Sport Pilot
A world of opportunity is open to pilots. Unmatched freedom, career opportunities, and personal accomplishments are a few of the many reasons why people decide to become pilots.
What’s yours?

Light-sport aircraft (LSA)

The sport pilot license (certificate) is available specifically for pilots of light-sport aircraft (LSA). Basically, an LSA is a small, simple-to-operate, low-performance airplane, glider, powered parachute, etc. The light-sport airplane is usually smaller and slower than other light airplanes. A sport pilot certificate and LSAs are a great way to fly at less cost.

Whether you wish to fly for fun or as a career, there is much for you to learn both on the ground and in the air. But it is not too difficult! If you can ride a bicycle or drive a car, you can probably fly an airplane.

Steps to Success

The steps to become a sport pilot are very similar to becoming a private pilot. However, there are fewer training requirements because sport pilots have different pilot privileges. For detailed information about learning to fly, please visit our Learn to Fly page.

sport pilot license
Step 1: Obtain a Student Pilot Certificate

Getting a student pilot certificate is one of the first steps toward earning a sport pilot license or private pilot certificate. This certificate must be obtained before you are allowed to fly solo.

You must be at least 16 years of age and be able to read, speak, and understand English to receive a student pilot certificate. To apply, you will meet in person with a Flight Instructor, FAA inspector at a local Flight Standards District Office, designated pilot examiner, or airman certificate representative from an approved Part 141 flight school. An application will be processed and sent to the FAA and TSA for review. Upon approval, your student pilot certificate will be mailed.

Important Note Concerning Medical Certification

Unlike the private pilot certificate, the sport pilot certificate does not require a medical exam. However, a valid and current U.S. driver's license is necessary. Even though there is no medical exam requirement, it is still the pilot's responsibility to self-certify their fitness to fly.

Sport pilots may not have ever failed an aviation medical exam or had a previous medical certificate revoked.

Step 2: Prepare for and pass the FAA Knowledge Test

This course guarantees you will pass the written exam.

Purchase the Gleim Sport Pilot Kit.  This kit includes everything you need to study and reference in order to prepare for the FAA Knowledge Test, also known as the written exam. This computerized test has 40 multiple choice questions.

Online Ground School: Sport Pilot

Learn the material quickly with the Gleim Online Ground School. This course guarantees you will pass the written exam. It is included with our Deluxe Sport Pilot Kit.

Deluxe Sport Pilot Kit with Online Ground School

The Gleim Deluxe Sport Pilot Kit is an all-in-one program designed to expedite training for the Sport Pilot certificate.

Step 3: Choose a Flight School

Visit several flight schools, if more than one is available, to talk to flight instructors about flight lessons. Visit our CFI Directory to locate a CFI near you. Alternatively, look for aircraft schools, airplane instruction, aircraft sales, airports, etc., online, or in the Yellow Pages. Indicate that you are interested in taking flight lessons to become a sport pilot.

It is important to choose a flight instructor with whom you will feel comfortable. This may be difficult to determine after only a short meeting or introductory flight; however, you will certainly learn more when you are ready to learn and comfortable with the learning environment. Speak with several instructors. While there are no perfect answers, the following questions should be asked. The objective of these questions is to gain insight into the flight instructor's personality.

Learn more about OGS 141 here. 

Questions to ask a flight school or Flight Instructor

question_mark_circleDo you instruct part time or full time?

This information concerns availability only. Part time does not imply less proficiency or less availability.


question_mark_circleAsk to see the instructor's syllabus.

Compare it to your Gleim Pilot Syllabus.


question_mark_circleHow long does your average student take to solo?

Note that the flight instructor who solos his/her students in the least or most amount of time may not necessarily be the best instructor.


question_mark_circle    How many total hours of solo and dual flight do your typical students require?
question_mark_circle     Ask about a typical lesson.


question_mark_circle     Ask about their time commitment.


question_mark_circleWhere do you recommend that I take my pilot knowledge and practical tests?

Ask about the estimated costs as well.


question_mark_circle     What are the solo and dual rental costs for your training aircraft?


question_mark_circle     What are the flight instructors' schedules and the schedule of available aircraft?


question_mark_circle     What are you instruction costs?


question_mark_circle     Do you have an introductory flight for a nominal fee?  May I take it with no further obligation?




Once you begin your pilot training, purchase a local sectional chart, a chart supplement, and a copy of your airplane's Pilot Operating Handbook (POH).

Make sure that the CFI is familiar with Gleim pilot training materials (the books with the red covers) and is enthusiastic about using them. If you encounter hesitation, call (800) 874-5346.


Step 4: Make a Plan

Once you have made a preliminary choice of flight instructor, you need to sit down with your flight instructor and map out a plan.

1. When and how often you will fly.

2. When you will take the FAA pilot knowledge test.

3. When you should plan to take your FAA practical test.

4. When and how payments will be made for your instruction.

5. Take and pass your knowledge and practical tests!

Now go fly!

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