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Old 01-21-2022, 11:10 PM
talon167 talon167 is offline
Join Date: Jan 2019
Location: Maryland
Posts: 9

Yes, Sport Pilots (i.e., driver's license only) can fly (some) E-AB!

The term "LSA" is, in part, a definition for purposes of identifying Sport Pilot privileges. The FAA states that exercising Sport Pilot privileges permits you to operate "Any light-sport aircraft for which you hold the endorsements required for its category and class." The FAA notes that when you get a sport pilot certificate, it "will not have any category and class ratings." The Sport Pilot limitations and privileges dictate what you can fly. One of the privs is to act as PIC of a "light-sport" aircraft.

Yes, there is a "LSA Category" (e.g., S-LSA) but Sport Pilots are not limited to flying LSA Category aircraft - as noted above, the SP certificate does not specify any category limitations (not even an "LSA category" limitation).

One simple fact helps to clarify:
- Certified/standard category planes can (and some do) meet the LSA definitions (e.g., ER Coupe). Is the ER Coupe a certified plane? Yes, but they are also at the same time an "LSA." Why . . . its AW certificate does not state it is an LSA - in fact it was built before the definition existed and they sure the heck did not comply with any LSA ASTM standard when built. Correct, but what is on the ER Coupe's AW certificate does not dictate whether it is an LSA - whether a plane is an LSA for purposes of Sport Pilot privileges is dictated by the FAA (not ASTM) definition.

This conveniently cross-applies to E-AB (yes regs sometimes are logical - shocking, right!).

- Similarly, some E-AB planes can and do meet the FAA's definition of LSA. Can a Sport Pilot act as PIC of an E-AB that meets the definition of an LSA - ya betcha if the Sport Pilot can fly it and be within what is allowed under the SP's privileges! What if you modify that E-AB so that it no longer meets the LSA definition? Then a Sport cannot act as PIC. Pretty simple.

Figuring out what planes you can fly as PIC with Sport Pilot privileges (i.e., driver's license/no 3rd class or basic med req) is a matter of applying the FAA's LSA definition (keeping in mind that the SP priv limitations include more than just the LSA definition that can impact what SP can fly). Whether a plane's AW certificate is standard/certified category or E-AB is 100% not relevant to determining whether a Sport Pilot can act as PIC. It really is that simple.
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