Sport Pilot

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”:

I renewed my CFI this year but don’t use the rating. Actually, I am now flying in the Sport Pilot category and own an Avid Flyer. While I was attending the CFI class, I asked the examiner about flight reviews. In the “old days” the CFI who gave the BFR was pilot in command. The instructor/ examiner told us that the rule has changed. Now the pilot is in command, not the CFI, who is there to observe and review only.

Since I am an ASEL-rated pilot without a medical, he said I can take the review in an aircraft in which I am rated. So, if I fly in a Cessna 150 for the review, how can I be in command without a medical? I don’t think I can be. As I understand it, in the old days the CFI would be PIC and there wouldn’t be a problem doing the review. If the pilot is a sport pilot, does the CFI need to be sport pilot also?

Actually, there’s nothing to prohibit a flight instructor from acting as pilot in command during a flight review. In fact, anytime a flight instructor is giving a flight review to a pilot whose previous flight review has expired, the flight instructor is acting as pilot in command. There was no “old days” rule or any rule change to this effect, and this is not specific to Sport Pilot.

If you are a pilot who holds a recreational pilot certificate or higher and are operating at the Sport Pilot level, but wish to take your flight review in a non-LSA aircraft for which you are rated, such as a Cessna 150, the flight instructor will need to act as pilot in command during the flight portion of the review. If the flight instructor is unwilling to do this, you need to find a different flight instructor.

I am building a Zenith 601XL from a kit, which will meet the 51 percent rule and will be LSA-compliant. If I choose to register it as an E-LSA, am I required to take a maintenance course to do the annual inspection or does building the aircraft give me the training and experience necessary to obtain the LSA-I or LSA-M repairman’s certificates without additional training requirements?

If you certificate your aircraft in the E-LSA category, you will be required to take the 16-hour LSA Repairman Inspection course in order to be eligible for the repairman certificate even though you are the builder of the aircraft (Ref: 14 CFR 65.107). Only if you are the primary builder of an amateur-built aircraft can you qualify for the repairman certificate without any further training (Ref: 14 CFR 65.104). There’s no way you can get the repairman certificate for an E-LSA without taking the 16-hour course.

For more information on Sport Pilot, go to EAA’s Sport Pilot website at 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.


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