FAA Final Rule Alters Sport Pilot Regulations

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The FAA has withdrawn or modified certain language that defines the certification of aircraft and airmen for the operation of light sport aircraft. In the final rule, the FAA has modified one proposal first listed in the 2008 NPRM and eliminated eight others. The FAA has chosen not to replace sport pilot privileges with aircraft category and class ratings on all pilot certificates. Similarly, the FAA has withdrawn a proposal to replace sport pilot flight instructor privileges with aircraft category ratings on flight instructor certificates. And sport pilot flight instructors will not be required to log 5 hours of flight time in a make and model of light sport aircraft before providing training in same. And for those student pilots and sport pilots seeking to operate an airplane with a maximum calibrated airspeed of greater than 87 knots, the FAA will require one hour of flight training under the hood. Of 22 proposals contained in the 2008 NPRM, 14 remain (including the aforementioned modified proposal).

Interested parties should read the full details of the final rule for themselves. The changes will update prior regulations implemented in 2004. The FAA says it received about 150 comments on the NPRM, the bulk of which were from individual pilots and flight instructors. It also saw formal comments from the EAA, AOPA, NAFI, and the U.S. Ultralight Association.