How can a Sport Pilot CFI upgrade to a full CFI?
Melody asks an (increasingly common!) question about Sport Pilot upgrades for instructors:
I was told by an examiner that I could get a CFI Sport Pilot rating, then add on a CFI-SE Airplane. Is this accurate?
Whenever you’re looking into adding on a rating – any rating, whether it’s adding multi-engine privileges to a private ticket, or seaplane privileges to your commercial – the first stop should be the appropriate Practical Test Standards guide. However, in this case, I pulled up the latest CFI Airplane PTS (FAA-S-8081-6C, 1.4 MB) from the FAA’s website and flipped to page 1-xi, the Additional Rating Task Table.
Of course, it says nothing about Sport Pilot, which I suppose is not that surprising; the last revision to the PTS was 2006, when Sport Pilot was still in its infancy. What’s most likely, then, is that even if you held a CFI-SP rating, you’d need to meet the aeronautical experience and certificate requirements (ie Commercial) for a normal CFI Airplane rating. At first glance, it seems like it makes more sense to just go the “standard” route and work directly on meeting the requirements to become a CFI.
Rather than spend all day trying to find the answer on Google, I called up the AOPA hotline (1-800-872-2672) to see what they knew. The person I spoke with had the same thoughts – the full CFI requirements are necessary as there is no PTS additional rating information – although he very wisely pointed out that as a CFI-SP you would be earning money and logging time, while if you were simply working towards the CFI requirements there would be no income aiding the process.
Hope you can decide on a good path, and fly safe!
Also, if any readers have first-hand information on the topic, please let us know!