How to Become a Sport Pilot

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A person who wants to become a sport pilot must meet certain age requirements. The Federal Aviation Agency (FAA) also stipulates that sport pilots complete an approved training program that consists of a certain number of hours of supervised instruction. Since sport pilots do not fly for commercial purposes, the process of becoming a sport pilot is done for recreational reasons only.

Wikimedia Commons: Karen Bollinger
Education No formal education required
Starting pay N/A
Median pay N/A
10 yr growth N/A
Related professions Airline pilot
Author Selena Robinson

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Sport Pilot Job Overview

A sport pilot is a pilot who flies aircraft for personal or hobby purposes only. Sport pilots are only authorized to fly certain kinds of aircraft under specific conditions. For example, sport pilots are only allowed to carry a maximum of one passenger along with them. They are also prohibited from flying when visibility is less than 3 miles or at night. The FAA also holds sport pilots to a maximum ceiling, allowing them to fly in Grade E and Grade G airspace only. Sport pilots are also prohibited from towing anything behind their planes while in flight.[1]

Sport Aircraft Guidelines

To meet the FAA standard for light sport aircraft, an airplane or glider must adhere to specific requirements. The plane must not have a takeoff weight exceeding 1,320 pounds (1,430 pounds for a seaplane). A glider or balloon must not exceed a takeoff weight of 660 pounds. The plane can only have a capacity of one or two people in a non-pressurized cabin. Light sport aircraft must also have fixed landing gear (fixed/repositionable landing gear or a hull for a seaplane).[2]

Sport Pilot Education

Becoming a sport pilot does not require that a pilot obtain a college degree or even a high school diploma. However, all sport pilots must be at least 17 years of age at the time they apply for a certificate. Those who want to fly gliders or balloons must be at least 16 years of age.[3] Aspiring sport pilots must also hold a valid U.S. drivers' license, since this license satisfies the FAA medical qualification for receiving a sport pilot certificate.[4]

Sport Pilot Training

Before a sport pilot can operate an aircraft independently, he or she must complete an FAA-approved sport pilot training course. This training consists of a minimum of 15 hours of supervised flight training from a sport pilot certified flight instructor (CFI), as well as a minimum of 5 hours of solo flying experience in the craft. The flight training includes at least 10 cycles, three hours of test preparation, two hours of cross-country flight, and ground training.[3] Pilots must also pass the FAA Sport Pilot Practical Test before they can receive a sport pilot certificate.[5]

Sport Pilot Training Process

A look at the training process for sport pilots

Also See: How to Become an Airplane Mechanic, How to Become an Air Traffic Controller, How to Become a Flight Attendant, How to Become an Airline Pilot


  3. 3.0 3.1,-a-,-Certification-Policy/Frequently-Asked-Questions-About-Sport-Pilot.aspx