Getting Ready For Class.
You have decided to get your powered parachute pilot rating. So what is next?
If you haven’t had a chance to fly in a powered parachute with a friend or as a student, that is a very good next step. The equipment and the training is an investment and before you spend the money, it is a good idea to make sure that it is something that you will be comfortable doing.
That said, I bought my first powered parachute without first flying in one. I saw them on the ground a few times and looked at a lot of videos over and over, which just got me more excited about the sport. It was just that there weren’t any powered parachutes around me at the time I became interested. I would have jumped at the chance to go flying in one first if that opportunity had presented itself.
Even though I never flew in a powered parachute, powered paraglider, or anything of the sort, I had already flown in a few small aircraft, including helicopters with the doors off. I knew that the sky was where I wanted to be.
Find Your Instructor.
The next step is to find an instructor. Instructors are a little more rare in powered parachuting, but a FAA Certified Flight Instructor (CFI) for powered parachutes is the legal and safe way to learn to fly. That is also what Easy Flight specializes in!
Committing to a course or lessons is the next important step. This is not just for you, this is for the instructor, too. You want to make sure that the instructor/school you settle on is willing to provide the training you need in a reasonable amount of time and for an agreed-to price. Do not wait too long for this step. Calendars do fill up and there isn’t an infinite amount of instructor time over any given flying season.
The next two steps only are necessary if getting a powered parachute sport pilot license will be your first FAA pilot rating. Both should be done before you begin your flying lessons, or as soon as possible after you begin.
Get Your FAA Student Certificate.
Before you can ever solo, you will need a FAA Student Pilot License. The license is free, but it takes a little time to get. And ‘free’ depends on where you get your student pilot license. You can go to your local Flight Standards District Office (FSDO) or you can meet with a local CFI. The CFI doesn’t need to be powered parachute qualified, he or she just needs to do the work to get you a student license. You can learn more about the process from the FAA at…FAA Student Pilot’s Certificate Requirements
If you want to get your Student Pilot Certificate from your local Flight Standards District Office, you can find the one closest to you at the link below. Select your state and the FAA will tell you which office is closest. If you are close to another state, check for the office(s) in their state. You just might find one closer to you. Keep in mind that you will have to make an appointment to visit with the FAA. They rarely take walk-ins!Find a Flight Standards District Office (FSDO)
Complete Your FAA Knowledge Test.
Something else you should do is begin studying for the FAA Powered Parachute Sport Pilot Knowledge Test. The knowledge test is not required for those already holding an FAA pilot certificate, but you will need it if powered parachute is the first rating you are seeking.
The bad news is that the knowledge test covers a wide range of aviation knowledge. But there is good news! The good news is that a few companies have dedicated themselves to effectively hacking all of the FAA knowledge tests. Here are three of the best known companies in the business.
Aviation Supplies & Academics
ASA’s Prepware comes in many flavors. You can get versions that work on your home computer, your iPad or other mobile device, or over the internet. Here are the options:
- Prepware Online
- 24-month online access. Log in from desktop, laptop, smart phone, iPad or other tablet Computer.
- Prepware DVD
- Install disk for Windows and Apple computers and 24-month access to Prepware Online.
- Prepware Download
- Install via download for Windows and Apple computers and 24-month access to Prepware Online.
- Softcover Book
- Printed book with heavyweight cover stock.
- Test Prep Bundle
- Print book and download installer for Windows and Apple computers and 24-month access to Prepware Online.
Any ASA package including Prepware Online is recommended since the digital versions include the ability to test your knowledge in the very same format and interface used by FAA testing centers!
Gleim Aviation has both a printed and online version of their sport pilot knowledge test products.
- Online Ground School
- This is Gleim's digital sport pilot self-directed study course.
- Sport Pilot FAA Knowledge Test
- At $19.95, this is one of the least expensive ways to prepare for your knowledge test. However, it of course lacks the benefit of studying the tests in the same formate that the FAA tests you on the knowledge.
King Schools also has Sport Pilot Training materials. The material is presented in a video format. It also includes the ability to study the test questions in the format presented by an FAA test center.
When it becomes time to take your knowledge test, you can also do that before you begin flight training. You need an endorsement in order to take the test. ASA, Gleim, and King Schools all provide mechanisms to provide endorsements for students who use their materials. Endorsements can also be provided by your CFI.
Take the Knowledge Test.
Once you have studied the materials and received your endorsement to take your Sport Pilot Powered Parachute Knowledge Test, you should make an appointment with a test center near your home to take the actual test. The FAA maintains a list of test centers. Here is that list, which includes the phone numbers of the test centers.FAA Airman Knowledge Testing Center List
You need to have a student pilot certificate and a passed FAA knowledge test (or their equivalents) to complete your requirements for a sport pilot certificate. Both can be obtained before you take your first instructional flight in a powered parachute!