Sport Pilot: Identification, Instruction, Flight Reviews

Ask EAA's experts.

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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: How big do N-numbers have to be on light-sport aircraft?

A: Experimental amateur-built and experimental light-sport aircraft are required to have N-numbers at least 3 inches high. SLSA (special light-sport aircraft) are required to have N-numbers 12 inches high.

Some antique and replica aircraft that meet the definition of a light-sport aircraft are allowed to have N-numbers 2 inches high. Beyond height, there are requirements for N-number placement and proportions called out in FAR Part 45.

Q: Does a 1947 Aeronca L-16A, 7BCM (7DC conversion) with no-bounce landing gear and C-85 Continental qualify as a light-sport aircraft?

A: According to our information, the 7BCM does fit within the definition of a light-sport aircraft. However, individual aircraft might have been modified to fall outside the LSA definition. You would have to check the records of the individual aircraft to make sure that it hasn't been modified in any way that would move it outside the LSA definition.

Q: I'm a current CFI but would like to instruct as a sport pilot instructor (under subpart K) so that I can use my driver's license in lieu of a third-class medical. What do I need to do?

A: Assuming your most recent medical application was not denied, withdrawn, suspended or revoked, you can switch to operating as a sport pilot instructor simply by allowing your medical certificate to expire. No other paperwork or notification is necessary. You will need to operate within the privileges and limitations of a CFI-SP. See Statute 61.429, which specifically addresses this situation.

Q: Does a Sport Pilot rating require a flight review every two years? If so, how is this accomplished with a single-seat aircraft?

A: Yes, a sport pilot is required to have a flight review. A flight review must include at least one hour of dual instruction, so it cannot be performed in a single-seat aircraft.

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.