(L-R) Greg Rolle, Dave
Oord, Charles Albury , Kendric Sands, Randy Hansen, Lenord Stuart,
Photo by Hilary Lawrence
One of the few drawbacks to earning the sport
pilot certificate is the inability to use it for international flights.
Until now, that is.
Thanks to efforts by EAA and the Bahamas
Ministry of Tourism and Aviation, the Bahamas last week changed its rules to
allow U.S.-based sport pilots to operate in its airspace.
Significantly, the Bahamas becomes the first
country other than the United States to accept a U.S. driver’s license in
lieu of a medical certificate to fly as a sport pilot internationally.
The rules change is a direct result of discussions between EAA President Tom
Poberezny and Bahamian officials that began during last year’s AirVenture.
Under the new rules, an FAA-certificated sport
pilot operating in the Bahamas under U.S. sport pilot rules (FAR 61, Subpart
J) must: hold a current and valid U.S. driver’s license or at least a
third-class medical certificate; have logbook endorsements certifying the
pilot is proficient in Class B, C and D airspace (FAR 61.325); is authorized
to perform cross-country flight (FAR 61.93); and adhere to FAR 61.315, which
specifies a sport pilot’s privileges and limitations (FAR 61.315).
Additionally, U.S. light-sport aircraft
operators must comply with all related FAA regulations before attempting a
flight to Bahamas.
Of course, all required aircraft documents must
be aboard when flying in the Bahamas, and the pilot must carry both a pilot
certificate and medical/driver’s license.
“We’re always looking for ways and means to
expand the tourism base, and attract people who can help enrich our economy,”
Charles Albury, Deputy Permanent Secretary for the Bahamas’ Ministry of
Tourism and Aviation, told AirVenture Today.
“We felt this was another area to expand
because of the growth of sport pilots in the United States,” he added.
“We’re very grateful to the Ministry of
Tourism and Aviation, and especially to Secretary Albury and his staff, for
their recognition that U.S. sport pilots can safely and legally operate in
their country,” commented EAA’s Government and Advocacy Specialist David
“We look forward to similar recognition of
the sport pilot certificate by our international neighbors.”
In celebration of the latest changes to
Bahamian rules, EAA, the Ministry and Florida-based EAA chapters are
organizing a sport-pilot fly-out to the Bahamas, planned for the near future.