A Sport Pilot Certificate enables you to fly certain aircraft with a less rigorous training curriculum than a standard private pilot certificate. After obtaining your rating, you will be able to fly yourself and one other passenger during daylight hours in most U.S. airspace below 10,000 feet.


What is the first step I need to take to become a sport pilot? You may consider getting an FAA medical certificate or plan on using your current and valid U.S. driver’s license.  In addition, you will need to get a student pilot certificate.

Driver’s license and the student pilot certificate:

  • The Sport Pilot rule allows a pilot to fly light sport aircraft without the need for an FAA medical certificate.  However, a sport pilot must hold at least a current and valid U.S. driver’s license in order to exercise this privilege.  The only exceptions are for operations in a glider or balloon, which does not require a driver’s license.
  • A person using a current and valid U.S. driver’s license must comply with each restriction and limitation imposed by that person’s U.S. driver’s license and any judicial or administrative order applying to the operation of a motor vehicle.  That person must also meet the requirements of 14 CFR 61.23(c)(2), which states the following:
  1. Have been found eligible for the issuance of at least a third class airman certificate at the time of his or her most recent application (if the person has applied for a medical certificate);
  2. Not have had his or her most recently issued medical certificate (if the person has held a medical certificate) suspended or revoked or most recent Authorization for a Special Issuance of a Medical Certificate withdrawn; and
  3. Not know or have reason to know of any medical condition that would make that person unable to operate a light sport aircraft in a safe manner.
* A student pilot certificate, FAA Form 8710-2, can be obtained from your local flight standards district office (FSDO) or designated pilot examiner (DPE).

What are the sport pilot eligibility requirements?

  • For the sport pilot certificate, you must:
  1. Be at least 17 years old (or 16 years old if you are applying to operate a glider or balloon)
  2. Be able to read, speak, write, and understand English
  3. Hold at least a third class medical, or hold a current and valid U.S. driver’s license for operations in light sport aircraft other than a glider or balloon.

What are the training requirements to become a sport pilot?

  • A minimum of 20 hours flight time (including 15 hours of flight training from an authorized instructor and 5 hours solo time)
  • Flight training must include at least:
  1. 2 hours cross-country flight training
  2. 10 takeoffs and landings to a full stop
  3. One solo cross-country flight of at least 75 nautical miles total distance with a full stop landing at a minimum of two points and one segment of the flight  consisting of a straight -line distance of at least 25 nautical miles between takeoff and landing locations
  4. 3 hours flight training in preparation for the practical test
  5. Ground training from an instructor or home-study course
  • FAA knowledge test on applicable aeronautical knowledge areas
  • FAA practical test for the applicable light sport aircraft privilege
  • Sport pilot certificates will be issued without category/class designation–logbook endorsement will be provided for category, class, make and model

What are the sport pilot privileges and limitations?

  • A sport pilot may share the operating expenses of a flight with a passenger, provided the expenses involve only fuel, oil, airport expenses, or aircraft rental fees.  A sport pilot must pay at least half the operating expenses of the flight
  • A sport pilot may not act as pilot in command of a light sport aircraft:
  1. That is carrying a passenger or property for compensation or hire
  2. For compensation or hire
  3. In furtherance of a business
  4. While carrying more than one passenger
  5. At night
  6. In Class A airspace
  7. In Class B, C, or D airspace, at an airport located in Class B, C, or D airspace, and to, from, through, or at an airport having an operational control tower unless you have received ground and flight training and a logbook endorsement from an authorized instructor in accordance with 61.325 certifying you are authorized to exercise these privileges
  8. Outside the United States, unless you have prior authorization from the country in which you seek to operate.  A sport pilot certificate carries the limitation “Holder does not meet ICAO requirements”
  9. In a passenger-carrying airlift sponsored by a charitable organization
  10. At an altitude of more than 10,000 feet msl
  11. When the flight or surface visibility is less than 3 statue miles
  12. Without visual reference to the surface
  13. If the aircraft has a maximum forward speed in level flight exceeds 87 knots CAS, unless having met the requirements of 61.327
  14. Contrary to any operating limitation placed on the airworthiness certificate of the aircraft being flown
  15. Contrary to any limitation or endorsement on your pilot certificate, airman medical certificate, U.S. driver’s license, or any other limitation or logbook endorsement from an authorized instructor
  16. Contrary to any restriction or limitation on the sport pilot’s U.S. driver’s license or any restriction or limitation imposed by judicial or administrative order when  using a driver’s license to satisfy the requirements of Part 61
  17. While towing any object
  18. As a pilot flight crew member on any on any aircraft for which more than one pilot is required by the type certificate of the aircraft or the regulations under which the flight is conducted.
What types of airplanes can I fly?
  • Currently, Take Flight Aviation offers a Tecnam P92 Eaglet
What is a light sport aircraft?
  • 1,320 pounds maximum takeoff weight for aircraft not intended for operation on water; or
  • 1,430 pounds maximum takeoff weight for aircraft intended for operation on water
  • A maximum airspeed in level flight with maximum continuous power (Vh) of not more than 120 knots CAS under standard atmospheric conditions at sea level
  • A maximum seating capacity of no more than two persons, including the pilot
  • A single, reciprocating engine
  • A fixed or ground-adjustable propeller of a powered aircraft other than a powered glider
  • A unpressurized cabin if equipped with a cabin
  • Maximum airspeed of 120 knots
  • Fixed landing gear, except for an aircraft intended for operation on water or a glider
  • Fixed or re-positionable landing gear, or a hull, for an aircraft intended for operation on water
  • A maximum stalling speed or minimum steady flight speed without the use of lift-enhancing devices (Vs1) of not more than 45 knots CAS at the aircraft’s maximum certificated takeoff weight and most critical center of gravity

I’m  a certified pilot without a medical. Can I fly as a sport pilot?

Yes, if you already hold at least a recreational pilot certificate and have allowed your medical to expire, you might be able to fly without an FAA medical certificate, even if your most recent medical was a special issuance. You need the following to qualify:

  • You must hold at least a recreational pilot certificate
  • You must have a current, valid state-issued driver’s license
  • Your application for your last FAA medical certificate cannot have been denied
  • Your most recent issued medical must not have been suspended or revoked
  • If you held a Special Issuance Medical, it must not have been withdrawn
  • You cant have a medical condition that makes you an unsafe pilot
  • You must be able to self-certify that you are medically fit to fly

Do I need to perform a checkride to get an additional category and or class rating?

No, a checkride is not required.  But you will need to follow the provisions of 14 CFR 61.321, which requires the following:

  • Receive a logbook endorsement from the authorized instructor who trained you on the applicable aeronautical knowledge areas specified in 61.309 and areas of operation specified in 61.311
  • Successfully complete a proficiency check from an authorized instructor other than the instructor who trained you in aeronautical and operational areas
  • Complete an FAA form 878710.11 Airmen Certificate and/or Rating Application and present it to the instructor who conducted the proficiency check
  • Receive a logbook endorsement from the instructor who conducted the proficiency check certifying that you are proficient in the applicable areas of operation and aeronautical knowledge areas, and that you are authorized for the additional category and class light-sport aircraft privilege