed)
- Glider LSA Vne not more than 120 knots (KIAS)
- Airplane max stalling speed without the use of ‘lift-enhancing-devices’ (VS1) or more than 45 knots Calibrated Airspeed AT the aircrafts max certificated weight and most critical CG.
- Max seating – pilot and 1 passenger.
- Power plant – Single, reciprocating engine; Propeller fixed pitch or ground adjustable. No constant speed prop.
- Powered glider – a fixed or ground-adjustable propeller if not an airplane.
- If a gyroplane – a fixed pitch, semi-rigid, teetering, two-blade rotor system.
- A non-pressurized cabin, if cabin equipped.
Medical Certificate – NOT required to exercise the Privileges of Sport Pilot. Driver’s License is acceptable.
There are five categories of Light-Sport (LSA’s) Airplanes
Aircraft (balloons & airships)
More about Light-Sport Aircraft
Three types of aircraft are excluded from the LSA category. They are gyroplane aircraft, transitioning ultralight-like vehicles, and light-sport kit aircraft. These aircraft receive an Experimental LSA certification.
LSA’s manufactured OUTSIDE the US may be issued a Special Airworthiness Certificate when proof is provided to show:
Compliance with airworthiness regulations; FAR 21.90
The LSA has been manufactured in a country with which the US has a Bilateral Airworthiness Agreement (BASA)
The aircraft is eligible for an airworthiness certificate or similar certification in its country of manufacture.
Who can fly Light-Sport Aircraft?
A sport pilot certificate allows pilots to operate light-sport aircraft. The medical requirements to use this certificate can be met by either a third- class medical certificate or a U.S. driver’s license.
What can I fly as a sport pilot?
A sport pilot may exercise flight privileges in one or more of the light-sport aircraft categories shown above.
Sport Pilot defined; FAR 61 Subpart J
FAR 61.301 What is the purpose of the subpart and to whom does it apply?
FAR 61.301. This is a grade of FAA pilot certificate.
Sport Pilot Privileges and Limitations
The holder of a valid sport pilot certificate MAY –
- Operate as PIC of a sport pilot eligible aircraft
- Carry 1 passenger and share expenses (fuel, oil, airport expenses, aircraft rental)
- Fly during the daytime under VFR; 3 statue miles visibility and visual contact with the ground are required
- Fly cross-country ANYWHERE in the US except of course for: TFR’s, Prohibited or Restricted Areas, MOA airspace, etc.
- Fly up to 10,000’ above mean sea level (msl) or 2,000’ above ground level (agl), whichever is HIGHER.
- Fly in Class E and G airspace, and B, C and D airspace with appropriate training.
Sport pilots may NOT –
- Fly in Class A airspace
- Fly in Class B, C or D airspace until they receive training and a logbook endorsement from a CFI.
- Fly outside the US without prior permission from the foreign aviation authority
- Tow any object
- Fly while carrying a passenger or property for compensation or hire
- Fly in furtherance of business.
- Request a Special VFR Clearance
- Fly at night
How long does it take to become a sport pilot?
To earn a sport pilot certificate, a minimum of 20 hours flight-instruction time is required, with 15 hours of that being with an FAA-authorized instructor, plus five hours of solo flight and two hours of cross-country flight.
If you want more information on how to become a sport pilot, please contact me at: (562) 234-8423.