Each month, Flying answers questions about the new sport pilot/light sport aircraft rule with assistance from the Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA), the authority on the opportunities available within the category commonly known as "sport pilot":
Q: My partner and I own an E-LSA (experimental light sport aircraft). Can we both receive the training and be issued the Repairman Certificate Light Sport Aircraft-Inspection Rating for our E-LSA aircraft?
A: Yes, you can. The E-LSA Repairman, Inspection Rating course is the qualifying 16-hour FAA course you need to take to become eligible to apply for the certificate. We recommend that you register for the course through either the EAA SportAir Workshops (sportair.com) or Rainbow Aviation (rainbowaviation.com).
Q: If I register my homebuilt as an experimental amateur-built aircraft but it qualifies under the light sport category, can it be flown by a sport pilot as a light sport aircraft or does it have to be registered as an experimental light sport (E-LSA) for a sport pilot to fly it?
A: Your aircraft does not need to be registered as an E-LSA for it to be flown by a sport pilot, and here's why:
An LSA is defined by performance and configuration parameters, not make/model, construction methods or even certification. That is why you will notice that in the FAR definition, no mention is made of whether the aircraft is S-LSA, E-LSA, Experimental Amateur Built or Standard Type Certificated, even though aircraft in all of these areas will qualify as an LSA if they meet the performance and configuration criteria as listed.
So long as an aircraft meets all of the criteria specified by the FAR 1.1 definition of light sport aircraft, and has done so since its initial airworthiness certification to present, it can be operated by a person exercising sport pilot privileges with a sport pilot certificate or higher.
Q: Which speed is limited to 138 mph in the light sport aircraft-is it IAS or TAS?
A: It's actually calibrated airspeed (CAS), which is indicated airspeed corrected for instrument error.
For more information on sport pilot, go to EAA's sport pilot website at sportpilot.org. EAA, which also hosts the annual EAA AirVenture fly-in at Oshkosh, provides in-depth information on the website, as well as a sport pilot hotline and complete membership services for all aviation enthusiasts. Call 800/564-6322 for membership information.