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: I have two questions regarding light-sport aircraft: Is a 1976 Cessna 150 with a 100 hp engine eligible as an LSA? And, can my instructor (who is rated CFI SEL) qualify me (prepare me for written and practical tests) for a Sport Pilot certificate?
A: We still receive (on a weekly basis) questions about whether the older model Cessna two-seaters like the 150 qualify under the LSA rules. The answer is a resounding no — none of the previously manufactured Cessna two-place aircraft models (120s, 140s, 150s or 152s) qualify as light-sport aircraft because all exceed the LSA maximum weight limit. Cessna has begun deliveries of its new LSA model, the 162 SkyCatcher, and expects to ramp up deliveries this year.
Your second question: Yes, your CFI is qualified to do all the training necessary for you to qualify to take both the written and practical tests to obtain your Sport Pilot certificate. Good luck!
Q: I'm 72 years old, have Type II diabetes and take insulin. I'm concerned about any restrictions flying with a Sport Pilot rating might bring. I don't have any medical restrictions on my driver's license other than I must wear corrective glasses.
A: You do not need an FAA medical certificate to fly under the Sport Pilot rule. You cannot have been denied for your most recent application for a medical, nor can your medical have been suspended, revoked or withdrawn. There are many pilots flying with Type II diabetes who are taking medication for it and who have a medical certificate — not so many who are on insulin, although there are some with medical certificates. If you are going to fly as a sport pilot, you would be wise to speak to your treating physician to make sure that he feels you are OK to fly with your condition and the medicine you are on. You self-certify every time you go out to fly.
Q: Are fuel-injected engines allowed under Light Sport Aircraft standards and the Sport Pilot rule?
A: Yes, fuel injection would be acceptable. The only engine requirement called out in the definition of a light-sport aircraft is that, if the aircraft is powered, it must use a reciprocating engine. There is no specific restriction on fuel delivery systems.
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.