How to Acquire Sport Pilot Certified Flight Instructor (CFIS) Privileges

If you are a new flight instructor candidate you’re in the right place.

NOTE: If you are an existing Certified Flight Instructor (CFI) who wants to instruct in Light Sport Aircraft (LSA) or add an additional category to your license, go to Instructors (CFI & CFIS).

What is a certificated Sport Pilot Flight Instructor (CFIS)?

A FAA Sport Pilot Certified Flight Instructor (CFIS) has privileges similar to other FAA certificated flight instructors (CFI); however, he or she may only instruct in the category of light- sport aircraft in which he or she is qualified and operates under FAR 61 Subpart K (Sport Pilot) rather than Subpart H (Private Pilot). A CFIS may also perform proficiency checks to add a category or class to the certificate of an existing Sport Pilot per 61.321 and Sport Pilot CFIS per 61.419. If a CFIS has the Airspace endorsements 61.325 and/or the speed endorsements 61.327, or has the airspace and speed privileges as a private pilot 61.303, that CFIS can provide the airspace and speed endorsements to a student sport and sport pilot per 61.415 (e) (f) (g).

Prerequisites to be a Sport Pilot Certified Flight Instructor (CFIS)

The applicant must hold a sport pilot or higher pilot certificate with the category and class privileges as appropriate to the flight instructor privileges sought. The candidate must be at least 18 years old.

MEDICAL ELIGIBILITY: You do not need an FAA medical to be a Sport Pilot Instructor. If you do not have a medical, you do not need to get a medical. If your FAA medical expired, you are eligible with a drivers license as your medical eligibility.

NOTE: If an FAA medical has been revoked, denied, withheld, or suspended, this requires a special issuance to clear the medical, before the driver’s license may be used as the medical eligibility for pilot and CFIS. Any limitation on the driver’s license or FAA medical must be followed. This applies to all pilots and flight instructors.

Flight experience requirements

Airplane and weight-shift-control category instructors need 150 hours of flight time as a pilot, which must include at least:

  • (i) 100 hours of flight time as pilot in command in powered aircraft,
  • (ii) 50 hours of flight time in category,
  • (iii) 25 hours of cross-country flight time,
  • (iv) 10 hours of cross-country flight time in category, and
  • (v) 15 hours of flight time as pilot in command in category that is a light-sport aircraft.

Additional instructor skills

Sport pilots must build additional skills in the Fundamentals of Instruction and Technical Subject Areas. All the sport pilot tasks must be mastered to:

  • Perform the maneuvers and procedures at a higher level than the sport pilot tolerances.
  • Here is where the flying skills, confidence and experience matter. Be able to let mock student (instructor) make mistakes and you have to correct mistakes before things go “really bad”.
  • Have correlation knowledge of all the subjects a pilot must learn.
  • Have instructional knowledge of tasks (how to instruct).
  • Have knowledge of common errors and be able to identify, analyze, and correct mistakes.

It is a common misunderstanding that if you have been a private pilot flying around for decades, that you have the skills to be a FAA Flight Instructor. Nothing is further than the truth.

New Sport Pilot Certified Flight Instructor (CFIS) candidate requirements

  • Hold at least a Sport Pilot certificate in category/class.
  • Receive training and endorsement from Sport or Private Pilot CFI to take the computer based knowledge CFI test and the Fundamentals of Instruction (FOI) knowledge tests. The computerized Prepware can also provide the training and on-line endorsements for both these knowledge tests.
  • Pass both the FOI knowledge test and CFIS knowledge test for specific category.
  • Meet ALL Sport Pilot CFI requirements per 61.407 through 61.411. It should be noted that Spin training is required per 61.409 (m) for airplanes and sailplanes which can be done in a non-LSA aircraft certificated for spins.
  • Obtain and log training within 60 days before practical test with an authorized instructor and obtain endorsement for practical test from Sport or Private Pilot CFI in log book and on FAA 8710-11 form now typically on line IACRA.
  • Pass CFI sport practical test with DPE/SPIE.
  • Receive Sport Pilot CFI Certificate and log book endorsement for category/class of aircraft used for Practical test.

The process at Sport Aviation Center

How do we go through the process at Sport Aviation Center.

  • We have found that the best starting point for all flight instructor applicants is to go through the on-line training for the sport pilot FIRST. This provides the foundation for adding onto your knowledge base, the ability to teach it. Additionally, it goes through the basic training syllabus in order of what the applicant will be teaching.  The On-Line Learn to fly an Airplane or the On-Line Learn to Fly a WSC Trike are these courses. Typically, when you order the course you get the FAA knowledge test preparation Prepware download. You simply select the Fundamentals of Instruction and the CFI Sport Pilot tests to study for the Sport CFI two knowledge tests.
  • It is best to first get both knowledge test’s (FOI and CFI Sport for category) completed before you arrive for training. If you arrive without studying and passing both tests, this will add SIGNIFICANT time here. These are included in the Sport Pilot on-line course mentioned above. You just need to add the FAA publication “aviation Instructors Handbook” # FAA-H-8083-9A. It is easiest to get this done studying with the Sport Pilot & CFI Applicant Checkride Book before you get here.
  • Using the Fundamentals of Instruction techniques, do both flight training and ground school. It is easiest to get the complete CFI Sport Pilot Kit Airplane (WSC Trike kit). This gives you lesson plans in the Syllabus plus training materials for you to use. At a minimum you will need the paper training syllabus if you order the On-Line version to go through when you do your flight training. This Training Syllabus also provides all the endorsements plus a training syllabus to start training your first students. You can use them on your first student.
  • Books needed to add to the Sport Pilot on-line training course:
    • Aviation Instructor’s Handbook FAA-H-8083-9A
    • Sport Pilot and CFI training syllabus Airplane or WSC Trike
    • Sport Pilot Checkride book
  • We simply follow the Training Syllabus Airplane  (WSC Trike) Part 4 “Certificated Flight Instructor (CFI) Program with Lesson Plans”. Specifically, flight and ground training modules:
    • Flight Training – we start going through the training syllabus where you are teaching the mock student (instructor) to fly in a logical order just as you were trained when you were going for your pilots license. Here you will learn all the teaching techniques plus learn the mistakes the students make and how to deal with them.
    • Ground Training – We go through the training syllabus and you teach all the ground school to the mock student (instructor). This includes all the pilot aeronautical knowledge plus endorsements and CFI procedures.
  • We practice for the CFI checkride to make sure everything is in order and we do the CFI Checkride/practical test.

How much and how long?

First it is important to understand:

If you initially have the pilot flight skills mastered precisely, CFI training is significantly different than the initial pilot certificate. Generally, for the initial pilot certificate, there is equal or more time in the flight training than the ground training. For the CFI certificate there is typically more ground training than flight training. This is because of the extensive knowledge in the basic pilot aeronautical knowledge, you must now add in the endorsements, new regulations, how to teach, responsibilities of the flight instructor, etc….

  • How much and how long depends on how much you study before hand, how much you prepare while you are training and how fast you pick everything up.
  • For all the variables to time and cost, see the Sport Pilot applicant “Time and Cost”. This is similar for CFI to show the large variance in time and costs. This will also educate you on how to answer the most common Frequently Asked Question the sport or private pilot applicant askes “How Long and How Much”.

With both your knowledge tests completed and you have completed the Sport Pilot on-line course before you get here, lets run two scenarios to give you a range:

  • 10 hours flight $2550, 10 hours ground $850, checkride $1,100, total $4500. At 2 hours per day plus checkride, plan for 1 week with perfect weather. Add 3 days for bad weather and get 10 days total.
  • 20 hours flight $5100, 20 hours ground $1700 plus checkride $1,100, total $7,900. At 2 hours per day plus checkride, plan for 2 weeks. Add 7 days bad weather or downtime and get 3 weeks.

So there is a range of how much ($4,500 to $7,900) and how long (between 10 days and 3 weeks).

For how do I get there, where do I stay and do I need a rental car? – see Our Location.

Got questions?

Contact Paul Hamilton