Are you are a powered parachute (PPC) sport pilot applicant (or a sport pilot student in training) who wants to transition from a sport pilot certificate to a (PPC) private pilot certificate? Or, are you a private pilot airplane pilot now and want to transition to a PPC pilot? We’ve got the answers to these and more questions here.

What is the differences between PPC Sport Pilot and PPC Private Pilot?

Sport Pilots are limited to flying light sport aircraft, no night flying, and no flying above 10,000 feet MSL or 2000 feet AGL whichever is higher and NOTHING for compensation or hire.

Private pilots may fly for business related activities as long as the flight is “only incidental to the business” and the aircraft does not carry passengers for compensation or hire. This opens up doors for using an aircraft for business related activities. Additionally, as a private pilot you can demonstrate an aircraft to a buyer as an aircraft salesman. This is required to do sales demos at airshows. Sport pilots can not do demo rides to sell aircraft.

Private pilots may also fly “on top” of clouds with no visual reference to the surface. This is handy to go over a valley that is fogged in or over the top of clouds rather than underneath them. Additionally, private pilots can fly in Class G airspace (airspace close to the ground) with only 1 mile of visibility.

See FAR 61.113 and 61.315 to see all the specific differences between the two.

Training and requirements for the sport pilot certificate do not include flight at towered airports, but sport pilots can fly into tower controlled airports with additional training and endorsements.

There is no difference in the piloting ability between a sport pilot and private pilot. The standards are the same.

However, sport pilots are not required to have training in a number of areas which reduces the minimum required training time by half. This is an overview from the knowledge test questions and the practical test standards (Checkride) of the additional subjects the private pilot must be trained and tested:

  • Night flight with night cross country training (however, if the night training is not obtained, a restriction can be put on the private pilot certificate saying “night flight prohibited”).
  • Communications and operations at tower controlled airports (however, sport pilots can obtain this training and privileges, but this is in addition to the minimum sport pilot requirements).
  • PPC sport pilots need 12 hours minimum flight training time and and private pilot PPC pilots need 25 hours minimum flight training time.
  • All private pilots must have a current minimum FAA 3rd class medical. Sport pilots can use their drivers license as medical eligibility.

Private Pilot Airplane and WSC Pilot Transition to PPC Private Pilot

If you are a Private pilot airplane pilot, and you want privileges to fly A PPC, the easiest path is to be trained by one PPC CFI, and take a sport pilot proficiency check with another PPC CFI. No minimum hours and no knowledge test is required. This provides sport pilot privileges, not private pilot PPC, per FAR 61.303. As a private pilot airplane the endorsement for towered airport flying is not required to fly into towered airspace as a PPC sport pilot (FAR 61.303).

If a private pilot airplane wants a PPC private pilot license, the 25 minimum hours are required per 61.109 (i), but no knowledge test is required per 61.63 (b) (5).

If a sport pilot PPC or private pilot weight-shift control wants a PPC private all the requirements per 61.109 (i) 25 hours by a PPC qualified CFI (PPC CFI with Private pilot PPC rating) are required including the PPC Private Pilot knowledge test.

Sport Pilot To Private Pilot Transition Overview

Many pilots want to obtain their PPC sport pilot certificate first and may or may not want to go on to private pilot because one or more of these typical/common reasons:

  • They do not want to hassle with the FAA medical examination or risk not passing it, essentially ending their flying dream.
  • They want to get their FAA pilot certificate in half the time and half the cost.
  • They have no need nor desire for flying at night or above 10,000 feet.
  • They do not want to fly into busy airports and/or want the stress/learning required to talk with a control tower.

To use PPC sport pilot training hours towards private PPC, there are some important concepts to understand.

  • PPC Pilot Training hours for Private can be done by a PPC CFI operating only under “Subpart K Flight Instructors with a Sport Pilot Rating” (CFIS) if they are a private pilot PPC. This qualifies them as a private pilot PPC CFI.
  • Dual flight training hours for sport and private, completed by a PPC CFI with a private Pilot PPC may be used for both sport and private.
  • Flight training hours for a private CAN not be counted towards thre PPC private if they were performed by a CFI PPC who is not a Private pilot PPC.

Sport Pilot Student To Private Pilot License

Using the Hamilton Pilot Training System To Become a Private Pilot

The Hamilton Pilot Training System includes a Sport Pilot | Private Pilot Guide in the Sport Pilot Training Syllabus for PPC to train from the ground up from Sport Pilot to Private Pilot. The airspace endorsement (HPTS Sport Pilot Training Syllabus – module 20) lesson and additional private pilot lesson plans listed in this guide are the additional training required.

It must be understood that the order of the syllabus lesson plans may be rearranged by the instructor depending on the airspace the training takes place, the weather conditions, the instructor/student schedule, or any other reason the instructor feels better for the student.

Privileges and limitations of Sport § 61.315 verses Private § 61.113 pilots
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  • NOTE: Private Pilot § 61.113 comparison is indented.
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      § 61.315 Sport Pilot (a) If you hold a sport pilot certificate you may act as pilot in command of a light-sport aircraft, except as specified in paragraph (c) of this section.

 

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

 

      (1) Sport Pilots may not act as pilot in command of an aircraft that is carrying a passenger or property for compensation or hire.

 

      (2) Sport Pilots may not act as pilot in command of an aircraft for compensation or hire.

 

      (3) Sport Pilots may not act as pilot in command of an aircraft in furtherance of a business.

 

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      • § 61.113 Private pilot (a) Except as provided in paragraphs (b) through (g) of this section, no person who holds a private pilot certificate may act as pilot in command of an aircraft that is carrying passengers or property for compensation or hire; nor may that person, for compensation or hire, act as pilot in command of an aircraft.
        (b) A private pilot may, for compensation or hire, act as pilot in command of an aircraft in connection with any business or employment if:
        (1) The flight is only incidental to that business or employment; and
        (2) The aircraft does not carry passengers or property for compensation or hire.
        (g) A private pilot who meets the requirements of §61.69 may act as a pilot in command of an aircraft towing a glider or unpowered ultralight vehicle.
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§ 61.315 Sport Pilot (4) Sport Pilots may not act as pilot in command of an aircraft while carrying more than one passenger.
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      • § 61.113 No private pilot limitation.
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§ 61.315 Sport Pilot (5) Sport Pilots may not act as pilot in command of an aircraft at night.

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      • § 61.113 No private pilot limitation.
[/custom_list] § 61.315 Sport Pilot (6) Sport Pilots may not act as pilot in command of an aircraft in Class A airspace.
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      • § 61.113 No private pilot limitation.
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§ 61.315 Sport Pilot (7) Sport Pilots may not act as pilot in command of an 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 met the requirements specified in §61.325.
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      • § 61.113 No private pilot limitation but sport pilots may be trained and endorsed to fly into some Class B, all Class C and all Class D airspace.
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§ 61.315 Sport Pilot (8) Sport Pilots may not act as pilot in command of an aircraft  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.”

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      • § 61.113 No private pilot limitation.
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§ 61.315 Sport Pilot (9) Sport Pilots may not act as pilot in command of an aircraft  to demonstrate the aircraft in flight to a prospective buyer if you are an aircraft salesperson.
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      • § 61.113 Private pilot limitation (f) A private pilot who is an aircraft salesman and who has at least 200 hours of logged flight time may demonstrate an aircraft in flight to a prospective buyer.
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§ 61.315 Sport Pilot (10) Sport Pilots may not act as pilot in command of an aircraft  in a passenger-carrying airlift sponsored by a charitable organization.

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      • § 61.113 Private pilot limitation (d) A private pilot may act as pilot in command of a charitable, nonprofit, or community event flight described in §91.146, if the sponsor and pilot comply with the requirements of §91.146.
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§ 61.315 Sport Pilot (11) Sport Pilots may not act as pilot in command of an aircraft at an altitude of more than 10,000 feet MSL.

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      • § 61.113 No private pilot limitation.
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§ 61.315 Sport Pilot (12) Sport Pilots may not act as pilot in command of an aircraft  when the flight or surface visibility is less than 3 statute miles.
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      • § 61.113 No private pilot limitation except 91.155 and 91.157 which allows 1 mile visibility in certain situations.
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§ 61.315 Sport Pilot (13) Sport Pilots may not act as pilot in command of an aircraft without visual reference to the surface.
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      • § 61.113 No private pilot limitation.
[/custom_list] § 61.315 Sport Pilot (14) Sport Pilots may not act as pilot in command of an aircraft if the aircraft has a VHthat exceeds 87 knots CAS, unless you have met the requirements of §61.327.
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      • § 61.113 No private pilot limitation.
[/custom_list] § 61.315 Sport Pilot (15) Sport Pilots may not act as pilot in command of an aircraft contrary to any operating limitation placed on the airworthiness certificate of the aircraft being flown.
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      • § 61.113 No private pilot limitation but this is implied for private pilots.
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§ 61.315 Sport Pilot (16) Sport Pilots may not act as pilot in command of an aircraft contrary to any limit or endorsement on your pilot certificate, airman medical certificate, or any other limit or endorsement from an authorized instructor.
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      • § 61.113 No private pilot limitation but this is implied for private pilots.
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§ 61.315 Sport Pilot (17) Sport Pilots may not act as pilot in command of an aircraft 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.
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      • § 61.113 No private pilot limitation.
[/custom_list] § 61.315 Sport Pilot (18) Sport Pilots may not act as pilot in command of an aircraft while towing any object.
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      • § 61.113 No private pilot limitation.
[/custom_list] § 61.315 Sport Pilot (19) Sport Pilots may not act as pilot in command of an aircraft as a pilot flight crewmember on any aircraft for which more than one pilot is required by the type certificate of the aircraft or the regulations under which the flight is conducted.
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      • § 61.113 No private pilot limitation.
[/custom_list] § 61.315 Sport Pilot (b) Sport Pilots 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.
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      • § 61.113 Private pilot limitation (c) A private pilot may not pay less than the pro rata share of the operating expenses of a flight with passengers, provided the expenses involve only fuel, oil, airport expenditures, or rental fees.
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Training Materials

Many of the training materials are interchangeable between the sport pilot and the private pilot accept the knowledge and practical test materials.

Sport Pilot License to Private Pilot License
Sport Pilot Student Directly to Private Pilot License
Private Pilot Students Transitioning To Sport Pilot

Most of the Private Pilot training materials are applicable to the Sport Pilot except the training syllabus, and the knowledge and checkride test preparation materials. The instructor can assign chapters that correlate with the sport pilot training syllabus with the existing materials and eliminate: