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Sport Pilot or Private Pilot? What's best for you?
By Bruce Hogan Published: 11/12/2009
At first, it is exciting to learn that you have a choice as to the type of Pilot that you can be without even considering anything as detailed as commercial or even beyond that. As you become more familiar with your options, though it becomes a little more confusing and difficult to determine just which the best course for you to take is. In other words, now you have all these choices which one do you choose?
Perhaps the best way to get you past this point and to the place where you can make a decision would first be doing some research. During your research, you are going to want to surface answers to the following questions.
1. What do I want to be able to do with my Pilot's license? 2. How much do I want to spend to achieve it? 3. What is available to me in my local area? 4. How much time do I want to spend on getting my license?
These are four questions that once you find the answer to will best guide you on which type of license to go after. If even after you determine the answers and are still unsure then remember one thing, and that is you can always go forward but you can't go back.
So why not start planning to get your Sport Pilot License (certificate). It is the fastest, easiest and least expensive way of gaining the opportunity to fly an aircraft. First learn what the restrictions are for a Sport Pilot and if they were not a big issue to you then this would be the best route for you to follow.
Lets look at the benefits to obtaining a Sport Pilot Certificate.
a) Its much cheaper. Reason being you only need to complete and pay for 25 hours of training. b) Less training hours means less time having to be allotted for your lessons. c) You will be flying on your own much quicker. Great for those too impatient to spend much time waiting to get at it. d) The medical certificate is not as strict as that for other pilot levels. In fact, as long as you are qualified to hold a valid drivers license then you are qualified to be a sport pilot from a medical point of view. e) You can always go back for further training if you decide you want more privileges and therefore opt to become a Private Pilot.
A word of warning though if you attempt to qualify for your medical certificate for a Private Pilot and fail it then you will not be able to qualify for a Sport license even though your potential health problem does not affect your driver's license.
Now that we have looked at all of the benefits of a Sport Pilot Certificate, lets look at some of the downfalls or restrictions. a) You are only able to transport one passenger at a time. b) You must maintain altitude levels of a maximum of 10,000 feet. c) If the area you are contemplating flying in demands radio communications then it will be off limits to you. If this is important to you then you can take some extra instruction time and get your logbook signed as such. This will then exempt you from this restriction. d) You will not be allowed to fly at night. Your flying hours are restricted to between dawn and dusk. - 28385