Sport flying an exhilarating type of flying for the average Joe. If you’re like me and love the adventure of flying , soaring thru the air with an exhilaration that you cannot get anywhere else and it just cannot be replaced by some other passion, than you will love the fun and freedom of sport flying. Less than the traditional costs of flying, sport flying offers lower cost in pilot’s license, training, and storage of the aircraft. I first saw the Icon A5 while in my small town on a popular lake watching the boaters, jet skiers playing on the lake and then I saw it, the Icon A5 and it just blew me away! It was fun watching the boaters and jet skiers but it was breath taking to watch the Icon A5 sport flying. It took off from dry land and flew over the lake several times at low and high altitudes, then is did the most awesome thing I’ve seen all day, it was coming in low than skimming the water and then gaining altitude again. It was so exhilarating to watch everyone was memorized, there was never a plane on this lake before, and then the pilot landed the plane on the water. All I could think of was, oh baby I want one of those. Sport flying is a category of aircraft (light sport aircraft) created by the FAA (Federal Aviation Administration) and the EAA (Experimental aircraft association) in 2004 aimed specifically at consumer recreational flying. They also made a new category of pilot license (sport Pilot) just for sport flying.
Unlike a pilot’s license , the sport flying pilot license is less expensive and has less training than traditional pilots license so the costs are less and more realistic for the average Joe.
Sport Pilot License
- Training cost (estimated): $3,000-$5,000
- Type of airplane: Any that meets LSA classification
- In-flight training: 20 hours (minimum)
- Medical Requirements: Drivers License or FAA Medical
- Minimum Age: 17
- Certification Process: must pass an FAA written and practical examination
- Flying at night: No
- Flying cross country: Yes
- Flight in IFR: No
- Flight in controlled airspace: Yes with additional instructor sign-off
- Occupants: 2 (pilot and passenger)
- Altitude limit: 10,000 ft. MSL (mean sea level
1,320 pounds maximum takeoff weight (1,430 pounds for seaplanes)
- Maximum airspeed of 120 knots (138 mph)
- Maximum two-person seating capacity (pilot + passenger)
- Single, reciprocating engine
- Fixed or ground-adjustable propeller
- Non-pressurized cabin
- Fixed landing gear (retractable gear allowed for seaplanes)
- Maximum stall speed of 45 knots (52 mph) Learning to fly is now a quick and easy five-step process.
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Step 1: Pre-Qualification
Do you qualify? To get licensed, sport pilots must be at least 17 years of age, in good health, and possess a valid driver’s license. No FAA medical certificate is required.
Step 2: Flight School Selection
Find a professional flight school that provides Sport Pilot training with an available and well-maintained LSA trainer plane. Selecting the Certified Flight Instructor (CFI) is important as the instructor serves as your coach and mentor. Choose wisely by looking for one that is both experienced and compatible with your sense of fun and adventure. The cost for airplane flight training is approximately $2,800 – $3,500 including lessons, materials, plane rental and fuel. Rates are fairly standard so don’t choose schools or instructors on price alone.
Step 3: Pilot Training
Start your training. You’ll learn to fly a simple airplane in uncongested airspace during daytime hours. For a Sport Pilot, the FAA requires a minimum of 20 hours of in-flight training broken out as follows:
- 15 hours with Certified Flight Instructor (CFI)
- 2 hours cross-country flying, 75 nautical miles or greater airport to airport
- 5 hours solo (flying alone)
- 3 hours preparation for FAA practical test (check ride)
You and your instructor’s schedule determine the pace of the training schedule. It can be completed in as little as one week’s time, or spread out over a period of multiple weeks.
Step 4: FAA Testing
At some time during your flight training, you’ll take a standardized written FAA test administered by a national testing agency (Laser Grade and CATS) at a nearby location.
When you have met the minimum of 20 hours of flight training, passed the FAA written test, and your instructor believes you are ready, you will be scheduled for FAA Practical Test (oral and flying) with an FAA designated Sport Pilot Examiner.
FAA Practical Test
This final requirement is your check ride. The test first involves an oral exam review followed by an actual flight test with the student at the controls to satisfactorily demonstrate the knowledge, skills and competency to perform tasks in the following areas:
- Positive aircraft control
- Procedures for positive exchange of flight controls
- Stall and spin awareness
- Collision avoidance
- Wake turbulence and low level wind shear avoidance
- Runway incursion avoidance
- Controlled flight into terrain (CFIT)
- Aeronautical decision making/risk management
- Checklist usage
- Spatial disorientation
- Temporary flight restrictions (TFR)
- Special use airspace (SUA)
- Aviation security
Step 5: Certification
Upon passing your check ride, the FAA Examiner will issue your Sport Pilot License. Should you later desire to obtain a higher-rated license, all of your hours spent before and after your SPL will be directly applicable. In addition, CFI endorsements can be obtained to increase your pilot privileges, such as flying in controlled airports and controlled airspace.
Flying for the average Joe can be expensive, from licensing to training to upkeep and storing of the plane most average Joes cannot afford to indulge in their passion, that’s if they want to stay married, The Icon A5 in not only portable for garage storage to save on costs it is also affordable. The cost of the Icon as is apx.139, 000. So if you’re truly passionate about flying but have to watch your budget sport flying is the way to fly.
.Two person maximum one pilot and one passenger
.wingspan of 34’ ft.
.height 7.1’ ft.
.useful load 430-530lb.
.speeds up to 120 knots
The A5 is a high-wing flying boat-type amphibious monoplane with a carbon fiber airframe and retractable undercarriage. It is powered by a single 100 hp (75 kW) Rotax 912 ULS engine driving a three-bladed pusher propeller. Sponsors provide hydrodynamic stability and act as a step for crew and passenger. The wings can be folded for ground transport and storage. Equipment includes an angle of attack indicator, an unusual feature in general aviation aircraft. An airframe ballistic parachute is optional
Of the Icon A5
. Retractable landing gear for land and water operations
. Single reciprocating engine
.sea wings platforms for hydrodynamic stability
.Fixed or retractable gear or hull for seaplanes
.Take off or land in less than 750’ of water
.Wings fold for easy transportation and storage. You can store the Icon A5 in your garage. The wings fold without tools in less than 5 minutes. This can be done manually by one person or the option is available for automatic wing fold from inside the cockpit.
.wrap around bubble canopy of a spectacular view
.ground or fixed adjustable propeller
For the ultimate joyride of taking off on land or water without the high cost of traditional flying, sport flying provides the average Joe a chance to indulge in his passion, Flying!