Sport Pilot Instructor

What is a Certified Sport Pilot Flight Instructor (CFIS)?

A certified sport pilot instructor is a private pilot that teaches aspiring sport pilots to fly Light Sport Aircraft. One can become a CFIS without becoming a commercial pilot. You can obtain the certificate in about half the time required to become a traditional CFI.

Sport pilot and flight instructor certificates are both issued by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).

An FAA Sport Pilot Certified Flight Instructor (CFIS) has privileges similar to other FAA certificated flight instructors (CFI). The only difference is they only operate under Subpart K of the Federal Aviation Regulations (FAR), which means he or she can only instruct in a light-sport aircraft category.

A CFIS also holds an additional endorsement which allows them to perform proficiency checks for existing Sport Pilots to add more categories or classes, and transitional training for new pilots coming into that specific type of sport aircraft. If a CFIS is already endorsed for airspace and/or the speed endorsements or has the flying rights as a private pilot, then he or she can provide these types of endorsements to Sport Pilots who are looking to get them to get their certification.

Prerequisites To Be A Sport Pilot Certified Flight Instructor (CFIS)

To qualify for the Certified Flight Instructor-Sport (CFI-S) rating and pilot a sport aircraft, you must hold at least a sport pilot certificate. You’re also required to have accumulated 150 hours of flight time including at least 100 hours as PIC in a single-engine land airplane, perform at least twenty lessons from an authorized instructor, and pass two FAA knowledge tests: the Fundamentals of Instructing (FOI) and Sport Pilot Flight Instructor (SIA). Alternatively, if you already hold a teaching certificate for at least the seventh grade level, you may opt out of taking the FOI knowledge test. The complete requirements are detailed in 14 CFR 61, Subpart K.

    • Be at least 18 years old by the time of your “FAA Checkride”
    • Be able to read, speak, write and understand English
    • Hold at least a Sport Pilot Certificate
    • Must have logged at least 150 hours as a pilot, which must include:
      • 100 hours of time as Pilot in Command of a powered aircraft
      • 50 hours of time in a single-engine airplane
      • 25 hours of cross-country flight time
      • 10 hours of cross-country flight time in a single-engine airplane
      • 15 hours of flight time as Pilot in Command of a Light Sport Aircraft
    • Exams Required for Certification
      • Knowledge Test
        • Multiple choice exam administered by FAA authorized facility
      • FAA Checkride
        • Oral Exam
        • Flight/Practical Exam
        • CFI/A

Flight Experience Requirements

Sport Pilot Certified Flight instructors need at least 150 hours of flight time as a pilot despite many new designer aircraft having a fairly steep learning curve for pilots unfamiliar with the category. The rule requires pilots to hold:

  • 100 hours flight time as a pilot in command in powered aircraft;
  • 50 hours flight time in category;
  • 25 hours cross-country flight time;
  • 10 hours cross-country flight time in category; and
  • 15 hours flight time as pilot in command in category that is a light-sport aircraft.

New Sport Pilot Certified Flight Instructor (CFIS) Candidate Requirements

The FAA recently introduced new Sport Pilot Certified Flight Instructor (CFIS) candidate requirements. Here’s what you need to know:

  • Sport Pilot Certificate Holder
  • Training and endorsement from a Sport/Private Pilot CFI to take the computer-based knowledge CFI test and the fundamentals of instruction (FOI) knowledge tests
  • Pass both FOI and CFIS knowledge tests
  • Meet ALL Sport Pilot CFI requirements
  • Log training within 60 days before practice test with an authorized instructor and obtain endorsement for the practical test from Sport or Private Pilot CFI in the logbook and on FAA 8710-11 form now typically online IACRA.
  • Pass CFI sport practical test with DPE/SPIE.
  • Receive Sport Pilot CFI Certificate and logbook endorsement for category/class of aircraft used for Practical test.

Why Become a Certified Sport Pilot Instructor?

 “It is possible to fly without motors, but not without knowledge and skill.” — Wilbur Wright, inventor of modern flight.

A certified sport pilot instructor is allowed to instruct light-sport aircraft as well as planes and gliders. Being certified in this area of aviation goes beyond just being able to fly a plane. A certified sport pilot instructor must keep up with the latest technology, flight rules, and laws. Many pilots that become certified sport pilot instructors find that the sport pilot certification leads to other opportunities within the aviation industry.

The certificate required to become a certified sport pilot instructor was created in an attempt to bridge the gap between sport and commercial pilot certifications. The ability to fly light-sport aircraft and airplanes/gliders gives a certified sport pilot instructor freedom to travel and fly in a way that many other certified flight instructors cannot. The certification is not only for professional pilots; although many instructors that are certified are professionals. Any pilot can do the training to become a certified sport pilot instructor, some even teach themselves the training from their personal computer.

The Process at Santa Monica Flyers

One of the most important aspects of any instructional product is its ability to prepare you for what you could encounter on the job. It’s critical that training courses are given out in a way that covers everything one may be asked to teach, while also putting them in a position to teach it effectively on their own with little guidance.

We’ve found that it’s usually best for all flight instructor applicants to start with our sport pilot certification course before diving into any other specifics of educating students. This is because it provides you with a solid foundation for learning how to educate others about flying, as well as being able to pass the FAA knowledge tests on your own afterward. It is best to get both knowledge tests (FOI & CFIS) completed. After completing the requirements, you can proceed to train your first student.

Using the Fundamentals of Instruction techniques, we advise you to concentrate mostly on dual instruction – flight training and ground school.

It may be difficult at first, but do not take shortcuts in your explanations – take the time to truly explain how something would affect what they were doing during a lesson. Ultimately as an instructor, we are giving our students confidence in their abilities so that they can go out into the world confidently knowing that did everything they could to bring themselves up to speed quickly so they can fly with freedom!

Sport Pilot and CFI Training Syllabus

As a pilot, you go through the training syllabus page by page as a student and learn each lesson in order to become fully licensed. We teach our instructors how to teach logically in the order that you did when training for your own license, so no surprises there. After combing through the syllabus, we move on to teaching techniques for dealing with student “mistakes,” which is where one of you will get extra practice! We follow the Training Syllabus Airplane Part  4 – Certified Flight Instructor Program with Lesson Plans.

Flight Training

The first topics in which you will be tutoring will include how to conduct a pre-flight inspection, starting the plane’s engine and leading it through all its gears, as well as taking off and landing.

Ground Training

Ground school includes all aeronautical-related knowledge and special endorsements. We also work on teaching you how to replicate CFI procedures so you see first-hand how it’s done, and we give you a full CFI practical test.

How much and how long will it take before I become a Sport Pilot CFI?

“There is no such thing as a natural-born pilot. Whatever my aptitudes or talents, becoming a proficient pilot was hard work, really a lifetime’s learning experience.” — Chuck Yeager, first pilot to break the sound barrier.

First, if you’re starting out as a pilot, then it’s important to have a fundamental understanding of the flight training and certification process. CFI training is not the same as an initial pilot certification.

Just like a doctor or lawyer, flight instructors are required to have their certifications renewed periodically. You should expect that if you want to become an instructor in your own right, then you too will need to ensure you stay up-to-date with mandatory regulations and notify your regulatory body when applying for certification in order to continue giving lessons.

How long the training takes depends on how much your knowledge is, your preparation, and how fast you are in picking the lessons up.

It is the same when we talk about the costs. If your knowledge about ground and flight training is enough, you won’t need to spend much to be a sport pilot CFI. However, if you feel the need to train again, expect the same expense as getting a sport pilot certificate.

What are the privileges of my flight instructor certificate with a sport pilot rating?

Once you become a certified sport pilot instructor, you are authorized to provide training and endorsements within the limits of your certificate and rating. It is important to note you are only allowed to provide flight training in a light-sport aircraft.

You can teach student pilots and endorse them to obtain a sport pilot certificate. You can give practical and knowledge tests for a sport pilot certificate, a private pilot certificate with a powered parachute or weight-shift-control aircraft rating, or a flight instructor certificate with a sport pilot rating. You may also do a proficiency check for an additional category or class privilege for a sport pilot certificate or a flight instructor certificate with a sport pilot rating.

You are also authorized to accept applications for a student pilot certificate, verify the applicant’s identity as well as their eligibility requirements.

Do I need to pass a medical exam to be a Certified Sport Pilot Instructor?

Since you already had a medical exam prior to obtaining your sport pilot certificate, you will just need to provide a driver’s license and a personal assessment of your health to be a certified sport pilot instructor.

Be a Sport Pilot Certified Flight Instructor!

If you love being up in the air, there’s no better way to show your love than to become a sport flight instructor.

Getting certified is easy when you do it with Santa Monica Flyers. We offer courses that get student pilots ready for the world of flying. Our experienced instructors have the knowledge and skills needed for aspiring pilots and flight enthusiasts alike. Contact us today and let’s get started!

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