So you want to teach others to fly airplane light-sport aircraft (LSA)? When you’re teaching others to fly, you will notice that you learn more about flying than you ever did as a student. By teaching others you learn quickly how well you really know the subject matter. Its one thing to learn something, but to teach others, you have to possess a high level of correlation well beyond the levels of rote memorization and basic understanding of the material and concepts.

In addition to mastering aeronautical knowledge and skill, you must be able to transfer your knowledge to your student pilots. Students come from all walks of life, with different learning styles which can truly be a challenge. Guess what? Your teaching style may not always be compatible with your students learning style. You have to learn new ways of communicating. So you must become a student of human interaction and communications.

Would you like to be busy teaching students to fly LSA? Marketing your services as a flight instructor is a subject that receives little, if any, attention when you’re working on your CFI rating. However, this is an important concept for the success of a flight instructor.

We provide useful tips that you can use today, from the basic flight instructor certificate FAQs to accessing current FAA forms, endorsements, pilot certification standards, flight training articles, and publications; plus learn how to market yourself to prospective students who want to be sport pilots.

What is a certificated Sport Pilot Flight Instructor (CFIS)?

A FAA Sport Pilot Certified Flight Instructor (CFIS) is a flight instructor just like any other FAA flight instructor (CFI), except a CFIS is a CFI with a sport pilot rating. A CFIS has privileges similar to other FAA certificated flight instructors (CFI); however, he or she may only instruct in the category of light-sport aircraft in which he or she is qualified and operates under FAR 61 Subpart K rather than Subpart H. A CFIS may also perform proficiency checks to add a category or class to the certificate of an existing Sport Pilot and Sport Pilot CFIS.

Prerequisites to be a Sport Pilot Certified Flight Instructor (CFIS)

The applicant must hold a sport pilot or higher pilot certificate with the category and class privileges as appropriate to the flight instructor privileges sought. The candidate must be at least 18 years old.

Experience requirements

Airplane category instructors need 150 hours of flight time as a pilot, which must include at least:

(i) 100 hours of flight time as pilot in command in powered aircraft
(ii) 50 hours of flight time in airplane category
(iii) 25 hours of cross-country flight time
(iv) 10 hours of cross-country flight time in airplane category
(v) 15 hours of flight time as pilot in command in airplane category that is a light-sport aircraft

Sport pilots must build additional skills in the Fundamentals of Instruction and Technical Subject Areas. All the sport pilot tasks must be mastered to:

  • Perform the maneuvers and procedures at a higher level than the sport pilot tolerances.
  • Have instructional knowledge of tasks.
  • Have knowledge of common errors and be able to identify, analyze, and correct mistakes.

It should be noted that an instrument and commercial rating is not required to be a Sport Pilot CFI (CFIS).

How do I acquire Certified Flight Instructor privileges?

New Sport Pilot Certified Flight Instructor (CFIS) candidate must:

  • Hold at least a Sport Pilot certificate in the category/class of aircraft.
  • Receive training and endorsement from Sport Pilot CFI to take the computer based knowledge test and the Fundamentals of Instruction (FOI) tests. These endorsements can also be obtained with the Prepware CD on line. This saves significant time and money.
  • Pass the FOI test and CFI sport knowledge test for airplane category.
  • Meet ALL Sport Pilot CFI requirements per 61.407 through 61.411 (experience requirements shown above). Time logged in an Ultralight is allowed per FAR 61.52 until January 31, 2008. This ultralight time is good for life. However, new rule changes may provide a sunset date on being able to use this ultralight time so check FAR 61.52 for current status.
  • Obtain and log 3 hours training within 60 days before practical test specifically for the CFIS rating.
  • Obtain endorsement for practical test from Sport Pilot CFI in log book and on 8710-11 form.
  • Pass CFI sport practical test with DPE/SPIE. Click here to find a DPE. (Choose from the “Examiner Listing” at bottom of page.)
  • Receive Sport Pilot CFI Certificate and log book endorsement for category of aircraft used for Practical Test/checkride.