In many ways learning to fly light sport aircraft (LSA) and getting your sport pilot certificate is much like getting your driver’s license regardless of whether you want to fly an airplane, weight-shift control trike, or powered parachute LSA.
So how do you get started?
- Talk To Sport Pilots
Talk with your friends about your desire to learn to fly and become a pilot. You may be surprised how many of them are or know pilots. Pilots love to talk about flying and are always happy to give advice. Use our Sport Pilot | LSA Locator to find a pilot near you.
- Find Flight Schools and Instructors
Look for flight schools and Flight Instructors near your home that instruct in LSA. Use our Sport Pilot | LSA Locator to find flight schools and Instructors near you. Once you have about three to choose from, then visit each to find one and find an atmosphere that best suits your learning needs. Also consider travelling to receive training. We always say, “It is best to travel for training that suits your learning style, than to settle for training nearby that doesn’t meet your needs.”
- Take Introductory Flights
Sign up for short, introductory flights in an LSA at the schools and instructors you like to find out what it’s like to be at the controls of a light-sport aircraft. This will also help you determine which school and instructor is best for you. You’ll see what it’s like to visually inspect a LSA before flight, take off, fly, land, park, and shut down.
- Choose An Instructor
Some LSA flight schools may have one or several instructors to choose from. Assess your own learning style and find an instructor with a compatible teaching style. If after a few lessons you don’t think things are working out very well, schedule a lesson with another flight instructor. It’s OK to switch to an instructor whose teaching style better meets your needs.
- The LSA You’ll Fly
Like falling in love with your first car long before you ever learned to drive, you may have a special place in your heart for a certain make or model of LSA long before you select a flight school. You may even select your flight school based in part upon the type of LSA that they fly. Many times, they will have a training facility is on the premises or can recommend one to you. Use our Sport Pilot | LSA Locator to find a LSA sales facility near you.
- Budget Your Time and Money
Calculate the hourly cost for the flight instructor, LSA rental (if applicable), and fuel. After you run the numbers, decide how often you can fly and then pencil lessons in your schedule. You’ll find that establishing a budget and schedule will make the flight training process go much smoother.
- Apply For Your Student Pilot Certificate
This is similar to the learner’s permit you received when you’re learning how to drive. In the case of going for a sport pilot license, it is issued by an FAA Designated Pilot Examiner (DPE) or your local FAA FSDO office. (In the case of going for a private pilot license, the student pilot certificate is part of your medical certificate, which certifies that you are fit for flight.) Talk with your certified flight instructor about getting a student pilot certificate (and/or medical certificate.)
- Signup For Flight Lessons
You will first fly with a flight instructor and when you are ready, you will solo. The basic techniques of flying — takeoff, turning, landing — are fairly easy to learn. The Sport Pilot Certification Course will teach you about micro-meteorology, different launch and flying techniques, rules, regulations, safety procedures, etc.