Current airplane pilot
If you’re an individual holding a private pilot certificate or higher, you may exercise the privileges of a sport pilot certificate, providing you comply with the privileges and limitations of the sport pilot certificate.
The main benefit to you as an existing pilot is that sport pilot requires only a valid state driver’s license to establish medical fitness. No more need for a third-class medical!
Unfortunately, the rule includes one major exception: If you’re an existing pilot (or a previous student pilot), who has had their most recent FAA medical certificate application denied, suspended, or revoked by the FAA, you’re not allowed to operate using your driver’s license.
Here’s all an existing pilot needs to do:
- Possess a valid pilot certificate.
- Comply with the medical requirements of a sport pilot (valid state driver’s license.)
- Have a current flight review (recorded in logbook).
- Fly a sport pilot-eligible aircraft.
- Operate within the privileges and limitations of the sport pilot certificate.
- Operate within the category/class ratings on the pilot certificate.
If you’re an individual with a private, commercial, or ATP certificate, you may perform the flight review in any aircraft authorized by your pilot certificate, assuming your Certified Flight Instructor (CFI) is pilot in command.
If you’re a private pilot choosing to operate the same category/class aircraft at the sport pilot level, you don’t need to do anything more than comply with the rules. No change in certificates is necessary. If ramp checked, you may simply present your private pilot certificate and valid state driver’s license and inform the FAA inspector “I’m operating as a sport pilot.” Any questions see FAR 61.303.
If you are current, you have…
- had a flight review in the last 24 calendar months,
- performed three takeoffs/landings as PIC within the last 90 days in the make/model you want to take a passenger, plus
- Hold some sort of medical fitness (drivers license for sport pilot or FAA third-class medical for private pilot)
You must maintain these to stay current. Many pilots stay in shape so they can keep their FAA medical and fly. Losing your right to fly because of a medical problem you could have avoided would be disastrous if you love to fly. Eat right, exercise and do all those things you know will keep you healthy.
To enhance flight knowledge, the best thing for current pilots is to go flying, stay up to date with what is happening in aviation and get training when you can to improve your aeronautical knowledge and flight skills.
AOPA and EAA are both great organizations to belong to and participate in.
Use the Sport Pilot Locator to find a pilot or LSA services near you.