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FBOs Find Success with Sport Programs

FBOs across the country that are offering new training programs for sport licenses are attracting a special genre of recreational pilots. The two-year-old sport program at St. Charles Flying in St. Louis "adds a new dimension to our school," says Dennis Bampton, president of St. Charles Flying.

"We have graduated 34 new sport pilots and currently have 10 additional students enrolled in our sport program," Bampton says. "We are trying to appeal to older individuals who have always wanted to fly."

Medical requirements for sport and private licenses differ. Physicals are not required every two years for sport certification. The fee is another advantage. A sport license costs half of a private license fee.

Four of the 34 St. Charles students purchased their own aircraft after obtaining licenses, Bampton adds. The St. Charles program developed after Bampton attended the 2005 Sun 'n Fun Fly-In in Lakeland, Fla., where he identified the aircraft needed for the training. St. Charles' two sport airplanes that are available on a rental basis pick up about 40 hours of business every month.

New sport programs are particularly key for growing business at underutilized FBOs, says Dick Knapinski, a spokesman for EAA.

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