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Thread: Sport Pilot as first step to PPL?

  1. #1

    Default Sport Pilot as first step to PPL?

    Howdy all - I've been interested in my private pilot license for years, (30 or so to be exact), and finally, through a mix of circumstances have a chance at getting my license in a way that can work out timewise and financially... except there are some caveats, and I'm looking for advice:

    Short version - through family & friends, I can easily get the 20+ hours and other Sport Pilot / "Light Sport" requirements during an upcoming out of state family trip. It's a long trip, and I'll have access to a free of charge J-3 and Vans RV-4. Similarly, I can get some help on the CFI and other bits/pieces through connections. It's a heck of a deal and oppurtunity in that regard...

    However, while I don't want to look a gift horse in the mouth, my goal had really been for the full Private Pilot License and that was the initial plan. Circumstances have changed slightly so I won't be able to get that far in one (long) trip, since the trip just got shorter. I'm going to verify, but the CFI I believe is set up for both PPL and Sport Pilot, so if I read the regs right, all the dual hours count towards both. With regard to "ground school" I'm working through that now via self-study and the Sporty's online course.

    My options are as follows, I think:

    1) Get Light Sport in place this time around. Look to add time and hours, either on another trip out of state when I can do it cheap or as I can afford some CFI time up here.

    2) Aim for PPL hours down there and just log toward that, don't bother with the Sport Pilot step, and just stay as Student Pilot until I can get more time.

    3) Hold off until I can commit to longer trip & more $$$, and do the PPL "all at once".

    Thoughts or advice?

    One issue I see is that airplane ownership isn't in the immediate picture, so I'd probably be renting... which means Merrill Field and controlled airspace, which I don't believe Sport Pilot is setup for.

    I've got a young family, so cost matters, and if having to do another FAA test, pilot examiner, other stuff, is really going to be a double whammy if I go the Sport Pilot -> Private route, that is a consideration. That said, I don't know how long the discounted CFI and family airplane time will be an option, so I don't want to ignore that.

    Thanks for anything you can offer.

  2. #2
    Member Float Pilot's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Kachemak Bay Alaska


    If you can really finish the LSA down south during one trip, do it. That is an easy springboard to a private later on...
    Float-CFI, Photo Guide, Fishing Guide, Remote Kayaking
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  3. #3


    One follow up: if I go the light sport aircraft route to start, can I still maintain a student pilot status/certificate toward solo flight of larger aircraft?

    I'm not sure if anyone in Anchorage rents to student pilots or how that works, but I realized that light sport rental options are pretty slim since all of the c152/172 options are too heavy to qualify.

    Since buying isn't in the immediate future, if I can't rent anything to get hours and maintain some proficiency/currency that would definitely be an issue.

    Sent from my Nexus 5X using Tapatalk

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2014
    Alaska (NOT Anchorage!)


    I don't know the answer to your questions about student status vs light sport, so I think you really need to talk to a CFI. Getting those questions answered may help with your decision.
    I do think it's a good idea to go ahead with the training on the trip down south. Anything you can do to get started is good.
    It's been a long time since I was a student pilot, but back then (in Kenai) they did rent to students. How else did you get your time in? But, that said, things have changed, and I was taking lessons from a CFI who worked with that place.
    I'm not sure how old you are (you've been wanting to do this for 30 years?) but I was in my 30s when I got my of luck and go for it!
    As an airplane owner, I can tell you that it is big commitment of time and money, so don't feel bad about renting!!!!

  5. #5
    New member
    Join Date
    Jul 2017


    It seems like the only cost/time disadvantage of doing the sport pilot deal down south is the extra DPE cost ($500 for sport?) and the extra written ($150). If your CFI is both private pilot and sport pilot certified, the hours will all count the same.

    Now once you get back to Anchorage, your options are a bit more limited for renting. There aren't a ton of places to rent aircraft, and none that I can think of that rent LSAs. Places will generally only rent to student pilots that are actively training at their schools.

    As I see it, if having your sport pilot cert down south is advantageous (do you want to take a passenger up for a flight while down there?). Then go that route. If you aren't planning on utilizing the sport pilot license down there, then just get as many hours as you can down there as a PPL student pilot.

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