New Sport Pilot  rules update published February 1, 2010 Title 14 CFR Part 43, 61, 91, and 141.
To be effective April 2, 2010 to the Federal Register .

In the new world order of more regulations, the new sport pilot/light sport aircraft rules are not nearly as many changes as originally proposed in the 2008 NPRM. In fact, I am pleasantly surprised with the results overall.

Overall, it looks like more freedoms/privileges rather than less, a good update for all.

Check out the video blog on the new FAA rules

Here is a first look at the highlights of the new rules:

Maximum altitudes
Sport Pilots can now fly above 10,000 feet MSL or 2,000 feet AGL which ever is higher. This was a welcome update. The 2000 feet above ground level was added allowing Sport Pilots to fly over 10,000 feet MSL to safely get over high mountains. Note: If any pilot flies over 12,500 feet for more than 30 minutes, supplemental oxygen is required per § 91.211. The over 10,000 new rule is in Title 14 CFR § 61.315 Privileges and limits of the sport pilot certificate.

Minimum Altitudes
If the operation is conducted without hazard to persons or property on the surface—
a powered parachute (PPC) or weight-shift-control (WSC) aircraft in non congested areas may be operated at less than 500 feet from any person, vessel, vehicle, or structure. This was only for helicopters before but now PPC and WSC was added. Per new §91.119 Minimum safe altitudes.

No Make/model “SET” of aircraft – New Speed endorsement. §61.323 “make/model set” is gone now and all related rules for pilots and instructors eliminated. It is now split up for light sport aircraft speed endorsements for an above 87 knots Vh aircraft and now new below 87 knots Vh endorsementfor the low mass, high drag, slower speed airplanes (not trikes and PPC) per §61.327 for pilots and §61.423 for flight instructors. It is specificly listed that airplanes do need the lower than 87 knot endorsement, therefore, trikes and PPC do not. However, all need the above 87 knots endorsement.

How and when to get Sport Pilot speed endorsements, above and below 87 knots. It should be noted that Private Pilots flying as sport pilots do not need any speed endorsements per 61.303. First, Student Pilots need speed endorsements hidden deep in §61.89 (c) (5) referring to   §61.327.  The speed endorsement  is for sport pilots and students.  The two flight instructor endorsements on the FAA student pilot license make/model, and students logbook make/model is not adequate. The student speed endorsement can count as the endorsement for sport pilot but the instructor can provide the speed endorsement for the aircraft before the checkride so the sport pilot has it easily found as a sport pilot. It should be part of the checkride sign off check-list .

If you are a sport pilot flying any aircraft, you need the a speed endorsement (except trikes and PPC flying aircraft below 87 knots). If you do not have one, get one from any instructor. For the low speed endorsement, any one who has pilot in command time logged in their logbook before March 3, 1010 is grandfathered in and does not need the low speed endorsement. Their logged time is their signoff per   §61.327.

No additional knowledge test when changing categories for private pilots per §61.63

Sport Pilot Student certificates are extended from 24 months to 60 months. Per §61.19 (came out earlier in late 2009 but is a significant change).

Ultralight experience deadlineto be able to use ultralight time as FAA recognized dual training time. Ultralight time only good for two more years towards sport sport, flight instructor with a sport pilot rating (CFIs) and private pilot WSC and PPC licenses per §61.52. On January 31, 2012 ultralight time can not be used.

Student sport pilots pre solo training added, First: use of radios is a training requirement for all pilots ONLY if the aircraft is equipped with radios. Second: if the aircraft is above 87 knots Vh and equipped with flight instruments, the student will have to have Instrument training (flight by reference to instruments) for solo cross country per §61.93.

Clarified some weight-shift control and PPC private pilot requirements and privilegesin Subpart E – Private pilots.

Clarified the definition in 43.1 (b) as originally intended so E-LSA that used to be S-LSA can do their own maintenance inspections if properly rated.

Cut down requirement of dual flight training time required 2 calender months before checkride  from 3 to 2 hours for airplane and WSC, and from 2 down to 1 hour for a PPC. §61.313

Included Light-Sport Aircraft into FAA approved Part 141 schools §141.39

Added that LSA Safety Directives need to be saved and complied with which was missing from the original rule.   §91.417  Maintenance records.

 What the FAA proposed for comments but did not do:

They did not add the category and class categories onto the sport pilot certificates as proposed. Sport Pilots and flight instructors with a sport pilot rating (CFIS) will still have all those log book endorsements for category and class.

Here are the official withdrawn items:

Withdrawn: Replace sport pilot privileges with aircraft category and class ratings on all pilot certificates (proposal 1)

Withdrawn: Replace sport pilot flight instructor privileges with aircraft category ratings on all flight instructor certificates (proposal 2)

Withdrawn: Remove current provisions for the conduct of proficiency checks by flight instructors and include provisions for the issuance of category and class ratings by designated pilot examiners (proposal 3)

Withdrawn: Place all requirements for flight instructors under a single subpart (subpart H) of part 61 (proposal 4)

Withdrawn: Require 1 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 5)

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 6)

Withdrawn: Remove specific regulatory provisions (under proposed §61.324) for endorsements for the operation of powered parachutes with
elliptical wings (portion of proposal 7)

Withdrawn: Add a requirement for student pilots to obtain endorsements identical to those proposed for sport pilots in §61.324 (portion of proposal 17)

You should go to the official release to see all the details.
Official FAA new sport pilot rules detail with why they did what

The official up to date FAR (Title 14 CFR Part 1,21,43, 61,91,141, 830 and all).

6 Responses

  1. With the elimination of “Sets” does this mean that if trained in a Challenger II (formerly AP-1 – Tri Gear), don’t need an endorsement to fly a Kolb Firestar II (formerly AP-2 – Tail Wheel)?

  2. What the regulations say is you need an endorsement to fly a tailwheel airplane.
    The old AP-2 Tail Wheel “set endorsement” is a set endorsement, not a real tailwheel endorsement per 61.31 (i). So before if you wanted to fly a tailwheel, you would need both the set endorsement plus a tailwheel endorsemet which is reduntant.
    So before and after the new reg is effective, March 2, 2010, you will need a tail wheel endorsement.

    Bottom line, if you do not have a tail wheel endorsement now, and you want to fly a tailwheel airplane, you will need a tail wheel endorsement per 61.31 (i), before and after March 2, 2010.

    The regulation 61.31 Type Rating Requirements, Additional training, and Authorization requirements is pretty clear. This would also apply to all LSA no matter what speed they are.

    61.31 Part (i)
    (i) Additional training required for operating tailwheel airplanes. (1) Except if a person logged pilot-in-command time in a tailwheel airplane before April 15, 1991,
    no person may act as pilot in command of a tailwheel airplane unless that person has received and logged flight training from an authorized instructor in a tailwheel airplane and received an endorsement in the person’s logbook from an authorized instructor who found the person proficient in the operation of a tailwheel airplane. The flight training must include at least the following maneuvers and procedures:

    (i) Normal and crosswind takeoffs and landings;

    (ii) Wheel landings (unless the manufacturer has recommended against such landings); and

    (iii) Go-around procedures.

    (2) The training and endorsement required by paragraph (i)(1) of this section is not required if the person logged pilot-in-command time in a tailwheel airplane before April 15, 1991.

  3. Hi Paul-

    On the 2 hours required within 2 months before the Practical test(Trikes and PPC), can one of these hours be given by the Examiner who will be conducting the test ?


  4. Before April 2, 2010, the recommending instructor had to do 2 of the 3 hours 60 days training prior to the checkride. Now that it will be 2 hours before the checkride 2 calendar months before. I think the 2 hours before the checkride for the recommending instructor is appropriate and follows our previous guidance so that is what I would expect and make the most sense.