Flying as sport pilot

Good morning.  I'm looking into getting a sport pilot license (the most realistic option for me) and am wondering about access to planes.  How do people fly as SP's?  Do they own their own planes, or are there rentals available?  Do flying clubs exist for SPs?  Do people share planes?  I'd appreciate hearing anyone's experiences on this.  BTW, I live in northern Maryland.  Thanks.

10 Replies
Ronald Levy
1522 Posts

@Eric Samstad

You might call Helen Woods at Chesapeake Sport Pilot. That's not exactly northern Maryland, but she's probably the most knowledgeable person in the area about Light Sport aviation in Maryland.

@Eric Samstad

Brenda Tibbs of Bravo Flight Training at FDK also offers light sport training and rentals in her Vans RV-12's and Piper Sport - 

Thanks for the links.  That's a huge help.
 

@Eric Samstad Have you considered a modern gyroplane.  After much research and demo flights, I ordered the MTO Sport 2017, Type Certificated (fully assembled - not a kit) and expect delivery next month.  The gyroplane is a Light Sport Aircraft (LSA) and can be flown with a Sport Pilot license.  Before making any decisions, I would recommend that you take a look at these - and Autogyro USA is near you - Bay Bridge Airport, in Stevensville, Maryland.  Call 410-604-1719 and ask for Terri.
 

@Eric Samstad
I am an EAA chapter president, and this is based on my experience and that of others I know, and possibly may not apply in your case. I don't know how the SP market is there, but here in South Carolina, Sport Pilot Instructors (SPIs) are as scarce as hen's teeth, especially one owning a plane with liability insurance willing to use it for instruction.. Why? It's because liability insurance is very expensive for training purposes and most SPIs, if you can find one, are NOT willing to pay the price, unless they do a lot of training. Finding a SPI without a plane might be a bit easier, but depending on location, probably not much a lot. Unless you are willing to buy your own sport plane, seek a SPI who may be some distance away, and possibly drive long distances to get to him/her, then my advice is to go after your PRIVATE pilot license (PPL). Then, you can get training at most any  flight school in a C150, C152, C172 or similar. I know, it requires at least 40 hours of instruction versus 20 hours for SPL, but you will probably spend less money, time, effort, and worrying doing that than running up and down the road to get to your SPI's location. If you get your PPL, then  you can fly most any light GA or sport plane, and you will also be able to find more planes for sale to your liking  and within your budget. The next issue is medical. If you can get 3rd class FAA medical or BasicMed, then you are good to go. If not, I suspect one reason you are going for Sport Pilot is because it only requires DL medical. As I recall, getting your SPL requires a sign-off by a SPI or CFI “in a sport plane”, but if you have your PPL, I don't think that is an issue. As I recall, I believe you can fly a sport plane with PPL and DL medical. It will be a problem in a GA plane, but not a sport plane. If so, you can probably find one “somewhere” but have less traveling to do. I hope this helps. If you are not an EAA member already, I suggest you go to their website at EAA.ORG. You can probably find more info there.

Ronald Levy
1522 Posts

@Dewey Berry
 
I am an EAA chapter president, and this is based on my experience and that of others I know, and possibly may not apply in your case. I don't know how the SP market is there, but here in South Carolina, Sport Pilot Instructors (SPIs) are as scarce as hen's teeth, especially one owning a plane with liability insurance willing to use it for instruction..

The training for Sport Pilot may be given by a regular CFI-ASEL as well as a CFI-SP, and there are lots of independent regular CFI's out there who could give you that training in your own airplane.  However, there are a lot of reasons not to buy a plane until you have at least 10 hours or so of training from a regular flight school so you're sure you're going to carry this through to completion.  For a list of Light Sport/Sport Pilot flight schools, see:

Flight School Finder - AOPA