Can my sport pilot student use his private pilot student certificate?

On September 1, 2004 the FAA inaugurated a new pilot certificate dubbed the "sport pilot" that makes learning to fly easier and more affordable that ever. Intended primarily for recreational use, you can now become a pilot with as little as 20 hours of flight instruction! In addition, the FAA also created a new category of affordable "light-sport aircraft"!

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Re: Can my sport pilot student use his private pilot student certificate?

Postby drseti » Sat Nov 10, 2018 3:23 pm

TimTaylor wrote:Repeat...how can that be cheaper than going straight for Private at your flight school?


So, the operative word here is your. That's easy - at my flight school, straight to Private is not an option. All of my students use Sport as a portal of entry, because that's how the curriculum is designed. My stepping stone approach is not necessarily right for everybody. Those who don't want to go this route are certainly welcome to go elsewhere, but the past 9 years have shown me that the folks who enroll for PP at other flight schools end up paying more. Maybe it's because their curricula are less efficient. Or maybe it's because they train in aircraft with higher operating and maintenance costs. Or maybe (blush) I'm just a better instructor?
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Re: Can my sport pilot student use his private pilot student certificate?

Postby TimTaylor » Sat Nov 10, 2018 4:46 pm

All else being equal, it cost more to get a Sport Pilot first, then a Private Pilot add on, than it cost to get a Private. That assumes doing it all in the same LSA aircraft, etc. If nothing else, you don't need to take two written exams, get two recommendations, and take two flight test. Getting a Sport Pilot first does not magically reduce the number of hours of dual or solo needed.
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Re: Can my sport pilot student use his private pilot student certificate?

Postby TimTaylor » Sat Nov 10, 2018 4:49 pm

3Dreaming wrote:
TimTaylor wrote:
3Dreaming wrote:
Standard category has nothing to do with determining if you need a medical. That is determined by aircraft specifications and pilot operation.

You need a medical or Basic Med to solo anything other than LSA (not talking about gliders or other things here). You can be working on Sport Pilot, Rec Pilot, or Private Pilot, doesn't matter. You can be someone who never intends to get a license. If you are flying an LSA, you don't need a medical to solo. Otherwise, you do need a medical to solo C150, Cherokee 140, etc.

Point being, you don't need to decide which way you are going (Sport, Rec, or Private) until time to solo in something other than LSA.


You can say it all you want, but the regulations don't back up your opinion.

I think they do. Until you declare toward Rec or Private, you can point toward Sport. And if you make sure your "Sport Pilot" cross country complies with Private Pilot requirements, you still don't need a medical until you DECIDE to forgo the Sport Pilot certificate and do the added training required for Private (night flight, etc). At that point, you are definitely no longer going for Sport Pilot, but are now going for Private. I suspect this happens frequently. If I was still actively instructing, I would advise any student going for Sport Pilot to make sure his cross country training complied with Private requirments if there was any chance he might change his mind and decide to go for Private. For instance, he could be waiting to find out about a possible medical condition before taking the 3rd class physical. So, he does as much training as possible as a student working on Sport prior to switching to a student pilot working on Private (after obtaining his medical).
Last edited by TimTaylor on Sat Nov 10, 2018 5:13 pm, edited 6 times in total.
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Re: Can my sport pilot student use his private pilot student certificate?

Postby 3Dreaming » Sat Nov 10, 2018 4:56 pm

TimTaylor wrote:
3Dreaming wrote:
TimTaylor wrote:You need a medical or Basic Med to solo anything other than LSA (not talking about gliders or other things here). You can be working on Sport Pilot, Rec Pilot, or Private Pilot, doesn't matter. You can be someone who never intends to get a license. If you are flying an LSA, you don't need a medical to solo. Otherwise, you do need a medical to solo C150, Cherokee 140, etc.

Point being, you don't need to decide which way you are going (Sport, Rec, or Private) until time to solo in something other than LSA.


You can say it all you want, but the regulations don't back up your opinion.

I think they do. Until you declare toward Rec or Private, you can point toward Sport. And if you make sure your "Sport Pilot" cross country complies with Private Pilot requirements, you still don't need a medical until you DECIDE to forgo the Sport Pilot certificate and take the Private Pilot checkride.


I encourage you to provide the regulatory citation to back that up.

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Re: Can my sport pilot student use his private pilot student certificate?

Postby TimTaylor » Sat Nov 10, 2018 5:03 pm

Read the Sport Pilot regulations. There is NOTHING that prohibits you from switching from Sport to Private anytime before you take your Sport Pilot check ride. Go get a 3rd class physical, do the required Private Pilot training you haven't had, pass the written, get your recommendation, take the flight test. This will probably be a very common happening now that all training from a Sport CFI can count toward a Private.

What would you have him do? I guess he could go get a 3rd class medical, throw out his log book, then start over as a student going for a Private certificate. Sometimes you have to use a little logic and common sense.
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Re: Can my sport pilot student use his private pilot student certificate?

Postby drseti » Sat Nov 10, 2018 5:32 pm

TimTaylor wrote:Getting a Sport Pilot first does not magically reduce the number of hours of dual or solo needed.


True, it doesn't reduce the requirements. But it can (under certain circumstances) reduce the actual hours flown. Start with the realization that very few (if any) PP candidates ever finish near the minimum 40 hour requirement. Last I heard, the national average was more like 75. But give the school and students the benefit if the doubt, and assume we're talking about 60 hours.

Now, it's true SP candidates don't really finish in 20 hours either. My students take about 30. Then, they need their night and instrument training, and practical test prep. That takes my students another 10 hours. So, 40 total now comes within reach. (In fact, they have more hours than that, because they've been flying for fun as sport pilots between ratings. But you can't count the cost of those flights, because they're not really lessons, or required training, even though they give the pilot experience and improve skills).

A slow student won't necessarily finish my SP/PP program in that 40 hour minimum, so let's throw in an extra 10 for good measure. We're still 10 hours ahead, which more than pays for the extra written as and checkride.

YMMV, but that's what my students are experiencing.
The opinions posted are those of one CFI, and do not necessarily represent the FAA or its lawyers.
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Re: Can my sport pilot student use his private pilot student certificate?

Postby drseti » Sat Nov 10, 2018 5:36 pm

I will concede that only a quarter of my students continue on to PP, at least initially. And, you could rightly argue that there are selectivity factors at work here, that only my best students go on for higher ratings. But the fact is, those other 75% find that SP meets their mission. And without LSAs and the SP rating, they wouldn't be flying at all.
The opinions posted are those of one CFI, and do not necessarily represent the FAA or its lawyers.
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Re: Can my sport pilot student use his private pilot student certificate?

Postby drseti » Sat Nov 10, 2018 5:39 pm

TimTaylor wrote:There is NOTHING that prohibits you from switching from Sport to Private anytime before you take your Sport Pilot check ride. Go get a 3rd class physical, do the required Private Pilot training you haven't had, pass the written, get your recommendation, take the flight test. This will probably be a very common happening now that all training from a Sport CFI can count toward a Private.


That is certainly to be hoped!
The opinions posted are those of one CFI, and do not necessarily represent the FAA or its lawyers.
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Re: Can my sport pilot student use his private pilot student certificate?

Postby TimTaylor » Sat Nov 10, 2018 6:01 pm

I'm not advocating going straight for Private versus getting Sport Pilot first, then moving up to Private. I'm just saying pretty emphatically, it is not cheaper to get Sport Pilot first if your goal is Private. That makes no sense. There are pros and cons to doing it each way. I agree that many people only want or need a Sport Pilot certificate. I'm not saying a Private is necessarily the way to go.

And yes, you can always cite exceptions where a student could have never passed his Private checkride without hours of experience that he obtained as a Sport Pilot, but that would not be typical. In addition, he could have obtained those same hours as a student pilot never having taken the Sport Pilot written, and never having taken the Sport Pilot flight test (and required training and sign-off for the flight test).
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Re: Can my sport pilot student use his private pilot student certificate?

Postby dstclair » Sat Nov 10, 2018 8:17 pm

I think what Paul is stating is that the national average for PP is 60 hrs and the average for his school is 50 hrs (which includes an SP ticket). A local flight school rents a SportCruiser for $145/hr so this means Paul's route is about $1,450 cheaper than the typical PP school, in terms of flight hours. Of course, you'll have to spring for another written and checkride. I have no idea what this cost -- maybe $650 total? So, you'd save around $800 going to Avsport. And the student would be flying on their own quicker and, perhaps, decide that's the level they want to remain (which would save even more $$$). I personally like that route but YMMV.
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Re: Can my sport pilot student use his private pilot student certificate?

Postby 3Dreaming » Sat Nov 10, 2018 8:21 pm

TimTaylor wrote:Read the Sport Pilot regulations. There is NOTHING that prohibits you from switching from Sport to Private anytime before you take your Sport Pilot check ride. Go get a 3rd class physical, do the required Private Pilot training you haven't had, pass the written, get your recommendation, take the flight test. This will probably be a very common happening now that all training from a Sport CFI can count toward a Private.

What would you have him do? I guess he could go get a 3rd class medical, throw out his log book, then start over as a student going for a Private certificate. Sometimes you have to use a little logic and common sense.


I was looking for the citation to your claim that any student pilot can solo a LSA without a medical.

Of course you can switch from sport to private pilot.

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Re: Can my sport pilot student use his private pilot student certificate?

Postby TimTaylor » Sat Nov 10, 2018 8:25 pm

I'm not talking about national averages or Paul's flight school. I got my Private in 44 hours (about 100 years ago). Which part of 61.109 does a person not have to comply with because he has a Sport Pilot certificate? I also specified using the same LSA for the entire training. Under normal circumstances, it would not be cheaper to get a Sport Pilot certificate plus Private than it would be to get just a Private. It just wouldn't.

If Paul's school can do both in 50 hours, then it can do Private only for that same student in 48 hours less the second flight test. How is this not cheaper? The student would not need the Sport Pilot flight test prep or the Sport PIlot flight test. That's not how his program is set up and his ground school is formatted, but that's his choice, not FAR requirements and not what every student would require.
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Re: Can my sport pilot student use his private pilot student certificate?

Postby TimTaylor » Sat Nov 10, 2018 8:34 pm

3Dreaming wrote:
TimTaylor wrote:Read the Sport Pilot regulations. There is NOTHING that prohibits you from switching from Sport to Private anytime before you take your Sport Pilot check ride. Go get a 3rd class physical, do the required Private Pilot training you haven't had, pass the written, get your recommendation, take the flight test. This will probably be a very common happening now that all training from a Sport CFI can count toward a Private.

What would you have him do? I guess he could go get a 3rd class medical, throw out his log book, then start over as a student going for a Private certificate. Sometimes you have to use a little logic and common sense.


I was looking for the citation to your claim that any student pilot can solo a LSA without a medical.

Of course you can switch from sport to private pilot.

Asked and answered by Paul and myself. Until he is a student specifically for Private pilot, he can solo an LSA without a medical. By default, he would be a student pilot for Sport Pilot if training in LSA until he says he is not. What FAR says when a student must decide and commit to which certificate he is going for?
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Re: Can my sport pilot student use his private pilot student certificate?

Postby 3Dreaming » Sat Nov 10, 2018 8:43 pm

TimTaylor wrote:
3Dreaming wrote:
TimTaylor wrote:Read the Sport Pilot regulations. There is NOTHING that prohibits you from switching from Sport to Private anytime before you take your Sport Pilot check ride. Go get a 3rd class physical, do the required Private Pilot training you haven't had, pass the written, get your recommendation, take the flight test. This will probably be a very common happening now that all training from a Sport CFI can count toward a Private.

What would you have him do? I guess he could go get a 3rd class medical, throw out his log book, then start over as a student going for a Private certificate. Sometimes you have to use a little logic and common sense.


I was looking for the citation to your claim that any student pilot can solo a LSA without a medical.

Of course you can switch from sport to private pilot.

Asked and answered by Paul and myself. Until he is a student specifically for Private pilot, he can solo an LSA without a medical. By default, he would be a student pilot for Sport Pilot if training in LSA until he says he is not. What FAR says when a student must decide and commit to which certificate he is going for?


There isn't one that says they must decide, but 61.23 says a student pilot must have a third class medical to exercise student pilot privileges in a airplane LSA or not. The only way they don't need a medical is if they have chosen the do sport pilot, and are flying a LSA.

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Re: Can my sport pilot student use his private pilot student certificate?

Postby TimTaylor » Sat Nov 10, 2018 8:56 pm

Last time I'm going to say this. Use some common sense.
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