Light Sport Aircraft Archive

Michael Combs has friends all over

Friday, March 5th, 2010

Pilots are, for the most part, friendly people who care about each other–even pilots they’ve never met. Case in point: Michael Combs (“The Longest Cross-Country,” April 2010 AOPA Pilot). Since I wrote about Michael’s plan to fly in or to all 50 states in a Remos GX light sport aircraft, Pilot readers have contacted me with some amazingly generous offers for Michael:

  • A brand-new instrument pilot has offered to pay for some weather planning sessions with an expert. “Nothing will improve his trip more than better weather info.”
  • EAA Chapter 38 at Warner Robins Airport in central Georgia would like to host Michael with a special event and hangar space for his Remos.
  • The Syracuse Flying Club is there for Michael when he gets to central New York.

I’ve forwarded every message I receive to Michael. In the meantime, don’t forget that you can follow his progress on Twitter, at the Flight for the Human Spirit Web site, and on Facebook. We’ll also be tracking Michael’s trek on AOPA Online when he launches in April.

Support for Rotax owners

Thursday, February 4th, 2010

Rotax 912If you’re flying an LSA, chances are pretty good it has a Rotax engine. And if you’re flying a Rotax engine, you’ll probably want to sign up for, a factory-authorized site. We found out about the site after we brought the Fun to Fly Remos to Frederick last November, and it has been a handy source of news (the extension of the 912ULS TBO from 1,500 to 2,000 hours, for example) and product reviews. Other services available are technical videos and articles and e-mail updates. Sign up for free to get e-mail updates and product reviews. Access to technical documents and videos is available through a yearly subscription; sign up before March 31 and the cost is $19.95.

More LSA fun in the Midwest

Thursday, January 28th, 2010

If you didn’t make it to Sebring, Florida, last week for the US Sport Expo, fear not: More LSA fun can be had in September. Simply point your airplane or car toward Southern Illinois. The Midwest LSA Expo will be held Sept. 23-25 at Mount Vernon Outland Airport (KMVN).

Airport Director Chris Collins came up to the 2010 Fun to Fly display at Sebring, and he told me plans are under way to make the Midwest event bigger and better than last year’s, which was the inaugural expo. Chris brims with enthusiasm when he talks about the expo, which, he admitted, had somewhat spotty attendance last year because of rain. But organizers got a lot of support from the community and those who did make it in were well pleased with the variety of LSAs on display. He says organizers are trying to meet everyone’s needs, from scheduling evening activities like movie screenings to making sure there are prompt shuttle buses from KMVN to the hotels that are located a few miles from the airport. Find out more at the Web site, or call 618-242-7016. For lodging information, call 800-252-5464.

There’s an airplane in my mall, part two

Friday, January 8th, 2010

We saw a mini-wave of light sport aircraft popping up in malls around the country this past holiday season. Chesapeake Sport Pilot in Maryland put a Tecnam in an Annapolis mall; Air Orlando positioned a Remos inside a Florida mall, and US Aviation in Texas put their Remos at a Lewisville mall  for an entire month. It’s a savvy marketing technique that capitalizes on the smaller size of the LSAs. While all of the flight schools said the response was good, US Aviation came back with numbers: They sold 170 introductory flights and gots dozens of sales and partnership contacts.

It’s a variation on the theme of “If Mohammed won’t come to the mountain…” That is, if we can’t get folks to our airports, then we need to look for opportunities to bring our airplanes to them. And it shows no signs of stopping.

LSA North, a flight school near Minneapolis, said this week it will position a Flight Design CT at Mall of America on Sunday, Jan. 10. They’re there to support the Boy Scouts of America, who are hosting an “Extreme Day” at the Mall. The event is to raise funds for Project Extreme, a nonprofit that provides innovative services and programming for teens at risk and their families.

“Airplanes have a high profile and bringing one inside the shopping mall can spark discussions and offer a path to flying that should appeal to youth,” said LSA North’s Scott Caverly.

The SkyCatcher lands on Pilot’s cover

Monday, December 14th, 2009

We weren’t the first to bring you a Cessna 162 SkyCatcher pilot report, but AOPA Pilot’s January issue shows and tells about the newest LSA as only we can. The bird is highlighted against spun-candy-pink clouds, owing to the sun setting over the California landscape when staff photographer Mike Fizer took the shots.

My colleague Alton Marsh got the coveted slot to fly Cessna’s new LSA back in October. Marsh has flown several LSAs; he was the first of our staff to fly a Remos (a G-3 600) when he wrote about the Candy Bomber in June 2008. What did he think of the SkyCatcher? You’ll have to read his report, but I will tell you that he was impressed with the 162’s performance; it had no problems keeping up with the photo platform, which was a Cherokee Six.

I’m excited to see 162s enter the flight school flight lines–or I will be, when that happens. At this writing, the first one was set for delivery at the end of 2009. I hope Cessna can sustain the excitement, anticipation, and sheer buzziness it has created. What do you think?

Flying the Van’s RV-12

Wednesday, November 18th, 2009

Did you know Van’s Aircraft sells an RV LSA kit? Neither did I, until very recently.

Mitch Lock, the East Coast demo pilot for Van’s, brought an RV-12 to KFDK today. “It flies like an RV!” their Web site exclaims. Well, never having flown an RV (I know, what have I been missing?), I can’t speak to that.

It sure looks like an RV–that is to say, sleek and trim. This one’s a tricycle-gear configuration, but it has the canopy and “fighter-like sportiness” of its more powerful brothers and sisters in the Van’s family. The wings can be removed so that it can be stored easily in a hangar.

During my all-too-brief flight (Mitch was giving demos to a slew of people), I enjoyed the view out of the canopy. And while I’m probably never going to build my own airplane (purely for safety reasons; I like to say I’ll never fly anything I built myself), sporty little designs like these–Van’s says it takes about 800 to 900 hours of building time, and the kit comes with everything but “fluids and paint”–make me daydream about the possibilities.