Saturday, February 04, 2006

After the Transition

What Now?
What do I do now? I've become a Sport Pilot and my aircraft is registered and airworthiness inspected. I have my repairman's certificate. Is that all there is? Well, not exactly. You are now operating in what I like to call the FAA matrix. It is a system of rules and procedures designed to promote safety. When you are operating in this system, and following the rules involved, you benefit from the safety features that are built in. A few things are required of you to help maintain this equilibrium. Some are for maintenance of pilot skills and some are for continuation of aircraft safety.

Flight Review
The first is the so called Biennial Flight Review. The proper name is simply the Flight Review. 24 months after you obtain your Sport Pilot certificate (And every 24 months thereafter), you will need to complete a flight review to be able to continue flying. To find out more about what is involved, the FAA has put together a couple of documents. The links are below. Note that the Wings program can count towards the flight review requirements. A link to the Wings program is at the bottom.
This is an excellent color PDF file that goes into depth about the reasons behind, and the giving of a flight review.

This Powerpoint presentation is a good outline of why a flight review is required and what a
flight review is.

WINGS Program:
The WINGS program is an excellent way to meet the flight review requirements and have fun doing it. Plus you learn a lot of new things. Here is the link:

Recency of Experience.
Don't forget the requirements for recency of experience before you take up passengers. These requirements are outlined here:

61.57 outlines the requirements of recency of experience required before you can take a passenger up in an aircraft. The requirement for a Sport Pilot is that they have accomplished 3 takeoffs and landings as PIC within the preceding 90 days. You must be sole manipulator of the controls and do it in the same category and class. Landings are to be to a full stop if in a tailwheel aircraft. Here is a link to the rule:

FAR 61.57

Additional Training, Certificates and Endorsements
Many pilots will be satisfied with the basic Sport Pilot certificate and the endorsement for the category of aircraft that is endorsed in their logbook from the practical test. Others will want further endorsements or may even desire to obtain a Private Pilot's certificate or above. Here is information about some of the endorsements available for your Sport Pilot logbook:

Once you obtain your Sport Pilot Certificate you may want to add endorsements to the endorsement you received when you completed the practical test. One of the first and easiest to obtain endorsements would be for operations in B, C and D airspace. Some sport pilots will have this endorsement placed in their logbook as a result of the training they received on the way to becoming a sport pilot. Others will have to obtain it later. It only requires one SP CFI to train and endorse you. It involves ground and flight training as described below.

Section 81. How do I obtain privileges to operate in Class B, C, or D airspace?

If you hold a sport pilot certificate and seek privileges to operate in Class B, C, or D airspace, you must receive and log ground and flight training from an authorized instructor who provides a logbook endorsement. That endorsement must certify you are proficient in the following aeronautical knowledge areas and areas of operation:

(1) The use of radios, communications, navigation system/facilities, and radar services;

(2) Operations at airports with an operating control tower to include 3 takeoffs and landings to a full stop (with each landing involving a flight in the traffic pattern) at an airport with an operating control tower; and

(3) Applicable flight rules of part 91 for operations in Class B, C, or D airspace and ATC clearances.

To obtain an endorsement for flying skis in a category you hold, you must receive training and an endorsement from a SP CFI (Or above). For those that fly in the north this is a fun way to extend the flying season.

Section 83. How do I obtain privileges to operate a light-sport aircraft that has a VH greater than 87 knots CAS?

If you hold a sport pilot certificate and seek privileges to operate a light-sport aircraft that has a VH greater than 87 knots CAS you must—

(a) Receive and log ground and flight training from an authorized instructor in an aircraft that has a VH greater than 87 knots CAS; and

(b) Receive a logbook endorsement from an authorized instructor certifying that you are proficient in the operation of this light-sport aircraft.

Your Aircraft's Registration
The FAA maintains a database with the registration information for your aircraft. It is important that you keep the information that they have concerning your address, up to date. In the future some airspace services may not be available to aircraft that do not maintain a valid registration, including up to date address information. Here is a link to the FAA webpage for aircraft registration that includes a link for change of address.

Here is a link to an FAA article telling the very important reasons, including safety reasons, that will make you want to keep your registration information up to date:

Annual or 100 Hour Condition Inspection
Your aircraft will need regular inspections to verify its continued airworthiness. The annual condition inspection may be done by you if you hold a repairman's certificate with an inspection rating. If your aircraft is being used for training it will require a 100 hour inspection. This must be done by a repairman with a maintenance rating or an A&P or Repair Station.

List of Light-Sport Repairman with a Maintenance Rating

Rainbow Aviation Services has the only Light-Sport Repairman with a Maintenance Rating course presently approved by the FAA. This course is organized as three basic modules with add on modules for each category of aircraft. A student may take one or more of these add on modules to become qualified for one or more aircraft categories. Rainbow has held a number of these courses and has a webpage listing the graduates by state of residence. People holding this rating may inspect your SLSA or ELSA for both the annual and 100 hour condition inspections. Contact the individual to see what services he offers and which categories of aircraft he is authorized to inspect. Here is the link:

You are now operating within the FAA rules in a comprehensive way. It is a good idea to keep an eye on what changes are occuring in this angency. The FAA has recently reorganized their website and it is very much improved as far as ease of use. It is still a large website with information for many different users, so finding what you want may be a chore. Here are a couple of links I have found useful:

FAA (Main website)

Light Sport (AFS610)

Handbooks and Manuals


Regulatory and Guidance Library

Online Telephone Directory

Other Organizations
There are a number of other organizations that are very useful for the pilot and aircraft owner. First among them are the original UL orgs. Also of interest are the typical GA orgs such as AOPA. Here are links to a few of them: