Years Later, Sport Pilot is Still a Legit
Pilot's License, Just Ask Dorothy!
I remember a conversation I had a few summers ago at Oshkosh with a guy who was waiting in line like me to order a bratwurst cooked on the “World’s Largest Grill”, which happened to be as big as a semi-truck. Maybe it’s because the grill is 45 feet long, or maybe because it’s Oshkosh, but the sausages just taste perfect back there. I’ve had the same sausages here, cooked on my grill, and they do not compare.
After I mentioned to the guy in line about the large number of Light Sport airplanes on display over at the LSA Mall, he started a surprisingly heated rant about how Sport Pilot will only create "half-trained wannabes" that will be a danger to the “real” (his words) pilots up there.
I tried to tell him in a polite way he was wrong, but he quickly got that look in his eye like he’d really like to cram his CAT DIESEL POWER cap down my liberal Oregonian throat. So I backed off, and figured maybe he was the guy driving the semi-truck sized grill around, or was just plain ornery.But the conversation stuck with me. I’ll admit that I was late to jump the Sport Pilot train too, but am now on board 150 percent. A large part of my conversion has to do with one of my former CFIs.
About the same time I was back there in Cheese Country USA, that CFI, Dorothy Schick, was also roaming Wittman Regional Airport, test flying some LSA planes and learning all she could about the new (to her) types of powerplants, including the Rotax 912. She was planning to soon take delivery of an Icarus C42 LSA, and was planning to throw everything she has at promoting Sport Pilot.And about those guys who still think that Sport Pilots will be a danger, I have one question: Do they actually think Dorothy – OR ANY CFI – is going to sign off anyone to go take their FAA check ride without knowing that he or she can safely fly? In order for any goofball Sport Pilot to get up there and be a “danger”, they first have to buffalo Dorothy or some other CFI into believing they can operate an LSA.
But even if you somehow bamboozle your way past Dorothy, you still have to demonstrate to the FAA examiner that you can fly safely. The chances of anyone dangerous slipping through those checks and balances is almost a mathematical impossibility. It will not happen, case closed.When TakeWing and other flight schools send these new Sport Pilots skyward, they will be welcome in my sky.
BTW, this post was not intended to be a commercial, but it IS my blog, so I'll promote someone when they deserve it. If you want to learn Sport Pilot from one of the most progressive Sport Pilot Schools in the Northwest, contact Dorothy Schick at (541) 895-5935 or email her here.
And if you see Redneck Bratwurst line guy any time soon, offer to take him flying with your freshly-minted Sport Pilot license in your sparkling new Light Sport plane. Only one thing though – he might have to lose a couple of hundred pounds to keep you under gross takeoff weight.