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I am trying to figure out how a CFI knows what endorsements to give. Obviously AC 61-65E lays them out but what if someone is coming from a unique situation? Let's say someone has a helicopter license and wants to get their private pilot? Do they have to take a knowledge test? What if someone is a sports pilot and wants to upgrade to a private pilot, what do they have to do? How do you figure it out?

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  • $\begingroup$ . . . is there really a situation not covered by AC 61-65? It's pretty thoroughly cross-referenced into the FARs. There are other things that need to be logged (e.g. you need log entries showing dual instruction and/or solo time meeting whatever aeronautical experience requirements are applicable for a given certificate or rating), but those aren't "endorsements" - they're just logbook entries (albeit with a CFI's signature when instruction was given to certify that they did in fact give such instruction). $\endgroup$ – voretaq7 Feb 1 '16 at 6:30
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Lets cover your specific questions first.

Let's say someone has a helicopter license and wants to get their private pilot? Do they have to take a knowledge test?

(it appears I was initially incorrect and the knowledge test does not need to be repeated as per RDP's answer below)

According to FAR 61.63 you don't need to retake the knowledge test

(b) Additional aircraft category rating. A person who applies to add a category rating to a pilot certificate:

  • (1) Must complete the training and have the applicable aeronautical experience.
  • (2) Must have a logbook or training record endorsement from an authorized instructor attesting that the person was found competent in the appropriate aeronautical knowledge areas and proficient in the appropriate areas of operation.
  • (3) Must pass the practical test.
  • (4) Need not take an additional knowledge test, provided the applicant holds an airplane, rotorcraft, powered-lift, weight-shift-control aircraft, powered parachute, or airship rating at that pilot certificate level.

The FAR's pretty much cover all the the various cases however they can be a bit confusing.

What if someone is a sports pilot and wants to upgrade to a private pilot, what do they have to do? How do you figure it out?

In terms of endorsements you must obtain an endorsement for what ever it is you are going to do (exam, practical test, etc.) even if you have a license in another class or category. For example if you are going to take the PPL check ride you need an endorsement for that check ride (even if you have a sport pilots license). Now when it comes to training things may differ. Your training for a PPL will obviously be shorter if you have a sport pilots license but you will still be required to take the Private Pilots Single Engine Land written test and practical test and receive endorsements to do so, to get a PPL. This site covers the transition from Sport Pilot to Private Pilot nicely. If you are transitioning from sport to private I would imagine you may be able to complete all the requirements for a PPL without having received the student solo endorsement since you could in theory have accomplished all your solo flight requirements as a sport pilot.

Personal Note: Its always a good idea to speak with your DPE before taking any practical test and ask what endorsements he is expecting to see in your log book (which should be the ones that are required and no more (or less for that matter)). When I went for my check ride the wording for the PPL practical endorsement had changed recently and he warned me that many instructors mess up the wording or the pre printed ones in the log book are out of date and it can be an issue. I had my instructor add the necessary line before I went for my check ride.

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  • $\begingroup$ This answer is demonstrably wrong. $\endgroup$ – rbp Feb 1 '16 at 12:52
  • $\begingroup$ Rounding Pi to 3.2 is valid for some engineering calculations and i have edited my answer to reflect your correction. However for the record I copied the FAA's text and took nothing from your answer. $\endgroup$ – Dave Feb 2 '16 at 14:45
  • $\begingroup$ yes, rounding to 3.2 is acceptable. changing an answer from no to yes is not. $\endgroup$ – rbp Feb 2 '16 at 18:25
  • $\begingroup$ How is that not acceptable, there was an error in my response which i corrected and have not cited your answer within mine as the source of the correction. For what its worth I changed my answer for yes to no. $\endgroup$ – Dave Feb 2 '16 at 19:31
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In general, a flight instructor must demonstrate sufficient knowledge so as to be able to provide the proper endorsements for his students. This is covered both in AC 61-65 and in the Flight Instructor Practical Test Standards Task M:

Task M: Logbook Entries and Certificate Endorsements

References: 14 CFR part 61, AC 61-65.

Objective: To determine that the applicant exhibits instructional knowledge of the elements related to logbook entries and certificate endorsements by describing:

  1. Required logbook entries for instruction given.
  2. Required student pilot certificate endorsements, including appropriate logbook entries.
  3. Preparation of a recommendation for a pilot practical test, including appropriate logbook entry for: a. Initial pilot certification. b. Additional pilot certification. c. Additional aircraft qualification.
  4. Required endorsement of a pilot logbook for the satisfactory completion of the required FAA flight review.
  5. Required flight instructor records.

Regarding the question:

Let's say someone has a helicopter license and wants to get their private pilot? Do they have to take a knowledge test?

According to 61.63:

§ 61.63 Additional aircraft ratings (other than for ratings at the airline transport pilot certification level).

(b) Additional aircraft category rating. A person who applies to add a category rating to a pilot certificate:

(4) Need not take an additional knowledge test, provided the applicant holds an airplane, rotorcraft, powered-lift, weight-shift-control aircraft, powered parachute, or airship rating at that pilot certificate level.

So a private pilot looking to add an additional category rating at the same certificate level need not take the aeronautical test.

Regarding the question:

What if someone is a sports pilot and wants to upgrade to a private pilot, what do they have to do?

you can find the answer in part 61.103:

Subpart E—Private Pilots

§61.103 Eligibility requirements: General.

To be eligible for a private pilot certificate, a person must:

(e) Pass the required knowledge test on the aeronautical knowledge areas listed in §61.105(b) of this part.

(j) Hold a U.S. student pilot certificate, sport pilot certificate, or recreational pilot certificate.

So a sport pilot upgrading his certificate to private pilot must take the private pilot test.

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These are good questions - I usually google the situation or search the FARs, or lastly make a phone call to your local FSDO. Each of those situations is unique / different, and sometimes even the FSDO has to do some research.

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