AirVenture 2005 marked the first where the Sport Pilot/Light Sport Aircraft rule was a done deal. What better way to celebrate than to give pilots and wannabe pilots a central location to view all the different models that fall into the LSA category? That place was the LSA Mall, located in a grassy area just south of AeroShell Square.
One of LSA’s selling points is that lower training costs and the comparatively low cost of eligible aircraft make it easier for more people to become pilots. The new mall removed the geographic obstacle as it created a central location to showcase the different LSAs that are now certificated or soon to be certificated as ready to fly models. LSA designs on display ran the gamut from fixed-wing to weight-shift control, powered parachutes and even some gyroplanes.
Without the mall, LSA shoppers would have had to run all over the grounds to see the different options.
Several manufacturers and distributors of LSAs had aircraft both at their main exhibits elsewhere on the grounds and at the mall. The location also made it easy to conduct demonstration flights early in the mornings during the week-long fly-in.
The mall contained approximately 35 LSA-qualified aircraft, including European imports, new designs, refinements of older designs such as the Legend Cub, and vintage aircraft that fall into the LSA category, such as the Aeronca Champ. Of particular interest to many who browsed the mall were the Special-LSAs, which can be used for flight instruction. Since the Sport Pilot ticket and LSAs are touted as making entry-level aviation more affordable, many pilots acted as forward scouts for flight schools that are considering adding an S-LSA to their fleets.