My reaction to the letter from Brian Sheets in the Dec. 10 issue (Sport Pilot: A disaster waiting to happen): Before anyone can take the knowledge test or the practical test for a sport class pilot certificate, they must receive logbook endorsements from an authorized instructor.
No authorized instructor is required to make that logbook endorsement when the applicant has only 20 hours of flight time.
Only time needed to meet a requirement must be logged. There may be unlimited time not logged.
Persons who have grown up in a flying family and have never known a time they did not ride in an airplane regularly, with one or both their parents, and who have great interest in flying, and who have passed the knowledge test for sport pilot airplane certificate will likely not need more than the minimum required logged flying time, and should not be punished because of this.
I am sorry that Mr. Sheets has such little faith in instructors and and examiners and their judgment.
With the sport aircraft weight limited, and the speed also limited, the hole in the ground you are allowed to make is necessarily smaller than that which could be made by a Cessna 172 or a Piper Archer. It seems reasonable that the limited kinetic energy of a sport aircraft should not require pilot training equivalent to that of a pilot operating a 7,000-pound airplane at 250 knots.
A student glider pilot may have hundreds of hours of solo pilot time when he reaches the age of 16 years. It is certainly reasonable for this person to qualify for a sport airplane certificate with the minimum required instruction and solo flight time logged.
There is a requirement for the sport pilot to get further instruction and endorsements before flying in class B, C or D airspace. Perhaps you did not know that ?
I think Mr. Sheets has not consider-ed that instructors and pilot examiners do not make log book entries or accept practical tests without serious consideration. I do resent his implication that only 20 hours logged (whether successful or not) will guarantee that you will be issued a sport pilot certificate.
Why do you think a sport pilot would be “more focused on viewing the terrain or impressing their passengers?” Sport pilots may have only one passenger, not plural. That’s an FAA flight rule.
I much prefer to ride with pilots who may have less than perfect eyesight, but constantly look around, to riding with — or flying in the same area with — pilots with perfect eyesight who never look around.
I would actually be more concerned flying in the same area as Mr. Sheets (with his mightier than thou attitude) than in an area with a few sport class pilots.
Leave a little room, for those of us who have it, to use common sense and good judgment.
I still have, for reference, the Civil Air Regulations in effect in 1949 when I got my Private Pilot Certificate, and they worked well. My instructor rating came in March 1960. Regulations have changed, but they have not really improved, and neither, I believe, have pilots.
Robert M. Park
Note: I never took high school driver’s ed. — they didn’t have it. I also do not have an instrument rating. There aren’t a lot of us left with airplane instructor ratings. I have lasted well over half a century of flying and am still going, thank you.