How long does it take to become a sport pilot | Become a Sport Pilot | Pilot

The Sport Pilot License offers one of the easiest and most cost-effective ways to enjoy fun and relaxation. You can imagine it as a midpoint between an ultra-lightweight pilot and a full-fledged private pilot.

Pilots who fly sports aircraft can carry passengers and operate in certain types of controlled airspace, cannot fly at night, and are limited to lighter, lower-powered aircraft than those available to civilian pilots. Sport pilot licenses are cheaper because they require taking fewer lessons.

There are different approaches to bringing yourself to learn to be a sport pilot.

Before we answer the question, “how long does it take to become a sport pilot?” here are a few requirements you need to know before considering becoming a sport pilot. Things you need to be eligible for are also listed below.

What is a Sport pilot?

The Sport Pilot Certificate came out in September 2004. The purpose of the new regulation was to lower barriers to entry into aviation and make taking flights more affordable and accessible.

The new rules have also created the Light Sports Aircraft (LSA) aircraft category, a smaller, lower-power aircraft. A student sport pilot certificate must be issued by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) before the trainee can begin the solo phase of flight training. The Sport Pilot Certificate offers privileges primarily limited to recreational use. These are available from the FAA Flight Standards District Office or FAA Designated Pilot Examiners.

Why become a pilot?

There are many reasons why sport pilot certificates have become so popular. One reason is that sport pilot licenses are significantly cheaper than other licenses, including recreational and personal licenses. The second advantage of sport pilot certification is that it is obtainable in a relatively short time, about 20 hours of flight training instead of 40 hours to be a private pilot.

Finally, sport pilot licenses are more restricted than other flight certificates. It means that sport pilots operate with a higher level of safety and care. It makes the sport pilot license more secure for the sport pilot himself and others around him.

How long to become a Sport pilot?

There are several different approaches for aircraft Sport pilot training. One consists of two weeks of the intense accelerated training program, the second, the moderate training program, is of 2-4 months with three lessons per week, and lastly is a 1 Year training slow and stress-free training program consisting of 1 lesson/week.

On average, it takes about 6-8 months of professional training by an instructor, practical tests, and knowledge-based exams for you to be able to take flights.

How long does it take to get your Sport pilot license?

It takes at least 20 hours of flight time to take the Checkride Practical Exam. Flight instructions should be limited to 2 hours per flight. And fly only once a day. Otherwise, you will reach a point of negative return. Most people need about 2 hours of ground time per flight to plan, prepare, pre-flight, and report each flight. Most people need about 2-4 hours per flight to study or take ground lessons during each flight.

The preparation for the Checkride oral exam takes about a week. Therefore, if you fly three days a week and do ground teaching and learning time two days a week, the minimum time required to do this is five weeks. If everything is perfect (weather, maintenance, health, schedule, etc.), then as little as a month or even less. Most people have a minimum of 20 flight hours or more requirements. Therefore, you need to extrapolate from there.

Source: Quora

General Requirements to become a pilot of light sport aircrafts:

  • You must be able to read, write, understand, and speak English fluently. (this is critically essential for communications in general and during flights)
  • Be at least 17 years old. (16 for gliders with PARENTAL consent)
  • Have a US State driver’s license or Airman Medical Certificate (3rd class or higher).
  • Pass the practical FAA flight test.
  • Must pass the FAA knowledge test regarding aeronautical knowledge areas.
  • Log at least 20 hours of flight time, out of which 15 hours of dual instruction with a qualified instructor, 2 hours of dual instruction cross-country, and last but not least, 5 hours of solo flight.

Make sure to use the provided hyperlink that leads to the official FAA Qualifications demanded a Sport pilot here.

We’ve covered all the requirements here, so now let’s go over the certifications required for becoming a Sport pilot in detail.

FAA's Medical and Student pilot certificates:

Making sure you have the required documents before applying for your candidacy will help you run the entire process smoothly.

Things a pilot should know about Medical and Pilot certificates –

  • A medical certificate is for anyone other than the pilot who is the captain. There are three types of medicines, first-class, second-class, and third-class, each with its requirements, duration, and privileges.
  • The medical certificate and student pilot certificate are combined in one form, FAA Form 8420-2, and issued by a doctor called an Aviation Medical Examiner (AME), whose medical examination is certified by the FAA.
  • The medical/student pilot certificate combination is easy to get and carry in your logbook, wallet, or wallet and must be in your possession if you are alone. The difference between a regular medical certificate and a combination of medical and student pilot certificates is that there is space behind the medical / student pilot certificate for the flight instructor’s approval required for solo flights.
  • Medical certifications are not a requirement for the Sport pilots only.

For more information about medical certifications, read AOPA’s Pilot’s Guide to Medical Certifications.

Knowledge & Practical Tests

Most pilot certificates and assessments require you to get and pass a knowledge test, also known as a written test. Knowledge test results are valid for two years and are usually a prerequisite for actual testing.

A powered aircraft pilot adds another category rating at the same license level. The resources available to view and prepare for the knowledge test are available from the pilot supply store or provider. The exception when a practical test does not require a knowledge test applies to some additional evaluations after the initial license.

All pilot certificates and assessments except sUAS require a skill test, usually called a check-ride. The FAA is an Airman Certification Standards (ACS) document (formerly Practical Test Standards (PTS)) that applicants must be familiar with, refer to by flight instructors’ profiles, and use to manage the exam for each field test. ) is open to the public. The FAA inspectors or pilot examiners conduct the tests, and the oral exam before the flight is also a requirement. After completing the practical exam, the examiner will issue a certificate of the provisional pilot with a new license or rating. To take all pilot certificates and evaluation (except air transport pilots) skill tests, applicants must obtain appropriate log approval from the flight instructor and meet the basic certification requirements.

For an in-depth overview, check out Wikipedia about pilot certifications and requirements.

Driver's license & Student pilot certificate

  • The Sport Pilot Regulations allow pilots to fly light-sport aircraft without an FAA medical certificate. However, sport pilots must have at least a valid US driver’s license to exercise this privilege. The only exception is an unlicensed glider or balloon operation.
  • A person using a valid US driver’s license must comply with all restrictions and restrictions imposed by that person’s US driver’s license, as well as court or government orders applicable to driving a car. This person must also meet the requirements of 14 CFR 61.23 (c) (2).
  • The Student Pilot Certificate, FAA Form 8710-2, can be obtained from your nearest Flight Standards District Office (FSDO) or Designated Pilot Examiner (DPE).

Learn more about the Student pilot’s certificate requirements.

How to get your Student pilot certificate

Fill out the application form on paper from the Integrated Airline Certification and Evaluation Application Form (IACRA) website or use FAA Form 8710-1 to the FAA Designated Pilot Examiner, Flight Standards District Office (FSDO). Must be submitted. Part 141 Submit a pilot certificate related to the flight school or certified flight instructor. You can receive your certificate at the address mentioned on the application form. An authorized individual will process the application and submit the required documents to the Airmen Certification Branch. After the confirmation by the Airman Certified Branch.

Everything mentioned above is counted as the requirement to initiate your Student pilot certification process.

Are there any cost for the student pilot certificate?

There are no fees for applications made directly to the Flight Standards District Office (FSDO). However, FAA-designated pilot examiners, pilot accreditors belonging to Part 141 Flight School, or accredited flight instructors may charge a reasonable fee to process the application for a student pilot certificate.

How long would my student pilot certificates be valid?

After April 1, 2016, the Student Pilot Certificate will not expire. The certificate will be returned and exchanged upon successful completion of the higher-level certificate. Student Pilot Certificates issued before April 1, 2016, will expire according to the expiration date, either 24 months or 60 months from the date of issue.

For more detailed queries regarding medical and student pilot certificates, check them out here.

Medical certificate Or U.S. driver's license?

Sport pilot privileges allow pilots to fly a light-sport aircraft (LSA) without needing an FAA medical certificate. Sport pilots must have at least a valid U.S. driver’s license to exercise this privilege. A medical certificate is not a requirement. A driver’s license is.

U.S. Driver's License

A U.S. driver’s license is essential for anyone starting a new life in the United States, as it not only qualifies you to drive a car but also performs many other functions. A driving license in the United States is one of the first things you should get when you arrive at your new home. Your driver’s license from your home country is still valid in the United States.

The United States has agreements with several countries that allow you to keep your non-U.S. driver’s license valid for up to a year. The exact deadlines and regulations vary from state to state. If you want a driver’s license in the United States, you get one in a state with permanent residence. Each state’s Road Transport Authority (DMV) is responsible for issuing a driver’s license.

With an American driving license, you can drive anywhere in the world. If you move from one state to another in the United States, then you will require to obtain a new driver’s license in the new state.

A U.S. driver’s license is not just a vehicle permit. It serves many other purposes, but above all, it acts as an ID card. Anyone who does not have a driver’s license or doesn’t want to have one can apply for a replacement ID card with the responsible road traffic authority.

However, there are other reasons why we strongly recommend that you apply for a driver’s license as soon as you arrive in the United States.

How to get a driving license in the U.S.?

If you want to get a driver’s license in the United States, there is a multi-step process for getting a driving license. All states have their policies, but obtaining a U.S. driver’s license usually requires the following steps:

  • Vision test
  • Proof of legal residence in the United States.
  • Theoretical test. (multiple-choice question)
  • A knowledge test on American traffic signs. (including sufficient knowledge of English to understand traffic signs)
  • Practical driving test.
Limitations, privileges, rules & regulations that apply to a Sport pilot

It is essential to know your privileges, limitations, rules, and regulations that apply to you as a Sport pilot, some vital points regarding this query are in detail below.

  • Sport pilots cannot act as captains of a light-sport aircraft.
  • Sport pilots cannot carry out any flights during the night.
  • Maximum weight is 1320 lbs, allowed on flights.
  • Only light-sport aircraft are permitted.
  • Maximum 1 passenger.
  • Maximum 138 mph/120 knots Airspeed.
  • The peak altitude is 10,000 ft.
  • No flights during the night.
  • No controlled airspace flights.

For more detailed FAQs, click here.

Types of aircraft allowed during Sport flights

There are many type-certified aircraft in the standard air. These are not limited to only these special light sport aircraft –

·    Piper J-2 and J-3

·    Aeronca Champ

·    Luscombe 8, 8A, 8B, and 8C

·    Taylorcraft BC, BCS, and BC-65

·    Ercoupe 415C and 415 CD

Sport pilot license vs. Private pilot license - Which one is better?

One of the differences between sport pilot and private pilot licenses is the hours required to obtain each certificate. A sport pilot license requires only 20 hours of training, while a licensed personal, recreational pilot license requires a minimum of 40 hours of training. Getting a sport pilot license can pay you half the cost of becoming a private pilot. However, you should know that the national average for obtaining each certificate is almost twice the minimum time. If you study hard and fly a couple of times a week, you can apply for the license in the minimum time required.

What is a Private pilot?

Next to Student Pilot Certificates, Private Pilot Certificates are the most issued pilot certificates in the United States. The Private Pilot Certificate permits the command of any aircraft (subject to appropriate evaluation) for non-commercial purposes and gives almost unlimited authority to fly under Visual Flight Rules (VFR). Passengers can pay a proportional distribution of flight costs, such as fuel and rental expenses. Private pilots can also operate charity flights according to certain restrictions and participate in activities such as Angels Flight and Civil Air Patrol.

The license for the Sport pilot has fewer requirements than that of a private pilot license.

For example, you don’t need medical certifications to apply for a Sport pilot job, but it is a requirement for a private pilot. A licensed Sport pilot can only fly light-sport aircraft (LSA). LSAs have a net weight of 1320 lbs. with a maximum of 2 seating capacities, one for the pilot and one for the passenger. On the other hand, as a private pilot, you can take any airplane on a flight with a total weight of up to 12,500 lbs., carry more than just one passenger and even be able to use other types of aircraft with some additional training.

There can’t be a better one out of these two, as they both serve different purposes. One license requires less expertise, while the private pilot license requires twice as much experience and training. After all, it gets you some extra privileges, but all that comes with more responsibilities and slightly more critical tasks. Licensed private pilots can fly in any space except class A unless they have an instrument rating that depends on their skill set and experience.

Click here to read more.

Frequently asked questions:

This section covers all the queries people encounter while flying or applying for the Sport pilot position. The questions are under different sub-categories, so you can easily find relevant questions.

Sport pilot for already certificated pilots:

Question #1. Can I, a certified pilot, fly without a medical certificate?

Ans: Yes. A sport pilot with at least one certificate and an expired medical certificate is allowed to fly without an FAA medical certificate.

In such a case, here are the things needed to qualify.

  • At least a sport pilot license is required.
  • You must currently have a valid, state-issued driver’s license.
  • Applications for the latest FAA medical certificate must not go for rejection under unacceptable circumstances.
  • The last issued doctor must not be suspended or revoked.
  • You can’t have an illness that makes you a dangerous pilot.
  • You must be able to assess your medical aptitude to fly.

For additional queries, click here.

Question #2. What type of certification or training do I need?

Ans: As a certified pilot qualified to fly with a driver’s license, you need the following qualifications –

  • Rating of the aircraft category and class.
  • Current flight rating according to 14CFR61.56.
  • Recent flight experience with passengers.

Question #3. Do I need to perform a check-ride?

Ans: Yes, and you must follow the provisions of 14CFR61.321, which requires the following –

  • You will receive logbook confirmations to meet the specified requirements for aviation knowledge and flight skills.
  • Complete the skill check with a certified instructor other than the instructor who trained you in the designated aviation knowledge and operational field.
  • Fill out the FAA Form 8710-11, Airmen Certificate or Rating Application, and present it to the instructor who has performed the skill check.
  • Get logbook approval from an instructor who has acquired the relevant knowledge and operational disciplines and has performed a proficiency check to prove that you get authorized for additional categories and classes of light-sport aircraft.

For a more in-depth overview regarding queries about this topic, click here.


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