Light Sport IFR in VFR conditions- is it legal

Discussion in 'Pilot Training' started by Rob Nelson, Dec 23, 2020.

  1. Ryan F.

    Ryan F. Cleared for Takeoff

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    Well, you're right, of course. But to be fair to the folks trying to connect a line from sport pilot to instrument rating, they're asking for input and are at least somewhat receptive to it. I appreciate that, a lot!

    Best to all,
     
  2. Deelee

    Deelee Pattern Altitude

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    I'm with @WDD at this point. Imma sit back after this post. OP now has feedback form many, many experienced, current instrument rated pilots. Oh, and a DPE. And even the people who say it might be legal advise that it is not a good idea.

    But hey, it's Christmas... so maybe a miracle can happen.... try this - take out whichever certificate you are currently legally flying under. Not the one you flew under ten years ago or however long when you had a valid medical. Flip it over. What does is say under the ixx. ratings and limitations? Do you see the words Instrument Airplane at all in that block?
    Here is a simple, yet handy flow for you:
    Yes - file IFR
    No - don't file IFR

    Merry Holidays.
     
  3. flyingron

    flyingron Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    It means nothing of the sort, but it is still an IFR operation even if it was 100% in VMC from the time you left the ground
     
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  4. WDD

    WDD Pattern Altitude

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    To vfr on top
     
  5. Rgbeard

    Rgbeard Pattern Altitude

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    Last thing I will say on this (promise)

    the VFR conditions portion of this has NOTHING to do with ANYTHING.

    when you file IFR, the actual meteorological conditions do not give you a different set of rules to which you must adhere.

    you’re adherence is to the same rules as the guy sweating ice while shooting an ILS to minimums.

    To me, that portion of the subject title of the thread is unnecessary and misleading.

    (done).
     
  6. Rob Nelson

    Rob Nelson Filing Flight Plan

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    Ryan, Respectively, please show me the regulation that declares a "Private Pilot license" as a requirement to fly IFR as well as possessing a medical to fly IFR. IFR is a rating that is based on a "Category", in this situation My IFR rating is associated with the"airplane" catigory which is the same catigory that I will be operating in, sport Pilot "Airplane" not balloon or glider. The medical is covered through 61.3 c) 2 v. as part of the privledges and limts of a sport pilot.

    As long as you are a properly rated IFR pilot and are current (61.57 c) and the aircraft is capable and current to fly IFR (91.205,125.205) the only restriction is making sure when you fly IFR, that you do it in such a way as to NOT violate the limited privileges of flying Sport pilot (61.315). VMC, day VFR less than 10,000 feet, No IMC. To answer the question "what if you come up to clouds or get an altitude over 10,000" you would simply respond unable or you always have the option to cancel IFR since you better be in VMC/VFR conditions.

    My big take away :
    • IFR rating is tied to a category, not a certificate.
    • No medical requirements are tied to IFR rating accept when getting rating intially ( 61.65 hold private pilot license )
    I am waiting for an official answer from FAA. I appreciate everyone's help and commnets. It helped clarify where the regulations were not as clear as I would have liked them to be.
     
  7. MauleSkinner

    MauleSkinner Touchdown! Greaser!

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    No...61.5 specifically ties it to a certificate (Private or commercial), and exercising those certificate privileges requires a medical or basicmed per 61.23.
     
    Last edited: Dec 25, 2020
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  8. Rob Nelson

    Rob Nelson Filing Flight Plan

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    Maule, your genius. I received bad info on IFR rating being tied to category.61.5 8) is what I was looking for, for clarification. Ryan, you are correct. An instrument rating is tied to Private or commercial pilot Privilege. To operate as either, you have to have a medical. That was the reg of clarification. Thanks, Maule

    Answer: can't do it as a sport pilot! :(
     
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  9. MauleSkinner

    MauleSkinner Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Sometimes you just have to say the right words to the right person at the right time under the right phase of the moon, and it all becomes clear. ;)
     
  10. Ryan F.

    Ryan F. Cleared for Takeoff

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    Hello Rob, one quibble on terminology - it's a private pilot certificate, not a license. It is a meaningful distinction as you will see. 14 CFR 61.65(a)(1) requires that a person who applies for an instrument rating must "... hold at least a current private pilot certificate, or be concurrently applying for a private pilot certificate, with an airplane, helicopter, or powered-lift rating appropriate to the instrument rating sought."

    14 CFR 61.23(a)(3)(i) states that a person "... must hold at least a third-class medical certificate… when exercising the privileges of a private pilot certificate… except when operating under the conditions and limitations set forth in §61.113(i)…" (this reference is BasicMed.)

    I appreciate your thoughts on this; however your instrument rating is not based on a category of aircraft. The category/class of aircraft in which you are rated is yet another rating which is attached to your pilot certificate. Most, but not all people at the earliest stage of their pilot certification arc, earn a private pilot certificate with an "airplane, single engine land" rating. Assuming you are among this group, you earned a certificate and rating all at once when you became a private pilot; you earned the certificate itself as well as the rating required to fly a single engine "land" (not sea) airplane. (Other persons might earn an initial private pilot certificate with a rotorcraft-helicopter rating or a glider rating.) In any case, this permitted you to exercise the privileges of a private pilot certificate and also served as a pre-requisite to earn an instrument rating.

    Respectfully, this is incorrect. Your instrument rating may only be used when exercising private pilot privileges. If you do not possess, at minimum, a 3rd class medical, or qualify under BasicMed, you are unfortunately unable to utilize your instrument rating acting as PIC under IFR.

    Respectfully, this is incorrect. There is a lone provision for operating under IFR in aircraft which are not certified for this operation but it relates to instrument flight training and may be found in an FAA Order, and is not germane to this scenario.

    As stated above, ratings are attached to pilot certificates. Category/class is another form of a rating.

    Unfortunately, this is not correct. Ratings are attached to pilot certificates. To exercise the privileges of of a given pilot certificate as Pilot in Command, one must adhere to the requirements of 14 CFR 61.23.

    I am confident you will ultimately receive an official answer which will satisfy your curiosity!

    Thanks for the discussion,
     
  11. Ryan F.

    Ryan F. Cleared for Takeoff

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    After typing that up it appears we've found common ground. Good stuff! Merry Christmas and have a great night.
     
  12. skier

    skier Line Up and Wait

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    I’m going to take this thread further off track. I believe a pilot can fly a motor glider IFR if appropriately rated. And you don’t need a medical to fly gliders. So I believe if the OP truly wanted to fly IFR, but didn’t want to get a medical they could if they got a glider rating.

    now motorgliders are pretty rare, but it’s a possibility.
     
  13. flyingron

    flyingron Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    Makes no difference. Cleared climb to VFR on TOP and VFR on TOP both are IFR operations, neither requires IMC.
     
  14. flyingron

    flyingron Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    Not true. It is a rating on a certificate, and the only certificates it can be attached to are the PRIVATE and COMMERCIAL.
    It also has a category designation (though through vagaries in the rules, it's not necessarily limited to that categoriy).
    You can not get an instrument rating on a SP certificate, so the use of the rating has to invoke private or commercial privileges.
     
    Last edited: Dec 26, 2020
  15. WDD

    WDD Pattern Altitude

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    You are correct, I agree. That was what my point was. Even in VFR weather, even in VFR on top you're still on IFR rules if you're on a flight plan. I'm not sure what I posted that gave the impression that contradicted that, but never hurts to clarify. Thanks!
     
  16. Ryan F.

    Ryan F. Cleared for Takeoff

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    Fun topic. It's not directly related to the Sport Pilot conversation, but here's the thread you have to pull to unwind it completely...
    1. The operation of a "motor glider" (the FAA calls them Powered Gliders) as Pilot in Command does not require an airplane, single engine land rating; it requires a glider rating and appropriate endorsements, assuming they're not grandfathered via prior experience, to operate a Self-Launched glider. The FAA recognizes a "Powered Glider" as simply a Glider - reference AC 21.17-2A. The Self-Launch endorsement requirement may be found in 14 CFR 61.31(j)(1)(iii).
    2. As you've stated, no FAA medical certificate is required to exercise the privileges of a Private Pilot certificate with glider rating (14 CFR 61.23(b)(1)(ii).)
    3. To fly a glider as PIC under IFR the pilot must also possess an airplane instrument rating (14 CFR 61.3(e)(3) and is subject to the specific currency requirements of 14 CFR 61.57(c)(3).
    4. Flight in Class A airspace (thermaling, altitude record attempts, distance attempts, etc.) may be granted as an ATC deviation per 14 CFR 91.135(d) and under this deviation an instrument rating would not even be required on the PIC's private pilot with Glider rating. These are generally approved by LOA and require permission to be requested multiple days in advance. They are also subject to a host of restrictive requirements on ATC's behalf.
    So now we've got all the airman and medical certification boxes checked off, as well as currency requirements. Yes, it is possible to be legally flying on an IFR clearance, in a Glider (be it Powered or not), without an FAA medical certificate. It is even possible, ATC-permitting, to fly a Glider as Pilot in Command in Class A airspace... without an instrument rating. ... I would categorize operation under these circumstances to be highly dubious from a risk management/ADM standpoint, but that's just my opinion.

    What can you really do in a Powered Glider under IFR, though? Well, probably not a whole lot at best, and nothing practical in nearly any reasonable scenario. I'm now outside my area of expertise because I don't operate this equipment, but in terms of certified offerings most, possibly all, of these aircraft are limited to Day VFR operations only and will feature placards indicating this limitation on the panel. Additionally, to operate under IFR the Glider must meet all of the equipment requirements of 14 CFR 91.205(b) and (d) at minimum, assuming night operations are out of the question, which they almost certainly are for a Glider. The final rabbit hole we could tumble down would be a Powered Glider in the Experimental category. I won't touch that particular can of worms because it's such an edge case.

    Where I'm guessing you'd like to go with this scenario is to consider a Glider ("Powered Glider") operated under IFR by a PIC with a private pilot certificate, glider rating, instrument-airplane rating, with no FAA medical certificate, in the NAS in VMC conditions, perhaps enroute only (no approaches?)

    The limiting factor will be the equipment being used. If there's a motorglider out there certified for day and/or night IFR operations, I'm not aware of it, but I don't keep up with that category of aircraft so perhaps there's a possibility.

    TLDR;

    - a Powered Glider is still considered a glider;
    - yes, it's legally possible to fly a Glider under IFR under certain specific circumstances without a medical certificate
    - no, it's not practical (at least by my definition of practical) in terms of finding a way to exercise IFR privileges "in the system" as an end-around for not having a medical certificate

    Thanks for the discussion,
     
  17. MauleSkinner

    MauleSkinner Touchdown! Greaser!

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    While I realize that in the context of this discussion it’s probably assumed that the glider in question would have a motor, I’ll just clarify that 91.205 only applies to powered aircraft.
     
  18. Ryan F.

    Ryan F. Cleared for Takeoff

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    Correct, the assumption is a Powered Glider which is a Glider, legally speaking, which is why I was careful to capitalize it. But 14 CFR 91.205 applies to "powered civil aircraft," thus it applies to this scenario.
     
  19. Palmpilot

    Palmpilot Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    So does 14 CFR 1.1, which states that a rating appears on a certificate.

    "Rating means a statement that, as a part of a certificate, sets forth special conditions, privileges, or limitations."​
     
  20. Palmpilot

    Palmpilot Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    :confused2:

    My pilot certificate says "instrument airplane" on it. If I had instrument privileges in rotorcraft, I expect it would say "instrument rotorcraft."
     
  21. MauleSkinner

    MauleSkinner Touchdown! Greaser!

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    True, but the fact that a rating appears on my ATP certificate doesn’t mean I need to exercise ATP privileges to exercise that rating. 61.5 makes it clear that an instrument rating cannot be exercised as a Sport Pilot.
     
  22. Palmpilot

    Palmpilot Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    Perhaps an attorney (which I am not) could argue that 61.303 states that the holder of at least a recreational pilot certificate can fly light-sport aircraft without a medical certificate, and that doing so is therefore included in private-pilot privileges.

    I think a better argument is the intent of the regulation. My understanding is that courts often give weight to arguments about what the drafters of a law or regulation intended, and I doubt that the authors of the sport-pilot rules intended to allow instrument-rated pilots operating under Part 61 Subpart J to fly under instrument flight rules, even in severe-clear conditions. The altitude restriction and the requirement to maintain visual reference to the surface would add strength to such an argument.

    It will be interesting to see how the FAA answers the OP's question.
     
    Last edited: Dec 26, 2020
  23. Palmpilot

    Palmpilot Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    I don't see anything in 61.5 that supports such a conclusion.
     
  24. jonvcaples

    jonvcaples Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Hello all! Hopeful 2021 will be Ask your local FSDO. Looking at everything above I'd guess it is not legal. Also, keep in mind the FAR's apply throughout the US. Here in CO most MEAS are above 2,000 AGL. Even back east van you imagine being cleared to say 3,000 feet and having to tell the controller "unable." If you can obtain a Basic Med and avoid the hassle.
     
  25. Palmpilot

    Palmpilot Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    The limitation is 10,000 MSL or 2,000 AGL, whichever is higher. However, your point about high MEAs in mountainous regions is an important one.
     
  26. MauleSkinner

    MauleSkinner Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Fortunately the OP does.
     
  27. MauleSkinner

    MauleSkinner Touchdown! Greaser!

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    ...so that you can follow local procedures. ;)
     
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  28. Ryan F.

    Ryan F. Cleared for Takeoff

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    It would (and mine does - Instrument-Helicopter to be precise). But you're obviously an extremely smart fellow and you're not really confused by this, are you? Maybe you're just pointing out a lack of specficity in my statement... I could do a little better, there? Well, I think you make a reasonable point. I'll rephrase:

    "... your instrument rating is not based on a category of aircraft."

    "An instrument rating is placed on a pilot's certificate, such as a private pilot or commercial pilot certificate. As a rating, it's distinguished by title of the rating for the category of aircraft to which it applies. An instrument-airplane rating can't be used to exercise the privileges of the certificate as PIC under IFR in a helicopter, for example."

    That's appropriate detail given how technical this topic is in terms of parsing CFRs, but I probably zipped through it in part just to make it all a little more readable. Thanks for the point out.

    Sometimes it's a little difficult for me to tell if you're just trying to pull my leg but I do appreciate your attention to detail. :)

    Thank you for the discussion,
     
    Last edited: Dec 26, 2020
  29. Palmpilot

    Palmpilot Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    I just read what the regs say, and I enjoy discussing questions about what they mean.
     
  30. gacoon

    gacoon Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Can you provide FAR reference to to your asertions?
    I think most of the posters in this thread take IFR meaning to fly in or thru clouds. IFR is a set of procedures and rules that when used must be adhered to when operating on an IFR flight plan, irregardless of whether you are in VMC or IMC. Light Sport precludes operation in IMC by virtue of the inability to operate with reference to the surface and also denies operation above 10k. Suppose you like assured flight following on a beautiful VMC day. What FAR would prevent a light sport pilot who is appropriately rated, current and aircraft equipped from operating on an IFR flight plan in VMC conditions? I am unaware of one? Staying current is a little more tricky, will need someone to act as safety pilot who can be PIC.
     
  31. Deelee

    Deelee Pattern Altitude

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    does the pilot in command of the lsa have a private pilot certificate or higher along with an instrument rating, current medical or basic med and is instrument current?

    if no, then you can’t file IFR legally.
    If yes and it is VMC.... I don’t know how that works in lsa. But again, you need to be instrument rated. And that rating is tied to your cert. if you only have a sport pilot cert, you don’t have a current instrument rating. So you can’t file legally.
     
  32. Rob Nelson

    Rob Nelson Filing Flight Plan

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    Maul, I was waiting for someone to site the FAR vs their opinion. In the FAA eyes, if it's not written it's not true, and sometimes it's true by omission. In the pilot community, there are plenty of opinions, many that are baseless. I appreciate you pointing the specific reg that ties IFR (61.5) to the Private and Commercial certificate". So based on the same logic. A quick question, since I have not studied the ATP pilot certificate privileges and limits beyond "must have a commercial license with IFR, how is IFR attached to the specific ATP certificate if it's only attached to private and commercial? When you are flying as an ATP, are you using commercial or private privileges based on the same logic... LOL.
     
  33. MauleSkinner

    MauleSkinner Touchdown! Greaser!

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    The ATP certificate includes instrument privileges...
     
  34. Maxnr

    Maxnr Pre-takeoff checklist

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    I so wanted to stay out of this. Ryan F said it all yesterday in his post regarding self launch gliders, and beat me to the punch. I saw a video last year of a European Pipistrel Virus short wing Motor Glider (147 KT cruise) on an IFR flight (in IMC). I know that its common to operate a Glider in "A" airspace. Done all the time in mountain wave conditions in the US. 61.57 says that you may take an IPC in an single engine Airplane and you are good to go in a Glider.
    The LSA restrictions are gone. Fly above 10,000' at night faster than 120 KTS with no medical. I hold Comm Glider & Airplane, SML w/inst. and thought about going this rte. Regarding all RW ATPs having Inst privileges: I know a couple of guys that are restricted to VFR. Mine came with out restrictions.
     
  35. midlifeflyer

    midlifeflyer Touchdown! Greaser!

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    A recreational, private, or commercial pilot may log pilot-in
    It's funny. I actually remember someone raising the question in a logging context. Even as late as 1997, the basic sole manipulator rule in 61.51 said "A recreational, private, or commercial pilot may log pilot-in-command time..." The only ATP logging rule said, "An airline transport pilot may log as pilot-in-command time all of the flight time while acting as pilot-in-command of an operation requiring an airline transport pilot certificate." If I recall correctly, someone pointed it out saying tat ATPs couldn't log flight time except when acting as an ATP. They gave the obvious answer, that you can exercise the privileges of a lower grade certificate (so long as not contrary to limitations in yours), but amended 61.51(e)(1) to add, "or airline transport pilot" to the basic logging PIC rule. They did that in a number of areas, but left a few alone.
     
  36. Palmpilot

    Palmpilot Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    There's also this:

    §61.167 Airline transport pilot privileges and limitations.

    (a) Privileges. (1) A person who holds an airline transport pilot certificate is entitled to the same privileges as a person who holds a commercial pilot certificate with an instrument rating.
    I'm assuming that "privileges" includes the privilege of logging.
     
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  37. midlifeflyer

    midlifeflyer Touchdown! Greaser!

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    I was responding to a post which quoted it.

    But while you and I would make that assumption (and I would even without 61.167), this version of 61.167 already existed before 61.51 was changed, so apparently it didn't help everyone.
     
  38. Maxnr

    Maxnr Pre-takeoff checklist

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    When I was "working for the man" as a 135 pilot, I was often assigned with another ATP. Some times PIC, sometime as CP. It was customary to "split the time". The so called restriction regarding ATPs who MUST and who may NOT log PIC is only regarding type ratings. Required if your ride has a GW 12,500 or above. Its possible for a pilot with less than ATP but typed could be pic. If the CP has an ATP, but not typed, guess who logs all PIC and who logs CP. The guy with the type rating. I never saw this happen because I worked in an "ATP rich enviornment". More common to be paired with another ATP or a newly hired co-pilot with only a Comm. The FSDO routinely scrutinized pilot records.
     
  39. Maxnr

    Maxnr Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Regarding available self launching Gliders: Barnstormers currently has two SONEX XENOS mtr gliders. One asking 30K in Texas and one pending sale at 45K. The pricy one has an extensive glass panel, autopilot and seller says its capable of coupled approaches. This is an experimental homebuilt that has removable wingtips so you can get it in the hangar. May be flown XC with the tips removed. Seems like a whole lot of IFR Gliding going on.