One of the greatest obstacles in getting the word to the non-flying masses about LSA is using language that the aviation-challenged understand. For example, the term “weight shift controlled” probably means nothing to these people, and the term trike evokes a different mode of transportation altogether.
“The term ‘trike’ makes people think of motorcycles,” said John Kemmeries of Air Creation U.S.A., an Arizona-based company that specializes in sales and training for weight-shift controlled aircraft, also known as trikes or kitewings. “If you type the word ‘trike’ into a search engine, you will get a bunch of references to motorcycles. A better term is kitewing, because the aircraft do resemble a large kite.”
Most of Air Creation’s clients are already licensed pilots, according to Kemmeries, who noted that most of the people who visited his booth at Sun ‘n Fun were already customers.
“Our sales have been static, but that will change in time,” he predicted, noting the comparatively low cost of LSAs may bring more pilots into the fold. “Our one seat kit racer model runs about $13,000. If you purchase it ready to fly, it’s about $15,000. The two-seat versions start at $19,999 and go all the way up to $54,000.”
As for recruiting new pilots to the fold, he says it’s a matter of time.
“Anyone, who has an open mind enough to try it can learn to fly it,” he said.
A GLOBAL EFFORT
Kemmeries notes that it takes a global village to build a kitewing.
“The fabric comes from Germany, the thread from Japan, the engine from Austria, the tires from an Asian country and the airframe from the south of France. We import the parts and assemble the aircraft so we are the manufacturers of record. You could say it’s a little bit international.”