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Tuesday, 02 February, 2010

FAA Issues Modifications To Sport Pilot Rules


February 2, 2010

What’s at Issue
On February 1, 2010, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) issued a final rule modifying the rules affecting sport pilots and flight instructors with a sport pilot rating.

Why it’s Important
This final rule is based upon a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) issued on April 15, 2008.  The regulatory changes promulgated by this final rule will affect the certification and training for sport pilots as well as flight instructors holding a sport pilot rating.

Major Provisions
The final rule addresses the following changes proposed in the 2008 NPRM – only proposals marked as accepted were finalized in the final rule:

Proposals 1-4 – Withdrawn
Replace sport pilot and sport pilot flight instructor privileges with aircraft category and class ratings; require issuance of category and class ratings by designated pilot examiners; and place all requirements for flight instructors under Part 61 subpart H

Proposal 5 – Withdrawn
Require one hour of flight training on the control and maneuvering of an airplane solely by reference to instruments for student pilots seeking a sport pilot certificate to operate an airplane with a VH greater than 87 knots CAS and sport pilots operating airplanes with a VH greater than 87 knots CAS

Proposal 6 - Withdrawn
Remove the requirement for persons exercising sport pilot privileges and flight instructors with a sport pilot rating to carry their logbooks while in flight

Proposal 7 – Partially Withdrawn, Partially Accepted

Remove the requirement that persons exercising sport pilot privileges have an aircraft make-and-model endorsement to operate an aircraft within a specific set of aircraft

Added specific regulatory provisions for endorsements for the operation of powered parachutes with elliptical wings and aircraft with a VH less than or equal to 87 knots CAS

Proposal 8 – Accepted
Remove the requirement for all flight instructors to log at least five hours of flight time in a make and model of light-sport aircraft before providing training in any aircraft from the same set in which that training is given

Proposal 9 – Accepted
Permit persons exercising sport pilot privileges and the privileges of a student pilot seeking a sport pilot certificate to fly up to an altitude of not more than 10,000 feet mean sea level (MSL) or 2,000 feet above ground level (AGL), whichever is higher

Proposal 10 - Accepted
Permit private pilots to receive compensation for production flight testing of powered parachutes and weight-shift-control aircraft intended for certification in the light-sport category in § 21.190

Proposal 11 – Accepted
Revise student sport pilot solo cross-country navigation and communication flight training requirements

Proposal 12 – Accepted
Clarify cross-country distance requirements for private pilots seeking to operate weight-shift-control aircraft

Proposal 13 – Accepted
Revise the aeronautical experience requirements at towered airports for persons seeking to operate a powered parachute or weight-shift control aircraft as a private pilot

Proposal 14 – Accepted
Remove the requirement for pilots with only powered parachute and weight-shift-control aircraft ratings to take a knowledge test for an additional rating at the same certificate level

Proposal 15 – Accepted with modifications
Revise the amount of hours of flight training an applicant for a sport pilot certificate must log within the preceding two calendar months from the month of the practical test

Proposal 16 – Accepted
Remove expired ultralight transition provisions and limit the use of aeronautical experience obtained in ultralight vehicles

Proposal 17 – Withdrawn
Add a requirement for student pilots to obtain endorsements identical to those proposed for sport pilots in §§ 61.324 and 61.327

Proposal 18 – Accepted
Clarify that an authorized instructor must be in a powered parachute when providing flight instruction to a student pilot

Proposal 19 – Accepted
Remove the requirement for aircraft certificated as experimental aircraft under § 21.191(i)(3) to comply with the applicable maintenance and preventive maintenance requirements of Part 43 when those aircraft have been previously issued a special airworthiness certificate in the light-sport category under § 21.190

Proposal 20 – Accepted
Require aircraft owners or operators to retain a record of the current status of applicable safety directives for special light-sport aircraft

Proposal 21 – Accepted
Provide for use of aircraft with a special airworthiness certificate in the light-sport category in training courses approved under Part 141

Proposal 22 – Accepted
Revise minimum safe altitude requirements for powered parachutes and weight-shift-control aircraft

NATA Position
NATA is pleased the FAA has responded to industry comments on the NPRM by integrating into the final rule much of the reasoning put forth in those comments.  NATA will publish a detailed explanation of the rule changes prior to the final rule’s effective date.

This final rule was published in the Federal Register on February 1, 2010, and is available to NATA members here. The final rule becomes effective on April 2, 2010.

Staff Contact:  Michael France
Director, Regulatory Affair

View in PDF format.

For general press inquiries, contact Shannon Chambers at 703-298-1347 or

The National Air Transportation Association (NATA) has been the voice of aviation business for over 75 years. Representing nearly 2,300 aviation businesses, NATA’s member companies provide a broad range of services to general aviation, the airlines and the military and NATA serves as the public policy group representing the interests of aviation businesses before Congress and the federal agencies.