The Very First "Sport Pilots" May Fly Today
By ANN Correspondent John Ballantyne
So far no individual
has been allowed to actually fly under Sport Pilot rules... until
this very day, September 1, 2004. This is
the big day that the FAA has been looking forward to
during the many years of development that they have invested
in the new Sport Pilot certificate program and airworthiness
programs for Light Sport Aircraft.
Yet, exactly who may fly right now, and what they may fly is a
Who may fly?
Any FAA certificated Private pilot, or better, may operate under
Sport Pilot privileges (with no tests or endorsements) so long as
they have had a flight review within the prescribed time (per FAR
61.23); have not had a medical certificate refused or revoked;
possess a current driver's license; and "Not know or have
reason to know of any medical condition that would make that person
unable to operate a light-sport aircraft in a safe manner."
This also means that you must comply with each
restriction and limitation imposed by the driver's license, and any
judicial or administrative order, for the operation of a motor
vehicle (such as corrective lenses). If your driver's license gets
yanked, so goes your Sport Pilot privileges.
If you hold a recreational pilot certificate, you will want to
check the cross-country requirements per 61.101 (c) (http://www.faa.gov/avr/afs/sportpilot/faq.doc).
FAA Certificate holders may fly any category and class already
on their FAA certificate. This means if you have Airplane Single
Engine Land, then you may operate any ASEL that meets the
definition of Light Sport Aircraft. See the requirements of 61.303
"V.5.A.iv. Make And Model Logbook Endorsements, and Sets of
Aircraft." at the link listed at the end.
Q: What Aircraft May Sport Pilots fly?
FAA certificated aircraft that meet the definition of a light-sport
aircraft may be flown by Sport Pilots on this red-letter day. The
aircraft's gross weight must be at, or less, than 1,320 pounds on
wheels (or skis) and 1,430 pounds for aircraft operated on the
water. More... it must have a stall speed not greater than 45
knots, a max speed (in cruise configuration) of 120 knots, a fixed
or ground adjustable prop and fixed gear (except for gliders
and seaplanes). Only one engine is allowed, and it must be have
passed an annual inspection within the past 12 calendar months. No
"Special" or "Experimental" Light Sport Aircraft can exist yet...
That comes later.
Specific examples of aircraft that can be flown by Sport
Pilots today may include some of the very early Aeronca, Ercoupe,
Luscombe, Piper, Porterfield, Taylorcraft, and Thorp's T-211 (See
ANN report 08/20/2004). However; individual aircraft of a given
type may not meet the criteria due to modification by STC or field
approval. Check the records for a particular aircraft
to verify that it has not been modified in such a way as to
disqualify that aircraft. EAA has a rather complete list of such
birds available (
FAA promises that the next installments to Sport Pilot and Light
Sport Aircraft will arrive in October, 2004; when Practical
Test Standards and Knowledge Tests will be published. Also
scheduled for publication by the FAA, in October, are Guidelines
for Repairman Training, while Designated Pilot Examiner and
Designated Airworthiness Representative applications will be
"The Master switch is turned on," says FAA. Much more to come,
so stay tuned to ANN…