What Qualifications Must I Have In Order To Begin My Training?

The qualifications are simple. In order to begin your training, all you need is a valid drivers license. But before you solo, you must also obtain a student pilot certificate from the FAA. The minimum age for soloing is 16 years of age.

As you complete your training, there are a few more requirements you must meet in order to obtain your sport pilot certificate. You must be at least 17 years old (16 if operating a balloon or glider). Besides holding a drivers license, you are required to be able to read, speak, and write the English Language. Every country that falls under the ICAO is required to use English as their primary ATC language to avoid confusion.

Finally, because no medical certificate is required, you must use your best judgment on if you are in good health, and are fit to fly. Any medications that may impede your physical, physiological, or psychological self should not be taken if you are going to try to fly.

Although no medical is required, if you've ever been denied or had a previous FAA medical certificate revoked, you may not fly as a sport pilot. If you find yourself in this situation, you must be able to obtain a valid 3rd class medical certificate.

So Now That I Know What I Need To Train, Where Do I Start?

All of your flight training must be done with the guidance of a Certified Flight Instructor (CFI). Finding one can be as easy locating your neighborhood airport. Most local municipal and regional airports have flight training operations. Some airports will have dedicated flight schools offering Sport Pilot training. Those schools aren't your only option for instruction. Public use airports will most likely have a Fixed Base Operator (FBO) on the field. This is a company that offers fuel, passenger, maintenance, and often flight training services. Many freelance CFI's will post ads at airports offering their services. For a listing of potential flight schools, consult aopa.org or the usua.org.

The minimum amount of training flight time required to test for a Sport Pilot certificate is 20 hours. Depending on your availability, finding a flight instructor or program that fits your schedule is key. Many flight schools offer accelerated programs where your certificate may be earned in as little as two weeks. Due to school or work, some students may only have time to fly on weekends, or a few times a month. CFI's are usually flexible and can adapt to your learning pace. Student pilots have also been known to stretch their training over several years before earning their certificates.

Explore all possible opportunities before making a decision. There are training programs that fit the learning styles of every pilot.

Now that you know your qualifications and a general idea of what the Sport Pilot Certificate is about, it's time to begin your training and see what you have in store.

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