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The origin of today’s sport flying is deeply rooted in safety. In creating the new rules for sport pilots in 2004, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) recognized that the former rules were based on the complexities of transportation-based flying even though the majority of airspace outside of congested commercial airports goes vastly unused, except by recreational pilots.

The FAA also recognized that two of the more demanding and riskier flying activities for pilots – flying at night and flying in bad weather – weren’t necessary for recreational pilots. Therefore, the FAA took these factors into consideration when they created the Sport Pilot license and Light Sport Aircraft categories. Specifically, the FAA redefined recreational flying and spelled out limitations on when and where (daylight hours, good weather, uncontrolled airspace) and what (simple, light sport aircraft) sport pilots can fly.

Because of the limitations, training for sport pilots instead focuses on the basic fundamentals for flying. No need to log extra hours and training to cover more complex skills for transportation flying that are not required for sport flying. In addition, by creating the Light Sport Aircraft category, which limits the weight, speed and complexity of the aircraft, manufacturers are able to build aircraft optimized for the safe operation of aircraft for recreation only.

In parallel with the FAA, ICON Aircraft’s philosophy is to be at the forefront of safety by establishing an uncompromised safety standard at every step of design and production. ICON’s world-class team of engineers has designed an aircraft that is easier-to-fly and provides a broad array of safety features that go above and beyond FAA requirements.