Sport Pilot: LSA for Private Certification, "Third Seats," the Bahamas

Ask EAA's Experts

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SiriusJim Koepnick / EAA

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: My wife and I both want to get Sport Pilot certificates and light-sport aircraft. Can we use our LSA aircraft to flight-train for advanced certificates such as Private and Commercial, with a CFI, or must we use GA aircraft?

A: You and your wife may use your LSA to obtain all of your training through the Private Pilot level, provided the aircraft is properly equipped and has no operating limitations that prohibit performing the required tasks called out in the practical test standards for the certificate or rating you're seeking. If that is your goal, then you need to obtain your training from an instructor who is qualified to provide training for the advanced certificates from the beginning; otherwise you would have to repeat the hours of dual training given by an instructor that is qualified to instruct to only the Sport Pilot level.

Q: I have read that you can fly with children (properly secured!) in the baggage area of some two-seat airplanes, such as the Cessna 152. Is this legal in an LSA? If so, for which ones is this advisable?

A: As we understand it, Cessna did have a "jump seat" available for the 140 and 150 series at one time. However, using this "third seat" would not be legal in light-sport aircraft, because the limitations for an aircraft that meets the LSA definition specifically call out a maximum capacity of two seats, including the pilot. Any aircraft that has a third seat installed, even temporarily, would fall outside the LSA definition. And since the definition specifically requires that the aircraft fall within the definition continuously since its original certification, any installation of a third seat would disqualify the aircraft forever.

Q: I'm a sport pilot using my driver's license in lieu of an FAA medical certificate. I just heard that the Bahamas now allow pilots like myself to fly light-sport aircraft into their country. I'm very excited about this change. Who can I call to get more information?

A: You're right; this is a new and historic international flight development for sport pilots. We hope this is the first of many such announcements and agreements with neighboring countries. To find out more, call Greg Rolle or Leonard Stuart in the Bahamas Tourism and Civil Aviation office in Plantation, Florida, at 800-32-SPORT or 954-236-9292.

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.