The appeal of vintage LSAs

“Does it qualify as a Light Sport Aircraft?”

That’s one of the first questions people ask when they see a single-engine aircraft of a certain vintage parked at an airport. Many aviators dream of flying a vintage Piper or Ercoupe or Taylorcraft, and if they can do it as a Sport Pilot with a driver’s license in lieu of a medical certificate, even better. Most owners of the LSA compliant vintage machines will proudly note that on the information card hanging off the propeller of their aircraft, especially if it is for sale.

What drives a pilot to select a vintage Light Sport Aircraft over a more modern design? As with all aircraft choices, it comes down to pilot preference. Some sport pilots want the latest in glass panel technology. Others want the basic needle, ball, airspeed experience.

Piper Cub

Piper Cub

Very often the pilot shopping for a vintage LSA is moving out of a multi-seat technologically sophisticated aircraft in favor of a basic design similar to the way Mom and Dad opt to sell the four-bedroom house and move into a two-bedroom condo when the kids have all left the nest.

Cost is also a huge player in the pilot’s decision to purchase. Very often vintage LSAs are less expensive to both obtain and maintain than the more modern designs.

The rule:

The Light Sport Aircraft rule allows certain Standard Category Aircraft to qualify, provided that they comply with the certified weight limit of 1,320 pounds for land airplanes and 1,430 pounds for seaplanes. The challenge is finding a vintage aircraft that complies with the rule because, over the years, modifications to the airplane through field approvals and Supplemental Type Certificates may have edged the airplane over the weight limit.

Before putting down your money on a vintage machine you intended to fly as a sport pilot, it’s a good idea to go through the aircraft’s logbooks to make sure it can meet both the spirit and the letter of the Light Sport Aircraft rule. Just because it met the weight restriction in 1947 doesn’t mean it qualifies as LSA today. A Light Sport Aircraft is limited to no more than two seats. Fortunately, there are a plethora of vintage machines that fall into this category, including multiple Piper, Aeronca (Pictured at top of page), Taylorcraft, and Luscombe models.

Ercoupe

Ercoupe

For the pilot who prefers a tricycle gear to the taildragger, the Ercoupe 415-C and 415-CD make the cut.

Because these aircraft were mass produced at one time and often have thriving Type Clubs, getting replacement parts is relatively simple.

One of the most noticeable legacy machines that does not appear on the vintage LSA roster is Cessna. That’s because the Cessna 120, 140 and 150 series are too heavy to be classified as LSAs.

To learn more about LSAs, check out LSA expert Dan Johnson’s blog at ByDanJohnson.com.

The Experimental Aircraft Association also has a plethora of information about LSAs at SportPilot.org.

Comments

  1. “THEY” granted the ICON A-5 a major weight “exemption” as well as the Terrafugia Transition……isn’t there something called “equal protection under the Law?” Why is Okie-dokie for some “exceptions” but the rest of us that can’t afford or just prefer not to spend as much can’t fly an Ercoupe or Cessna 150…..one of the most popular & SAFEST planes ever made?

  2. Richard says:

    If you are willing to take a chance that the FAA will approve the AOPA/EAA waiver for recreational pilots, you need to buy up a bunch of 120/140′s, 150/152′s. 172′s, Cherokees, Citabrias, ect. and others. The price of these and a few others will probably incredase tremendously. As an example, look at what happened to the 415C Ercoupe when the no physical rule became into being. All of a sudden, the 415C and CD models, which were valued at a good bit less than the 415D model, jumped to a price a good bit over the D model. No guts, no glory. :) Seriously, if I owned one of the types that fall into the proposed waiver and was thinking of selling it, I would surely hang on to it until the “Fuzz” decides in their wisdom what to do. I asked the manager at our FSDO what he thought might happen with it and he thinks it will probably get approved with some exceptions. He said you know the FAA is not just going to approve something exactly as requested.

    • Fritz Katz says:

      Shhhhh !!!

      PS Same story with the Luscombe E/series where owners are now asking more but getting less than equivalent time/condition A,B,C,D models. Ideal right now under SP would be plentiful Luscombe “A” converted to electric O-200/235 but WITHOUT changing the gross weight limit. Ideal later (now that Lying Gasbag Fuller is easing out of AOPA so his SP-manuacturer-inspired delay requests to FAA petition action will stop) will be any non-retract four seater with the “good” 180HP Lycs … or for less $ and speed but better gph, the indestructible,non-fabric, and generally corrosion/rust-free (vs, say, Colts andCitabs) 150/152. $15 today, $30+ if it is approved…which I expect will be announced at OSH so start shopping. (or would have been announced there if ex-RNC Fuller’s fatcat repub ideologue buddies hadn’t forced the sequestration on us via refusal to increase taxes on uberrich)

  3. Les Featherston says:

    A prominent member of the original Light Sport Advisory Committee was none other than Gary Lockwood (proprietor of the licensed Rotax importer). Does one wonder why we have the 600 kilogram (1320 lbs) weight limit? Last time I remember this country was not metrified…………………
    That pretty much tells me the whole SORRY story.
    Thank you Gary………………hope you like paying your “fair share” of the new taxes. YOU ARE A TRAITOR TO LIGHT AVIATION………….NOT IT’S SAVIOR!

    • Fritz Katz says:

      Featherston, keep this ungrateful, libelous crap up and they’re gonna rescind 4312 and even your pal Goodman won’t be able to stop them.
      >>>Just because you can’t legally qualify for a medical anymore (dementia or something else? hope you recover soon) and you have a 260mph Harmon Rocket in the hangar and it grosses out well OVER 1320 and maybe you are also an insurrectionist teabagger/birther who thinks going metric is the first step to One World Order does NOT give you the right to diss Gary Lockwood.
      >>>All I know about him is what I’ve heard and read = he has about the best rotax two stroke/912 overhaul shop around and for YEARS has been giving FREE engine maintenance and operation seminars to hundreds and hundreds of pilots at OSH, SunNFun, and Sport Expo (which I guess is held at his home base Sebring – are you conspiracy-hating on him for that, too?) ….pissing off EAA which wanted to CHARGE for those and take a cut.
      >>>He got into Rotax not as part of the WHOLE SORRY STORY you hallucinated but because he was building his Drifter (quality? some have over 10,000 hours) and planning his breakthrough Air Cam and needed reliable, light power for them. There was NO Jab 3300 or HKS or ULPower back then though I agree all three are now better than rotax. IO233 and O-200A may also work but heavy.
      >>> And sure… I personally wish SP had been 1700 so we could buy and fly 152s and Traumahawks but they had to draw the line somewhere and, after all, those can be full IFR all weather (except ice) aircraft and do we really want the halt and the lame and the 20 hour wonders pushing those limits?
      >>>So LAY OFF Lockwood. He is one of the good guys. Act your age, put that Harmon on Barnstormers, and use those sale $$ and one percent of your United Captain’s pension to buy an RTF RV-12 and save gas or a Carbon Cub if you could care less about that or just hope AOPA won’t make FAA delay again and we’ll have no-meical day VFR ≤180HP private soon.
      >>> PS
      1)Be the honorable airman you once were and publish a retraction/apology for that unwarranted, borderline psycho outburst.
      2) You do know that AOPA and Fuller were LYING when they said either your Harmon or Skyhawk or an RV-12 would have to pay a $100 tax per flight, right? Bizjets only. Get mad at them, not Lockwood.

  4. There is still way too much misinformation and folklore surrounding LSA. Here are a few items of confusion, taken from reading Meg’s piece and many posts and replies:
    1) No, there is no hp limit. Cessna started that rumor at Oshkosh when it introduced the Skycatcher on a postcard. (The same year they introduced the NGP during the Skycatcher unveiling, remember?)
    2) There are LSA and there are Sport Pilot certificates. These each have rules. Each has limitations, and all limitations must be respected, whether you’re a Private (or above) Pilot flying an LSA or a Sport Pilot flying a Part 23 LSA-compliant machine. Or a Sport Pilot flying an LSA. Or a Sport Pilot flying an IFR-equipped LSA. Or… you get it.
    3) LSA maintenance is in some ways more-exclusive than Part 23. Further, you can’t just buy an old N-numbered 2-seat ultralight and do the work on it yourself. If you’re not the builder, you’re not the mechanic. Unless you are a certificated mechanic.
    4) Taking a 160mph airplane and dogging it down so it flies max at 132 won’t make it a good-flying airplane (and it probably won’t meet the minimum speed requirements, either). Likewise, buying a legal LSA and changing the prop to break the speed limit is unauthorized by the manufacturer, and thus illegal.
    Anyway, do your homework. Use official sources, not manufacturers’ “understandings” or your friends’ hype. Common knowledge and traditional interpretations are also unreliable.

    • Oh — and the medical thing: if you have a medical condition that should ground you (and you know what those are — that’s why you’re not taking the exam), then you must restrict yourself. That holds, even if you have a 1st Class medical; and it certainly is the same, if you’re flying under SP rules.

  5. John Drago says:

    The 1320 weight limit the FAA came up with is to comply with regulations on simular rules on european allowances. There are always individual situations that do not fit in “the box” for example a 1380 LB Bird. Please don’t put me in the position of defending the government but, was 1321 lbs the better weight or maybe 1319 lbs. They are at least trying. You can, after all, when building a light sport, certify it at 1320 lbs. You can flatten the prop to reduce speed as well as limt the engine RPM to keep the 120 knot speed. I can not figure why the guy with Type II diabetes who was denied a medical vs the guy with the same condition who never failed (or took) the medical allow one to self certify and the other stay on the ground. We have to know the rules and play the game or can we just don’t ask, dont tell and just fly close to home, stay away from towered airports, expensive buildings etc.

  6. Fritz Katz says:

    Good article with coupla caveats.
    1. I would not believe ANYTHING Dan Johnson says. He was a notorious shill for CZAW when they were lying about performance, model availability, and delivery dates… till going out of business after he wrecked their Parrot (misrigged engine controls) and the Mermaid could not fly with Rotax. An improved (except engine) Sport Cruiser by successor company (Piper quickly gave up trying to deal with Czechs) is still available. IMHO he was “rewarded” with job as President/Chief Apologist for the LSA manufacturer lobby organization. Caveat emptor.
    2. According to my “The Sport Pilot Encyclopedia” (Aircraft Spruce… includes test, explanations, simplified FARs/AIM, PTS, accident reports, etc all for $9.99) there is NO horsepower limit for LSA or vintage so long as certified with Vh ≤120K/138mph and remains that way plus meets other weight etc limits.
    3. Don’t recall if SPE mentions/emphasizes this but article kinda does. Some “recent vintage” experimentals like the Arion Lightning are being advertised on the used aircraft market by greedy, unethical owners as “Sport Pilot Eligible” simply because Arion now builds an actual SLSA version. That is very nice and mostly US with the elegant Aussie Jabiru 3300 120HP instead of maintenance-intensive, expensive parts, complex 85HP weak Rotax 912. But these older Lightnings (formerly Esqual) were originally licensed full experimental with Vh of 160 and above so even if you remove wheel pants, fairings, and change to fine pitch prop to slow cruise below 120 Vh it is STILL NOT ELIGIBLE for SportPilots because it ONCE was faster (or heavier for some other vintage mods).
    4. Get thorough prebuy inspection of vintage aircraft. Maybe offer to split $ for a no-buy-obligation annual with independent HONEST A&P (99% are). VERY simpatico with Ed Dolejsi as I too bought a Colt and found rusted downtubes etc but also loved it once repaired… but horrendous sink power off! Sold it to go SP with a delightful Luscombe 8A – again some later models of those (?E&F?) do NOT qualify via weight.
    5. To “russroe” and other whiners, YES, the rule makes sense and improves what came before incrementally, but the no medical private will be best (pilot&1pax in ≤4seater, day VFR, ≤180HP, etc). SP/LSA rules considered accident inertia when limiting Vh and weight…and also tried to match existing euro standards. We’re just too fat… euros have even LIGHTER useful load aircraft category many current SLSA were stretched UP from! So stop knocking and thank FAA. Without them the unregulated carnage (as with fat-UL anarchist cowboys) would see Congress stop all but airline and military flying. Have fun with what we got and tell corrupt AOPA to stop blocking the no med private rule they once claimed to be behind.

    • Bernardo Melendez says:

      If you build it under the E-AB category you are the manufacturer and you can set the speed and weight parameters to LSA limits, if you so desire. As long as you fly it within those limits, you can under the LSA rules.

    • How is AOPA blocking the no-med “private” rule? (I assume you mean the 3rd-class medical exemption for Recreational Pilot privileges.) What’s that about?

      • I’m not sure what Fritz is talking about. AOPA has been pushing to just eliminate the 3rd medical for privates. I’m all for it.

        • Fritz Katz says:

          Brian/TZ:
          HERE is what AOPA “blocking”is about.
          Some months back there was a small note in AOPA’s Emailed “Aviation Brief” that AOPA had asked the FAA to extend the comment period and/or postpone ruling on the AOPA/EAA petition for expanding no-medical privileges to Private Pilots (and above) in ≤180HP, fixed gear, day VFR ≤ two aboard flying.
          There was no reason given but some assumed they “only” had 3,000 favorable comments submitted, short of their self-imposed “critical mass” goal of 5,000. I feel 3,000… plus logic (from Sport Pilot OK “no med” track record)… plus all of us getting older (now or never for some) dictated action ASAP and FAA was ready to approve just on an “economic benefit/increased spending” national economic rationale…an impetus now lost as the national financial recovery continues.
          Could also have been AOPA (unlike petition partner EAA) was having “second thoughts” about the whole idea following pressure from SLSA manufacturers who saw its writing on the wall precisely in the “vintage aircraft to be eligible” impacts on their profits/future.
          We may never know.
          No record of this delay request exists on their site or in the blogosphere to my knowledge… which is unsurprising as the AOPA propaganda machine has a corrupt revisionist history pattern of erasing their mistakes. Examples: Phil Boyer’s selfish, treasonous, bizarre comments on 9/12 demanding airspace be immediately reopened to unrestricted rec GA flying that very afternoon…and AOPA’s recent marketing department and chubby Prez blatant lies that the proposed Obama budget would cost every Piper Cub hamburger flight $100 knowing full well it was turbine IFR only.
          Unlike fishing (“it was THIS big”), aviation safety and our best flying traditions are founded on honesty. IMHO, whatever their other good works, AOPA and Dan Johnson remain deficient there.

  7. This truly is the way to go if you want to have fun!

  8. Haven’t flown since my medical expired, hoping to remain eligible for a Sport Pilot license. Don’t know if I’ll still be around to see the FAA approve using a Sports Pilot license to fly larger single engine planes, as proposed by the EAA & AOPA. Meanwhile, my T-18 sits in the hanger. One outcome of the proposal would be to make more planse available to Sports Pilots. This may raise the value of some existing planes while forcing down the price on purpose built sports planes.

    • Fritz Katz says:

      Robert:
      1. You are wise to not take medical if iffy. SPE and its author in seminars open with that advice because once failed, you’re pretty much grounded (at least no PIC) for life.
      2. I dunno why AOPA has asked for delays in consideration of the expanded no medical private. Maybe advertisers from Johnson’s organization realize that might be death knell for some struggling SLSA manufacturers (WAY too many out there now vs market) but good ones will survive and thrive.
      3. SPE updates tell me Sport Pilots will NOT be allowed to fly those faster/heavier no med aircraft (≤180HP, etc) unless they previously held (or get?) a Private or higher. We’ll see. SOON I hope, Maybe FAA will announce the OK at SunNFun or NLT Oshkosh !! I can see why they didn’t announce at Sport Pilot Expo in Sebring last month. ELSA/SLSA manufacturers would’ve lynched them.
      4. SPE also says that after voluntary but essential training in an N-numbered fat-UL or SLSA, you can still legally buy and fly solo in a single seat, qualified (superlight, low, slow, ≤5 gals gas, etc) UL under Part 103 without medical OR certificate…but I wouldn’t without BRS. Lawnchair and go kart parts….or worse. Horrific fatal accident rate 70s—90s.

  9. This whole regulation is bogus….Why is the weight limit so low any way?? And the speed limit is stupid also…To be at all usable the regs should be expanded to include the use of the 150, 172, piper 140, etc. why not use an actual useable capable uncomplicated aircraft??
    That can be bought for UNDER a hundred thousand dollars!! This is why this catagory of tickett will never go anywhere because it is NOT usable except for very expensive TOYS that have no practical use whatsoever except flying around in circles 25 miles from your house… If us old bast—s can drive a four passenger car 3 thousand miles accross the Country and back then Im quite sure we could safely fly a 172 the same trip without killing anyone…Take the back seats out abd use it for real bagage if you think we should ONLY be allowed to kill two people instead of four….. Most 172 s are safer and easier to fly then these LS taildragers with no systems etc anyway why not allow us the safest airplane ever made o0r just can the whole idea as its useless as is and as has already been proven………

    • OMG THANK YOU FOR REPEATING EVERYTHING I HAVE BEEN HARPING FOR THE LONGEST TIME. MANY LSA AIRCRAFT ARE FLAT OUT DANGEROUS!!!!!!! FIRST I AM AN ATP ME CFII RATED PILOT WITH MORE THAN 6000 HRS AND 40 YEARS OF ACTUAL FLYING EXPERIENCE . MOST LSA AIRCRAFT ARE OUTRIGHT DANGEROUS! IHAVE WITNESSED MORE MISHAPS IN THE LAST FEW YEARS THAN IN MY ENTIRE LIFE WITH THESE LSA. I FLY ONE MYSELF AND I CALL IT MY ‘DEATHSTAR’ .AT THE VERY LEAST A 150 AND 152 REALLY ARE LSA AND SHOULD BE CERTIFIED AS SUCH . FAR STABLER

      • Humbug. Most of these LSA’s aren’t that dangerous – it’s just that pilots are no longer being properly trained to fly them.

      • Ken, your caps lock is broken. Have it fixed there, mate. :) russroe is 100% spot on, though. The arbitrary limits are set too low in several areas. I’m getting my sport just as a stepping stone because it will probably take months for the faa to clear my medical.

      • Tom Schmitt says:

        Ken –you are absolutely correct HOWEVER–the reason taildragers give folks trouble is they have not had sufficient training. Once done it is a piece of cake. As a I’ve been flying since 1948 and CFI (ing) Champs, Cubs, etc seems forever (I also fly C182), I have found people have trouble with crosswind landings and sometimes just don’t pay attention. LSAs unsafe in winds that are nothing to a C182. LSA pilots must learn to discriminate between aircraft. Here’s another GENERAL RULE: (there’s always an exception): Hard surface WHEEL LANDING. Soft field (sod/grass) THREE POINT. This HELPS avoid ground loops. I say helps. You must learn all over again–with a taildrager and that is the weakness with many pilots!

  10. Jack Jones says:

    Dojn,

    You don’t have to stay out of the mode C veil while flying an LSA as long as it does not have an electrical system. No transponder is required without the electrical system and therefore no transponder is required to penetrate the vail. Of course you would not be permitted to fly in bravo airspace.

    Jack Jones

  11. Yes there are a lot of us fat boys who will be down under (and I don’t mean Australia) within the time frame it takes the FAA to change a bad general aviation rule. Five to ten years is not unusual for a rule change (although watch how fast unmanned drone rules are implemented because of non-GA lobby groups supporting them) .

    Just myself, my dog, and full fuel overload an Archer. Cessna 150, forget it! It is a challenge for us to meet creature comfort and CG requirements in a “4-seat” factory built plane without making modifications to the seat track.

    Have you seen Shaq in the car commercial? Imagine him trying to get a pilots license in an LSA! Kids today are just bigger than they were 50 years ago, and this issue is not going to go away. It is keeping 1,000′s of people out of aviation already, and there are probably millions of potential airline passengers who take Amtrak instead, strictly because of not wishing to be humiliated at the airport or forced to pay fares for two seats in order to be half way comfortable.

    We pilot types know our limitations, as the comments above mentioned, and we aren’t going to endanger anyone (although the coming drone invasion will likely endanger us). We stay low and slow, don’t regularly go anywhere where the high-stressed out “professional” types are in such a hurry.

    I am reminded about the “business” pilots who have to fly straight in approaches to small airports because they don’t have time to fly a pattern. I suspect they also text on their cell phones while on approach, just as they do while driving. Those guys, in my humble opinion, are way more dangerous than us fat old farts.

    • Seriously??? You think any pilot is crazy enuf to txt while on final. That’s a bad way to go out!

    • Dr. Max Denton says:

      I do not know what experience you have in Archers, but I have owned one for 30 years. A 1978 that has not been fattened up can carry full fuel and 800 pounds. Just how big are you and the dog?

  12. Don is right about older planes. My 1961 Colt, which I purchased for $19,000, ended up costing me more than three times the purchase amount, after we were done with the first annual. The plane was “air worthy” when I bought it. I found later that a “mechanic” operating from the trunk of his car signed it off only about three month before I bought it. Later someone told me that this person takes the owner’s word for performing the work, and signs the books for about $300.

    This is my first plane, I did not have any previous experience buying planes, and I ignored all the good advice. I just wanted a plane so badly, and the price was right, or was it? I had a very cursory pre-purchase inspection done – engine, and mostly visual. The mechanic even worn me that I should be looking into all the ADs, making sure that all is in order.

    I love the plane now, but do not like the mortgage on my home. I could write a book on this, and it could be quite funny – I mean people laughing at me, and heaving a good time at my expense. Hmmm, now there is a thought. I could sell the book, and pay for my plain repairs – any interested publishers out there?

  13. Flying a 1939 Piper J3 from coast to coast annually for the past 8 years is the most rewarding experience of my 27 years of flying. “Flying low and slow over our amazing country is the best way I know to gain a true understanding of who we Americans really are.” (Bern Heimos)
    LSA qualifying vintage aircraft are less expensive to purchase, maintain, and operate.
    The sport pilot license has kept many of us flying when the cost of special issuance medicals would have grounded us.
    How many countries can you fly coast to coast and never have to talk to air traffic control…ever?
    If you have the passion for flying, one of the most economical ways to fulfill that passion is to fly a vintage LSA. So why not research which vintage LSA’s you want to fly and see our country from low and slow?

  14. When did we give the right to the FAA to tell us what we could fly privately not for hire?

    What business is it of the govt. if our certificated light aircraft is above 1320 lbs as long as it’s legal?
    What is the limit on the weight of the vehicle we drive on the highway?
    Whatever the rules for automobiles are for private use should be the same for private aircraft.
    Arbitrary weight limits for private flying are bureaucracy and none of the government’s business…how did it become their concern?
    Compare the accident rate between the airways and the national highway system.
    Pilots should organize against this whole thing, rather than try to figure out the ridiculous twists of ‘logic’ being applied.
    Just say No
    Flying since 1951, 20,000 plus hours of commercial flying (AS&MEL&S)
    1948 Aeronca Sedan 15AC

    • Bernardo Melendez says:

      I wholeheartedly agree with your assessment! We have waaaay too much government control in our lives. good posting.

  15. The downside of many LSA-qualifying vintage aircraft is that they have no electrical systems and have to be hand-propped. And most are tail-draggers, requiring training and building new skills for tricycle gear pilots. Also, an IA has to sign-off on the annuals and an A&P has to do much of the maintenance.

    An easier, cheaper alternative may be found among the many former “fat ultralight” two-place trainers built under FAA rules in effect before LSA. They are usually registered now as ELSA aircraft. My Thunder Gull JT2 is a great example. It climbs out at 800 fpm, cruises at 90 mph, has a 14,000 foot service ceiling, touches down at 50 mph on tricycle gear and offers a panoramic view from inside its enclosed tandem cockpit. I bought it for $12,000 when it was 12 years old. After taking a 16-hour hands-on course, I became its FAA-authorized inspector. Even without the course it was legal for me to do all the maintenance. There are many inexpensive, delightful ELSA aircraft out there, most with electric starters and electrical systems. Many come with ballistic parachutes, too.

  16. Interesting article with some great points, but it should also advise that many (most?) vintage aircraft that are LSA-compliant lack basic and important features included with modern LSA, including electrical systems to start the engine or run avionics, and sometimes even lack avionics (OK if you only fly out of and into very quiet little strips and never fly in airspace other than Class E and G, and can always stay out of Mode C veils). Also, vintage aircraft have seen many years of use (or worse, non-use) and should be inspected very carefully pre-purchase. Some buyers of inexpensive vintage aircraft have ended up pumping many additional thousands of $s repairing issues that would likely have been identified with an in-depth inspection …. but sometimes not!

    • My Aeronca Champ 7ac is a certified aircraft in the standard category and has no electrical system. Mods include a bigger engine and fuel wing tanks. It is LSA compliant. With a handheld transceiver I’ve have no problem flying from KSZP to KOSH four times! Ya, I know, Class B, Restricted, and TRF airspace is out there. So what? Divert around it. Low and slow flying is the journey. Arriving at the destination seems almost secondary. Oh, and by the way, my Champ is exempt from Mode C vail transponder requirement: rememder certified aircraft with no electrical system.

    • Mark Howard says:

      If your aircraft does not have an engine driven electrical system, you may fly within the Mode C veil as long as you stay out of Class B airspace.

    • You’re overstating your case a little. I have regularly flown an Aeronca TC65 in and out of San Jose Muni w/o any difficulty. I used the phone the first time, and was told to fly to the intersection of 280/680 and contact the tower. Under the mode C veil. Many times over the course of three years, using a hand held iCom w/o xpndr

    • Aircraft that were not originally certificated with an electrical system are exempted from the mode C requirement. Such is the case here at Pierce County Airport (KPLU) where our J3C regularly and legally flies under Seattle’s class B airspace with no transponder. It has a battery powered handheld radio on board with an external antenna for communicating with control towers in the many class Ds in the area. So the lack of avionics really isn’t much of a limitation.

    • Unless you have an ENGINE driven generator (or alternator) you are not kept out of the mode C veil.
      You can have a wind driven one or none at all and you are not required to have a XPDR.

  17. The FAA won’t be satisfied until they regulate GA out of existence in the name of safety, which is perfect when no one is flying anymore.

  18. chris castlerock says:

    I am a private pilot who use to fly Piper Archers and a Dakota. Lost my medical due to Type II diabetes, which is totally insane if you know anything about the condition. Anyway, I looked at the LSA and totally gave up. After I get my 35 pound dog in there, in the ones that actually have enough room for him to fit, fill up the tanks on something that can get me a 500 nm range, pack in my 25 pounds of gear and the requisite 2 twelve packs, strap in my 200 pound butt, I am over weight. So move to Mexico and the hell with the FAA ! ! !

    • If you have ‘lost’ your medical it doesn’t matter how heavy the aircraft and/or your load is – you can not operate it as Sport Pilot.

    • Mark Howard says:

      There’s lots of LSA’s that will easily carry all this stuff. Jabiru J250, Flight Design CTLS, Cessna 162, Remos G3….. My wife and I flew from Denver to Oshkosh last year in my J250 with plenty of gas and camping gear for a week. Now if you were DENIED a medical – or had it revoked, then you are lot of luck. Otherwise – don’t move to Mexico – move to LSA!

    • warriorpilot says:

      It is clear that the intent of the FAA LSA category was to stimulate manufacturing
      of new aircraft in an otherwise flagging industry. Hence the incomprehensible exclusion of Cessna 150s and 152s – obvious contenders for the category – and the requirement of a medical certificate for simple aircraft like the Piper Warrior but none for an LSA. Remember that the greatest influence on FAA rule-making is the monied special interest groups that dominate Washington – the airlines, the airframe and avioinics manufacturers, etc. – not those of us who own and fly these aircraft.

  19. My wife had a 7FC champ that was changed back to a tailwheel 7EC. It weighed less than the currently produced American Champion LSA’s empty weight, but had a higher gross weight when certified back in 1958. It could not be used as an LSA even though at 1320 pounds it would have a better useful load than the current nearly identical offering.

    Bureaucrats have long been known for not thinking, a lot of the FAA’s rules are proof !

  20. Vernon Barr says:

    Forgive me for the self promotion. You might enjoy my book (e-book) : Legacy Light Sport Aircraft You Can Afford to Buy and Fly.

  21. To Keith Raasch there was a time when those in the military were told “don’t ask, don’t tell” and I guess you can add to that (if you have an accident) don’t call either!

  22. Ted Z. is a case in point. Go try to figure FAA regs out, go ahead I dare ya. And after you master that, tackle the tax code!

  23. The Dec. issue of aviation news said cessna 120/140′s were not in the LSA catagory. my 140 is 67 yr’s old and it should have been grandfathered in. All those years it flew with a gross weight of 1450 lbs. and now it’s 30 lbs to heavy, (compared to the LSA on floats) it’s considered an antique,where is the common sense here? It fits into the LSA group according to the petition before the FAA. I would like to fly it while i can still get in/out of it, i’m going to be 70 next birthday. And age wise time is running out for me. Are there any special waivers out there? I have my own strip, am allowed to use auto gas and my mechanic makes “house calls”so i really don’t need to go to an airport. most of my flying is playing in my many neighbors fields in summer/winter and on the frozen rivers and lakes in winter.

  24. Jamie Wynne says:

    You are correct Ted, there is no restriction on horsepower in the LSA category, never has been. That’s why Cubcrafters S-LSA Carbon Cub comes with 180hp and is growing in sales.

  25. TedZ,

    Now you’ve got me thinking about an Aeronca Champ 400. But I think hand-propping won’t be an attractive option.

  26. This article is incorrect. There is no 100 HP limit on a light sport airplane. You can have a Lycoming 400 on it as long as it meets the weight and max speed requirements. All you’d need in that case is a lot of drag. I mean a LOT.

    • Oops, sorry, there IS a 180 HP max, so I’m mistaken, too. Although wouldn’t a 400 HP, 120 KT max airplane be something to see?

      • Oops again, looks like I was right the first time. 180 HP is proposed to be the limit for the mythical ‘Recreational Pilot Waiver’ airplane if the FAA ever gets around to passing this. I can’t find any horsepower limitation in the LSA rule.

        So, back to that Lyc 400-powered LSA drawing I started a few minutes ago…

        • I did the sports aircraft license in 2004 when it first came out. The second person to take the test at Mt. Sachs college in California. 100 horsepower is the limit. I followed this before it existed and watched the $58,000 aircraft which I almost had my wife talked into head to $100,000 and then $120,000 and now $160,000. I think it is just the avionics companies SAYING people want the expensive glass panels but the bank balance once again cannot be to different from the average person. Going with a medical and private license even at 13 to 15 gph , 100 to 300 hours per year AND paying for the annuals you still come out WAY ahead. BUT—-the idea of the vintage aircraft,,,yes. Think of it, the parts are available AND there are mechanics. Also just the amount of help from fellow owners. Always told my wife I wanted a piper cub.

        • you need to keep reading the rules on LSA , until you find the HP limitation

    • No, just redline the engine at a cruse RPM to keep the max level speed within the LSA range. But you still can have full RPM for 5 minetes .

Speak Your Mind

*