To: (Separate email addresses with commas)
From: (Your email address)
Message: (Optional)



Converting Your Sport Pilot to a Private Pilot License

So whether you are currently a Sport Pilot, or simply working towards your sport pilot and decide you want to go for the full private pilot certificate.  The process really is quite simple, and we’ll cover both scenarios for you below.

If you are currently a Sport Pilot:
Converting a current Sport Pilot certificate to a Private Pilot is fairly easy and will open up a few new doors for you.
Your new privileges will include:
Flying above 10,000′
Flying at night
Flying airplanes with more than 2 seats and more than 1,320lbs.
Flying Faster airplanes
The ability to add a instrument rating
Flying into Class B, C, and D airspace if you are not already  endorsed to do so.
You may find some of the requirements for additional solo flight time and solo cross country time are already met from your regular flying you have done after earning your Sport Pilot certificate.
The additional requirements you will have complete before going for a private pilot checkride include:
Flying 3 hours at night with an instructor
Flying a 100nm+ cross country at night
Making three solo takeoffs and landings at a towered airport
Have at least 5hrs of solo cross country time (greater than 50nm each way with one flight at least 150nm total and including a landing at 3 airports)
If you are in training working towards your Sport Pilot Cert and want to be a Private Pilot
This is certainly the easier and cheaper way to go about pursuing a Private Pilot’s license.  Simply by making the choice before taking the written and checkride for the Sport Pilot it will save you the cost of having to take another checkride and possibly another written exam down the road if you choose to pursue a private pilot’s license after already earning your Sport Pilot cert.
The earlier you make the choice to continue training towards the private pilot license the less time you might waste practicing in an airplane you may ultimately choose to not take your checkride in, however you should know that in most cases you can take your private pilot checkride in the same airplane you started your sport pilot training in (your CFI can answer that specifically for your exact case).
Ultimately to make this switch you will want to sit down with your CFI and take a close look at your logbook and the time you have already logged during training.  I’ll give you an example below of someone who’s already taken 7 lessons towards their sport certificate and decides they would like to pursue a private pilot certificate instead.
Total Time: 9.8 hours
Night Time: 0 hours
Solo: 0 hours
Cross Country Training (Dual) Night: 0 hours
Cross Country Training (Dual) Day: 1.8 hours
Solo Cross Country: 0 hours
Simulated Instrument (hood time): 0 hours
Solo Landings at a Towered Airport: 0
Training (Dual) Landings at Night: 0
What you will need to have to go for the private pilot checkride:
Total Time: 40 hours
Night Time: 3 hours
Solo: 10 hours
Training (Dual) Night: 3 hours
Cross Country Training (Dual) Day: 3 hours
Solo Cross Country: 5 hours
Simulated Instrument (hood time): 3 hours
Solo Landings at a Towered Airport: 3
Training (Dual) Landings at Night: 10
Now even if ou have completed all of your requirements as a Sport Pilot in bare minimum time, and at the last minute decide you want to take a private pilot checkride instead, your comparison chart would look something like this:
Ultimately, whether you choose to make the switch during your sport pilot training or after you have already earned your Sport Pilot certificate, it is not a choice you’ll regret as it will open up quite a few more doors for you and what you will be able to achieve in aviation. If you are at all curios, sit down with your CFI and take a look through your logbook at what else you would need to do to convert to a Private Pilot, or get in touch with one of our CFIs here at FLY8MA to review your logbook with you.
Happy Flying!
-Jon K.
Placeholder for FB Comments

Jon K

Jon is a CFI, CFII, MEI, ATP, AGI, and the rest of the alphabet. He started instructing for fun part-time to be able to give back to the GA community after earning his Commercial and CFI back in 2013. He has a strong background in academia, starting his career at the University of Michigan, and now is pursuing his dreams of flying, both for the airlines and teaching as a CFI on his days off.

Recommended Stories

  • Planning a descent for most GA pilots may seem like a very easy thing to do.  A simple 500fpm generally yields nice results with a good compromise between ear popping and efficient flying, as well as the fact most of our airplanes can slow down very quickly and do not fly that high to begin […]
  • Tracking Your Flight Lesson Seeing where you flew, how high, and how precise you are flying can be great feedback for students and experienced pilots alike.  Check out the above video (feel free to scroll through it) to see what that data looks like overlayed on maps or in a video.  Now with technology, it […]
  • So you happen to be flying around the traffic pattern and notice a glint of light coming from the control tower that catches your eye.  Yes, it’s a light gun signal.  There’s only one reason why they would be aiming a light gun signal at your airplane….they tried to call you multiple times on the […]
  • Getting your airman ratings can be one the most expensive endeavors you ever set out on, whether for a career or a hobby.  However, there are a few certificates out there that are relatively inexpensive to obtain compared to a PPL or Commercial Cert, and can helps open up other doors in aviation as well […]

Latest Stories

  • The Federal Aviation Administration issued a notice on Friday stating that they will not be enforcing medical certificate currency for pilots whose medical expires after March 30th. Pilot medicals of any class that expire after this date can be used until June 30th, with no enforcement action or penalty. The FAA stated that it made […]
  • The Federal Aviation Administration recently rolled out a new system to schedule FAA knowledge tests. Check out our new YouTube video above to learn how to obtain your FTN number and schedule your written, hassle free!
  • Are you getting ready for your CFI checkride? We are introducing a new CFI LIVE series to help you get the answers you need to be prepared! Be sure to leave your CFI questions in the YT comments for our next CFI Live series video! 
  • Now flying on the airlines is stressful enough, and a nice cup of tea or coffee once you sit down on the plane might make you feel better, but this is why you should never EVER drink the coffee or tea on any airliner, anywhere! Let’s start with where the water comes from. It comes […]
  • Little Delta makes it into Anacortes, Washington! Even though I have cleared customs in Bellingham (KBLI) several times, there’s always something that goes wrong or a little mistakes are made. This time it was the phone call you have to make at least two hours prior to crossing the border to make sure the customs […]
  • Sign up to become a FLY8MA Affiliate and earn money for the friends you refer to FLY8MA!
  • The days are getting shorter and the time change didn’t help our trip into Canada. There are several steps you have to do in order to leave the US and head into Canada, though I found out from past experience this leg is more lenient that going the other way around. Our plan was to […]
  • Hi Jon, genuinely​ appreciate your video and great explanation. For my further understanding, I’d like to ask you a question regarding the missed approach procedure. Having referenced the AIM, I note that there is no ‘published missed approach’ on a visual approach. Wouldn’t it be prudent upon the first contact with the control tower, to […]
  • Bye Bye Sitka… and the adventure continues! Due to the unpredictable southeast weather, we decided to stay an extra day in Sitka. We took advantage of time to get some computer work done in a comfy rbnb with fast wifi (a luxury when you’re on the road). We also had the chance to meet up […]
  • No evidence of human life for hundreds of miles…. …Was the feeling we got on the day we flew from Cordova to Sitka. Just barren, desolate landscape with the occasional remote lodge or onshore shipwreck. What did surround us on this long journey were a myriad of glaciers, mountains, beaches and an endless horizon of […]
Share on Twitter


Not recently active