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 an LSA:
- Student solo must be in an LSA if they are using a drivers license as medical. The student will also need a Sport Pilot Student certificate from IACRA same as a private pilot. In fact the Student Pilot Certificate is for Sport or Private.
- If the student gets a 3rd Class FAA medical, he/she can solo in a non LSA (heavier 172 etc) and this solo time can count towards sport or private.
- The two hours training 2 calendar months prior to checkride per 61.313 can be in an LSA or heavier.
- The Checkride (Practical exam) must be taken in a LSA.
- Medical – If you have a FAA 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 an 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 an 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 certificates
If you are a Private Pilot CFI previously operating under Part 61 subpart H and let your CFI expire and want to start up again teaching sport pilots and instruct in the same category/class using a drivers license as medical eligibility you can do this easily. 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 or above 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 you can continue flying.
If you have a Private Pilot or up this qualifies you as a sport pilot as long as the category on your Private Pilot certificate is the same as what you want to teach in (such as ASEL). 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. This gets you current as a pilot.
Second, you must renew your CFI certificate per 61.427. Note that if your CFI certificate expired, you need to renew your CFI certificate certificate by taking another checkride. Note that no knowledge test or endorsements are required to retake the CFI checkride. Note that taking a Sport Pilot CFI checkride, reinstates ALL your previous CFI privilege’s as long as you have the FAA medical. Using your driver’s license as medical eligibility, you can operate and teach in only LSA with sport pilot limitations per 61.315. You 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 driver’s 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
If you a current Private Pilot CFI Subpart H you can go right out and teach
- Sport pilots in LSA
- Private pilots in LSA
- and even sport pilots in non LSA (heavier) as described above.
without any new certification or endorsements.
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 privileges per 61.191.
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.