View Full Version : Looking to Obtain the Sport Pilot Certificate

09-08-2016, 10:21 PM
Hi Ya'll,

im new here in AZ. I'm looking to obtain the sport pilot certificate. I'm early Forties, somewhat overweight, and looking to lose weight. For various reasons I don't think I would pass a 3rd class medical. I'm in decent shape for a big guy though.

Any recommendation on what plane to consider for my flight training? I've seen plenty of pilots on forums that want to fat shame, tell me to loose weight, etc. I'm not looking for those types of comments to be honest. I'm currently loosing weight (down 20lbs), but am not where I want to be just yet. That being said, I'm going to is pursue this option.

I would definitely appreciate any advice advice you can give. I'm 6'2" and 315lbs. I fit just fine in an airline seat, fit fine in most vehicles, etc. thanks in advance.

Any my recommendation on any sport pilot training in AZ would be much appreciated as well.

09-10-2016, 09:44 AM

Since no one has replied yet, I'll take a stab. I haven't flown many LSA qualified aircraft, but have flown a couple - as well as a few non-LSA like the Cherokee, 172 and 182. I'm also someone who has been accused of being a "large framed individual" (263 as of this morning, my peak was 285-ish) I know that there's 315 like my youngest son, the power lifter and defensive lineman - and there's 315 like like some others I know, which is more of a beach ball shape. For the latter there's really not much way it's going to work. So we'll go with the assumption that your weight is well distributed.

The first issue is the weight, of course. Light sport aircraft have very limited useful load, and that has to accommodate you, an instructor, everything you both carry with you, and fuel. You don't get to use your post-shower drop-the-towel-on-the-floor weight, it's the fully clothed with shoes and wallet and everything weight. With you and an average CFI you're going to be very limited in how much fuel you can carry. Long flights will not be an option. In theory it's not a big deal, since most flight lessons are an hour to an hour and a half. In practice, it will mean at the very least coordinating your lessons to start when the tank is at least half empty. Expect logistical problems setting this up with your flight school. If the guy in front of you tops off the fuel, you're not flying that day. Even then, there's gross weight and then there's CG -- where the center of gravity falls, which has to stay within a certain range. The CG shifts as you burn fuel, so a load that may work with full fuel might not with an empty tank. It's going to take extra planning, so your CFI and flight school will have to be on board with that.

I fly an RV-12. It's fairly roomy by two-seat airplane standards, which is to say it's pretty snug. If I were much bigger it would be difficult getting enough stick travel for safe flying. The more I fly, the more motivated I find myself to lose weight and get in shape. By contrast, the club's 182 that I flew was quite roomy and would haul about half a ton.

I'm not saying it can't be done, but it will be a challenge to get your training done in an LSA. They were simply not designed with large individuals in mind. I'd suggest calling around to the flight schools in your area to see which ones even have light sport aircraft available for training, and what they have. I don't know about where you are, but in my area there are, I believe, zero LSA available for training. With the right instructor, an S-LSA RV-12 could be viable. Or you can find an AME and get a consultation to see if you could get a medical or not. DO NOT fill out the forms to apply until you know for sure you can get it, though... if you get denied, you're screwed for even LSA.

Hope this helps.

09-10-2016, 12:34 PM
Thanks! I sat in a Cessna 172 this morning, and I fit just fine. I might be bumpig elbows with the instructor, but otherwise I was fine. Are there any LSA you might compare to a 172 by cockpit size? Yes, I agree about the medical information. Thanks!

09-10-2016, 07:35 PM
Having moved from a 172 almost directly to an RV-12... the 12 is no smaller, other than not being able to get the seat back as far. I've also flown an Aeronca Champ; the front seat there is pretty roomy (tandem seating, instructor sits behind). Getting in and out, though, can take a little work if you're not young and not slim.

09-15-2016, 08:34 PM
I'm in the same boat you're in. I'm 6'1 and about 280. As the other guys said, useful load is gonna be an issue with most LSA. The exception I know about is the Remos G3 and the GX to a lesser extent. The G3 has over a 700 pound useful load usually. The GX is close to 650 normally. I have sat in a GX. I won't say it was luxurious, but I fit fine. I have flown an Evektor Sportstar, and it is very roomy and comfortable. My instructor and I flew it from northern Ky all the way to sun n fun. Its useful load is usually only around 550 pounds in the earlier SL models you typically find for rent, though, so you'd need to find a very small instructor to make it legal and have enough fuel for anything. I have sat in Flight Designs CTSWs and they are great and have a pretty decent useful load. Forget anything Jabiru. They are super narrow. I couldn't even close the door on a J230. You would probably be fine in a Sportcruiser or a Bristell if you could find one, too.

Good luck with your training. I hope you can find an aircraft near you. I had to give my training up when the only flight school with an LSA within 300 miles shut down.

09-15-2016, 09:02 PM
You might check with this website https://lightsportman.com/ he has a page of listings of places that rent LSA aircraft that he's put together. He shows 4 in AZ and I think 3 of them are in/around the Phoenix area.
I'm in the Tucson area and have only found one place that does LSA training but their plane is not available for anything but dual instruction, part of why I have no logged time since my SP check ride. Hopefully you live at least fairly close to one of the places that can give instruction and be able to rent later too.

09-16-2016, 08:48 AM
Once you get your SP ticket look into airplanes such as the super hornet with a 912 on it. My buddy has one. When I am in the front seat at 190 lbs the nose won't even go onto the ground. It takes about a 250 frame of a person to put the nose down when sitting on the ground. My buddy claims a 300 lbs pilot could fly it if he could fit in it.


09-19-2016, 01:51 PM
I just flew for a couple weeks in the Flight Designs CTLS. It has a large payload but still restricts each seat to 260 pounds. I assume that's for concerns about roll authority. I'm offering this as a data point for your search. As another consideration, stick, rudder, and seat geometry are probably a bigger concern. The SLSA Champ might actually work with its deliberately forward-curved stick to accommodate a larger upper torso.

10-08-2016, 07:54 AM
So, Ragnar, my voluminous friend, how are things progressing? Have you started training yet?

11-06-2016, 04:25 PM
CFI in the Tucson area at 185 Pounds will fly with you if we can find a suitable aircraft. cfi1467368@yahoo.com

03-03-2017, 02:35 PM
Yea checkout my website http://LightSportMan.com and let me know if you need any more help...

06-11-2017, 10:29 PM
Ive gone down from 330lbs to 265lbs since September. Hoping to get down to around 230lb-240lb before I try to start flight training. I'm not too far off. I should be ready around August or September. Not too shabby.

06-11-2017, 11:51 PM
Awesome work - congratulations!! That takes dedication and focus.

06-12-2017, 11:24 AM
Ive gone down from 330lbs to 265lbs since September. Hoping to get down to around 230lb-240lb before I try to start flight training. I'm not too far off. I should be ready around August or September. Not too shabby.
I know where your weight went if you want it back! ;-) congrats on the hard work.