Transitioning UL Instructors Becoming Sport Pilot Rated Flight Instructors


I am an UL Flight Instructor and I want to become an FAA certificated Flight Instructor with a Sport Pilot rating. How do I go about it?

Until the 31st of Jan., 2008, certain BFI’s (Or UFI’s or AFI’s) registered with an UL organization have an opportunity to become Sport FI’s with a minimum of cost and effort. In fact, there will never be an easier or less expensive way to obtain this certificate. And once obtained, it is yours forever. Following, is an outline of the necessary steps.

Note: As you go through this list of steps, it may seem to be a lot of things to accomplish, but in reality, they are just small steps and don’t take much time or money to accomplish. If you begin now, you will easily reach your goals. The tests for Sport Pilot rated Flight Instructor are very similar to the tests you already passed when you became a Sport Pilot, with the difference that these tests will be in a little more depth and will be based on the ideas that your knowledge has more depth, that your flying skills are more precise and that you can show your abilities to teach flying skills to aspiring pilots. Experienced BFI’s with some bookwork and study should have little trouble with the knowledge test. With some restudy of the FOI (Fundamentals Of Instruction) subjects, you should be able to accomplish the oral portion of the practical. The flight portion of the practical is what you have already been doing while teaching students, with certain tolerances included. So let’s get out there and do it!

Two Deadlines

There are two deadlines that concern UL Instructors. The first was 1 September, 2004. If you were an UL Instructor, registered with one of the UL organizations before that date, then this transition period is available to you. If you became an instructor on or after that date, then you can't take advantage of it, but you may still use all the hours of UL training and experience toward the FAA Flight Instructor certificate at any time in the future. For you, there is no deadline, so keep your UL Instructor rating in effect right up until the expiration of the exemptions on 31 Jan, 2008. Your time will accrue and the training that you give to pilots, will also be usable by them forever, toward the SP certificate.


SP Flight Instructor Prerequisites

I am assuming that you have taken the first steps, by becoming a Sport Pilot and N-numbering, registering and obtaining an airworthiness certificate for your aircraft. If not, then go here to find out the steps involved:


Sport Pilot Training


You must be a Sport Pilot before you become an Sport rated FI. This is because any flight instructor certificate relies upon the privileges of the underlying pilot certificate. Those of you that became Sport Pilots by the 31 Jan 2007 deadline had an easier road to travel. It is still possible to complete the Sport Pilot training if you haven't, but you will now need to meet all the training and experience requirements required by the regulations. Your properly logged UL experience will still count, so keep those old logbooks. Combining all of this with the task of obtaining the Flight Instructor certificate may be very difficult, but for determined applicants, not impossible.

I also will assume that you have the letter from your UL organization authorizing you to take the knowledge and practical tests for Sport Pilot Instructor. If not, here are the UL organization websites:


Aero Sports Connection (ASC)
United States Ultralight Association (USUA)
Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA)

EAA Sport Pilot (  


This step by step guide is for the person holding a BFI certificate from an UL organization who has that authorization. It will outline the additional steps necessary for someone wishing to obtain a certificate after the deadline, at the end of this document.


Rules for Transitioning UL Instructors

First, let’s take a look at the rules covering this transition. Here is a link to the FAA rule covering the requirements for transitioning BFI's (61.431):

61.431 Transitioning Registered Ultralight Instructors

As a BFI or AFI or UFI with one of the Orgs, you can obtain the letter from that Org that qualifies you for the knowledge and practical testing. This will also mean you don't have to study for and take the FOI (Fundamentals of Instruction) written test.
The Knowledge Test
The Knowledge Test for Sport Pilot Flight Instructor is quite a bit more difficult than the one for Sport Pilot. It is 70 questions and you need 70% to pass. There are separate tests for each category of aircraft. Here is a link to the Testing Matrix that lists the tests and the authorizations required.


FAA Airman Knowledge Testing Authorization Requirements Matrix


You will take it at the same kind of testing center you took the pilot test at. When you schedule your test don’t forget to make sure you ask for the correct category of Sport Pilot Flight Instructor test. Here is a link to the Testing Centers:


Airman Knowledge Testing Center List


What to Study?

In addition to all the things you needed to know to become a Sport Pilot, the knowledge required to become a Sport Pilot Flight Instructor includes all the rules pertaining to Flight Instructors (In the FAR’s), as well as knowledge of how to instruct. Much of the knowledge of how to instruct is contained in the “Fundamentals of Instruction”. You learned these things in your UL instructor training, so you don’t have to take the FOI test, but it is good to review before taking the FAA test.


The Rules

You need to know the portion of Part 61 of the Regulations that applies to Sport Pilot Instructors:

Subpart K Sport Pilot Flight Instructors

Instructor Handbook

The FAA publishes a handbook for Instructors. It is called the Aviation Instructor's Handbook. It contains much of the basic information you need to study. Get a copy free here:

Aviation Instructor's Handbook


The knowledge and practical tests will be similar in subject matter and a bit expanded in scope, compared to what you accomplished as a SP applicant. The main difference is that you will be demonstrating your ability to teach these subjects to a student pilot. In addition you will need to know the teaching methods outlined in the Fundamentals of Instruction. The following are the areas you need to be prepared in. This is true whether you are a transitioning UL Instructor or a "from scratch" applicant. The only difference is that the transitioning applicant doesn't have to produce any other documentation other than the letter from his organization.


61.407 Aeronautical Knowledge

61.409 Flight Proficiency


Minimum Total Flight Time

A transitioning UL Instructor need not meet the aeronautical experience of 61.411, but he must meet the minimum total flight time for the category. See below:

61.411 Aeronautical Experience


FOI (Fundamentals of Instruction)

Much of the FOI material is covered in the Aviation Instructors Handbook. King and others have good study materials for this as well.


Category Specific Study Materials

The FAA has category specific knowledge tests for the Sport Pilot Flight Instructor certificate. Each test will have general SP questions as well as questions that relate to that specific category of aircraft (Such as Fixed-Wing, WSC or PPC). This means that you will have to decide what category of aircraft you are going to take the oral/practical test in, and take the knowledge test for that same category.
One difficulty for students is that the question bank the FAA has posted on their website does not include the category specific questions so there is no way to correlate the knowledge areas to study from referenced knowledge codes. The only way to assemble an adequate list of study aids is to get the list of reference materials from the PTS (Practical Test Standard). For category specific questions they simply list either “The Powered Parachute Bible” or “Trikes, The Flex-Wing Flyers”. In AC60-25f the particular chapters you need to study, are listed. They are also listed below for your convenience. Remember, this is just the category specific information. You will still need to study general Sport Pilot material.

I understand the FAA is producing new Manuals for you to study for WSC and PPC that will cover the category specific material. Until these are available the only materials available are privately published. This is where the FAA is deriving their questions from until their own material is ready.

For WSC this would be “Trikes, The Flex-Wing Flyers” by Lucien Bartosik and Hal McSwain. Here is a link:

Trikes, The Flex-Wing Flyers

For PPC’s it would be “The Powered Parachute Bible” by George A. Begue. Here is a link:


The Powered Parachute Bible

If you study the following chapters in these books, you will have covered the appropriate material.

The Powered Parachute Bible—Media Max, First Edition
Knowledge Code Chapter No. Chapter Title

H01 3 Airframe
H02 4 Wing
H03 5 Powerplant
H04 6 4-cycle and 2-cycle Engines
H05 7 4-stroke vs. 2-stroke
H06 8 Electrical Output
H07 9 Ignition Systems
H08 10 Oil and Fuel
H09 11 Engine Gauges
H10 12 Propeller
H11 13 Aerodynamics
H12 17 Preflight
H13 18 Operations

Trikes, The Flex-Wing Flyers, H & L Press, Second Edition
Knowledge Code Chapter No. Chapter Title

H20 1 Principles of Flight
H21 2 Weight-Shift Ultralight
H22 3 Effects of Flight Controls
H23 4 Preflight and Postflight
H24 6 Navigation
H25 7 Flight
H26 8 Clothing and Equipment
H27 9 Triking Activities

Note: When the FAA completes their Handbooks and posts them on the net, I will provide links to them. Until then, you will have to obtain a copy of the appropriate privately printed materials, for category specific study.


General Study Materials

I've taken the list of reference materials list from the Practical Test Standard for • Airplane• Gyroplane • Glider • Flight Instructor (FAA-S-8081-29 with Change 1), and linked to that material where possible.

These practical test standards are based on the following references:

14 CFR part 43 Maintenance, Preventive Maintenance, Rebuilding, and Alteration
14 CFR part 61 Certification: Pilots, Flight Instructors, and Ground Instructors
14 CFR part 67 Medical Standards Certification
14 CFR part 71 Designation of class A, B, C, D, and E airspace

14 CFR part 91 General Operating and Flight Rules
AC 00-6A Aviation Weather
AC 00-45E Aviation Weather Services
AC 60-22 Aeronautical Decision Making
AC 60-28 English Language Skill Standards

AC 61-65D Certification: Pilot and Flight Instructors and Ground Instructors
AC 61-67D Stall and Spin Awareness Training
AC 61-84B Role of Preflight Preparation
AC 61-134 General Aviation Controlled Flight Into Terrain Awareness
AC 90-23F Aircraft Wake Turbulence
AC 90-48C Pilots’ Role in Collision Avoidance
AC 90-66A Recommended Standard Traffic Patterns and Practices for Aeronautical Operations At Airports Without Operating Control Towers

AC 91-13C Cold Weather Operation of Aircraft
AC 91-69A Seaplane Safety for FAR Part 91 Operations
AC 120-51E Crew Resource Management Training
FAA-H-8083-1 Aircraft Weight and Balance Handbook
FAA-H-8083-3 Airplane Flying Handbook
FAA-H-8083-9 Aviation Instructor’s Handbook
FAA-H-8083-13 Glider Flying Handbook
FAA-H-8083-21 Rotorcraft Flying Handbook
FAA-H-8083-23 Seaplane, Skiplane, and Float/Ski Equipped Helicopter Flying Handbook
FAA-H-8083-25 Pilot's Handbook of Aeronautical Knowledge
AIM Aeronautical Information Manual (Online)

AIM Aeronautical Information Manual (PDF)
AFD Airport Facility Directory (Digital Online) (Also get a current paper one here: AFD's)
NOTAMs Notices to Airmen


Pilot Operating Handbook (For your aircraft)
FAA-Approved Flight Manual (For your aircraft)
Aeronautical Navigation Charts (Order from NACO) (Have a current paper one)
Seaplane Supplement


Speaking of study materials, AC60-25F is a list of Subject Matter Knowledge Codes for all FAA tests and a list of the associated reference materials. Get it here:





An important skill required of Instructors, that is seldom taught in any ground school, is that of preparing the proper endorsements that students have earned. AC61-65E shows what endorsements there are and how to write them. Look in Appendix 1 for examples. In addition, AC61-65E has guidance for pilots, flight instructors, ground instructors, and examiners on the certification standards, knowledge test procedures, and other requirements in Title 14 of the Code of Federal Regulations (14 CFR) part 61, including information specific to Sport Pilot .




Am I ready for the Test?

The most important thing to do is to study the required material and to know it in depth. As an aid, to help you determine your knowledge level, the FAA publishes a Sample Question Bank. This is a subset of the questions drawn from the full Question Bank from which they draw the test questions. Do Not simply study the questions and the answers, and assume that is all that is required. Remember that you will have to know these subjects in much more depth when you get to the Practical exam. Here is a link to the Question Bank for instructors:

SP Flight Instructor Sample Question Bank

You will need a copy of the Computer Testing Supplements, which are the figures you refer to when answering some of the questions in the Question Bank and on the actual test. It is a 6MB file and the link to it is here:

Computer Testing Supplements


Online Practice Tests:

There are a few places online, where you can take practice knowledge tests to see if you are ready to go take the test for real at a testing center.


ASA makes the best prep guides for the knowledge tests. Here is a link to the their website for the SP Flight Instructor Guide:


The Practical Test
The Practical Test Standards
The first and most important document you will need is a copy of the PTS or Practical Test Standards for the category of Sport aircraft that you want to take your practical test in. Here is a link to the locations for all the PTS's.

FAA Practical Test Standards

Here are links for the individual PTS's:

FAA-S-8081-29, Sport Pilot Practical Test Standards for Airplane, Gyroplane, Glider, and Flight Instructor with Change 1
FAA-S-8081-30, Sport Pilot Practical Test Standards for Airship, Balloon, and Flight Instructor with Change 1
FAA-S-8081-31, Sport Pilot Practical Test Standards for Weight Shift Control, Powered Parachute, and Flight Instructor with Change 1


The PTS outlines the materials you will need to study and the skills you will have to demonstrate. Of course, you will be using the Flight Instructor portion of these standards, and the emphasis will be on how you teach flying, rather than on how you fly. Good piloting skills are assumed.


Commercial Study Aids

I hear that King has the best materials to prepare for the practical test, but I haven't looked at them myself. I used the ASA book for the SP practical, and liked it, but my first Examiner didn't like it at all. The very good thing is that ASA covers all the categories (Fixed-Wing, WSC and PPC). And I liked how it was laid out like an examiners plan of action. I don't know if the King stuff is SP specific, but it is good and comprehensive(And expensive).



King Schools (Airplane Specific) (Private Pilot Specific)

The FAA has a lot of good free Manuals and Handbooks on their website. Look here:


Other Sources of Study Material

Gleim (Books, CD's, complete kits and an online study course) (Airplane Specific only)  (The Sport Pilot Encyclopedia)

Sweeney Corp Online Aviation Ground School


Visualized Flight Maneuvers Handbooks (high wing “blue” and low wing “red” books)

ASA has two books that help you visualize and practice the practical maneuvers for high and low wing Airplanes

BLUE (High Wing)

RED (Low Wing)



A well indexed and tabbed FAR/AIM is a useful tool and something I would expect an instructor to have. Most examiners carry the ASA one, so references to particular pages match. Here is a link to an index for it (Print and affix it to the front cover and then tab the particular items):




Here is the link to the page with Examiners lists (Look at the bottom of the page for PDF files for each category). You will need one of them for your practical test and they may have better answers than I on the particulars of getting the Sport Pilot Flight Instructor certificate by the deadline. You will need one with the SFIE (Sport Pilot Flight Instructor Examiner) designation.



Sport Pilot Examiners Handbook
The Sport Pilot Examiners Handbook tells you everything the DPE (Designated Pilot Examiner) will do while examining you. It will give you valuable insights into the process. A link to it is here:

Sport Pilot Examiners Handbook FAA Order 8710.7


Forms and Documents
You will need a filled out copy of FAA form 8710-11, Airman Certificate and/or Rating Application, to give to the Examiner when you arrive for the test.

FAA Form 8710-11


The FAA Light Sport Division (AFS610) is the ultimate authority for SP or SP FI questions. If your Org or Examiner doesn't have the answers, don't be afraid to call them. Here is their info:
Light Sport Aviation Branch
Phone: (405) 954-6400

After the Deadline

For those who will not meet the deadline of 31 Jan, 2008 , your logbook hours and experience will always count toward the requirements for SP FI, but you will have to meet all of the training and flight experience requirements outlined in the regulations.


If not you have to meet the hour requirements for training and experience, but all your logged hours while a pilot with an Org will count. The requirements in hours of experience and training are outlined here:

61.407 Aeronautical Knowledge

61.409 Flight Proficiency

61.411 Aeronautical Experience



            I have a website for general SP information and links (A good place to send your student pilots):

Sport Pilot Training


Private Pilot WSC and PPC

There are now two Examiners who are qualified to test applicants to the Private Pilot level for WSC and very soon there will be at least one available to test applicants to the Private Pilot level for PPC. The WSC Examiners are Jim Bair and Wayne Bezner-Kerr.

Private Pilot Weight-shift or Powered Parachute
If you are interested in studying for the Private Pilot Powered Parachute/Weight Shift certificates then the sample question bank for them is here:

Airman Knowledge Test Question Bank (Private Pilot Powered Parachute/Weight Shift)


Private Pilot Weight-shift or Powered Parachute PTS
If you are interested in certification as a Private Pilot Weight-shift or Powered Parachute here is the link to the PTS for those:

FAA-S-8081-32, Private Pilot Practical Test Standards for Powered Parachute and Weight Shift Control


Thanks (For all the help and suggestions) To:

Phil Dietro, SP CFI, SPE
Inland Paraflite, Inc.