The National Air Transportation Association (NATA) is supporting a petition to the FAA by several general aviation organizations to allow flight training with a sport pilot instructor to count toward the aeronautical experience requirements of higher pilot certificates.
AOPA, the Experimental Aircraft Association, the General Aviation Manufacturers Association, and the National Association of Flight Instructors petitioned the FAA to amend FAR Part 61.99 and 61.109 to clearly “permit the instruction time received in pursuit of a sport pilot certificate to be credited toward the instruction requirements of additional certificates and ratings.” AOPA reported on the petition’s introduction on Feb. 10.
The FAA proposed the rule establishing the sport pilot certificate in 2002. But a 2009 letter of interpretation specifically stated that the training obtained in pursuit of a sport pilot certificate could not be credited toward higher certificates. If the FAA changes regulations as proposed in the petition, sport pilots wishing to obtain a recreational or private pilot certificate would be able to count time toward the aeronautical experience requirements of the higher certificate, but would still be required to obtain training from a certificated flight instructor on all knowledge and flight proficiency requirements of that certificate.
NATA, in a Feb. 18 letter, offered “enthusiastic support” for the petition that would “remove the regulatory roadblock” that prevents pilot from being able to count sport pilot training toward higher certificates. Rulemaking proposed in the petition would have positive effects on aviation safety and growth of the population, NATA said.
“NATA believes that the current FAA policy of not allowing the crediting of experience gained while pursuing a sport pilot certificate toward additional certificates and ratings creates a disincentive for currently certificated sport pilots to receive training for additional ratings and certificates,” wrote Michael France, NATA’s director of regulatory affairs.
The letter noted that the FAA has “long recognized that training and varied experience increase the level of safety,” and it urged the FAA to take up the requested rulemaking “at the earliest possible date.”