All pilots who want to fly a two-seat “Light Sport Aircraft” will need to receive training from an FAA Certified Flight Instructor, and earn their FAA Sport Pilot Certificate.
If you want to own and operate a 2-seat powered parachute (the Infinity Commander), to either fly for pleasure pilot with your friends or family, or because you want to instruct or otherwise charge for your services, you will need to obtain a Sport Pilot license. Most single seat aircraft are considered "ultralight vehicles" and fall under the FAR Part 103 regulations, and do not require a license to operate.
In order to become a Sport Pilot, you must:
- Be a minimum of 16 years of age to become a student sport pilot
- Be 17 years of age before testing for a sport pilot certificate
- Be able to read, write, and understand the English language
- Hold either a valid airman's medical or a valid U.S. driver's license as evidence of medical eligibility (provided you do not have an official denial or revocation of medical eligibility on file with FAA).
Obtaining your Sport Pilot license also requires taking a knowledge and practical test, along with proper logged/documented instruction and flight time from/with a Certified Flight Instructor.
The good news is that flying is a powered parachute is far simpler than flying most anything else in the world. The FAA requirements to become a licensed powered parachute pilot reflect that. Those wanting to become licensed in other aircraft have to spend more time gaining flying experience and have to do more to demonstrate proficiency in their respective aircraft than you will as a powered parachute sport pilot applicant.
There are a couple of ways to get the knowledge needed to become a sport pilot. New England Chute Flyers highly recommends home study courses, and you have several really good options to choose from. King Schools
offers video-based training, and ASA offers its Prepware course
, all of which is computer-based training.
Flying Experience Requirements
In order to become a sport pilot (assuming you don't already hold an FAA rating already) you will have to gain a certain amount of aeronautical experience working with a flight instructor. In the Federal Aviation Regulations, §61.313(g), the FAA requires that in order for you to be able to apply for a sport pilot license in powered parachutes you must:
- Log at least 12 hours of flight time in a powered parachute
- Including at least 10 hours dual flight training
- Including at least 2 hours of solo flight training
- Including at least 1 hour of cross-country dual flight training
- Including at least 3 hours of dual flight training preparing for the practical test within 60 days before the date of the practical test
- Log at least 20 takeoffs and landings to a full stop in a powered parachute
- Including at least 10 solo takeoffs and landing to a full stop in a powered parachute
- Log at least one solo flight with a landing at a different airport and one segment of the flight consisting of a straight-line distance of at least 10 nautical miles between takeoff and landing locations
This training needs to take place in an N-numbered powered parachute with a Certified Flight Instructor specializing in powered parachutes.
Your instructor should know when you are ready to take your check ride. When you are, he will make the proper endorsements in your log book and help you fill out your FAA Form 8710-11. At that point you will be ready and able to take your practical test and get your Sport Pilot license.
Part 103 Ultralight Training
If you fly a "true ultralight," there is technically no training, and no medical currency requirement whatsoever! A Part 103 Ultralight is an aircraft that is a single seat, weighs less than 254 pounds, and has a gas tank capacity not exceeding 5 gallons, among other criteria. The Infinity Challenger falls into this category. Your Certified Flight Instructor will register graduates of their solo program as an EAA Student Pilot. This isn't mandatory, but it documents and recognizes the training that has been completed to fly the Part 103 Ultralight. If you stick with the one seat powered parachute this is as far as your training ever needs to go, and is the way we recommend people go that will be flying exclusively by themselves.
Part 103 Student Pilot Requirements
- Must be 16 years old to solo and register as student with the EAA
- Testing - Written pre-solo and oral test
- Privileges - Solo with instructor endorsement
- Duration - Valid until you earn the pilot certification
- Fee - Free to EAA members and non-members
I hope that this guide helps you to understand and get prepared for flying your powered parachute, either as an Ultralight, or as a Light Sport Aircraft with a Sport Pilot Powered Parachute rating. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us