Sport Pilot: Good News Update

From the Towlines column written by Tracy and Lisa, published in Hang Gliding & Paragliding

Hang Gliding & Paragliding, June 2007
By Tracy Tillman and Lisa Colletti

We have received many comments of appreciation from pilots across the country regarding our focus on Sport Pilot topics in our previous 'Towline' column. Thanks very much! In addition to being in the magazine, our Towline articles and links to other Sport Pilot-related information are now posted on USHPA's Sport Pilot page [ref. 1].

We are also starting to receive questions directly from individuals regarding Sport Pilot and other towing-related issues. We welcome such questions, and encourage you to email us at [email protected] [ref. 2] with your questions. Some really good questions are also really hard to answer, due to the complexity of some aspects of the regulations. If we can't answer your question right away, we will do some research to try to get the right answer for you as soon as possible. Also, beginning with this issue of our Towline column, we are going to feature a 'Question of the Month' along with coverage of other important topics.

Question of the Month: I am a tug pilot with a Sport Pilot (weight-shift) pilot certificate and a USHPA ATP (tug pilot) rating, and I have started the process to convert my trike to an E-LSA. What do I have to do now to get qualified to tow with my trike?

Tracy: The most important thing to do first is to complete the E-LSA conversion process prior to the January 31, 2008 deadline [ref. 3.].

Lisa: Good news #1 in this month's column is that the FAA has published a statement of guarantee that they will follow through on processing your E-LSA paperwork by the deadline if you meet some deadlines for completing certain steps of the transition process [ref. 4]. They state in their 'E-LSA Alert' notice [ref. 5], sent with each E-LSA registration certificate, that 'The FAA will guarantee that your registration and certification packet will be reviewed and your E-LSA inspected in sufficient time to meet the January 31, 2008 deadline' if you: (a) submit your aircraft registration (N-number) request to them by August 15, 2007; (b) call your local E-LSA DAR to schedule your E-LSA airworthiness inspection by October 1, 2007; and (c) submit your aircraft airworthiness certification request packet by November 30, 2007.

Tracy: The next thing to do is to continue your training for getting your Private Pilot (weight-shift) pilot certificate. While there are a fair number of Sport Pilot weight-shift flight instructors [ref. 6] available in the country, there are very few Private Pilot weight-shift CFI's available.

Lisa: Good news #2 in this month's column is that the FAA has recognized this problem and has granted Exemption #8828 [ref. 7] to the EAA to allow Sport Pilot weight-shift CFI's to provide Private Pilot instruction if they also hold a Private Pilot (or higher) certificate in any other category and class [ref. 8]. The EAA has a database listing of weight-shift instructors who meet the requirements of their exemption [ref. 9].

Tracy: After the trike tug pilot converts their tug to an E-LSA aircraft and gets their Private Pilot (weight-shift) certificate, the pilot will also have to get an FAA tow endorsement in order to tow hang gliders. This can provide some challenges, as it may be hard to find qualified individuals willing or able to provide the training and administer the endorsement per FAA requirements to trike pilots. According to FAA regulation 61.69 [ref. 10], the tug pilot must have, in addition to a Private license: logged at least 100 hours of pilot-in-command time in the same kind of aircraft that the pilot will use for towing, received ground and flight training in unpowered ultralight vehicles or gliders from an authorized instructor, logged at least three flights of actual or simulated tows while accompanied by another qualified tug pilot, and received a logbook endorsement for towing from that qualified tug pilot.

Lisa: Good news #3 in this month's column is that the FAA has recognized this problem, and has specifically made notice on their Sport Pilot web site [refs. 11, 12] that you can use your USHPA ATP rating [ref. 13] to meet the requirements of the FAA tow endorsement under FAA regulations 61.52, 'Use of Aeronautical Experience Obtained in Ultralight Vehicles' [ref .14].

Tracy: How does that work?

Lisa: It is very important that a hang glider tug pilot maintains his or her annual USHPA membership and ATP rating and keeps an accurate pilot logbook. Per regulation 61.52, tug pilots can get their official FAA tow endorsement if they show documentation to a CFI that they hold a current USHPA ATP rating, and that they have met the aeronautical experience requirements for towing per 61.69. Basically, if you present your current USHPA card that shows your ATP rating on it, and show the CFI your logbook that documents at least 100 hours of pilot-in-command time in the same category of aircraft used for towing and at least three actual tows, properly logged per 61.51 [ref. 15], the CFI will note the following in your logbook [ref. 12]:"Tow endorsement based on ultralight experience, section 61.52 I certify that I have reviewed the records of (First name, MI, Last name), as required by section 61.52(c). I have determined he/she has the aeronautical experience towing glider and/or unpowered ultralight vehicle and meets the requirements of section 61.69."

Tracy: Wow, that is great news! Is there any bad news?

Lisa: Well, yes there is - it's time for you to go out and mow the airfield again.


  1. "Sport Pilot" USHPA Web page:
  2. Tracy and Lisa"s "Cloud 9 Sport Aviation" email address: [email protected]
  3. "Important Info Critical for Aerotowing" USHPA broadcast email:
  4. "Prepare for E-LSA Certification" by Mike Huffman, {EAA Sport Pilot and Light Sport Aircraft} magazine, April 2007 (pp. 52-56).
  5. "FAA"s E-LSA Alert" in {EAA Sport Pilot and Light Sport Aircraft} magazine, April 2007 (p. 56).
  6. "EAA Sport Pilot Instructor Database" Web page:
  7. "Exemption 8828, Regulatory Docket No. FAA-2006-24262:
  8. "Private Pilot WSC & PPC Training/Certification" Web page:
  9. "EAA Private Pilot Weight-Shift Instructor Exemption Holder Database" Web page:
  10. "Glider and Unpowered Ultralight Vehicle Towing: Experience and Training Requirements." Title 14 CFR Part 61.69:
  11. "Sport Pilot Airman Certification" FAA Web site:
  12. "Required endorsements in accordance with CFR, part 61, section 61.69 if you are a registered aero tow pilot with USHPA"
  13. Part 104.11.01 USHPA Aero Tow Vehicle Pilot Rating requirements:
  14. "Use of Aeronautical Experience Obtained in Ultralight Vehicles" Title 14 CFR Part 61.52:
  15. "Pilot Logbooks" Title 14 CFR Part 61.51: