Airplane Pilot – Add Category, Class or Speed Endorsement

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Are you an airplane pilot interested in adding a Category/Class at the sport pilot level. Perhaps airplane to gyro plane or WSC Trike? How about a CFI wanting to add a category or class to the existing CFI certificate? Are you interested in how to add a speed endorsement for an airplane sport pilot or sport pilot instructor?

These are the steps involved if you’re an airplane pilot who wants to add a Category/ Class to your pilot certificate (such as sport or private pilot airplane adding additional category sport pilot weight-shift control trike or gyroplane). Additionally, if you’re a sport pilot who wants to add a speed endorsement above or below 87 knots/100 MPH to your pilot certificate, this will be covered here.

What is Category and Class

To add a Category/Class to a pilot certificate, for all pilots and sport pilot Certified Flight Instructor (CFIS) this is a Proficiency Check to obtain privileges at the sport pilot level.

NOTE: To add an additional private pilot category (such as airplane to weight-shift control trike), all of the requirements for a private pilot must be met. See airplane private pilot for more on this. First, let’s understand what is a category and a class.

  • Category

    • Airplane
    • Weight-Shift Control (WSC) trike
    • Powered Parachute
    • Gyroplane
    • Glider
  • Class

    • Land
    • Sea
  • Distinct Category/Classes

    • Airplane Single engine Land ASEL
    • Airplane Single Engine Sea ASES
    • Weight-shift Control Land WSCL
    • Weight-shift Control Sea WSCS
    • Powered Parachute Land PPL
    • Powered Parachute Sea PPS

How to Add a Category or Class

To add a category or class at the sport pilot level, two CFI’s are needed per 61.321. The first one for a recommendation, the second one for the proficiency check as follows.

CFI #1

  • Receive training on aeronautical knowledge and skill per § 61.309 and § 61.311 for the additional light-sport aircraft category and/or class.
  • Receive logbook endorsement from this authorized instructor to take proficiency check.
  • Get CFI recommendation on the FAA Form 8710-11 for proficiency check.

CFI #2

  • Successfully complete a proficiency check from an authorized instructor other than the instructor who provided training and recommendation. The proficiency check for an additional category/class has all the same tasks in the Practical Test Standards (PTS) as the initial pilot checkride. The difference is that it is performed by a CFI rather than an FAA examiner or designated pilot examiner (DPE). DPE’s can, perform proficiency checks but they are acting as a flight instructor for the Proficiency check.
  • Receive a logbook endorsement from the instructor who conducted the proficiency check for the additional category and/or class. This instructor will fill out the proficiency check area on the 8710-11 and send the form directly to the FAA Registry within a maximum of 10 days so the added category/class goes on the pilot’s record with the FAA. Additional category/class at the sport pilot level are not added to the plastic pilot license/certificate. They are logbook entries only.

What is nice is that adding a category or class with a proficiency check counts as a flight review per 61.56.

How to Add a Speed Endorsement

For Sport Pilots, this is a single CFI logbook endorsement. Once a CFI has and additional “pilot” speed endorsement, he/she can teach in the additional speed classification.

First, let’s understand what is a Speed Endorsement.

  • Per 61.327, Sport pilots must have a logbook endorsement, either above 87 KCAS Vh, or below 87 KCAS Vh to operate a LSA (Vh is full power level flight at standard conditions which divides the high-speed low drag aircraft from the low speed, high drag, low mass aircraft which have different flying characteristics).
  • Sport pilots do not need any speed endorsement to fly solo but should get this speed endorsement before the checkride so they can fly the aircraft after the checkride.
  • Per 61.303, private pilots, flying as private pilots with a medical or sport pilots without a medical, do NOT need any speed endorsement. They can fly in both speed groups.

Pilots who have been trained and have the low-speed endorsement, less than 87 KCAS, must obtain the higher aircraft speed endorsement to fly the higher speed aircraft. Similarly, sport pilots who were trained in the higher speed aircraft need to be trained in a slower speed aircraft and receive a slower speed endorsement for the slower speed aircraft to fly one.

Only one CFI is needed to get the additional speed endorsement.

  • Receive and log ground and flight training from an authorized instructor in a Make and Model of LSA that is within the same speed range of aircraft you wish to fly.
  • Receive a logbook endorsement from an authorized instructor who provides training in the speed of LSA you wish to fly.

Note that a speed endorsement DOES NOT count as a flight review. This is similar to a tailwheel endorsement with one CFI completing the process rather than two with a proficiency check.

Got questions?