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I am training in an Ercoupe 415-C (C-85) that has no rudder pedals. I've read various stories about people taking a checkride in such an aircraft having a restriction on the license and having to take another checkride in a different aircraft to have the restriction removed. I've also seen this referenced as a myth that does not happen in real practice.

My questions:

  • Does this restriction really exist, or is it a myth?
  • Does it depend on the examiner?
  • Does it apply to sport pilot (where I would have to have an endorsement for another model anyways), or just private?
  • Would I have to take another checkride to have it removed, or could it be removed with a CFI's endorsement?
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  • $\begingroup$ I don't know the answer, but what I would say is you should get at least some training in an aircraft with rudder pedals. Using pedals is a very important skill, and without training it would be unwise for you to fly anything besides coordinated aircraft, and those are few and far between. $\endgroup$ – GdD Aug 8 '14 at 18:42
  • $\begingroup$ @GdD: I've also had some training in a J-3 with rudders, so I won't go completely without that aspect of training--just the majority of it will have been in the ercoupe, so it'd be best for me to take the checkride in it. After I get my sport pilot license, I do plane to continue on to private and will likely train in a cessna--but in the mean time, I'd like to know if I will be restricted to an ercoupe if the opportunity arises to fly other LSAs. Thanks! $\endgroup$ – Student Pilot Aug 8 '14 at 18:45
  • $\begingroup$ I don't keep up with the Light Sport world much, but I was under the impression the dumb "endorsement for each make and model" thing for sport pilots had gone away and you can fly any LSA-eligible aircraft in the category & class for which your certificate is issued -- Did that not happen? $\endgroup$ – voretaq7 Aug 8 '14 at 22:26
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The restriction you're talking about does exist, but there's no explicit wording for it. It's described in FAR 61.45(b)(2):

An applicant for a certificate or rating may use an aircraft with operating characteristics that preclude the applicant from performing all of the tasks required for the practical test. However, the applicant's certificate or rating, as appropriate, will be issued with an appropriate limitation.

One of the most fundamental tasks in the Sport Pilot PTS is maintaining coordinated flight (you won't find it as a discrete task, but if you look at the PTS the phrase "while maintaining coordinated flight" occurs multiple times), and an Ercoupe without rudder pedals relieves the applicant of that responsibility because the aileron/rudder interconnect basically does it for you.

I'm not sure exactly how this works for Sport Pilots, but as you cannot demonstrate to the examiner that you can "maintain coordinated flight" they could reasonably apply the same restriction to your Sport Pilot certificate as they would to a Private Pilot certificate ("Limited to aircraft without rudder pedals"). You would need to demonstrate to a DPE or Examiner that you can operate an aircraft with rudder pedals at some later date to remove the restriction (it is a restriction on the certificate so the only way to remove it is to have the certificate amended/reissued/replaced).


The easiest way to avoid the entire issue is to prepare for and take your practical test in an aircraft with rudder pedals. You can do everything in the Ercoupe and then switch to the Cub for a week to brush up on systems and polish your maneuvers in that plane and get used to using your feet.

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    $\begingroup$ This is all good advice, I'd add to that switch to the cub for the rest of your training if that's what you're going to test in. Go back to the ercoupe later. $\endgroup$ – GdD Aug 9 '14 at 10:38
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    $\begingroup$ @GdD If the Ercoupe is substantially cheaper it may make sense to knock out part of the training in that plane - generally though I agree: Train in the plane you'll be doing your checkride in (or at least the same type of plane). $\endgroup$ – voretaq7 Aug 10 '14 at 19:46

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