When Michael Sanders and Alex Rolinski discovered that most flight schools don’t offer training for pilots of sport aviation aircraft, they decided to do something about it.
So they formed The Sport Pilot Training Center, which focuses on just that segment of pilot training, rather than commercial or general aviation licensing, for which training and regulation are more rigorous.
Sport aviation has less regulation and is more affordable, Sanders and Rolinski recently told The Beacon. The aircraft are often made out of over-the-counter parts, and the training takes less time, they said.
“It normally takes 40 hours to get certified at a cost of $120 an hour, but we use simulators and cut training time to about 20 to 25 hours,” Sanders said, adding that the Federal Aviation Administration requires a minimum of 20 hours of training.
Also, a medical certificate isn’t required for obtaining a sport aviation pilot’s license, while one is needed to get a general or commercial pilot’s license, Sanders said.
Through SPTC, a sport aviation pilot’s license can be had for about $5,500. For an additional $2,000, students can get a general aviation license, Sanders said.
“You could find (training) packages for less, but it may not be by or from a truly certified instructor,” he said. “We use locally based and certified instructors.”
Getting licensed through The Sport Pilot Training Center starts with an assessment of the candidate’s goals, since SPTC focuses on one-on-one training, Sanders said. Ground school follows, with instruction on the basics of flying and a lot of time in a state-of-the-art simulator.
“We have multiple visual aids to help in the (simulation) instruction,” Sanders said. “We have models and computer simulation that can be paused.”
Only once a certain level of proficiency has been attained will students be allowed to fly in a trainer aircraft, with a certified instructor along in the cockpit.
The Sport Pilot Training Center currently offers a two-day course in light sport aviation, and, by the end of this year, Sanders and Rolinski hope to be offering a 120-hour course on airplane and powerplant maintenance licensing. The latter course is usually a three-year program at most flight schools, Sanders said.
SPTC is one of several flight schools on the DeLand Municipal Airport, but the only one offering sport aviation pilot’s licensing.
SPTC also partners with several other aviation-related companies, which combined offer a range of services to the light-sport aviation industry. The coalition can build, sell, maintain and train under one umbrella, Sanders said, with one goal being to make SPTC a sport aviation center of excellence.
Hours are 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday through Friday and by appointment on Saturday.
For more information, go to www.TheSPTC.com.