Posts Tagged ‘LSA’

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.

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.

Sling LSA joins the market–new video posted

Tuesday, June 5th, 2012

Now you really have choices. South Africa sent its Sling to America, through a dealer at the Torrance, Calif., airport, and it has passed ASTM standards. It is built like a tank, wide and comfortable, Rotax powered, gets 108 knots, and costs less than the leading light sport aircraft. Most of them top out at $160,000 (well, one hits $400,000), but the Sling starts at $125,000 and tops out with full glass panels and an airframe parachute in the nose for $145,000.The dealer thinks he can speed it up with a new prop he will test soon. I just made a video here. I took it for a flight above the Pacific Ocean off Long Beach and Torrance. Now, about all those choices. Dan Johnson, head of the Light Aircraft Manufacturers Association, says he knows of a dozen more LSAs on the way to market. But as he has pointed out in the past, only 30 or 40 are serious contenders for the market.

Maverick “flying dunebuggy” in production

Monday, November 21st, 2011

The company called Itec/Beyond Roads has delivered four of its “Maverick” powered-parachutes with a driveable dunebuggy used as a cockpit. It is approved as a light sport aircraft, a category the includes powered parachutes. One is going to Dubai, and factory reps may travel there in a few weeks to provide training to the new customer. Deliveries are cautiously made only to experienced customers until fleet time for the vehicle increases. There are nine in various stages of construction at the factory in Florida. While dubbed the flying car by the press, it is actually intended as a jungle dunebuggy that can hop a stream when it needs to. It can drive faster than the 40 mph it achieves in the air, if there is no headwind. You can see the latest video here. Insurance has proven to be expensive, and AOPA Insurance Agency is contacting the company to help with the problem. The current premium is $8,000 a year for the factory to cover its personnel and give demonstrations. The company cleverly received government approval for the “car” aspect of the vehicle by getting it approved as a kit car. That move has stunned other companies trying to pass highway crash standards for the car portion of various “flying car” concepts. A flying car has to be strong enough to survive road rage, yet light enough to fly.

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.

LSA maker plans four-place airplane

Wednesday, January 5th, 2011

Flight Design, the German company that quickly rose to the top in sales of light sport aircraft in the United States with its CT model, is planning a new four-place aircraft to be offered on the fully certified market. (Light sport aircraft are limited to two passengers.) Flight Design CEO Matthias Betsch said a four-seat prototype is nearly done and will be introduced at the trade show Aero in Friedrichshafen, Germany, in early April. It will then be on display at AirVenture this summer.

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.

Fly the Flight Design CTLS!

Thursday, January 29th, 2009

Take the Flight Design CTLS for a flight above Sebring, Florida. This airplane dances to Latin music, so if you’re at work, turn down the volume control. If not, congratulations and enjoy!

If the video does not start, click here.