View Full Version : ACTUAL steps to Sport Pilot Certificate?

05-16-2012, 04:48 PM
I've just purchased an Aeronca 7AC and plan on getting a SP certificate. I've read the FAR and just get more confused each time I re-read. Is there actually a STUDENT sport pilot certificate? If so is it only issued after the practical test? If that is the case is my log book with CFI endorsement all that is needed for solo once I reach that stage? Is there a recommended time along the way to take the knowledge test? Is early in the process any better/worse than later? Thanks to those of you who have done this navigation already.Keith Wortman

05-16-2012, 09:02 PM
Trying to jog my memory, but yes there is a Student certificate just no medical involved. And yes with the student certificate the endorsement in your log book,(and on the student certificate) will let you solo for quite some time (a year I think). The knowledge test can be taken any time in the process but I recommend you do it towards the end of your training so it will make more sense and it will be fresh in your mind for your checkride.

05-16-2012, 09:04 PM
Forgot to tell you, I got my Student certificate at my local FSDO but I'm pretty sure a DPE can issue them as well (that's designated pilot examiner)

05-17-2012, 06:20 AM
Thanks! The FARs, Gleim, Sporty's, etc. never mention the STUDENT step when referring to the SP route. It's covered very well when referring to a step in the PRIVATE route.

05-17-2012, 08:55 AM
Student certificate is not needed till you solo and can be issued by DPE, AME or FAA GADO. Some may want to charge you, if so keep looking for another issuer. For study material in early stages I recommend "See How It Flies" download for free on line. Be sure your CFI is Full CFI not just sport pilot otherwise the flight training will not apply if you later decide to obtain a Private Pilot Certificate. The recommendation to hold off on the Knowledge Test is OK but the more you study the more you will learn in the airplane and the less time to SP Certificate will save you $s. Student certificate is good for at least 2 years and can be renewed again without charge. Knowledge test will expire and will cost $$$ to retake.
Congratulations on making a good purchase. That is the way to go. Be certain that your CFI is proficient in a tail wheel aircraft and be careful out there. It is not difficult to destroy or damage a nice aircraft. Before each flight take a moment to reflect how much work went into making that magnificent bird. Inspect her with a critical eye and honor her age and ability. There is a reason why ships and planes are considered female. I hope you will respect the reasons.
Only requirement for Student Sport Pilot is picture government issued ID and ability to negotiate FAA security if you go to the GADO to obtain it. See the AIM (Aeronautical Information Manual) available on line at FAA.gov for a deciphering of the acronyms.

05-17-2012, 02:04 PM
The FSDO didn't charge me anything for the student certificate, and yes make sure your CFI is a full CFI not just sport pilot which is unlikely if he's tailwheel rated and comfortable training you in your champ. I got my SP certificate in a Cub after starting in a Champ I did it because that's how it was done "back in the day" and I think it's the best way. I still rent the cub occasionally and there is never a take-off when I don't think that THIS is just one of the best things to do EVER! Your CFI should be able to tell you all that we have, make sure he has taught other Sport pilots to completion alot of confusion still surrounds the SP for some reason. Good luck!

05-18-2012, 06:39 PM
Thanks, again. Instructor is full CFI with over 1000 hrs tail dragger time and lots of students who got their private certificate. I'm the first SP student which is why all the questions - its just different than the private route. The Champ is great to fly and getting the conventional gear nut at the same time as the ticket just made sense to me. I still have a ways to go before solo, but don't want to miss a step like getting the student ticket if required. Iif it's not required and the endorsement will satisfy solo requirement then I guess the dual time, solo time, knowledge test, and practical are the correct steps to the SP Certificate. If I'm still missing something just rattle my cage a little harder. Thanks!

05-18-2012, 09:08 PM
Well the student certificate IS required to solo legally, I remember now that I had my logbook solo endorsement and went to the FSDO to get the certificate and the lady there was thrilled to see I was learning in a "real plane" all the other's she had issued certificates to had been training in fat ultralights. The knowledge test is different too, but just a little, there are different restrictions on SP than PP. I studied for private and the ones I missed on my knowledge test were correct answers for PP. Checkride should be different as well and the DPE has to be a Sport Pilot DPE there was only one in my area and he put me through the ringer and went way further than the SP test was supposed to go. The good thing for me was I used him for my PP and he tested me only on the differences not the whole thing again.

Frank Giger
05-19-2012, 01:21 AM
I'm the first SP student which is why all the questions - its just different than the private route.

I was the first SP student my CFI had that was serious, and he wound up using me to adjust his syllabus - I have a knack for screwing up in new and inventive ways! ;)

We used the Gleim syllabus in the main and it worked well. It kind of hurt his head to skip unusual attitudes and hood work, as well as controlled airspace stuff.

I used the Gleim study materials and passed the written no problem.

The solo was anti-climatic; it was relaxing and fun having that big lump of emergency procedures removed from the aircraft!

The check ride was similarly unemotional; the DPE was a lot easier to fly with than my instructor, who is a sometimes sarcastic SOB that can be rather critical at just "gooder enough." I'm lucky I found him - he's just the guy I needed to train me to think like an aviator and not just a pilot.

My check ride flow:

Short field takeoff.
Dead reckon to first waypoint of cross country, talk through opening the flight plan, including tuning the radio.
Diversion to alternate airfield (once I had it pointed the right way and the radio tuned it was good).
Steep turns. (Don't forget the clearing turns first!)
Emergency procedures (engine out) - once I had it lined up and it was clear I could make the field, climb back up.
Ground reference manuevers.
Short field landing, 1st attempt.
Go around - oh well, we needed one anyway.
Short field landing - oh dear, too fast!
Go around - hey, you can abort an attempt and not fail the manuever, but if you fail one, you failed.
Short field landing - stuck it!
Soft field landing.
"Normal" landing.

The oral was too long and I was pretty tired of answering questions and just wanted to fly; I think he was hoping to find something to fail me on because it was 21 degrees and the plane didn't really have a heater so much as an internal wind generator.

26 hours and a plastic license to learn. I then got some spin training and then tailwheel endorsement.

And the Champ absolutely rules!

05-19-2012, 08:05 AM
Geeze, Frank. Your checkride was much, much more vigerous than mine. Most of my checkride time was taken up with the verbal (a couple of hours) during which I pointed out to the examiner that we couldn't possibly fly the trip he had me plan because the Champ did not have a transponder. He said that since the Champ was non-electric we didn't need a transponder. I pointed out that the Champ did have electrics and the 377 had been sent in to the FAA. He said, "Well I guess we don't have to do that - let's just go tothe proctice area." A couple of S turns, a couple of minutes of slow flight, a verbal explanation of what I'd do if the engine quit, followed by a go around and a normal landing and we were finished. Total anti-climax!!

Mike M
07-23-2015, 04:35 PM
The FSDO didn't charge me anything for the student certificate...

Fella called me a few days ago about re-starting his quest for a Sport Pilot rating in his Flightstar. Had been flying it as a renegade ultralight years ago, started the quest to get legal back when that was an easier task but he money'd out, his wife she, his kids they, his dog it, etc etc etc, the regular suspects. Sure, I'll work with him. Then he says his student sport pilot certificate is outdated and he'll stop by the FSDO where he got it for a fresh one. Surprise, "we don't do that any more." Well knock me over with a feather. It's on the FAA website as one of the FSDO duties and services. Anybody else run into this?

Thanks, folks.

07-23-2015, 09:36 PM
What's the FSDO? I'm told we have a really good group in Little Rock. My DPE had to talk to her to find out if he could do my check ride, and I talked to her a few days later...
Very helpful.
Contact the guy at the 'light sport branch', he's real helpful too.
Contact Information
Larry L. Buchanan
Branch Manager AFS-610
Phone: (405) 954-6400
Fax: (405) 954-6688

Mailing Address:
U.S. Department of Transportation
Federal Aviation Administration
Mike Monroney Aeronautical Center
P.O. Box 25082
Oklahoma City, OK 73125

Physical Address:
U.S. Department of Transportation
Federal Aviation Administration
Mike Monroney Aeronautical Center
6500 S. MacArthur Boulevard
ARB, Room 304A
Oklahoma City, OK 73169

07-25-2015, 09:18 AM
I was the first SP student my CFI had that was serious, and he wound up using me to adjust his syllabus - I have a knack for screwing up in new and inventive ways! ;)

Frank, in all my years as a CFI nearly every student required some form of adjustment on my part, though not always to the actual syllabus. It's just the nature of people that they're all different, and a decent CFI soon develops a stable of several different ways of explaining most things, just in order to communicate. After a few years there are fewer adjustments, but they're always there, in one form or another.

Glad you did it in a tailwheel -- it forces your attention to the details of handling in ways that are otherwise very difficult to achieve.