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Sport Pilot Intructor tailwheel endorsements for Private Pilot or greater – IS ENDORSEMENT VALID? ON NON-LSA?

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FAA Regulations, Flight Instructor, General Aviation, Light Sport Aircraft, Private Pilot

8 Answers



  1. Kris Kortokrax on Apr 17, 2013

    If you look at 61.413, it lists the privileges of a Sport Pilot Instructor.

    “If you hold a flight instructor certificate with a sport pilot rating, you are authorized, within the limits of your certificate and rating, to provide training and endorsements that are required for, and relate to:” it goes on to list a series of Sport Pilot related tasks.

    Based on this, I would suggest that as the holder of a Flight Instructor certificate with only Sport privileges, you could not provide tailwheel training or endorsement for 61.31(i) for anyone other that the holder of a Student or Sport pilot certificate (i.e. no endorsing Recreational, Private, Commercial or ATP).

    Interesting question would be, if you endorsed someone for tailwheel who possessed only a Sport Pilot certificate and they subsequently upgraded to a Private Pilot certificate, would the tailwheel endorsement still be valid? I suspect it would be.

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  2. Mark Kolber on Apr 18, 2013

    I agree, Kris.

    Nothing in 61.31 restricts the validity of the endorsement to certain airplane classes or pilot certificates levels.

    On top of that, the lighter weight and wing loading of a light sport make it more susceptible to air movements, so there’s no significant difference in the skill required to handle crosswind landings. Even without the tailwheel issue, I know at least one flight school with a policy of a 2-hour checkout in their LSAs for pilots used to flying “regular” airplanes for this very reason.

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  3. Jr. Wall on Apr 18, 2013

    I’m not sure that Kris & Mark are necessarily agreeing. Chris seems to be saying that if the endorsement was given by a Sport Instructor the endorsement is only valid in light sport taildraggers, not an aircraft that requires a higher rating to operate (like a Cessna 140).

    Since I made the original post, I contacted the FSDO. The way I now understand it is that for the most part nothing a Sport Pilot Instructor does “carries over” into Private Pilot or higher ratings other than a flight review. In other words if a private pilot was given a flight review (previously BFR) by a sport instructor the review then “renews” the 24 month period for the private pilot sort of like if the private took his flight review in a glider (if he was rated in the glider), it would also “carry over” to his Airplane Single Engine Land rating. Conversely, if a Sport Instructor gave tailwheel training and gave a tailwheel endorsement in a Light Sport or Light Sport eligible aircraft to a private pilot (or higher), it would only be valid for light sport taildraggers since a sport instructor is not considered an “authorized instructor” for anything other than light sport related matters. I also understand that since the endorsement is not really valid for other than light sport taildraggers, if the private pilot had an accident in a Cessna 140 for example (a Cessna 140 is a normally certificated – “standard airworthiness certificate”, NON-light sport taildragger), his insurance company would act as if the endorsement did not exist and hence would not pay the claim. Sort of scary!!

    So at the moment at least, it sounds like I want to get my taildragger training from a “standard” CFI instead of a light sport CFI.

    Comments are welcome!

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  4. Kris Kortokrax on Apr 18, 2013

    Jr.,

    I initially thought that you were a Sport Pilot instructor asking about what you could do.

    It appears that you are a Private pilot (or better) who is seeking a tailwheel endorsement.
    If that is the case, you may not get the endorsement from a Sport Pilot Instructor.

    What I tried to convey in the first post was that if a person received a tailwheel endorsement in a Light Sport aircraft from a Sport Instructor and then upgraded his certificate to a Private pilot, I suspect that the endorsement would be good as far as the FAA might be concerned (This may not be the case, but I think it would). As you noted, this may not be acceptable to your insurance company.

    As a Subpart H Flight Instructor, I can give you training and the tailwheel endorsement in a Cub or Champ (Light Sport eligible airplanes) which would be good under any circumstances.

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  5. Mark Kolber on Apr 18, 2013

    Yes, Kris and I are agreeing on this one.

    As far as I can tell, he said two things:

    (1) a Sport CFI could only =give= the endorsement in an LSA.
    (2) once given in the LSA, it’s probably a full-fledged tailwheel endorsement and follows the pilot through any advanced certificates and ratings and whatever classes or types of airplanes he later flies.

    I agree with both statements.

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  6. Kris Kortokrax on Apr 18, 2013

    Mark,

    For statement #1, I would say that a Sport CFI could only give the endorsement in an LSA to a Sport Student or Sport Pilot. He could not give the endorsement in an LSA to the holder of a Recreational or better certificate.

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  7. Mark Kolber on Apr 18, 2013

    Kris, that’s an excellent point I hadn’t thought of. I don’t even have a guess of how the FAA would answer that one. I don’t see any practical reason why a private pilot should not be able to choose an LSA and a light sport CFI for tailwheel training and the endorsement. A tailwheel airplane is a tailwheel airplane and the training and skills for it are the same.

    But you never know how the FAA will answer some questions unless you ask.

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  8. Jr. Wall on Apr 21, 2013

    Thanks Chris & Mark.

    The inspector at the FSDO explained it (at least how I now understand it!) to me as follows:

    1. Someone has asked the FAA this question (my original question) previously and it was already answered by FAA General Counsel letter (he was going to send me the letter but I have not yet received it).
    2. The answer is that it matters not what ratings the tailwheel student holds, a sport pilot instructors’ tailwheel endorsement would only be valid for that tailwheel “student/endorsee” only when that endorsee operated an LSA or LSA eligible aircraft. And of course the sport instructor could only instruct in an LSA/LSA eligible aircraft.

    I sort of understand the logic, to a degree, but it seems sort of silly.

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