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If you are a private pilot seeking to enjoy the experience when onboard, then you need to know whether a private pilot can fly a light sports aircraft.
You may want this type of aircraft primarily for sport/hobby purposes or for the convenience it provides throughout travel/tour. However, acquiring a pilot's license doesn't come so easy, and the ideal option is to be eligible to fly any LSA whenever you choose to.
There's no need to be concerned about this question. A private pilot can, in reality, fly a light-sport aircraft. The sport pilot rule set by the FAA allows pilots, including private ones, to fly light sport aircraft with lower cost conditions.
One notable effect of this rule is that a pilot does not need a medical before flying. According to this regulation, you cannot fly aircraft like Cherokees and others in this category unless you have a valid medical certificate. Knowing the regulations that come with flying any LSA, whether it's a PiperSport, Cessna 162, or any other kind, is always a huge step taken. We have provided the necessary information you need to be eligible to fly any LSA, in this article.
It is becoming easier to have direct onboard experience. Light sport aircraft have been around for a while, with over 150 designs manufactured. The information provided below is a step-by-step method to getting a sport pilot certificate and becoming eligible to fly LSA. This is taken from Title 14, Part 61 of the Code of Federal Regulations on Medical and Pilot Certification. Sections in this part 61 include the regulations for pilot, flight instructor, and ground instructor certifications.
Requirements for Flying a Light Sport Aircraft
As a private pilot, This session discusses the provisions that allow you to fly a light-sport aircraft while possessing a sport pilot certificate.
A current and valid United States driver's license may be accepted as medical eligibility proof under 14 CFR 61.23 if:
- You've applied for an airman medical and are qualified for at least a third-class certificate.
- You possess an airman medical that is current and has not been suspended or revoked.
When a private pilot has a known medical condition that prevents them from safely operating an LSA, they cannot substitute a valid United States driver's license for a valid airman medical under 14 CFR 61.53.
With limited conditions, 14 CFR 61.315 allows a holder of a sport pilot license to function as pilot-in-command of an LSA. These conditions include:
- Getting paid or employed to transport a passenger or property.
- Traveling with more than one passenger.
- Flying for business purposes.
- Night flight.
A private pilot, on the other hand, is exempt from the requirements of paragraphs (7) and (14) of this section. This section limits the sort of airspace a sport pilot can operate in as well as restricts the airspeed requirements.
A valid medical is required to fly any light-sport aircraft weighing greater than 1,320 pounds. Bonanzas and Cherokees are examples of this style of aircraft. Any aircraft weighing more than this does not meet the FAA’s definition of LSA.
There are a series of processes involved before earning a sport pilot certificate. These processes are discussed in the following section.
How Do You Earn a Sport Pilot Certificate?
To earn a sport pilot certificate, an eligible candidate must:
- Be at least 17 (or 16 in case of operating a glider/balloon) years of age.
- Be fluent in English.
- Possess at least a third-class airman medical or be an owner of a valid and current United States driver’s license when they want to operate light sport aircraft other than a glider/balloon.
Obtain an FAA 8710-2 form from the nearest flight district office or a designated pilot examiner.
You must also complete training for a sport pilot certificate in an airplane category. These training requirements include at least 15 hours of flying training from an authorized instructor, as well as at least 5 hours of solo flight.
You must also pass the oral FAA knowledge and practical examinations on aeronautical issues and light-sport aircraft topics relevant to you as a sport pilot.
After completing the above procedures, you will be given a sport pilot certification with no category/class rating. The logbook endorsement for the category/class will thereafter be supplied in accordance with FAR 61.317.
Now that you possess a sport pilot certificate and can act as a pilot-in-command when operating an LSA, it is important to have the knowledge of the types of aircraft you can fly after getting your certificate.
A list of standard category aircraft that match FAA's definition of light-sport aircraft can be obtained from the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA) website.
There are various LSA brands available in the aircraft marketplace. However, this article covers the five best light sports aircraft from which to choose depending on the type of experience you seek.
Best 5 Light Sport Aircraft to Choose From
Different light sport aircraft have been produced to give different experiences and satisfaction during your tour. Some are known for relatively high speed, and some are assembled to satisfy your budget.
However, some LSAs are susceptible to wind attack because of their light weight and small wing. The wing of an airplane is designed to lift it and create balance in the air. A heavier aircraft requires a larger wing to create more lift while the reverse is the case for a lighter one.
Consider one of the LSAs below depending on the type of experience you like to have while onboard.
1. Aveko VL-3
Designed by Czech Republic-based JMB Aircraft, the VL-3 is currently produced by Aveko, another light aircraft manufacturer based out of the Czech Republic (this time in the city of Brno).
Built for speed above all else, it is commonly regarded as the fastest aircraft within the FAA's classification of LSA, with a top speed of 370km/h. Because of its 55-degree flap angle, you get to experience an impressive landing.
It also covers as far as 2000 km distance, making it one of the best LSAs for long-distance trips.
2. LISA AKOYA
When safety is the first thing that comes to mind when attempting to go onboard, AKOYA from LISA should be your first choice. Because of its aerodynamic qualities and other practical designs, it is an attractively constructed two-seater light aircraft that emphasizes on safety.
This airplane has an aerodynamic fuselage that can tolerate and withstand the wind's quick, transient rise in speed. It is also equipped with conventional landing gear, allowing you to take off and land on any surface - water, land, or snow.
3. 1100R Mini Max
This is neither the safest or fastest LSA available. However, if you're a private pilot looking to put together a low-budget LSA with acceptable and comfortable characteristics, this mini max model is a great option. It's a single-seat ultralight vehicle that costs $10,000 with engine and propeller installed.
It has a top cruise speed of 104km/h, which may be increased to 161km/h by upgrading the engine from the basic 28 hp Rotax 447 to a 40 horsepower Rotax 447. When you have the financial means, you can update this machine to the 1500R and 1600R models. It is marketed as one of the world's quickest and least priced light-sport aircraft.
4. Evektor-Aerotechnik Harmony
This two-seater LSA produced by the Evektor-Aerotechnik offers an ultimate cross-country tour and training experience. It is regarded as the best LSA for training purposes due to its ease of maintenance, cheap running expenses, and handling characteristics that even a student pilot can readily adapt to.
5. Skyleader 600
A two-seater metal-bodied LSA, the Skyleader 600 is designed to be the perfect combination of speed, range and comfort. Best known for its use as a recreational and/or training aircraft, the Skyleader 600 is also used for a variety of special operations thanks to it not needing to be sent back to the factory for operational adjustments!