View Full Version : PPL & Gyro Rating Question
06-10-2005, 09:40 PM
Can someone who has "been there, done that" answer a question for me?
Background: I'm currently upgrading my Air Command to CLT. That's step one. The next step will be registering, training, licensing, etc. I'm trying to do it right.
I'm a Pvt Pilot (ASEL) from many years ago, but haven't been current for several years. I've been a gyro enthusiast since I was a kid and have flown a couple of times in gyros, but am only now getting serious about getting behind the stick myself. My current aspirations do not include flying a fixed wing again, just flying my single seat Gyro.
I called the local FAA office to inquire what would be necessary, given that I already have a PPL (although not current, as I mentioned), to get trained and rated for the gyro. The answer I received implied that I would have to get current again in a fixed-wing, then add the gyro classification. I asked specifically if it wouldn't be possible to get trained and rated in a two-place gyro, without having to do the fixed-wing thing again, but there seemed to be some "Catch-22" that wouldn't allow for that. The person I talked with was courteous and tried his best to be helpful, but was hunting through the FAA Regs for the answer as we talked. My impression is that the question baffled him somewhat, and his answer didn't seem to be definitive.
Therefore, I'm hoping someone who has been through this might fill me in.
As it stands now, it would seem that I would be better off to never have had a PPL at all. That doesn't make sense to me. If I were only a student pilot, signed off for solo, I would be able to do the flying I want without anything more. If I were seeking a PPL for Rotorcraft only, then obviously no fixed wing training would be required. Or course, if I were to consider my gyro an ultralight, nothing at all (except training, of course) would be necessary. The latter classification would meet all my needs, since I expect to fly only in the rural and desert areas near my home.
BTW, no one I talked to has a clue as to how the new Sport Pilot category fits into all this.
06-10-2005, 10:26 PM
If you hold a valid US Private Pilot certificate for any powered category/class:
1. You do not have to be fixed wing current.
2. You do not have to take a written test for an add-on rating at the same level (PVT).
3. Grab a current copy of the FAR/AIM and check out the additional rating requirements in part 61.
06-11-2005, 08:55 AM
To fly a single seat experimental gyrocopter all you need is a SEL Private Pilot Certificate and a medical certificate third class. No additional ratings, etc.
07-01-2005, 05:27 PM
Let me pry this door open just a little farther, because I'm going through the same thing. Jim, if you could help me find the FAR reference that shows me where I'm wrong, I'd be grateful!
Here's the "Catch 22:"
If you hold a Private ASEL, you are not eligible to also hold a student certificate. The problem arises when you're ready to solo in a gyroplane.
In order to be the pilot-in-command of an experimental gyro, unless you're a student with a solo sign-off, you need three things: Your Private ASEL, a current third-class medical, and you must be up-to-date on your requirement for a biennial flight review. If you've gone past two years on the flight review, you need to get your review in an aircraft of the category and class for which you're licensed, per 61.56(c)(1). In this case, ASEL. This appears to mean you need to go rent a Cessna.
The review is waived if you take and pass the gyroplane practical test, but you can't take that test until you have satisfied the solo requirements!
Your gyroplane CFI can't administer the flight review in a gyroplane, because YOU are not licensed in the Rotorcraft / Gyroplane category and class. (If HE is also an airplane CFI, he could conduct the ground school requirement of the review.)
I have been told anecdotally, by someone I believe to be competent, that a gyroplane CFI can sign you off to solo under these circumstances, so long as it's in connection with training for a rating, but I can't find anyone to show it to me in the FAR. If it's true, is it for a limited area and conditions, and for specific airports only, as if you were a student pilot?
There is another possible way through this. If AOPA or another organization offers an FAA-approved Pilot Proficiency Award ("Wings") program in your area, attend a seminar on a topic such as "Weather" or "Runway Incursions," which also applies to gyroplanes, select "Rotorcraft" on the form under "Category of Training," have your CFI document your first three hours of dual instruction at the bottom of the form, and you'll be exempted from the biennial review requirement, according to 61.56(e).
Or, at least I think so!
I have a 2005 FAR/AIM, and I cannot find two things I'm looking for:
(1) The exemption that lets me fly as PIC of a gyroplane, without a BFR, if signed off by a CFI, and...
(2) ...the new requirement for a CFI to evaluate me and sign me off to fly an experimental gyroplane with my Private ASEL. Or, is that just for carrying passengers?
I'm sore from squinting at fine print. Can anyone quote FAR chapter-and-verse on these?
07-01-2005, 07:43 PM
First mistake was calling the FAA and asking questions. You need to go in there "armed" or you'll be jumping through fire-rings until doomsday.
You can fly an "experimental," not a gyro with any valid, physical-requiring ticket. But, most gyros are experimental. No problem.
(2) That's just for carrying passengers.
07-01-2005, 07:50 PM
I second what Ken says about carrying passengers. I took a ride with Terry Eiland who then signed me off to carry passengers. I went to the FSDO and had no problem with anything. I had to have the RAF2000 added to my license....so I can carry passengers. I will have to do this again when I go to another make and model....such as a SparrowHawk.
07-01-2005, 08:56 PM
Ken, I haven't called the FAA. I may call to clarify the way the Wings program works, next week, if the AOPA doesn't respond first.
Stan, that's what I thought, and it verifies that the FAA is starting to draw category and class distinctions within exprimentals, at least where carrying passengers is concerned.
But, do you know where that is in the FAR?
07-02-2005, 07:31 AM
Paul, here's a start;
The part you want is 61.31b, it's way toward the bottom, took me a while to find it;
(k) Exceptions. (1) This section does not require a category and class rating for aircraft not type-certificated as airplanes, rotorcraft, gliders, lighter-than-air aircraft, powered-lifts, powered parachutes, or weight-shift-control aircraft.
(2) The rating limitations of this section do not apply to—
(i) An applicant when taking a practical test given by an examiner;
(ii) The holder of a student pilot certificate;
(iii) The holder of a pilot certificate when operating an aircraft under the authority of—
(A) A provisional type certificate; or
(B) An experimental certificate, unless the operation involves carrying a passenger;
(iv) The holder of a pilot certificate with a lighter-than-air category rating when operating a balloon;
(v) The holder of a recreational pilot certificate operating under the provisions of §61.101(h); or
(vi) The holder of a sport pilot certificate when operating a light-sport aircraft.
07-02-2005, 01:02 PM
That nails down the passenger-carrying part. Perhaps I'll try to get my BFR-currency question resolved off-forum.
Chuck, thank you!
07-02-2005, 03:58 PM
Paul, I am always cautious when trying to interpret the regulations as this is the hardest part of being a CFI, for me. However, I will give you my thoughts.
It seems that Chuck Roberg's answer is correct, and that it also covers your second question as to the Flight Review. If 61.31(K)(2)(B) in essence says that your PPSEL rating allows you to fly an Experimental gyroplane solo, and it does, then you are legally rated to fly a gyroplane (solo), and as such can take a Flight Review in a gyroplane. As you know, you would need a current medical.
I don't believe a Sport Pilot Certificate has relevance to you as you already have a higher rating. If you were to choose, at some point, to fly an aircraft qualifying as a Light Sport Aircraft without a medical then you would be "exercising Sport Pilot privileges", but would not need a Sport Pilot Certificate to do so.
07-02-2005, 11:36 PM
I appreciate your explanation. I would not have thought to approach it from that direction. The new policy of the FAA toward experimentals makes the CFI sign-off similar in concept to a type add-on, or a tailwheel endorsement. It would seem to support the premise that the ASEL-with-signoff actually covers rotorcraft/gyroplane as a category and class, so long as that aircraft is an experimental.
I'm still going to finish the Pilot Proficiency Award, since I'll have completed the requirements with my first three hours of dual time anyway.
What did we do before the internet!
07-03-2005, 11:15 AM
"What did we do before the internet!"
A hundred years from now, people will look back at the Internet and Forum's of this type and they'll be laughing their asses off about how simple and backwards we were.
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