Each month, Flying answers questions about the 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:Can an A&P (Airframe and Powerplant) mechanic sign off an annual condition inspection for an experimental light-sport aircraft or must it be an IA?
A: This question is answered in the operating limitations issued with the airworthiness certificate. There is a paragraph (should be near the end) that states who is eligible to perform the annual condition inspection. As long as the A&P is current, he or she can perform the annual condition inspection on an experimental amateur-built aircraft (EAB) or an experimental light-sport aircraft (E-LSA) without needing the IA designation. Obviously, a current A&P with the IA designation could also do it.
Q: I read in another magazine that “anyone holding a student-pilot certificate for the purpose of sport pilot training may extend the expiration date of that certificate to 60 months from the date of issuance. The existing student certificate does not need to be revised.” Does this mean I need to do nothing to extend it other than to keep in mind it is good for 60 months, or do I need to take some action?
A: There is no action required by you to extend your Sport Pilot student-pilot certificate. Just calculate the 60 months from the date of issuance and remember that it expires on the last day of the 60th month.
Q: I realize that a student with a Sport Pilot student certificate cannot fly solo in a non-LSA aircraft. Can a sport pilot student fly a non-LSA aircraft dual with the flight instructor? Is the flight instructor not the PIC? Is an LSA required for dual instruction?
A: A student sport pilot is allowed to take and count dual instruction from a CFI in a non-LSA aircraft. In fact, a student sport pilot could take all dual training in a non-LSA aircraft. However, the sport pilot student must complete all solo flight requirements and take the sport pilot check ride in an LSA aircraft. The CFI would be the pilot in command (PIC) for any of these flights.
Q: Can I take a passenger with me once I have a Sport Pilot certificate?
A: Yes, you can, but the Sport Pilot certificate limits your flight to aircraft with only two seats, one for you and one for a passenger.
For more information on Sport Pilot, visit EAA’s sportpilot.org. EAA, which also hosts the annual EAA AirVenture fly-in at Oshkosh, Wisconsin, 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. Visit oshkosh365.org for discussion boards on this and other aviation topics.