Registration Smooths Sport Pilot Transition
Ultralight pilots may have a more direct route to a sport pilot license through the three national organizations that already conduct ultralight flight training. FAA sport pilot team leader Sue Gardner said ultralight pilots registered with EAA, Aero Sports Connection or the United States Ultralight Association will go through a simple process to get the new license. Pilots already registered with those groups will take a knowledge test and pass a practical flight test to get the new license. Anyone else, regardless of experience and knowledge, will have to go through the whole training regimen and log the required number of hours before obtaining a sport pilot license, depending on the type of aircraft they fly. "Becoming a registered ultralight pilot is the easiest path to becoming a sport pilot," said Gardner. Meanwhile, progress continues on the establishment of technical standards for light sport aircraft.
The American Society for Testing and Material's (ASTM) International Light-Sport Aircraft (LSA) Committee wrapped up a two-day meeting in Florida last Wednesday. The committee is made up of industry and government representatives and is charged with setting design, construction and maintenance standards for the new class of aircraft. Standards for powered parachutes have been completed and are going for one final review. Work is progressing on all other types and on the engine standards. All involved remain optimistic the standards will be finalized before the final rule is approved, which Congress has ordered be done by September at the latest. EAA officials are also on the road warning airports to get ready for the increase in traffic and business the new aircraft and license categories will create. "Sport pilot is the future of recreational aviation, especially for those who depend on new pilot starts and fuel sales for their very survival," EAA Vice President Bob Warner told the recent Nebraska Aviation Symposium.