Hello Sport Pilot Talk!
I could tell you all about myself, but to make a long story
it short, suffice to say that I did a bunch of Light Sport training
(enough to pass a checkride… or so my first instructor incorrectly believed) and then transitioned to Private Pilot (at a better flight school, where I did pass the checkride). I now have 150 hours, mostly in Cessna 172s, although lately I have mostly flown a 170 taildragger
… but when I’m not in a hurry and want to enjoy the view, I still rent a SportStar
. And when people ask me what the best way is to get a pilot’s license, I tell them about becoming a Sport Pilot gives you 90% of the fun of Private Pilot for 50% of the cost. Flying around here is a lot of fun
, and many people do it
Recently, while I was getting some dual time in a Van's RV-6, I heard that the FAA was considering changing the Light Sport rules to possibly include larger and faster airplanes, such as the RVs. This sounded dangerous, because when you’re flying at 200mph, things happen a lot faster, and it’s probably not safe for someone with 20 hours in their logbook to be zipping a passenger around in an RV! So I did some Googling around to find out what's up. The most informative results were this
. Those threads revealed that what the FAA is contemplating is no longer requiring a medical for Recreational Pilots. While this would not change the Light Sport rules, it would heavily impact Light Sport aviation, because the reason that a lot of people fly LSAs is due to expired medicals.
Those threads also discussed many topics that were great food for thought. What is the market for LSAs in general? How are they selling? Who's buying them? What were the motivations for creating the Light Sport rules in the first place? What are the motivations of someone who flies LSAs instead of Part-23 airplanes? I decided to join this website so that I could participate in that conversation.
I'm originally from Brazil, where a lot of people fly "ultralights". By that I do not mean Part-103 aircraft, I mostly mean two-seaters that are anywhere in the spectrum between a true Part-103 ultralight and a Van's RV (~1600 lbs). In most countries, as you know, flying such "ultralights" requires less training than becoming a "real" pilot. So I figured that when the FAA created the Light Sport rules, it was basically catching up with the rest of the world, and saying that you don't need 40h of training if all you're going to do is fly low-performance two-seaters during the day. I also figured that part of the motivation was the fact that, if they passed this rule, a side effect would be that a lot more people would get into flying, and that's arguably a good thing. Two things that did not initially occur to me are (1) how getting rid of the medical requirement would get a lot of people back
into flying, and (2) how this could end the exceptions that allow two-seater ultralights to operate under Part-103 for training. These realizations, in turn, have led me to wonder: (1) Are there enough "I lost my medical" pilots to create a market that justifies the development of a bunch of LSAs that cost US$150K?... and... (2) Can two-seater ultralights (which would meet Part-103 if only they had a single seat) no longer be flown under Part-103? I am posting those questions in their respective forums (here
) and I look forward to hearing you guys' (and gals') insightful and informed opinions.