FAA RULES

    Light Sport Aircraft Regulations
    Link to sight click here!  




    This is a synopsis of the definition of a light-sport aircraft category, the requirements to obtain a sport pilot certificate, and requirements to obtain a repairman certificate with a maintenance or inspection rating. More complete details can be found in the appropriate sections of the Sport Pilot web site.

Light-Sport Aircraft:

The FAA defines a light-sport aircraft as an aircraft, other than a helicopter or powered-lift that, since its original certification, has continued to meet the following:

  • Maximum gross takeoff weight—1,320 lbs, or 1,430 lbs for seaplanes.
  • Maximum stall speed—51 mph (45 knots) CAS
  • Maximum speed in level flight with maximum continuous power (Vh)—138 mph (120 knots) CAS
  • Single or two-seat aircraft only
  • Single, reciprocating engine (if powered), including rotary or diesel engines
  • Fixed or ground-adjustable propeller
  • Unpressurized cabin
  • Fixed landing gear, except for an aircraft intended for operation on water or a glider
  • Can be manufactured and sold ready-to-fly under a new Special Light-Sport aircraft certification category. Aircraft must meet industry consensus standards. Aircraft under this certification may be used for sport and recreation, flight training, and aircraft rental.
  • Can be licensed Experimental Light-Sport Aircraft (E-LSA) if kit- or plans-built. Aircraft under this certification may be used only for sport and recreation and flight instruction for the owner of the aircraft.
  • Can be licensed Experimental Light-Sport Aircraft (E-LSA) if the aircraft has previously been operated as an ultralight but does not meet the FAR Part 103 definition of an ultralight vehicle. These aircraft must be transitioned to E-LSA category no later than January 31, 2008.
  • Will have FAA registration—N-number.
  • Aircraft category and class includes: Airplane (Land/Sea), Gyroplane, Airship, Balloon, Weight-Shift-Control ("Trike" Land/Sea), Glider, and Powered Parachute.
  • U.S. or foreign manufacture of light-sport aircraft is authorized.
  • Aircraft with a standard airworthiness certificate that meet above specifications may be flown by sport pilots. However, the aircraft must remain in standard category and cannot be changed to light-sport aircraft category. Holders of a sport pilot certificate may fly an aircraft with a standard airworthiness certificate if it meets the definition of a light-sport aircraft.
  • May be operated at night if the aircraft is equipped per FAR 91.205, if such operations are allowed by the aircraft's operating limitations and the pilot holds at least a Private Pilot certificate and a minimum of a third-class medical.

The Sport Pilot Rule:

A sport pilot may exercise flight privileges in one or more of the following aircraft categories:

  • Airplane (single-engine only)
  • Glider
  • Lighter-than-air (airship or balloon)
  • Rotorcraft (gyroplane only)
  • Powered Parachute
  • Weight-Shift control aircraft(e.g. Trikes)

The sport pilot rule:

  • Creates a new student sport pilot certificate
  • Creates a new sport pilot flight instructor certificate.
  • Requires FAA knowledge (written) and practical (flight) test.
  • Credits sport pilot flight time toward more advanced pilot ratings.
  • Requires either a 3rd class FAA medical certificate or a current and valid U.S. driver’s license as evidence of medical eligibility (provided the individual's most recent application for an FAA medical certificate was not denied, revoked, suspended or withdrawn).
  • Does not allow carrying passengers for compensation or hire
  • Does not allow flights in furtherance of business
  • Allows sharing (“pro-rata”) operating expenses with another pilot.
  • Allows daytime flight only.
  • Allow sport pilots to fly vintage and production aircraft (standard airworthiness certificate) that meet the definition of a light-sport aircraft.

Sport Pilot Flight Instructors:

The new sport pilot/light-sport aircraft rule:

  • Creates new sport pilot flight instructor certificate.
  • Allows current CFI’s to train sport pilots.

Repairmen Certificates

The sport pilot/light-sport aircraft rule creates a new Light-Sport Repairmen certificate—with either a maintenance or inspection rating. To earn an FAA repairman certificate of any type, you must:

  • Be at least 18 years old
  • Speak, read, and understand English
  • Be a U.S. citizen or legal permanent resident
  • Demonstrate the requisite skill to determine whether an E-LSA or S-LSA is in a condition for safe operation
  • For an Inspection rating—complete a 16 hour course on the inspection requirements of the particular class of light-sport aircraft;
  • For a Maintenance rating—complete a course – 120 hours (airplane category); 104 hours (weight shift or powered parachute); 80 hours (glider or lighter-than-air) -- on the maintenance and inspection requirements of the particular class of light-sport aircraft.

Other LSA Maintenance Options

The annual condition inspection on special light-sport airworthiness certificated aircraft--can be completed by:

  • An appropriately rated mechanic—that is, A&P
  • An appropriately rated repair station; or
  • A light-sport repairman with a maintenance rating.
  • maintenance can be performed by a certificated pilot (Sport Pilot rating or higher)

The annual condition inspection on experimental light-sport airworthiness certificated aircraft--can be completed by:

  • An appropriately rated mechanic—that is, an A&P
  • An appropriately rated repair station; or
  • A light-sport repairman with a maintenance rating; or
  • A light-sport repairman with an inspection rating (only on aircraft you own).

No rating is required to perform maintenance on experimental light-sport airworthiness certificated aircraft.

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 Federal Aircraft Regulations, Part 103:

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                          PART 103--ULTRALIGHT VEHICLES


               Special Federal Aviation Regulation No. 45-1 [Note]

                               Subpart A--General
  Sec.
  103.1  Applicability.
  103.3  Inspection requirements.
  103.5  Waivers.
  103.7  Certification and registration.

                           Subpart B--Operating Rules

  103.9  Hazardous operations.
  103.11  Daylight operations.
  103.13  Operation near aircraft; right-of-way rules.
  103.15  Operations over congested areas.
  103.17  Operations in certain airspace.
  103.19  Operations in prohibited or restricted areas.
  103.20  Flight restrictions in the proximity of certain areas designated by
      notice to airmen.
  103.21  Visual reference with the surface.
  103.23  Flight visibility and cloud clearance requirements.

    Authority: 49 U.S.C. app. 1348, 1354(a), 1421(a), 1422, and 1423; 49
  U.S.C. app. 1655(c).

    Source: Docket No. 21631, 47 FR 38776, Sept. 2, 1982, unless otherwise
  noted.

                  Special Federal Aviation Regulation No. 45-1

    Editorial Note: For the text of SFAR No. 45-1, see Part 71 of this
chapter.



                               Subpart A--General


  Sec. 103.1  Applicability.

    This part prescribes rules governing the operation of ultralight vehicles
  in the United States. For the purposes of this part, an ultralight vehicle
  is a vehicle that:
    (a) Is used or intended to be used for manned operation in the air by a
        single occupant;
    (b) Is used or intended to be used for recreation or sport purposes only;
    (c) Does not have any U.S. or foreign airworthiness certificate; and
    (d) If unpowered, weighs less than 155 pounds; or
    (e) If powered:
    (1) Weighs less than 254 pounds empty weight, excluding floats and safety
        devices which are intended for deployment in a potentially catastrophic
        situation;
    (2) Has a fuel capacity not exceeding 5 U.S. gallons;
    (3) Is not capable of more than 55 knots calibrated airspeed at full
        power in level flight; and
    (4) Has a power-off stall speed which does not exceed 24 knots calibrated
        airspeed.



  Sec. 103.3  Inspection requirements.

    (a) Any person operating an ultralight vehicle under this part shall,
        upon request, allow the Administrator, or his designee, to inspect 
        the vehicle to determine the applicability of this part.
    (b) The pilot or operator of an ultralight vehicle must, upon request of
        the Administrator, furnish satisfactory evidence that the vehicle is
        subject only to the provisions of this part.


  Sec. 103.5  Waivers.

    No person may conduct operations that require a deviation from this part
  except under a written waiver issued by the Administrator.


  Sec. 103.7  Certification and registration.

    (a) Notwithstanding any other section pertaining to certification of
        aircraft or their parts or equipment, ultralight vehicles and their
        component parts and equipment are not required to meet the airworthiness
        certification standards specified for aircraft or to have certificates
        of airworthiness.
    (b) Notwithstanding any other section pertaining to airman certification,
        operators of ultralight vehicles are not required to meet any aeronautical
        knowledge, age, or experience requirements to operate those vehicles or to
        have airman or medical certificates.
    (c) Notwithstanding any other section pertaining to registration and
        marking of aircraft, ultralight vehicles are not required to be registered
        or to bear markings of any type.


                           Subpart B--Operating Rules


  Sec. 103.9  Hazardous operations.

    (a) No person may operate any ultralight vehicle in a manner that creates
        a hazard to other persons or property.
    (b) No person may allow an object to be dropped from an ultralight
        vehicle if such action creates a hazard to other persons or property.


  Sec. 103.11  Daylight operations.

    (a) No person may operate an ultralight vehicle except between the hours
        of sunrise and sunset.
    (b) Notwithstanding paragraph (a) of this section, ultralight vehicles
        may be operated during the twilight periods 30 minutes before official
        sunrise and 30 minutes after official sunset or, in Alaska, during the 
        period of civil twilight as defined in the Air Almanac, if:
    (1) The vehicle is equipped with an operating anticollision light visible
        for at least 3 statute miles; and
    (2) All operations are conducted in uncontrolled airspace.


  Sec. 103.13  Operation near aircraft; right-of-way rules.

    (a) Each person operating an ultralight vehicle shall maintain vigilance
        so as to see and avoid aircraft and shall yield the right-of-way to all
        aircraft.
    (b) No person may operate an ultralight vehicle in a manner that creates
        a collision hazard with respect to any aircraft.
    (c) Powered ultralights shall yield the right-of-way to unpowered
        ultralights.



  Sec. 103.15  Operations over congested areas.

    No person may operate an ultralight vehicle over any congested area of a
  city, town, or settlement, or over any open air assembly of persons.


  Sec. 103.17   Operations in certain airspace.

    No person may operate an ultralight vehicle within Class A, Class B,
  Class C, or Class D airspace or within the lateral boundaries of the surface area
  of Class E airspace designated for an airport unless that person has prior
  authorization from the ATC facility having jurisdiction over that airspace.

    EFFECTIVE DATE NOTE: Amdt. 103-4, 56 FR 65662, Dec. 17, 1991, revised
  Sec. 103.17 effective September 16, 1993. The text of Sec. 130.17 in effect
  until September 16, 1993 reads as follows:

  Sec. 103.17  Operations in certain airspace.

    No person may operate an ultralight vehicle within an airport traffic
area, control zone, airport radar service area, terminal control area, or
positive control area unless that person has prior authorization from the air
traffic control facility having jurisdiction over that airspace.

  [Doc. No. 23708, 50 FR 9259, Mar. 6, 1985]


  56 FR 65638, No. 242, Dec. 17, 1991

    SUMMARY: This final rule amends the Federal Aviation Regulations (FAR) to
  adopt certain recommendations of the National Airspace Review (NAR)
  concerning changes to regulations and procedures in regard to airspace
  classifications. These changes are intended to: (1) Simplify airspace
  designations; (2) achieve international commonality of airspace
  designations; (3) increase standardization of equipment requirements for 
  operations in various classifications of airspace; (4) describe appropriate 
  pilot certificate requirements, visual flight rules (VFR) visibility and 
  distance from cloud rules, and air traffic services offered in each class of
  airspace; and (5) satisfy the responsibilities of the United States as a member
  of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO). The final rule also
  amends the requirement for minimum distance from clouds in certain airspace 
  areas and the requirements for communications with air traffic control (ATC) in
  certain airspace areas; eliminates airport radar service areas (ARSAs),
  control zones, and terminal control areas (TCAs) as airspace
  classifications; and eliminates the term "airport traffic area." The FAA 
  believes simplified airspace classifications will reduce existing airspace 
  complexity and thereby enhance safety.

    EFFECTIVE DATE: These regulations become effective September 16, 1993,
  except that Secs. 11.61(c), 91.215(d), 71.601, 71.603, 71.605, 71.607, and
  71.609 and Part 75 become effective December 12, 1991, and except that
  amendatory instruction number 20, Sec. 71.1, is effective as of December 17,
  1991 through September 15, 1993, and that Secs. 71.11 and 71.19 become
  effective October 15, 1992. The incorporation by reference of FAA Order
  7400.7 in Sec. 71.1 (amendatory instruction number 20) is approved by the
  Director of the Federal Register as of December 17, 1991, through September
  15, 1993. The incorporation by reference of FAA Order 7400.9 in Sec. 71.1
  (amendatory instruction number 24) is approved by the Director of the
  Federal Register as of September 16, 1993 through September 15, 1994.


  Sec. 103.19  Operations in prohibited or restricted areas.

    No person may operate an ultralight vehicle in prohibited or restricted
  areas unless that person has permission from the using or controlling
  agency, as appropriate.


  Sec. 103.20  Flight restrictions in the proximity of certain areas
  designated by notice to airmen.

    No person may operate an ultralight vehicle in areas designated in a
Notice to Airmen under Sec. 91.143 or Sec. 91.141 of this chapter, unless
authorized by ATC.

  [Doc. No. 24454, 50 FR 4969, Feb. 5, 1985, as amended by Amdt. 103-3, 54 FR
  34331, Aug. 18, 1989]

    Effective Date Note: At 54 FR 34331, August 18, 1989, Sec. 103.20 was
  amended by changing the cross reference "Sec. 91.102 or Sec. 91.104" to
  read "Sec. 91.143 or Sec. 91.141", effective August 18, 1990.


  Sec. 103.21  Visual reference with the surface.

    No person may operate an ultralight vehicle except by visual reference
with the surface.


  Sec. 103.23   Flight visibility and cloud clearance requirements.

    No person may operate an ultralight vehicle when the flight visibility or
  distance from clouds is less than that in the table found below. All
  operations in Class A, Class B, Class C, and Class D airspace or Class E
  airspace designated for an airport must receive prior ATC authorization as
  required in Sec. 103.17 of this part.

                                        Flight
              Airspace                visibility        Distance from clouds

  Class A                           Not applicable   Not Applicable.
  Class B                           3 statute miles  Clear of Clouds.
  Class C                           3 statute miles  500 feet below.
                                                     1,000 feet above.
                                                     2,000 feet horizontal.
  Class D                           3 statute miles  500 feet below.
                                                     1,000 feet above.
                                                     2,000 feet horizontal.
  Class E:
   Less than 10,000 feet MSL        3 statute miles  500 feet below.
                                                     1,000 feet above.
                                                     2,000 feet horizontal.
   At or above 10,000 feet MSL      5 statute miles  1,000 feet below.
                                                     1,000 feet above.
                                                     1 statute mile horizontal.
  Class G:
   1,200 feet or less above the 
   surface (regardless of MSL
    altitude)                       1 statute mile   Clear of clouds.
   More than 1,200 feet above the
    surface but less than 10,000
    feet MSL                        1 statute mile   500 feet below.
                                                     1,000 feet above.
                                                     2,000 feet horizontal.
   More than 1,200 feet above the
    surface and at or above 10,000
    feet MSL                        5 statute miles  1,000 feet below.
                                                     1,000 feet above.
                                                     1 statute mile horizontal.

    EFFECTIVE DATE NOTE: Amdt. 103-4, 56 FR 65662, Dec. 17, 1991, revised
  Sec. 103.23 effective September 16, 1993. The text of Sec. 103.23 in effect
  until September 16, 1993 reads as follows:


  Sec. 103.23  Flight visibility and cloud clearance requirements.

    No person may operate an ultralight vehicle when the flight visibility or
  distance from clouds is less than that in the following table, as
  appropriate:

                                     Minimum
                                      flight
                                    visibility
          Flight altitudes             /1/       Minimum distance from clouds

   1,200 feet or less above the
    surface regardless of MSL
    altitude:
    (1) Within controlled airspace           3  500 feet below, 1,000 feet above, 2,000 feet horizontal.
    (2) Outside controlled airspace          1  Clear of clouds.
   More than 1,200 feet above the
    surface but less than 10,000
    feet MSL:
    (1) Within controlled airspace           3  500 feet below, 1,000 feet above, 2,000 feet horizontal.
    (2) Outside controlled airspace          1  500 feet below, 1,000 feet
   More than 1,200 feet above the           5  1,000 feet below, 1,000 feet
    surface and at or above 10,000               above, 1 statute milehorizontal
    feet MSL                                 

   /1/ Statute miles.


  56 FR 65638, No. 242, Dec. 17, 1991

    SUMMARY: This final rule amends the Federal Aviation Regulations (FAR) to
  adopt certain recommendations of the National Airspace Review (NAR)
  concerning changes to regulations and procedures in regard to airspace
  classifications. These changes are intended to: (1) Simplify airspace
  designations; (2) achieve international commonality of airspace
  designations; (3) increase standardization of equipment requirements for 
  operations in various classifications of airspace; (4) describe appropriate 
  pilot certificate requirements, visual flight rules (VFR) visibility and 
  distance from cloud rules, and air traffic services offered in each class of
  airspace; and (5) satisfy the responsibilities of the United States as a member
  of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO). The final rule also
  amends the requirement for minimum distance from clouds in certain airspace 
  areas and the requirements for communications with air traffic control (ATC) 
  in certain airspace areas; eliminates airport radar service areas (ARSAs),
  control zones, and terminal control areas (TCAs) as airspace
  classifications; and eliminates the term "airport traffic area." The FAA 
  believes simplified airspace classifications will reduce existing airspace 
  complexity and thereby enhance safety.

    EFFECTIVE DATE: These regulations become effective September 16, 1993,
  except that Secs. 11.61(c), 91.215(d), 71.601, 71.603, 71.605, 71.607, and
  71.609 and Part 75 become effective December 12, 1991, and except that
  amendatory instruction number 20, Sec. 71.1, is effective as of December 17,
  1991 through September 15, 1993, and that Secs. 71.11 and 71.19 become
  effective October 15, 1992. The incorporation by reference of FAA Order
  7400.7 in Sec. 71.1 (amendatory instruction number 20) is approved by the
  Director of the Federal Register as of December 17, 1991, through September
  15, 1993. The incorporation by reference of FAA Order 7400.9 in Sec. 71.1
  (amendatory instruction number 24) is approved by the Director of the
  Federal Register as of September 16, 1993 through September 15, 1994.