What About Sport Pilot Flight Training?
To obtain a Sport Pilot license there is a minimum of 20 hours of flight time required; 15 hours of dual instruction with an instructor, and 5 hours of solo. It is not unusual, however to exceed those minimums. There are several requirements to accomplish prior to taking a practical test, often referred to as a “checkride.”
Written test: You may take the written test at any time during the training process. To prepare for the written test it is recommend to take a ground school course. There are several computer based courses available such as Sport Aviations Center, Gleim, Sporty’s, and King Schools. There are also local classroom courses available. Once you have completed a ground school you will need an endorsement from the school or an instructor to take the written test, and you will have to register and go to a certified testing center to take it. It is not required to take the written test prior to flight training, or prior to solo flying; it can be done any time in the process. It simply must be completed before you can take your checkride. Once you take the written test you will have two years to complete your checkride. If you do not pass a checkride within two years you will have to retake the written test.
Flight instruction: The flight training portion of your training is the fun part! There are many things to cover during this training such as various flight maneuvers, take offs and landings, slow flight, stalls, emergency procedures, cross country navigation, etc… We will also cover preflight inspection of the aircraft, as well as maintenance requirements and procedures. The cross country navigation portion will require a dual and a solo cross country flight with stops at two other airports and a total distance of 75 miles. Then a couple hours of test prep prior to the check ride.
Check Ride: To complete your sport pilot license you will need to schedule a practical test (checkride) a designated pilot examiner (DPE) A DPE will usually charge around $500-900. We have two currently that we work with.
Once you have your sport pilot license you will need to be current to take a passenger flying. This means you must have completed at least 3 take offs and landings in the previous 90 days. Also, you must complete a flight review with an instructor every two years. That’s pretty much it. Your sport pilot’s license is valid for the rest of your life unless it is revoked or surrendered. You could stop flying for 50 years, and go take a flight review and you are legal to go fly again!
Cost: The current cost for flight training in our Aeroprakt includes $130 per hour for the aircraft rental, and $75 per hour for the instructor, for a total of $205 per hour. Your total cost will be dependent on your individual progress and time toward earning your sport pilot license. Keep in mind that if you decide to pursue a private or more advanced flying license all of your sport training time with us will count toward earning those certificates as well.
What is a Light Sport Airplane?
The Sport Pilot rule, along with creating a new sport pilot’s license, also created a new classification of aircraft. A Light Sport aircraft is an aircraft with one or two seats, up to 1320 lbs gross weight, with a Vh speed (max full power level speed) of 140 mph or less. A light sport aircraft may be a fixed wing, weight shift, powered parachute, or gyrocopter. At Fly4Fun we deliver flight instruction for fixed wing, light sport airplanes using our Aeroprakt A32 Vixxen aircraft.
What is a Sport Pilot's License?
The Sport Pilot rule is fairly new to Aviation, being adopted in 2004. The Sport Pilot rule created an entirely new pilot’s license that did not exist before. Prior to the Sport Pilot rule, to fly any aircraft (other than part 103 ultralight vehicles), the minimum requirement was either a Private Pilots license or a Recreational Pilots license. Because the criteria for obtaining a Recreational license was not all that much less than a Private license and it came with significant limitations, very few people pursued it. Prior to the Sport Pilot rule another burdensome requirement for all pilots was the medical requirement. All pilots were required to have at least a third class flight medical. Now with the Sport Pilot rule in effect, a person may pursue and obtain a Sport Pilot license with only a valid driver’s license serving as their medical. (However anyone who has ever failed a flight medial is not eligible to fly under Sport Pilot unless they are able to get their medical reinstated. Once reinstated they can let it lapse and continue to fly as a Sport Pilot indefinitely.) While a Private Pilot is required to obtain a minimum of 40 hours of training, a Sport Pilot can complete a license in a minimum of 20 hours. (In either case, it is very common to need more than the minimum hours to complete all of the requirements and the exams.) Because a Sport Pilot is restricted to daytime VFR (visual flight rules), and is subject to stricter weather minimums, there is no night training or instrument training requirements for a Sport Pilot helping to greatly reduce the number of hours of training required. However, the privileges of a Sport Pilot are really very wide. A Sport Pilot may fly a Light Sport Aircraft in daylight VFR with 3 miles visibility and go essentially anywhere a private pilot can go! (there are various logbook endorsements needed for certain privileges, but still flying as a Sport Pilot.).