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Essential Steps

What are the steps involved when training as a new sport pilot? The major elements of your flight training will include:

Preparation for the written test
You'll have to pass a written test as part of achieving your sport pilot certificate. You may take the test at any time during your flight training, or up to two years in advance of completing your training. There are many good self-study courses available or you may take a ground school course at a local flight school or community college. As a prerequisite of taking the written test, you must have written proof of having successfully completed ground instruction and the provider of the instruction must be certified.

Dual instruction
This is the phase of flight training that entails having your instructor with you in the flight training aircraft. The majority of hours flown before obtaining your license will be with an instructor.

Acquisition of a Student Sport Pilot Certificate
Before you may engage in solo flight training, you will need a Student Sport Pilot Certificate issued by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).

Solo flight training
One of the major milestones in learning to fly is your first solo flight. Ask any pilot, and they can vividly recall the details of the first time they flew solo. When your instructor believes you are ready, he or she will "set you free" to fly on your own as you work toward the completion of your flight training. You will need to complete at least five hours of supervised solo flight during your airplane flight training.

The cross-country flight
An important element of your flight training will entail your conducting a "trip" in the airplane. That is, you'll depart from one airport and land at one or more different airports before returning to your home field. This exercise will ensure your ability to fly and navigate. Your flight instructor will oversee each cross country flight.

The oral and practical test
Once you have completed the different flight training requirements and your flight instructor is satisfied that your flight training is complete, you will need to pass a “checkride”. The check ride entails an oral exam followed by a hands-on flight test, both of which you must pass to obtain your sport pilot certificate. You must take your check ride with an FAA designated examiner. That way, an unbiased set of "fresh eyes" examines your knowledge, practices, and proficiencies at the controls.

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