Sport Pilot Exam

The sport pilot certificate was created by the FAA in 2005 to provide a more affordable way to learn to fly for everyone. Many student pilots cannot complete the private pilot certificate because of financial limitations or just the length of time needed for training. The sport pilot certificate is a great way to get involved in flying for recreational purposes allowing less instruction time needed for completion. Due to this reduction in required training, there are some restrictions placed on sport pilots. One of the benefits that many student pilots enjoy about this certificate is no required FAA medical certificate needed. There are some exceptions to this, but a student pilot certificate and a drivers license is usually all that is required for this certificate.

Basic Requirements:

  • Must be 17 years old
  • Be able to read, write, speak and understand English
  • Obtain 20 hours of flight time to include:
    • 15 hours instruction
    • 5 hours of solo time
  • Pass an FAA written exam for the sport pilot certificate
  • Pass an FAA practical test or checkride

Some restrictions for sport pilots include:

  • Limited to one passenger
  • Day time flight only
  • Non-towered airports
  • Limited to light sport aircraft (LSA)

The checkride involves an oral exam followed by the flight portion. The oral or ground portion will take about an hour and half to two hours, and the flight about one hour. The total time to schedule for this checkride is approximately four hours. You will work with your sport pilot instructor to gain all the proficiency needed to pass the checkride.

To see specifically what will be covered during the checkride, click on the link provided to see the sport pilot PTS, or practical test standards. 

Click Here for Sport Pilot PTS

Photo of a typical light sport aircraft used for training toward this certificate:

Sport Pilot Test Aircraft