Quick comparison of pilot certificates

Quick comparison of pilot certificates*

Type of Operations or Privileges PRIVATE PILOT RECREATIONAL PILOT SPORT PILOT
Requires FAA medical certificate YES YES Medical or U.S. driver's license and self-certification
Aircraft size limitations Unlimited (certain aircraft will require specific "type" ratings) 180 hp max, 4 seats max 1,320 lb max certificate gross weight, 2 seats max
Aircraft with retractable landing gear YES NO NO
More than 1 passenger may be carried YES NO NO
Minimum flight training time required under FAR Part 61 40 hours
(based on reported averages, it typically takes 70 hours)
30 hours
(based on reported averages, it typically takes 44 hours)
20 hours
(using the averages for Private and Recreational Pilot the typical average could be 33 hours)
Flight in Class B, C, or D airspace YES Only with additional flight instruction Only with additional flight instruction
Night flight YES YES, no passengers and under CFI supervision to obtain additional certificates/ratings NO
Flight outside United States airspace YES NO NO
Less than 3 miles visibility YES, in uncontrolled airspace NO NO
Sightseeing flights benefiting a charity or community YES NO NO

*PLEASE CONSULT THE CURRENT REGULATIONS AND THE SPORT PILOT PROPOSAL FOR SPECIFIC DETAILS ON REGULATORY COMPLIANCE


Updated Thursday, July 22, 2004 2:48:53 PM