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

Postby TimTaylor » Sat Nov 10, 2018 9:09 pm

3Dreaming wrote:
TimTaylor wrote:
3Dreaming wrote:
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.

The FAR DOES NOT say they must have chosen to do sport pilot. That must, in fact, be what they are doing. That is what they are doing until it's not.

This situation is another of the ambiguous issues created with the introduction of Sport Pilot without a complete harmonization of all FAR's. Some people will read and interpret the FAR's precisely as written. Others will use common sense and logic to interpret things more liberally. This difference of opinion exist within the FAA also. It's similiar to the question of do you need a medical to act as safety pilot in an LSA for which you are legal to fly as PIC? Some say yes, some say no.

Obviously we disagree, so going back and forth is not going to resolve our difference of opinion.
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Re: Can my sport pilot student use his private pilot student certificate?

Postby TimTaylor » Sat Nov 10, 2018 9:49 pm

Just to beat this to death a little more...so a guy or gal comes to you and says I want to learn to fly. I have a spouse and 2 kids at home, so I think I want a Private certificate, but I have some (confidential) medical issues I'm working through and won't know how they shake out for 6 months or more. Anyway, I would like to start taking lessons from you next week in your CTLS. If I can resolve my medical issues, I will get an FAA 3rd class medical and probably move up to a 4 place Cessna or Piper.

So, what do you do? I would let them start taking lessons in the CTLS and solo in the CTLS when ready. When it came time for instrument training and cross country training and solo cross country, I would make sure they met the Private certificate requirements.

At about this time, I would advise the student that they need to decide about the medical and take the appropriate Sport or Private written. If they took and passed the Sport Pilot written, I would finish them up and recommend for Sport Pilot check ride. If instead, they took and passed the Private Pilot written, I would tell them they need to go get a 3rd class medical and then finish them up for Private.

EDIT: Alternatively, on day one, you could tell the guy that, until he makes up his mind, he is a student going for Sport Pilot until/unless he gets his 3rd class medical. Personally, I see no difference.
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Re: Can my sport pilot student use his private pilot student certificate?

Postby drseti » Sat Nov 10, 2018 10:07 pm

That seems like a reasonable approach. A little different from mine, but still perfectly reasonable.
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Re: Can my sport pilot student use his private pilot student certificate?

Postby 3Dreaming » Sat Nov 10, 2018 10:28 pm

TimTaylor wrote:Just to beat this to death a little more...so a guy or gal comes to you and says I want to learn to fly. I have a spouse and 2 kids at home, so I think I want a Private certificate, but I have some (confidential) medical issues I'm working through and won't know how they shake out for 6 months or more. Anyway, I would like to start taking lessons from you next week in your CTLS. If I can resolve my medical issues, I will get an FAA 3rd class medical and probably move up to a 4 place Cessna or Piper.

So, what do you do? I would let them start taking lessons in the CTLS and solo in the CTLS when ready. When it came time for instrument training and cross country training and solo cross country, I would make sure they met the Private certificate requirements.

At about this time, I would advise the student that they need to decide about the medical and take the appropriate Sport or Private written. If they took and passed the Sport Pilot written, I would finish them up and recommend for Sport Pilot check ride. If instead, they took and passed the Private Pilot written, I would tell them they need to go get a 3rd class medical and then finish them up for Private.

EDIT: Alternatively, on day one, you could tell the guy that, until he makes up his mind, he is a student going for Sport Pilot until/unless he gets his 3rd class medical. Personally, I see no difference.


Since no medical is required to start training I would go ahead and start training. When it comes time to solo if they tell me they are not ready to go private pilot then they can solo with their drivers license. If they have told me they are going private I tell them they need to get a medical.

To take it even further I have 2 sons who I have been teaching to fly in my father's Taylorcraft, which is a LSA. My older son is 20, and he was in possession of a medical certificate when he soloed, because he is going for his private pilot. My younger son is 15. He has soloed in a glider, and hopes to get his private pilot on his 16th birthday. If that happens he will then solo the Taylorcraft as a private pilot seeking ASEL privileges. He will also have a medical certificate prior to flying the Taylorcraft solo.

I practice what I preach.

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

Postby TimTaylor » Sat Nov 10, 2018 10:45 pm

So, they are ready to solo and tell you they haven't decided yet. They still want to go Private but have not gotten the answers they need regarding their health issues and may not for several more months. However, they want to continue with their training in the CTLS. What do you do?
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Re: Can my sport pilot student use his private pilot student certificate?

Postby drseti » Sat Nov 10, 2018 10:54 pm

I'd say you tell the student he or she is now a Sport Pilot student, and the student solos. Downstream, the student shows up with a medical certificate. You then say you have a choice of continuing toward either the SP or the PP, and ask "which would you like to do?'
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Re: Can my sport pilot student use his private pilot student certificate?

Postby 3Dreaming » Sat Nov 10, 2018 11:32 pm

TimTaylor wrote:So, they are ready to solo and tell you they haven't decided yet. They still want to go Private but have not gotten the answers they need regarding their health issues and may not for several more months. However, they want to continue with their training in the CTLS. What do you do?


I would make sure they understand the implications of not having decided which way to go. Like not saying they wanted to finish their sport pilot first would mean they needed to get a medical before they solo.

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

Postby TimTaylor » Sat Nov 10, 2018 11:55 pm

drseti wrote:I'd say you tell the student he or she is now a Sport Pilot student, and the student solos. Downstream, the student shows up with a medical certificate. You then say you have a choice of continuing toward either the SP or the PP, and ask "which would you like to do?'

I would do this. But also tell the student that if he truly intends to go for Private, we will need to met the private requirements for instrument training and cross country training so that those will suffice for either Sport Pilot OR Private Pilot should he decide to go that route.
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Re: Can my sport pilot student use his private pilot student certificate?

Postby chicagorandy » Sun Nov 11, 2018 8:13 am

A very informative thread - THANKS to all the contributors.

Since the horse is only "mostly dead" (gosh I love that movie-lol) I will sum up by suggesting that it only costs a student 'less' (in terms of money paid to Paul's school) to go SP then PP, but certainly not less 'out-of-pocket' checkbook $$$ during the grand journey from SP to PP. The difference being buying competency hours on one's own as a licensed SP that will mean later spending fewer hours with a teacher being paid to be in the cockpit to become a PP. Thus reducing 'training' costs, at least as far as semantics are concerned.

However I happen to look at it, it's still a mighty considerable chunk of dough......COME ON LOTTO ticket ! lol

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

Postby rideandfly » Sun Nov 11, 2018 10:26 am

Some folks may want to learn to fly without knowing if they will really like it. Some will love it and some will eventually stop flying for various reasons. Learning to fly as a Sport Pilot is a good way for someone to learn about aviation, if they don't have any former aviation knowledge/experience.

I came from a non-aviation family, but still love airplanes and flying. My Dad took me to see the Blue Angles before I was 10 because I liked airplanes so much. That may have influenced me when I received my initial aerobatic training from a former Naval Aviator that flew F4U Corsairs off of carriers and was a former test pilot for Piper.

Very happy to see the proposed LSA/Pilot rules before they were made law and very happy that folks now have the option to become a Sport Pilot. After purchasing the Vag, 1150GW & 45MPH stall speed, don't plan to get another FAA medical or Basic Med examination.
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Re: Can my sport pilot student use his private pilot student certificate?

Postby 3Dreaming » Sun Nov 11, 2018 10:38 am

TimTaylor wrote: The FAR DOES NOT say they must have chosen to do sport pilot. That must, in fact, be what they are doing. That is what they are doing until it's not.

This situation is another of the ambiguous issues created with the introduction of Sport Pilot without a complete harmonization of all FAR's. Some people will read and interpret the FAR's precisely as written. Others will use common sense and logic to interpret things more liberally. This difference of opinion exist within the FAA also. It's similiar to the question of do you need a medical to act as safety pilot in an LSA for which you are legal to fly as PIC? Some say yes, some say no.

Obviously we disagree, so going back and forth is not going to resolve our difference of opinion.


The point that you and Paul are missing is the fact that the medical requirements for a student pilot, or any pilot for that matter didn't automatically change because the FAA introduced LSA. An LSA is just an airplane like any other airplane for the most part. What you are doing in the airplane is what determines which medical requirements you must meet. If you are exercising commercial pilot privileges you need a second class medical. If you are exercising private pilot privileges you need a third class medical or basicmed. If you are exercising student pilot privileges you need a third class medical or basicmed. Except for the basicmed part pilot privileges have been this way since before sport pilot or LSA were introduced. The fact that the FAA added sport pilot and LSA didn't change this these requirements.

With the introduction of sport pilot the FAA determined that you could operate on a drivers license instead of a medical while exercising sport pilot privileges. If you are exercising any other privileges in a LSA you need the medical that goes along with those privileges. The FAA also had to fix the fact that someone who wanted to become a sport pilot could meet the requirements without having to meet the regulatory requirements of a student pilot needing a medical to exercise pilot privileges to obtain a pilot certificate that didn't require a medical, so they added this to the existing regulations.

(c) Operations requiring either a medical certificate or U.S. driver's license. (1) A person must hold and possess either a medical certificate issued under part 67 of this chapter or a U.S. driver's license when—

(i) Exercising the privileges of a student pilot certificate while seeking sport pilot privileges in a light-sport aircraft other than a glider or balloon;
To exercise student pilot privileges beyond what is covered by the line marked in bold above requires the student pilot to hold at least a third class medical or be participating in basicmed.

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

Postby TimTaylor » Sun Nov 11, 2018 10:54 am

No, we're not missing that at all. We can read the FAR's as well as anyone. The student requirement for a 3rd class medical was written before LSA existed. The light sport rules came along and allowed a student to solo an LSA without a medical. That's what he's doing. He's a student and he's flying an LSA. He can solo without a medical. Nowhere has he signed a document telling the FAA otherwise.

I know what you are saying and I know why you are saying it. I disagree. If you want to interpret the FAR's precisely as written, that's fine. I choose to use logic, judgement, and common sense. I will also act as safety pilot in an LSA without a medical because I am legal as PIC. That is not what the FAR's say either. The requirement for a safety pilot to have a medical was so he would be a legal PIC. He doesn't need a medical to be legal PIC in an LSA. FAR's have not been totally harmonized since introduction of LSA and Sport Pilot.

EDIT: I'll also add that I have called the FAA on some of these issues and even they don't always agree with each other. That brings up the old question is it better to ask for permission or beg for forgiveness?
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Re: Can my sport pilot student use his private pilot student certificate?

Postby drseti » Sun Nov 11, 2018 4:29 pm

TimTaylor wrote:This difference of opinion exist within the FAA also. It's similiar to the question of do you need a medical to act as safety pilot in an LSA for which you are legal to fly as PIC? Some say yes, some say no.


My take on that question is no, and here's why: to act as a required crew member, one must hold the appropriate medical certificate. When the PIC is under the hood, safety pilot is a required crew member. On that, all seem to agree. Where they disagree is in what medical certificate is appropriate for that crew function. IMHO, and consistent with the Sport Pilot rules, in an LSA, the appropriate medical certificate can be a driver's license.

The FAA specifically authorizes CFIs to instruct in LSAs using a driver's license. They also require SP candidates in any LSA with a Vh greater than 87 knots to receive instrument training, from a CFI, prior to solo XC. To prohibit otherwise authorized CFIs from being safety pilots would (since LSAs are 2-place maximum) potentially make that required instruction impossible. Therefore, FAA must have intended CFIs giving instruction in an LSA using a driver's license medical to act as safety pilots.
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Re: Can my sport pilot student use his private pilot student certificate?

Postby drseti » Sun Nov 11, 2018 4:37 pm

3Dreaming wrote:If you are exercising student pilot privileges you need a third class medical or basicmed. Except for the basicmed part pilot privileges have been this way since before sport pilot or LSA were introduced. The fact that the FAA added sport pilot and LSA didn't change this these requirements.


Tom, you may recall that when LSA and SP were first introduced in 2004, there were a number of contradictions and oversights in the FARs, some of which were corrected in the 2010 revisions. (One of them was the Rocky Mountain altitude exemption.) I believe the present issue is one of the oversights that slipped through the cracks at the FAA. It is my belief that they did not intend to require all student pilots flying LSAs to get an FAA medical certificate. I don't really believe they intended to rule out the driver's license medical for students flying LSAs, when they allowed it for anyone else flying LSAs. If my interpretation is correct, FAA should correct this oversight in some future tweaking of the FARs. I certainly hope they do. But, correcting contradictions or discrepancies doesn't seem to be a high priority for FAA.

Another example of what I believe is an oversight is that, as a DPE, I can do Sport Pilot checkrides on Basic Med (or a driver's license, for that matter), but I cannot do Private Pilot checkrides without at least a Third Class medical. I'm sure this was an inadvertent omission when they wrote the Basic Med rules. Since there's a DPE shortage, one would hope this would be corrected, but who knows when?
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Re: Can my sport pilot student use his private pilot student certificate?

Postby 3Dreaming » Sun Nov 11, 2018 5:25 pm

drseti wrote: It is my belief that they did not intend to require all student pilots flying LSAs to get an FAA medical certificate. I don't really believe they intended to rule out the driver's license medical for students flying LSAs, when they allowed it for anyone else flying LSAs. If my interpretation is correct, FAA should correct this oversight in some future tweaking of the FARs. I certainly hope they do. But, correcting contradictions or discrepancies doesn't seem to be a high priority for FAA.


Paul, the fact that a pilot is flying a LSA has nothing to do with whether they need a medical or not. If I fly a LSA above 10,000 feet, in visibility less than 3 miles, at night, on an IFR flight plan, or towing a glider I need a medical. If I show up a Sentimental Journey with a J3 Cub and hang a shingle selling rides I need a medical. If the FAA didn't intend for student pilots flying a LSA to need a medical, then why did they see the need to change 61.23 to allow it specifically for students seeking sport pilot privileges.


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