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Can a ‘normal’ CFI teach Sport pilot students?

Posted by on December 22, 2008 7 Comments Category : Flight Instructor Blog Tags : , ,

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.


  1. Ken Linder on Dec 27, 2008

    Thanks for the clarification. I wish more CFIs knew how it worked. Conversely an SP-CFI can NOT train a PPL, correct? It’s my understanding that the requirements for an SP-CFI is less than a non-SP CFI.


    Thanks & keep the shiny side up.

  2. Eric on Dec 28, 2008

    Ken, you’re correct. SP-CFI is a flight instructor rating that can only be held by somebody with at least a Sport pilot certificate. It seems like they would have to ‘trade up’ into a commercial certificate if they wanted to pick up a ‘full’ CFI and teach towards ratings other than Sport.

  3. Bob on Mar 26, 2009

    You said: “SP-CFI is a flight instructor rating that can only be held by somebody with a Sport pilot certificate”

    This is not correct. Many people with private pilot certificates, also hold a subpart K CFI rating (“SP-CFI”). It is true you must have AT LEAST a Sport Pilot certificate (per 14 CFR 61.403).

  4. Eric on Apr 02, 2009

    Bob, that’s a good correction. A ‘normal’ CFI requires at least a Commercial Pilot certificate, and as you point out, the SP-CFI requires the holder be at least a Sport Pilot. Thanks!

  5. Robert Mushrock on Feb 04, 2015

    Hi I hold a CFI/CFII SEL and have held such a certificate for quite a while. But I have never trained a sport pilot. I have some friends that just bought a sport aircraft and are looking to be trained as a sport pilot. I understand almost all you said above, but I am having trouble understanding how 61.419 applies. Can you tell me some more on that please?

  6. Mike Nowakowski on Apr 03, 2015

    My reading of FAR § 61.419 does not require a CFI-A any additional training in order to instruct sport pilot students.

  7. Richard Newman on Apr 24, 2017

    Can a CFI-I without a medical, train a pilot for the Instrument Rating Airplane, in a LSA aircraft (appropriately equipped for both training and the Practical Test)?

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