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Let us answer your most frequently asked questions about Sport Pilot and flying powered parachute (PPC) light-sport aircraft (LSA).

  1. Who can fly a powered parachute light sport aircraft?

    A powered parachute light-sport aircraft may be operated by a holder of a Sport Pilot FAA Airman Certificate, also known as a Sport Pilot license. Pilots with a private or higher pilot certificate may also be transitioned to fly powered parachute LSA. They may be trained by one “Certified Flight Instructor” (CFI) and take a proficiency check with another CFI with no minimum hours required. An existing pilot can fly as a sport pilot even if their medical certificate has expired, so long as they have a valid driver’s license for medical eligibility.

  2. What is a Sport Pilot license?

    It’s a new FAA pilot certificate that is less expensive, requires less time and is easier to obtain than the Private Pilot certificate. Sport Pilots can fly aircraft that are in the new Light-Sport Aircraft (LSA) category such as powered parachute light-sport aircraft, as well as, fixed-wing airplanes and weight-shift control trikes.

  3. Do I need a license to fly a powered parachute LSA?

    You must obtain a Sport Pilot Airman Certificate or a Private Pilot airman certificate if you wish to fly a two seat powered parachute LSA. Single seat ultralight powered parachute vehicles are regulated and more clearly defined under the Federal Aviation Regulations Part 103, where a license is not required.

  4. As a Sport Pilot, where and when can I fly?

    Typically you will fly from large open fields. But, you could fly from almost all airports in the U.S. with proper endorsements. You will flying during daytime only, at altitudes below 10,000 feet, with visual reference to the ground. There’s no distance limitation (can be anywhere in the U.S.).

  5. Is a Sport Pilot trained to lower standards than a Private Pilot?

    No. The piloting and mastery of the aircraft are the same. The difference is in the additional private pilot experience at larger towered airports communicating with “air traffic control”, flying at night and flying above 10,000 feet.

  6. What is the difference between the 20-hour minimum sport pilot flight training hours and the 25-hour minimum private pilot training hours?

    Less training is required because there is no night flight training, high altitude procedures above 10,000 feet, control tower operations and radio navigation/VOR requirements. However, Sport Pilots can receive additional training (beyond the 20 hours minimum required training for powered parachute Sport Pilots and be endorsed to operate at control towered airports.

  7. What are the age requirements for a Sport Pilot?

    Age requirements are the same as private pilot, solo at age 16 and obtain a license at age 17. There are no upper age limits for sport or private pilots.

  8. What are the medical requirements for a Sport Pilot?
    • First and foremost, same as all pilots flying any aircraft, you must personally determine before each flight you are medically fit to operate the aircraft in a safe manner.
    • Second, a valid U.S. driver’s license can be used for medical eligibility in which the same restrictions on a driver’s license, such as wearing glasses, are applicable when flying a powered parachute light-sport aircraft as a sport pilot.
    • It should be noted that if an FAA third-class medical was suspended, denied, or revoked, this must be cleared before using a driver’s license as medical eligibility. Private pilots simply let their third-class medical expire and use their driver’s license as a medical eligibility rather than failing an FAA medical exam and having to go back to clear it.
    • A third-class medical can also be used as medical eligibility for a Sport Pilot in place of a driver’s license for medical eligibility along with a government issued photo ID both in place of a using a single current drivers license.
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