It's down to the nitty-gritty for the Sport Pilot and Light Sport Aircraft rule. As the FAA and the industry work on testing standards and other details that will be need to implement the regulations, AOPA is arguing for a standard that ensures sport pilots have the appropriate knowledge to operate safely in the aviation system.
"Sport pilots will be able to use many existing general aviation airports," said Rob Hackman, AOPA manager of Regulatory and Certification Policy. "We need to be sure that they know how to operate in that environment and to fit in with the flow of other GA traffic."
Hackman represented AOPA last week as the FAA and industry representatives met in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, to review and discuss sport pilot practical test standards, knowledge test questions, and designated pilot examiners and airworthiness representatives.
[See also AOPA Online's sport pilot section.]
During the course of the weeklong meetings, the FAA laid out its timetable for rolling out key components of the Sport Pilot and Light Sport Aircraft initiative.
The sport pilot practical test standards (PTS) will be available early next month, to be followed by the aeronautical knowledge test by October 20.
During last week's meeting, AOPA advocated for test standards that will ensure sport pilots have the knowledge to operate safely within current airspace and airport system. The FAA agreed.
The group also reviewed the knowledge test questions for sport pilots. Many of the questions will be taken from existing private pilot questions. The ultralight community will provide its test questions to the FAA for possible inclusion in the sport pilot knowledge test.
The FAA will start accepting sport pilot student applications on November 15. The application will be made on a new FAA Form 8710-11 that will be submitted to the local flight standards district office (FSDO) or to a designated pilot examiner.
The new form is needed because sport pilots aren't required to carry a medical certificate. (The existing student pilot certificate for people training for a recreational or private pilot certificate is also a medical certificate.)
The first sport pilot examiners will likely be designated by January and the first new sport pilot certificates issued shortly thereafter.
September 16, 2004