These are the steps to take if you are an existing Certified Flight Instructor (CFI) who wants to instruct in Light Sport Aircraft (LSA).

  • An existing and current CFI, private and up operating under Part 61 subpart H, who wants to add instruction for the sport pilot certificate.
  • An existing but not current CFI, private and up previously operating under Part 61 subpart H, who wants to start up again teaching sport pilots and instruct in same category/class using a drivers license as medical eligibility.
  • A current CFI who wants to add an additional category/class.

Existing and current Certified Flight Instructor

If you are a Private and up operating under Part 61 subpart H, currently teaching using a 3rd class medical, who wants to add instruction for the sport pilot certificate:

  • Existing and current CFI’s have no additional training requirements to train sport pilots in the same category/class, you are a sport pilot instructor now. You can go down but not up.
  • You can start training sport pilots in the same category/class with a non LSA aircraft such as Cessna 172, Piper, etc, but the following time is required in a LSA:
    • Student solo must be in a LSA if they are using a drivers license as medical. The student will also need a Sport Pilot Student certificate from a Sport Pilot DPE or the local FSDO. (this is in place of the medical student pilot certificate)
    • The two hours training 2 calender months prior to checkride per 61.313 must be in a LSA.
    • The Checkride (Practical exam) must be taken in a LSA.
    • Medical – If you use an Aviation 3rd class medical, you do NOT have to comply with any Sport Pilot limitations per 61.315. You are operating under Part 61 Subpart H.

Here is a unique situation where a subpart H (private) flight instructor (CFI) has a current flight instructor certificate but let his 3rd class medical expire. He/she can instruct a student private pilot in a light sport aircraft without a FAA medical and the time counts towards a sport pilot and private pilot because he/she is pilot in command (PIC). All hours count towards a sport and private certificate (except night/IFR in IMC) because the CFI has a valid Subpart H flight instructor certificate and is PIC of the LSA. He/she cannot fly or provide instruction in a non LSA, at night in any aircraft or in IMR conditions in any aircraft because he/she cannot be pilot in command.

The CFI with expired medical and a CFIS can give instrument training in a LSA required by 61.93 (e)(12) before a student cross country if it has the required equipment as long as they are in day VMC. No attitude display is required for this and a partial panel (compass, airspeed, altitude) is adequate.

Certified Flight Instructor with expired certificate

If you are a Private and up previously operating under Part 61 subpart H, who wants to start up again teaching sport pilots and instruct in same category/class using a drivers license as medical eligibility. This would also apply to a CFI who let the 3rd class medical expire and continue to operate as a sport pilot instructor. This is how to operate as a sport pilot instructor CFIS under Part 61 Subpart K.

First, you must become current as a sport pilot in the category/class aircraft you want to instruct in. Use your valid and current drivers license as medical. If an FAA medical has been revoked, denied or suspended, this requires a special issuance to clear the medical, before the driver’s license may be used as the medical eligibility. Any limitation on the driver’s license or FAA medical must be followed. You must complete a current flight review typically called a Flight Review (was previously called a Biannual Flight review BFR). A Flight Review can be in any aircraft type you are certified to fly.

Second, you must renew your CFI certificate per 61.427. Using your drivers license as medical eligibility, you can operate only LSA with sport pilot limitations per 61.315, but are NOT required to have the airspeed or airspace B, C,& D endorsements. FAR 61.429 allows you to operate as a sport pilot instructor under Part 61 Subpart K, using your drivers license as medical and comply with all Sport Pilot CFI privileges per 61.413, limitations per 61.415, and record keeping per 61.423.

Any current Certified Flight Instructor

Any current CFI who wants to add an additional category/class to teach sport pilots in LSA. Example: ASEL wanting to add WSCL, ASES, PPCL. First you must become qualified as a “pilot” for the additional make/model you want to add with a proficiency check for a sport pilot per 61.321 or practical test for private pilot per 61.103.

Second, you must add the category/class to the “flight instructor” certificate. This is a proficiency check for sport pilot privileges per 61.409 and a practical test for private pilot privlages per 61.191.

In summary

There are two types of CFI operation:

  • CFI Subpart H – Flight Instructors other than flight instructors with a Sport Pilot rating – Current instructors private/recreational and above who can teach sport pilots now with no new training or certification. Additionally pilots with  an expired  3rd class medical but current Subpart H CFI using drivers license as medical can teach private pilots but have some limitations (only teach in LSA, no night/IFR).
  • CFIS Subpart K – Flight Instructors with a Sport Pilot Rating  operating as CFIS who can only teach sport pilots and only instruct in LSA.

Got questions?

Contact Paul Hamilton