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This is a synopsis of the definition of a powered parachute (PPC) light-sport aircraft (LSA) category, the requirements to obtain a sport pilot certificate, and requirements to obtain a repairman certificate with a maintenance or inspection rating for a powered parachute.

See the current FAA rules directly from the FAA web site.

Sport Pilot and Light-Sport Aircraft Rule Basics

Enacted in 2004

The FAA rule provides:
  • Creates a new student sport pilot certificate for operating any aircraft that meet the definition of a light-sport aircraft.
  • Creates a new sport pilot certificate for operating any aircraft that meet the definition of a light-sport aircraft.
  • Creates a new sport pilot instructor certificate. Requires FAA knowledge (written) and practical (flight) test.
  • Credits ultralight training and experience toward a sport pilot certificate.
  • Credits sport pilot flight time toward more advanced pilot ratings.
  • Allows a current and valid U.S. driver’s license as evidence of medical eligibility (provided the individual does not have an official denial, revocation or suspension of medical eligibility on file with FAA) in stead of the FAA 3rd classs medical.
  • Creats a new catagory of Light-Sport Aircraft that is simpler to operate, less expensive to certify, own and operate.

Light-Sport Aircraft Definition

  • Maximum gross takeoff weight-1,320 lbs (599 kg.), 1,430 lbs. if float equipped.
  • Maximum stall speed-51 mph (45 knots).
  • Maximum speed in level flight with maximum continuous power (Vh)-138 mph (120 knots).
  • Two-place maximum (pilot and one passenger).
  • Day VFR operation only (unless the aircraft is equipped per FAR 91.209 and the pilot holds at least a Private Pilot certificate).
  • Single, non-turbine engine only.
  • Fixed or ground adjustable propeller.
  • Un-pressurized cabin.
  • Fixed landing gear.
  • Repositionable landing gear for seaplanes allowing the wheels to be rotated for amphibious operation.
  • Can be manufactured and sold ready-to-fly under a new Special Light-Sport aircraft certification without FAR Part 23 compliance. Aircraft must meet ASTM (American Society of Testing and Materials, Int’l) consensus standards. Aircraft under this certification may be used for sport and recreation, flight training, and aircraft rental.
  • Can be licensed Light-Sport Aircraft Experimental if kit- or plans-built. Aircraft under this certification may be used only for sport and recreation and flight instruction for the owner of the aircraft.
  • Will have FAA registration-“N” number.
  • Aircraft category and class is Powered Parachute.
  • U.S. or foreign manufacture of light-sport aircraft is authorized.
  • Aircraft with a standard airworthiness certificate that meet above specifications may be flown by sport pilots. However, that airworthiness certification category will not be changed to a light-sport aircraft. Holders of a sport pilot certificate may fly an aircraft with a standard airworthiness certificate if it meets the definition of a powered parachute light-sport aircraft.

The Sport Pilot Rule

You, as a sport pilot, may exercise these flight limitations and privileges in a powered parachute. Some basics are:

  • Does not allow carrying passengers for compensation or hire.
  • Allows sharing (“pro-rata”) operating expenses with another pilot.
  • Allows day VFR flight only.
  • Allow sport pilots to fly vintage and production aircraft (standard airworthiness certificate) that meet the definition of a light-sport aircraft.
The specific rule:

§ 61.315 What are the privileges and limits of my sport pilot certificate?

(a) If you hold a sport pilot certificate you may act as pilot in command of a powered parachute light-sport aircraft, except as specified in paragraph (c) of this section.

(b) You may share the operating expenses of a flight with a passenger, provided the expenses involve only fuel, oil, airport expenses, or aircraft rental fees. You must pay at least half the operating expenses of the flight.

(c) You may not act as pilot in command of a light-sport aircraft:

  • (1) That is carrying a passenger or property for compensation or hire.
  • (2) For compensation or hire.
  • (3) In furtherance of a business.
  • (4) While carrying more than one passenger.
  • (5) At night.
  • (6) In Class A airspace.
  • (7) In Class B, C, and D airspace, at an airport located in Class B, C, or D airspace, and to, from, through, or at an airport having an operational control tower unless you have met the requirements specified in §61.325.
  • (8) Outside the United States, unless you have prior authorization from the country in which you seek to operate. Your sport pilot certificate carries the limit “Holder does not meet ICAO requirements.”
  • (9) To demonstrate the aircraft in flight to a prospective buyer if you are an aircraft salesperson.
  • (10) In a passenger-carrying airlift sponsored by a charitable organization.
  • (11) At an altitude of more than 10,000 feet MSL.
  • (12) When the flight or surface visibility is less than 3 statute miles.
  • (13) Without visual reference to the surface.
  • (14) If the aircraft has a VHthat exceeds 87 knots CAS, unless you have met the requirements of §61.327.
  • (15) Contrary to any operating limitation placed on the airworthiness certificate of the aircraft being flown.
  • (16) Contrary to any limit or endorsement on your pilot certificate, airman medical certificate, or any other limit or endorsement from an authorized instructor.
  • (17) Contrary to any restriction or limitation on your U.S. driver’s license or any restriction or limitation imposed by judicial or administrative order when using your driver’s license to satisfy a requirement of this part.
  • (18) While towing any object.
  • (19) As a pilot flight crewmember on any powered parachute for which more than one pilot is required by the type certificate of the aircraft or the regulations under which the flight is conducted.

Sport Pilot Instructors

The sport pilot/light-sport aircraft rule basics:
  • Creates new sport pilot flight and ground instructor certificates.
  • Allows instructors to use ultralight exemption experience.
  • Allows conversion to sport pilot instructor status for ultralight instructors.
  • Allows current CFI’s to train sport pilots.
The specific rules for Sport Pilot Flight Instructors are:

If you hold a fight flight instructor certificate with a sport pilot rating, you are authorized, within the limits of your certificate and rating, to provide training and logbook endorsements for—

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

(a) A student pilot seeking a sport pilot certificate;

(b) A sport pilot certificate;

(c) A flight instructor certificate with a sport pilot rating;

(d) A powered parachute or weight-shift-control aircraft rating;

(e) Sport pilot privileges;

(f) A flight review or operating privilege for a sport pilot;

(g) A practical test 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;

(h) A knowledge test 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; and

(i) A proficiency check for an additional category, class, or make and model privilege for a sport pilot certificate or a flight instructor certificate with a sport pilot rating.

If you hold a flight instructor certificate with a sport pilot rating, you are subject to the following limits:

§ 61.415   What are the limits of a flight instructor certificate with a sport pilot rating?

(a) You may not provide ground or flight training in any aircraft for which you do not hold:

  • (1) A sport pilot certificate with applicable category and class privileges and make and model privileges or a pilot certificate with the applicable category and class rating; and
  • (2) Applicable category and class privileges for your flight instructor certificate with a sport pilot rating.

(b) You may not provide ground or flight training for a private pilot certificate with a powered parachute or weight-shift-control aircraft rating unless you hold:

  • (1) At least a private pilot certificate with the applicable category and class rating; and
  • (2) Applicable category and class privileges for your flight instructor certificate with a sport pilot rating.

(c) You may not conduct more than 8 hours of flight training in any 24-consecutive-hour period.

(d) You may not endorse a:

  • (1) Student pilot’s certificate or logbook for solo flight privileges, unless you have—
  •  (i) Given that student the flight training required for solo flight privileges required by this part; and
  •  (ii) Determined that the student is prepared to conduct the flight safely under known circumstances, subject to any limitations listed in the student’s logbook that you consider necessary for the safety of the flight.
  • (2) Student pilot’s certificate and logbook for a solo cross-country flight, unless you have determined the student’s flight preparation, planning, equipment, and proposed procedures are adequate for the proposed flight under the existing conditions and within any limitations listed in the logbook that you consider necessary for the safety of the flight.
  • (3) Student pilot’s certificate and logbook for solo flight in Class B, C, and D airspace areas, at an airport within Class B, C, or D airspace and to from, through or on an airport having an operational control tower, unless that you have—
  • (i) Given that student ground and flight training in that airspace or at that airport; and
  • (ii) Determined that the student is proficient to operate the aircraft safely.
  • (4) Logbook of a pilot for a flight review, unless you have conducted a review of that pilot in accordance with the requirements of §61.56.

(e) You may not provide flight training in an aircraft unless you have at least 5 hours of flight time in a make and model of light-sport aircraft within the same set of aircraft as the aircraft in which you are providing training.

(f) You may not provide training to operate a powered parachute light-sport aircraft in Class B, C, and D airspace, at an airport located in Class B, C, or D airspace, and to, from, through, or at an airport having an operational control tower, unless you have the endorsement specified in §61.325, or are otherwise authorized to conduct operations in this airspace and at these airports.

(g) You may not provide training in a light-sport aircraft with a VHgreater than 87 knots CAS unless you have the endorsement specified in §61.327, or are otherwise authorized to operate that light-sport aircraft.

(h) You must perform all training in an aircraft that complies with the requirements of §91.109 of this chapter.

(i) If you provide flight training for a certificate, rating or privilege, you must provide that flight training in an aircraft that meets the following:

  • (1) The aircraft must have at least two pilot stations and be of the same category and class appropriate to the certificate, rating or privilege sought.
  • (2) For single place aircraft, pre-solo flight training must be provided in an aircraft that has two pilot stations and is of the same category and class appropriate to the certificate, rating, or privilege sought.

Repairmen Certificates

The sport pilot/light-sport aircraft rule creates a new Repairmen Light-Sport Aircraft certificate-with either a maintenance or inspection rating. To obtain such a repairman certificate, you must demonstrate a skill level sufficient to determine the aircraft is in a condition enabling safe flight, and

  • for a Inspection rating-complete a 16 hour course on the inspection requirements of the particular class of light-sport aircraft;
  • for a Maintenance rating-complete a course – 120 hours (airplane category); 104 hours (weight shift or powered parachute); 80 hours (glider or lighter-than-air) — on the maintenance requirements of the particular class of light-sport aircraft.

Other LSA maintenance options

Maintenance–including all inspections on special light-sport airworthiness certificated aircraft–can be completed by:

  • An appropriately rated mechanic-that is, A&P, IA
  • An appropriately rated repair station;
  • A repairman (light-sport aircraft) with a maintenance rating, or
  • A certificated pilot (Sport Pilot rating or higher) may perform preventative maintenance.

Maintenance–including all inspections on experimental light-sport airworthiness certificated aircraft–can be completed by:

  • An appropriately rated mechanic-that is, A&P, IA
  • An appropriately rated repair station; or
  • A repairman (light-sport aircraft) with a maintenance rating;

To perform inspections on your own aircraft, you must have a repairman’s certificate (light-sport aircraft) with an inspection rating.

More extensive training can lead to a general repairman’s certificate (similar to IA, inspection authorization) for operations such as dealers, manufacturers, etc.

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