The Third Coast Aviation CFI and administrative staff have had multiple students over the last two years pose the question of whether a student can attain a sport pilot license based on holding a valid driver’s license in good standing. The documented regulations within the FAR/AIM on this are complex as this FAR/AIM excerpt underscores:
61.23 (C) Operations requiring either a medical certificate or U.S. driver’s license.FAR / AIM 61.23(C)
(1) A person must hold and possess either a medical certificate issued under part 67 or a U.S. driver’s license when,
(ii) Exercising the privileges of a sport pilot certificate in a light-sport aircraft other than a glider or balloon
(2) A person using a U.S. driver’s license to meet the requirements of paragraph (C) while exercising Sport pilot privileges must,
(i) Comply with each limitation and restriction imposed by the person’s U.S. driver’s license to the operation of a motor vehicle;
(ii) Have been found eligible for the issuance of at least a third class airman medical certificate at the time of his or her most recent application (If the person has applied for a medical certificate)
(iii) Not have has his or her most recently issued medical certificate (if the person has held a medical certificate) suspended or revoked or most recent Authorization for Special Issuance of a Medical Certificate withdrawn; and
(iv) Not know of or have reason to know of any medical condition that would make that person unable to operate a light sport aircraft in a safe manner.
(3) A person using a U.S. driver’s license to meet the requirements of paragraph (C) while operating under the conditions and limitations of 61.113(i) must meet the following requirements,
(i) The person must,
(A) Comply with all medical requirements or restrictions associated with his or her U.S. driver’s license;
(c) Complete the medical education course set forth in 68.3 of this chapter during the 24 calendar months before acting as pilot in command in an operation conducted under 61.113(i) and retain a certification of course completion in accordance with 68.3(b)(1)
(D) Receive a comprehensive medical examination from a State-licensed physician during the 48 months before acting as pilot in command of an operation conducted under 61.113(i) and that medical examination is conducted in accordance with the requirements in part 68 of this chapter; and
(E) If the individual has been diagnosed with any medical condition that may impact the ability of the individual to fly, be under the care and treatment of a State-licensed physician when acting as pilot in command of an operation conducted under 61.113(i)
So, from that except it is clear that you need to either pass a third class medical exam or be able to. For current pilots with at least a private pilot’s license, the requirement for pilot in command (‘PIC’) are:
61.113(i) Private pilot privileges and limitations: Pilot in command – A private pilot may act as pilot in command of an aircraft without holding a medical certificate issued under part 67 of this chapter provided the pilot holds a valid driver’s license, meets the requirements of 61.23(c)(3), and complies with this section and all of the following conditions and limitationsFAR / AIM 61.113(i)
(3) The pilot has available in his or her logbook –
(i) The completed medical examination checklist required under 68.7 of this chapter; and
(ii) The certificate of course completion required under 61.23(c)(3)
For everyone else:
61.23(c)(3) Must hold at least a third class medical certificateFAR / AIM 61.23(c)(3)
(i) When exercising the privileges of private pilot certificate, recreational pilot certificate or student pilot certificate , except when operating under the conditions and limitations in 61.113(i)
68.7 Comprehensive medical examination checklist
Sport Pilot License conclusion
So, reading this, we can clearly understand that there is a medical examination required for all types of pilot licenses. For many, that’s disappointing news. However, there is also good news for just as many aspiring pilots out there – it is possible to work your way through this process and attain a minimum medical requirement to be a sport-pilot with little doubt as to the likelihood of your success. We can simplify the understanding and application of the knowledge from the FAR/AIM in the simple process identified below:
- Complete the medical on-line course,
- Complete the medical questionnaire and take to your own State certified medical examiner,
- Get a comprehensive medical exam from your state licensed physician, and ensure you are in compliance
To fly solo the student seeking their sport pilot license must have:
His or her logbook with required experience and CFI endorsements,
a completion statement for the required medical ground training, and
a statement from a licensed physician that he or she does not have any health conditions that would limit his a ability to safely operate an aircraft.
This is what is referred to as “Basic Med” and is valid for a 24 month period. In reality, the applicant for a sport pilot license would never have to visit an AME. However this process does not apply to applicants or pilots who have had their FAA medical (either Class 1, class 2, or class 3) pulled or denied within the previous 24 months!
About Third Coast Aviation
Founded in January 2017, Third Coast Aviation (‘TCA‘) is a Texas Gulf Coast aviation company providing Part 61 flight training, aircraft acquisition, sales, and management services. Our seasoned Certified Flight Instructors (CFI, CFII, and MEI) deliver flight training from Discovery Flights to Private Pilot License (PPL), Commercial Pilots License (CPL), CFI and beyond. Our admissions professionals help individuals transition into professional careers through our partnerships with regional air carriers such as GoJet Airlines Inc.; our business-to-business (‘B2B’) clientele provide explosive growth opportunity and longevity for our staff of Certified Flight Instructors (‘CFI’), maintenance professionals, and an exhilarating place for our students to learn!
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11200 Blume Avenue, Houston, TX 77034
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