Sport Pilot: Luscombes, LSA at night, Medicals

Luscombe 8A

Q: I would like to get my Sport Pilot Certificate and have a lot of questions about the training requirements. But first, I have an opportunity to purchase a Luscombe 8E. Can a sport pilot fly this airplane?

A: Congratulations on your goal to become a sport pilot! But don't buy the Luscombe 8E. Other Luscombe models meet the definition of a light-sport aircraft, including the 8, 8A, 8B, 8C and 8D. The 8E is certificated at a maximum gross weight of 1,400 pounds, and the weight limit for an LSA is 1,320 pounds. For more information about becoming a sport pilot, visit EAA's sport pilot website at

Q: I am a new, single engine-land certified pilot and putting in time in both Warriors/Archers (day and night VFR) and my Challenger. I had strobe lights, navigation lights and landing lights put on my Challenger before the final transfer. Can I legally fly my E-LSA Challenger II at night using my SEL certification?

A: Your SEL pilot license, along with your current medical certificate, will allow you to fly the Challenger at night, as long as it is properly equipped for night flight and you follow the operating limitations issued for the Challenger and all applicable FARs. There should be a paragraph in the operating limitations that requires the aircraft to be equipped as in FAR 91.205, which lists the minimum required equipment for night flight. Another applicable FAR you should be aware of is FAR 91.209, especially (b), which requires you to have the anti-collision lights (strobe) lit at all times, unless it is a safety-of-flight issue.

Q: If a licensed private pilot fails a third-class FAA medical due to a correctable problem, such as high blood pressure, and subsequently regains his third-class medical certification, can that pilot later fly as a sport pilot by letting that third-class medical expire? That is, do the rules say that a pilot cannot fly as a sport pilot if he has ever failed an FAA medical examination, or only if he has failed his most recent medical examination?

A: The regulation prohibits a pilot from operating as a sport pilot if he/she has failed the most recent application for an FAA medical certificate. After regaining your third-class medical, you would be able to exercise your private pilot privileges. You can then allow it to lapse and continue flying after it lapses as a sport pilot in LSA aircraft, with your current state driver's license and current pilot certificate. The FAR that addresses this is FAR 61.303(b)(1-4).

For more information on Sport Pilot, visit EAA's 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 for discussion boards on this and other aviation topics.

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