No less than three Light-Sport Aircraft companies have recently struck deals with Florida airports, winning the support of local government officials anxious to provide jobs.
Renegade LSA, producer of the Falcon and a key figure in the development of an LSA-oriented Lycoming O-233 engine, moved into a 70,000-square-foot facility at the St. Lucie Airport.
Proprietor Doc Bailey said, “We’re here, we brought everything down from Missouri.”
According to WPTV Online in early March, Renegade “will hire 75 and commit $1.7 million in capital improvements in Fort Pierce.”
Ever busy, Bailey also announced plans to assemble a LSA-version of the venerable Pitts Special biplane.
Next, a company called Italico is planning big things at Kissimmee Gateway Airport where a reported 55 jobs are waiting. Here’s one of two Italian companies aiming at U.S. production.
The European company EuroALA tried production in Malaysia, but is now focused on building the Alfredo di Cesare JetFox design reborn as the Fredo X-1 in the USA.
Promoter Sonny Buoncervello attended Sebring 2013; his experience helped create interest from local government officials in Kissimmee.
Then we have Phil McCoy and his plans to recreate the Italian Storm company at the Bartow, Florida airport. His Light Sport America company plans to manufacture and sell four Storm Aircraft models: The all-composite Storm Rally (pictured), the Rally Amphibious, the all-metal Century, and the Century Conventional. Price are forecast to range from $99,000 to $117,000.
Light Sport American also plans to produce several Storm kits, including the Fury, Fury RG, and 400. Reporting the story, the Lakeland Ledger’s headline read: “Maker of Sport Aircraft Moving to Bartow Airport, Hopes to Employ 125 by 2016.”
So that’s 75 workers at Renegade, 55 at Italico, and 125 at Light Sport America for a total of 255 jobs. I hope it works out, but given such great promises while unemployment remains high, no wonder several other Florida airports are also pursuing LSA companies.
For more on Sport Pilot and LSA: ByDanJohnson.com