It’s easy to get lost in the FARs, as most instructors will agree. Clayton asks a question that I had myself a few months back:
I cannot find a clear explanation in the regs saying that a CFI w/asel privileges can teach sport pilot students. Everything I am seeing is referring to someone that wants an initial CFI with sport pilot ratings. I would think that an instructor that already has an ASEL certificate satisfies all the requirements for sport pilot. Am I thinking about this correctly?
Clayton, you’re right—as a CFI, you can teach Sport pilot students. The place to look is FAR § 61.193—flight instructor privileges, which states:
A person who holds a flight instructor certificate is authorized within the limitations of that person’s flight instructor certificate and ratings to give training and endorsements that are required for, and relate to:
(a) A student pilot certificate;
(b) A pilot certificate;
(c) A flight instructor certificate;
(d) A ground instructor certificate;
(e) An aircraft rating;
(f) An instrument rating;
(g) A flight review, operating privilege, or recency of experience requirement of this part;
(h) A practical test; and
(i) A knowledge test.
The key part of the regulation is that you can provide training required for a pilot certificate, not a specific certificate. Even if you only hold a Commercial rating yourself, as a CFI you can provide training towards an ATP certificate; you can likewise train a Sport pilot. The only requirement is that you’re training somebody within the categories and classes listed on your pilot certificate. You will need to become familiar with FAR § 61 subpart J. Like Private pilots, CFIs can also use their driver’s license in lieu of a medical, and operate as a CFI-SP, limited to Sport rules and regulations.
A CFI teaching Sport pilots will also need to check out FAR § 61.419, which further explains that you’ll need a small amount of ground and flight instruction – similar to a flight review – before you can teach Sport topics. There is an endorsement for each part of the training; once you’ve been endorsed, you’re good to go.
Whether you’re an instructor or a student, you can get more Sport Pilot information at the EAA’s sportpilot.org.