Can a Sport Pilot get a Glider cert and then a Commercial Glider cert without medicals?

desertrat

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Desert Rat
I'm in my 60's and interested in learning to fly. I have a concern about getting my medical (but NOT with my health), and I don't see flying for any big-time commercial purposes in my future. But I would like to be able to make some money other than as a CFI.

(Forgive me if some of my terminology below is wrong, but I hope what I'm saying is obvious. I'm still learning this stuff.)

OPTION #1: Start as a Sport Pilot

Now I know I can get a Sport Pilot Certification (SPC) and fly Light Sport Aircraft (LSAs) without any sort of medical.

I'm interested in the Pipistrel Sinus Max rated as a Glider / Motor-Glider.

My SPC would allow me to fly any LSA, including the Sinus. What I can't do is fly the Sinus as a Glider -- unless / until I get a Glider add-on to my SPC, right? (This is the approach I'm considering taking, which is why I posted here in this section about Sport Pilots. Maybe this belongs in the Glider section?)

OPTION #2: Start as a Glider pilot

Alternatively, I can start out by getting my Glider certification, then a motor-launch add-on, and then I believe I can also fly the Sinus since it's rated as a Motor Glider, right?

Either way, I'm guessing that the Sinus can do double-duty as both a powered LSA and a Glider: I can fly it around and never shut the motor off, or I can use the motor to find some thermals and then soar around for hours without using the motor at all after that. I don't know if there are any limitations flying a Motor Glider under power that would be different based on having started via the Glider path or the SPC path. I could also get a Sport Pilot add-on to the Glider cert if that matters.


Ok, so I also know that for Glider pilots, there's a Commercial certification add-on that can be obtained that allows some ways to charge for your flight services in a Glider. I don't know what they are exactly, but that includes taking people on flights for different purposes, and possibly other things. (Years ago I was in Napa Valley and took a glider ride as a passenger for about half an hour from a sail port there. It was quite fun and cost about $50.)

Here's my question: Can I start out with a SPC, get a Glider add-on, then a Commercial Glider add-on, and use a Sinus (rated as a Glider) the same way as any other tow-launched or self-launched glider, charging passengers for flights (like what I took) and whatever other things the Commercial Glider cert allows? Or would I have to start out with a Glider cert, add-on the Commercial Glider cert, and then maybe get the SPC add-on? (I'd like the SPC so I could fly any powered LSAs, even those that are not Gliders.)

What I've been unable to figure out here is whether the Commercial Glider add-on is just an extension of the normal PPL -> Commercial pilot progression that requires a medical, or if it's simply an extension of the Glider cert with no additional medical requirements.

Also, does it matter whether I start first with the Glider cert or the Sport Pilot cert?

(There are also differences related to getting an IFR rating in Gliders that you can't get as a Sport Pilot, but they're not as relevant to me. I am curious if you have to start out as a Glider pilot first, or if you start as a Sport Pilot then can you get these add-ons via the initial Glider add-on?)
 
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My SPC would allow me to fly any LSA, including the Sinus. What I can't do is fly the Sinus as a Glider -- unless / until I get a Glider add-on to my SPC, right?...
Either way, I'm guessing that the Sinus can do double-duty as both a powered LSA and a Glider: I can fly it around and never shut the motor off
No. An aircraft is certificated as a glider or motorglider or powered airplane. Whichever it is (in this case I presume motorglider), you need the appropriate pilot qualifications. Even if the motor is running all the time, it's still a motorglider You can't use the aircraft interchangeably in different categories.

For Private, you would get a private pilot-glider certificate and add a motorglider endorsement. Same for commercial.

For Sport, you would get a Sport Pilot certificate (which has no category), and then endorsements for glider and/or motorglider, or whatever other class you want to fly.

But you can't fly a aircraft certificated as a motorglider with a private pilot-airplane certificate, or a sport pilot certificate with an airplane endorsement; you need the specific glider rating or endorsement.

However, you're not going to make much money with a commercial-glider certificate.
 
Strictly speaking - it's a glider rating with self-launch endorsement.

As I understand it, if you are a sport pilot and want a private glider you would need a current (within the last two years) flight review to do the solo parts of the glider rating. (same if you want to add Airplane sport to your ticket.) The order doesn't matter.

If you want to charge for rides, then there is a whole 'nuther layer of crap related to the aircraft and the "business" end of things which I know very little about. I'm reasonably sure someone will come along and explain.
 
But you can't fly a aircraft certificated as a motorglider with a private pilot-airplane certificate, or a sport pilot certificate with an airplane endorsement; you need the specific glider rating or endorsement.
I think you'll need to take this debate to Pipistrel. I'm just asking based on their marketing materials.
 
I think you'll need to take this debate to Pipistrel. I'm just asking based on their marketing materials.
It is certificated either as a glider or airplane. Can't be both.

If it's certificated as an airplane you need a sport (or private, or...) pilot airplane (single engine land) rating to fly it. Of course, there is nothing preventing you from shutting off the engine.

If it is certificated as a glider, then you need a glider rating with self launch endorsement. Of course, there is nothing preventing you from never shutting off the engine.
 
Strictly speaking - it's a glider rating with self-launch endorsement.

As I understand it, if you are a sport pilot and want a private glider you would need a current (within the last two years) flight review to do the solo parts of the glider rating. (same if you want to add Airplane sport to your ticket.) The order doesn't matter.

If you want to charge for rides, then there is a whole 'nuther layer of crap related to the aircraft and the "business" end of things which I know very little about. I'm reasonably sure someone will come along and explain.

I have no past in this game. I'm simply trying to figure out if there's a difference between starting out as a Glider Pilot or Sport Pilot and getting to a Commercial Glider cert/endorsement/rating. No PPL will be involved.

I understand there is a "business end of things", but the one on the glider side has no medical requirements while the one on the PPL side does. It's easier to navigate around them than argue about them.
 
It is certificated either as a glider or airplane. Can't be both.

If it's certificated as an airplane you need a sport (or private, or...) pilot airplane (single engine land) rating to fly it. Of course, there is nothing preventing you from shutting off the engine.

If it is certificated as a glider, then you need a glider rating with self launch endorsement. Of course, there is nothing preventing you from never shutting off the engine.

Well, I've been told that without a glider cert, the PIC must never shut off an engine in flight except in an emergency, or something to that effect. So there's that.

From Pipistrel's site regarding the Sinus Max:
four aircraft in one
Is it a Glider, fast efficient cross country cruiser, versatile trainer or flexible aircraft solution? Sinus is the ultimate in flexibility available to transform from a motor glider into a fast cross country aircraft in minutes.
The Sinus combines the true sense of a glider with unprecedented efficiency during powered flight. Takeoff and land on short runways, fly cross country and enjoy excellent gliding capability. All in the same aircraft.
If you have any issues with their statements, you'll need to talk to them.
 
I'm simply trying to figure out if there's a difference between starting out as a Glider Pilot or Sport Pilot and getting to a Commercial Glider cert/endorsement/rating. No PPL will be involved.
Your choice.
(You would want a private glider rating - getting a sport pilot glider rating would be pointless).
From Pipistrel's site regarding the Sinus Max:
Irrelevant. What does it say on an FAA type certificate? Glider or Airplane?
 
Well, I've been told that without a glider cert, the PIC must never shut off an engine in flight except in an emergency, or something to that effect. So there's that.

From Pipistrel's site regarding the Sinus Max:

If you have any issues with their statements, you'll need to talk to them.

Marketing hype does not equal an FAA type certificate. You have to have pilot credentials appropriate to what’s on the TC, regardless of what a manufacturer may write on their website.
 
Well, I've been told that without a glider cert, the PIC must never shut off an engine in flight except in an emergency, or something to that effect.
It doesn't work like that. As others have said, it's the airworthiness certificate is what matters.

Not really relevant anyway, but there is no FAR making it against the rules to shut of an engine of a ASEL without a glider rating. Likewise, if you don't have an ASEL rating, you can't fly a Cessna 150 that's air towed and engine not running. It doesn't work that way. Interestingly, it IS legal to air tow a Cessna 150 with the engine not running, if you have an ASEL rating.
 
Well, I've been told that without a glider cert, the PIC must never shut off an engine in flight except in an emergency, or something to that effect. So there's that.
Not true at all.

As for earning a Commercial Glider add-on - do you meet the requirement criteria of 61.129(f)? It doesn’t sound like you do at this point.
 
Rewind.

You want to make some money selling rides in a Pipistral Sinus (without an FAA medical).

You need a Sinus that has "glider" on the type certificate.
You need a Commercial (and/or CFI) Glider ticket with a "self launch" endorsement. You do not need a Sport Pilot airplane certificate.

That's the easy part.

The hard part are the FAA requirements if you want to provide an aircraft for hire. I know jack **** about that part of the business - so I won't even try to offer suggestions.
 
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As for part of the OP's question, which is better, start with Sport Pilot and Add Glider, or Start with Glider and add Sport Pilot.

Short answer is it depends on location and the resources available there.
If you have good club or glider operation close by, doing the glider 1st might be the best option, and some would argue that starting with glider is better training.

But generally it is easier and cheaper to start with Sport Pilot. Sport pilot training is more readily available than glider training and requires a less infrastructure to accomplish. Requiring only one airplane and an instructor.

The typical issue with glider training is that it requires 2 pilots and 2 aircraft, i.e the glider and the tow plane. Some places in the US might have a winch launch which can be cheaper in part because it does not required a certified operator and still requires what usually is an expensive winch. Or, a few places might have a motor glider they train in but, I think places doing initial training with motor gliders are pretty rare.

Once you have 40 hrs of powered aircraft time, the requirements for adding glider rating significantly drop making adding the glider rating cheaper. Often the cost of doing a Sport Pilot Rating and then adding a glider rating, might cost about the same as just getting a glider rating.

Hope this helps a little.

Brian
CFIIG/ASEL
 
The even harder part will be finding customers willing to pay for a glider ride.
 
I paid for a glider ride in a Sinus. It was to a CFI to get my self-powered endorsement on my glider rating.

Talk about a silly requirement. As a ASEL rated pilot, I had to get an endorsement to fly a self-powered glider.
 
I paid for a glider ride in a Sinus. It was to a CFI to get my self-powered endorsement on my glider rating.

Talk about a silly requirement. As a ASEL rated pilot, I had to get an endorsement to fly a self-powered glider.


But NOT an endorsement to shut down your airplane’s engine.

Yeah, weird.....
 
Here's a related question:

Sport Pilots (or is it LSAs?) are limited to a max altitude of 10k MSL or 2000 AGL, whichever his higher.

Gliders have no max, but you need oxygen above 10k or so.

So if you're flying a motor GLIDER (not Aircraft), and you have both Glider and Sport Pilot certs, which max altitude applies?
 
Here's a related question:

Sport Pilots (or is it LSAs?) are limited to a max altitude of 10k ft or 2000 AGL.

Gliders have no max, but you need oxygen above 10k or so.

So if you're flying a motor GLIDER (not Aircraft), and you have both Glider and Sport Pilot certs, which max altitude applies?
It is sport pilots, not the aircraft that have the limitation. If you have a glider rating and you are flying a glider, the only way that would be legal is by using your glider rating. You can't fly a glider with a sport pilot rating. Your glider rating has no 10k limitation.

I've flown LSA aircraft higher than 10k many times, and at night, etc. But I was exercising my private pilot privileges, not sport pilot.
 
I paid for a glider ride in a Sinus. It was to a CFI to get my self-powered endorsement on my glider rating.

Talk about a silly requirement. As a ASEL rated pilot, I had to get an endorsement to fly a self-powered glider.
Nothing silly at all. A motorglider is much different than a pure glider. For one, it probably has an electrical system. Motorgliders vary considerably in design from some that could be mistaken for an airplane with a conventional propeller out front to some that look (and are) like high performance sailplanes whose engine is tucked away in the fuselage and is electricaIly deployed. Glider pilots get little to no instruction on propeller propulsion considerations, emergency procedures involving an engine, cross country flight landing at controlled airfields, etc. I'm surprised any glider pilot could legitimately get the self launch endorsement in a single flight.
 
Probably the most efficient path the the OP's goal would be to first get a SP certificate in an airplane (could also be a weightshift or PPC), then take additional instruction to add glider and motorglider endorsements. Then as a SP with the motorglider endorsement, accumulate sufficient flight time (and get any additional instruction required) to get a commercial pilot certificate with a glider rating.
So if you're flying a motor GLIDER (not Aircraft), and you have both Glider and Sport Pilot certs, which max altitude applies?
If you're flying as a Sport Pilot with a glider endorsement, the altitude limitation applies. If you have a Private Pilot certificate with a glider rating, the restriction does not apply.
 
Nothing silly at all. A motorglider is much different than a pure glider. For one, it probably has an electrical system. Motorgliders vary considerably in design from some that could be mistaken for an airplane with a conventional propeller out front to some that look (and are) like high performance sailplanes whose engine is tucked away in the fuselage and is electricaIly deployed. Glider pilots get little to no instruction on propeller propulsion considerations, emergency procedures involving an engine, cross country flight landing at controlled airfields, etc. I'm surprised any glider pilot could legitimately get the self launch endorsement in a single flight.
Perhaps you missed the part where I was already rated to fly ASEL? It was less than an hour of flying.
 
Nothing silly at all. A motorglider is much different than a pure glider. For one, it probably has an electrical system. Motorgliders vary considerably in design from some that could be mistaken for an airplane with a conventional propeller out front to some that look (and are) like high performance sailplanes whose engine is tucked away in the fuselage and is electricaIly deployed. Glider pilots get little to no instruction on propeller propulsion considerations, emergency procedures involving an engine, cross country flight landing at controlled airfields, etc. I'm surprised any glider pilot could legitimately get the self launch endorsement in a single flight.

Sure, but the pilot in question (Salty) already had an ASEL rating, so he already knew about engine emergency procedures, landing at controlled fields, propeller concerns, etc., etc.
 
Aircraft has a glider certificate
You have private pilot glider certificate - no 10 k limit
You have sport pilot glider (a truly pointless rating) cert - 10 k limit

Aircraft has an airplane certificate (and qualifies as an LSA but could be standard catagory, homebuilt, SLSA, ELSA, whatever)
You have a private SEL and an FAA medical - no 10 k limit
You have a Sport Pilot certificate or a private certificate but no FAA medical (flying under SP rules) - 10k limit
PP with Basic med fits in here somewhere, but I don't know what those limits are.

"Motor glider" certificated as a glider you need a self launch endorsement on your glider ticket.
 
How about this, which one would you enjoy flying? A LSA or a Glider, choose answer and go that route. Part of our every 2 years flight reviews, you can get the other rating at that time to renew your privileges.

With that being said, being a commercial pilot for powered aircraft has higher medical requirements. You should read the FAR’s to see if any such requirement exist. I do not know for commercial glider pilots without putting my hat on and sitting down for 30 minutes and pulling the hard copy of the FAR’s out.
 
If you're flying as a Sport Pilot with a glider endorsement, the altitude limitation applies. If you have a Private Pilot certificate with a glider rating, the restriction does not apply.
So if I get a Glider cert FIRST, and then a SP cert? Or if I have SP then get a Glider add-on? So basically I'd have both.

I'm only talking about SP and Glider certs here, no PPL / medical.
 
How about this, which one would you enjoy flying? A LSA or a Glider, choose answer and go that route. Part of our every 2 years flight reviews, you can get the other rating at that time to renew your privileges.

The reason I'm interested in the Sinus Max is that it qualifies as BOTH. A SP lets me fly any LSA, and the Glider cert lets me fly the Sinus as a Glider as well.

The immediate problem is there are no Sinus crafts within a 500 mile radius of where I live, but there are several clubs in the area with LSAs, including a couple with Pipistrel Alpha Trainers, which are very similar to the Sinus. (Both of them used to have the option of either LSA or Glider, but Alphas never had air brakes and pilots had a tendency to over-run the runway when landing, so the FAA decertified them as Gliders. And for whatever reason, Pipistrel is only selling Sinus' as Gliders now. Their only other glider is the Taurus Electro. Most of their earlier gliders are outside USA.)

I'm interested in the Sinus as a self-launching motor glider, not so much regular tow-launched gliders.

So from a purely practical standpoint, starting off with the Sport Pilot cert makes the most sense. I've been toying with buying a Sinus myself but it would probably be early next year at the earliest, and that's going to take a lot more planning.

With that being said, being a commercial pilot for powered aircraft has higher medical requirements. You should read the FAR’s to see if any such requirement exist. I do not know for commercial glider pilots without putting my hat on and sitting down for 30 minutes and pulling the hard copy of the FAR’s out.

Yeah, well, that's the rub. It's apparently not an easy question to answer, and I appreciate everybody taking a stab at it. It's also helping me get better at the terminology and distinctions involved.

SP and LSAs have no commercial options that I've found, but gliders do and they don't require medicals. I've even heard that you can get instrument rated in gliders and can fly them in IME, although I don't know why you would want to -- probably just for emergency conditions. You can get IFR certified in LSAs, but you cannot fly them in IME under IFR conditions. But a Sinus, being a Glider, would be the exception I guess.

In fact, there are plenty of exceptions that seem to apply in this little nook of piloting. Like, anyone with a PPL can fly a glider tow plane and get paid without having a Commercial cert, just a towing endorsement. (And a lot of the tow planes are tail-draggers, so that cert is needed as well.) I watched a recent video on YT about a guy who just got his Commercial and has a job lined up to tow-launch hang gliders, kites, and other very light manned crafts, which he probably doesn't need, but it gives him lots of other options. (Insurance might have something to do with that.)

Seems like gliders, sport piloting / LSAs, and regular GA and bigger crafts are different worlds that are very isolated from each other. Yet I've seen plenty of videos and articles by long-time pilots who learned to fly gliders who said that without question, it helped them learn to be a better pilot of any kind of powered craft. As someone looking to just get started, that seems to be a great endorsement for learning to fly gliders early-on simply to make me a safer pilot over-all. And that can also have some interesting perks... which is why I'm sniffing down this rabbit-hole right now.
 
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There's way too many words in this thread, but assuming the headline is the short version, no medical is needed for any glider rating. That includes Sport, Private, Commercial, and CFI.

And you do not need any airplane rating to fly a motor glider; you need a self-launch endorsement.
 
Well, I've been told that without a glider cert, the PIC must never shut off an engine in flight except in an emergency, or something to that effect. So there's that.

From Pipistrel's site regarding the Sinus Max:
four aircraft in one
Is it a Glider, fast efficient cross country cruiser, versatile trainer or flexible aircraft solution? Sinus is the ultimate in flexibility available to transform from a motor glider into a fast cross country aircraft in minutes.
The Sinus combines the true sense of a glider with unprecedented efficiency during powered flight. Takeoff and land on short runways, fly cross country and enjoy excellent gliding capability. All in the same aircraft.
If you have any issues with their statements, you'll need to talk to them.
The statement is accurate. But you seem to be reading "airplane" where they wrote "aircraft."
 
The statement is accurate. But you seem to be reading "airplane" where they wrote "aircraft."
Thanks. I'm still working on the terminology. What's the difference in this case? What am I mixing up?
 
Thanks. I'm still working on the terminology. What's the difference in this case? What am I mixing up?
A helicopter is an aircraft. A balloon is an aircraft. And "airplane" on the other hand has wings and an engine, and is not a glider of any sort, by definition and certification basis.
 
I paid for a glider ride in a Sinus. It was to a CFI to get my self-powered endorsement on my glider rating.

Talk about a silly requirement. As a ASEL rated pilot, I had to get an endorsement to fly a self-powered glider.
At least you didn’t need to take a checkride like I did back when it was a “rating” not an “endorsement.”
 
A SP lets me fly any LSA, and the Glider cert lets me fly the Sinus as a Glider as well.
That's not how it works.

Sport Pilot Airplane lets you fly powered airplanes that qualify as LSA and have an airplane certificate. No other certificate is required for you to shut off the engine and glide around if you wish.

Glider rating lets you fly aircraft that have a glider certificate.

Looking at the FAA registry, some Sinus have LSA airplane certificates, some have glider. What needs to be written on the piece of plastic you carry in your pocket depends on what is printed on the certificate the particular aircraft you are in. Not how you fly it.
 
The reason I'm interested in the Sinus Max is that it qualifies as BOTH. A SP lets me fly any LSA, and the Glider cert lets me fly the Sinus as a Glider as well.
No, that is not correct. While it appears that the Sinus can be certificated as either a glider or an airplane, for any particular aircraft it's only one or the other. If it's a glider, you need a private (or commercial) with a glider rating and a self launch endorsement or a sport pilot with a motorglider endorsement. If it's an airplane, you need a private certificate with an "airplane single engine land rating" or a sport pilot certificate with an airplane endorsement.
You can get IFR certified in LSAs, but you cannot fly them in IME under IFR conditions.
You can, but not as a sport pilot. An instrument rating is only available to private or higher. Whether you can legally fly it in actual IFR depends on the aircraft's operating limitations.
 
The reason I'm interested in the Sinus Max is that it qualifies as BOTH. A SP lets me fly any LSA, and the Glider cert lets me fly the Sinus as a Glider as well.

The FAA only certifies it as ONE, not BOTH. The ones I looked up were certified as gliders, so a SP ticket alone will not let you fly it. Regardless of whether it has a motor, and regardless of what the manufacturer's website tells you, if the FAA certifies it as a glider then a glider it is, and you must have glider credentials to fly it.
 
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