Below are some assumptions and questions I have about what is required to get my sport pilot ticket. I have essentially no flying experience now.
As I understand it, at some point before I solo, I'll need to complete an 8710-11 to become a student sport pilot and present this to either the FSDO, a DPE, or an SPE. It would be a simple matter of filling out the form and providing ID to the DPE, no medical exam. The local flight school does not have an LSA. They said I'd have to have a 3rd class medical before taking their lessons. I thought that would be necessary only if I were to solo?
It is also my understanding that any dual instruction taken in non-LSA, like a 172, would count towards my sport pilot certificate.
I'm considering instruction by a private CFI not affiliated with any flight school. Would he be legally able to teach a student like myself, going from zero hours up to the check ride? Does he need any other types of FAA documentation, or can any regular CFI do all that is necessary?
I plan to home school myself for the ground school part as much as possible. I'm confused by how the knowledge tests work. Seems like there's two of them. There is mention of a 'presolo knowledge exam' according to 61.87. Judging by the student pilot guide, http://www.faa.gov/licenses_certificates/airmen_certification/sport_pilot/media/student_pilot _guidance.pdf, it looks like this can be endorsed by my CFI. I could simply bone up on the ground school material, then my CFI would quiz me on it to see if I know the material. Once I show him I do know the material, he'd give me the 'presolo knowledge exam' endorsement.
There is also reference to a knowledge test in 61.35. This looks like it's the 'written test' for the sport pilot. My CFI could endorse me, saying I've got what it takes to take this test. I'd take this test at any testing center listed at http://www.faa.gov/training_testing/testing/airmen/media/test_centers.pdf
An alternative to having my CFI give me the written exam endorsement, I could take an online course, like this one from Gleim: http://www.gleim.com/aviation/online_courses/ogs.php?ogs=SP#panel_tab=General&panel_link=Overvi ew I talked with Gleim rep, who said upon completing the course, I'd be able to print out a form that would allow me to take the written test at a testing center.
So it looks like there are two 'knowledge tests'. One is a 'presolo knowledge exam', which is done between me and my CFI. The other is the 'knowledge test' mentioned in 61.35, which is taken at a testing center.
Before I solo, I would need the 'presolo knowledge' endorsement. Would I also need to pass the written test before soloing?
My CFI would teach me how to fly in his LSA, providing me with endorsements as would be appropriate, the final one allowing me to take the practical sport pilot test, aka check ride. How does the check ride work? Could I use whatever LSA I want, which might be my CFI's, if that's the only one I train in?
Who could give me the check ride and would I be able to take this at any nearby airport?
I may get insurance before starting lessons, depending on the CFI's coverage. I've heard that most flight school policies don't cover the student in solo, so I'd likely get insurance before this.
Anything else I otta consider?