EAA is hiring AirVenture and seasonal staff. Attend one of our upcoming hiring events and apply now!

Stay Inspired

EAA is your guide to getting the most out of the world of flight and giving your passion room to grow.

LightSport Man Flies Over Obstacles

By Johnathan Mark Smith

July 6, 2016 - Everyone knows Batman, Superman, and Spider-Man but do you know who LightSport Man is?

LightSport Man is me, a pilot named Johnathan Mark Smith from Brooklyn, New York, who is currently living in Surprise, Arizona. Ever since I was a little boy I loved flying and aviation but then, in 2016, found a love of light-sport aircraft (LSA) at a late age. But there is a lot more to this story.

I was born with a very bad stuttering disorder and was told as a kid that I would be working on cars or packing bags at the local supermarket, if I was lucky, due to my disorder. Everyone in the school system had the same story: I was not going to become anything due to this stuttering disorder.

Back in about 2010 I started to looking into becoming a pilot. I always loved flying but was informed by a CFI that due to my stuttering disorder I would never pass the medical exam, so I quit thinking about becoming a pilot.

In December 2015 my girlfriend, Regan Goldring, and I went to Las Vegas for a weekend trip and had a helicopter tour. Regan turned to me and said she had “a great time and loved flying” and that was it! Hearing this from her made me think I needed to be a pilot. Within a number of hours, I contacted  several flight schools in Arizona and found out about the sport pilot certificate, which meant I would not have to take a medical exam to become a pilot. Once again, though, I was informed that with the stuttering disorder I may not pass the checkride, but within a few weeks I passed the checkride and am now a sport pilot.

After looking back at everything, I said to myself “I am not stopping now: I am going to be a light-sport CFI” and now I’m well on the way. But there’s one more thing: I’m so happy to have found out about LSA that I want to share my love of it with others. I started LightSport Man to document my path to becoming a light-sport CFI and also to open the world of LSA to others that would never have found out about it. I am willing to give free flights to anyone that passes the qualifications.

What are the qualifications? You need to never have had a discovery flight, not be a pilot or student pilot, and be medically capable of flying. If you meet these qualifications, I will take you on a flight in an LSA for free.

Nothing in the world feels like flying in an LSA, not a Cessna, Piper, or 747. I want to open the doors into light-sport aviation for those who may not ever have had the opportunity.

My mission is to get as many future pilots into light sport as I can, and show how one man with a stuttering disorder has overcome it and is now a pilot.

You can check all this out on my blog, Facebook, and Twitter.

To provide a better user experience, EAA uses cookies. To review EAA's data privacy policy or adjust your privacy settings please visit: Data and Privacy Policy.