Posts Tagged ‘light sport aircraft’

Skycatcher rumors proved true

Thursday, March 14th, 2013

At the last U.S. Sport Aviation show in January at Sebring, Florida, rumors indicated hundreds of Skycatcher buyers with deposits down bailed on their order as soon as the price of the light sport aircraft rose to $149,900. AOPA’s Jim Moore has looked at the records and found the rumors to be true. It appears Cessna is conducting more test flights and will have something or other to announce regarding the Skycatcher in two or three months. There are 77 sitting in crates somewhere, either China or Independence, Kansas. Cessna has no comment. In the meantime, Flight Design continues to hold the lead in sales of LSAs.

Which new LSAs have American engines?

Monday, March 4th, 2013

I gathered this little bit of information for a larger story, but it never found a home.  Several readers asked which light sport aircraft have American engines. Some of these models aren’t available in the U.S. Here’s the list:

Continental and Lycoming both offer specially designed engines for the LSA market: the Continental engine is found on the Cub Crafters Sport Cub, the Cessna Skycatcher, and the American Legend Cub.

Companies using the Lycoming LSA engine include American Legend Cub, Brumby Aircraft of Australia 600/610, Bushwhacker Aircraft Cub, Flying Circus Aircraft’s Vegas, Kitfox Super Sport 7, Ran’s Aircraft S-19, Tecnam P92 Eaglet and Tail Dragger (an actual model name), Zenith STOL CH750, Zlin Savage Cub/Bobber, Renegade Light Sport (Falcon and FK12, and the Morgan AeroWorks Cougar.

FAA wants LSA paperwork to shine

Friday, June 29th, 2012

Update: There seems to be less to the FAA complaints against the light sport industry than it first appeared. It turns out there was a small sample of companies examined, and of those, less than a majority had problems.

The FAA found that a few light sport manufacturers are lousy at paperwork. The airplanes are  safe, say industry experts, but the light sport industry can’t prove it, retorts the FAA. The agency filed a notice here. Initial media stories interpreted the FAA action as a damning one for the LSA industry–and with good reason. The initial document issued by the FAA looks unnecessarily damning. See a Bloomberg/Business Week story on the subject here. While the FAA originally announced that companies not in compliance with the paperwork will not gain approval for future models, that now looks like only one company is guilty.

There was concern that some of the LSA companies could not contact customers or were out of business. I have no idea if that complaint involves one company or many, but I am betting one to three at the worst. Another issue concerned foreign LSA manufacturers–operating in a country that does not have proper agreements with the FAA–approving their airplanes through a third-party country that has the necessary agreements with the United States. Again, it now appears that is one company.

The FAA did not provide numbers or company names, but other sources provided a broader perspective of the FAA concerns. I know of one company that is rushing to make its paperwork better–and I also know they are pretty good people. They’ll make it right. If there are more, I will happily report the accurate number of companies in trouble. But right now it looks like very few.

Light sport aircraft fly to Bahamas

Sunday, January 29th, 2012

Success! Kitfox aircraft tour BahamasKitfox aircraft fly near a rainbow while touring Bahamas

When you think of small, two-seat, 1,320-pound light sport aircraft, you think of something best suited for short trips. The owner of Kitfox Aircraft, John McBean, and the owner of an Idaho flight school that trains Kitfox customers, Paul Leadabrand (in the yellow Kitfox with huge tundra tires), might just change your mind. They flew their two Kitfox airplanes first from Idaho to Sebring for the U.S. Sport Aviation Expo, and then on to the Bahamas. The airplane started as a kit with thousands now sold, but is also offered as a factory built light sport aircraft. You’ll see a report on it in “AOPA Pilot” in coming months. (I flew the yellow one seen here.) (Click photos to enlarge.)

Kitfox aircraft fly near a rainbow while touring Bahamas

Aerotrek (Featured in January “Pilot”)

Tuesday, November 8th, 2011

Here’s the owner of the $78,000 Aerotrek–featured in the January 2012 issue–and myself talking about owning the best-equipped, lowest-cost LSA out there. Here is his story on YouTube. The original dream way back in 2004? An LSA that would cost $20,000 to $60,000. The 2012 reality? This may be as close as you’ll come.

An LSA experiment to watch

Friday, May 1st, 2009

The light sport aircraft community, admittedly off to a slow start these past four years, ought to watch an experiment by the flight department at the Florida Institute of Technology (FIT) in Melbourne, Fla. Director of Flight Training Nick Frisch has purchased two Remos light sport aircraft to join his fleet of 41 trainers. He is challenging a “significant unknown,” in his words, and that unknown is the public’s general acceptance of light sport aircraft.

Frisch is betting that among the school’s 7,000 non-aeronautical students there are a number of pilot candidates who will jump at the chance for a $5,000 sport pilot certificate. To improve chances for success, he will offer the Remos aircraft to the Melbourne community as well in a flying club. Some of the 41 trainers are ready for retirement. Will serious FIT pilot candidates accept the Remos because of its lower rental cost?

He is starting with two aircraft, but additional Remos aircraft will be purchased if the experiment works. So watch FIT’s flight department at the end of this year. That is when Frisch’s “significant unknown” will be known, and when a new order is, or is not, made.