SLSA #127: SAB Vulcan

SAB’s Vulcan isn’t entirely new. The design has existed in Europe and arrived in the USA more than two years ago, but stealthily avoided our radar as a Special Light-Sport Aircraft until the 2012 Midwest LSA Expo at the Mt. Vernon, Illinois airport. The secret is out now and Vulcan C-100 has been added to our SLSA List and comes at #127.

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Cessna tops LSA market list

Anticipation is always high for the latest market share information and I am happy to provide an update, thanks to my European associate Jan Fridrich who does the hard work of sifting through FAA’s database. I remind you that his efforts are not merely tallying whatever FAA publishes. In fairness, Jan has to evaluate many pieces of information and judge accuracy of the entries.

This isn’t because FAA’s registrars are bumbling fools who cannot enter data accurately. The challenges come from the sheer number of brands (90) and models (127) over a mere seven years…unprecedented in aviation history. To that add the variations of Experimental Amateur Built (EAB), Special Light-Sport Aircraft (SLSA), Experimental Light-Sport Aircraft kits (ELSA), and converted two-place ultralights to LSA status.

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From yawns to very cool

Does the idea of electronic circuit breakers (ECB) make you yawn and look around for something more interesting? I understand, but this is truly a cool product. ECB developer Vertical Power also offers a related and extremely compelling product. After visiting with Marc Ausman at SUN ’n FUN, again at AirVenture 2012, and then with several LSA builders, I got over the yawn reflex and realized Vertical Power is a most progressive company, one that deserves additional attention.

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LSA news wrap — Rotax-Icon-Tecnam-More

Another busy week in the Light-Sport Aircraft world. Here are just a few brief news stories from the LSA space:

ROTAX “EMERGENCY AD?” — Aviation media was all over the Rotax “Emergency AD” story, but is that entirely accurate? Aren’t LSA subject to manufacturer-issued SBs or Service Bulletins rather than Airworthiness Directives, which are normally issued by FAA for certified aircraft?

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Cirrus returning to LSA? Well, yes…for Icon

Icon Aircraft and Cirrus Aircraft recently announced a deal for the general aviation composite aircraft producer to build parts of the Icon A5 and the news introduced dates for the A5 to come to market.

Several years ago I traveled to Cirrus’ Duluth, Minnesota, plant in the company of the Icon top leaders, including CEO Kirk Hawkins. In those days, Cirrus was seeking info to make decisions about their since-dropped LSA project called the SRS. The Icon fellows were obviously impressed and the trip subsequently paid off.

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Remarkably priced, fully built & powerful CH-750

Some say Light-Sport Aircraft (LSA) are too expensive. With some topping $200,000, that rings true… in some cases. Yet more budget-friendly models are available and Oshkosh 2012 unveiled another. Now Zenith Aircraft’s kit STOL CH 750 is available as a fully-built LSA. The price? A bargain $74,900, an intro price, admittedly, but regularly it’ll still be only $84,900. By any measure, that’s a good deal. Take the intro price back to when LSA was announced in summer of 2004 and the figure would be barely over $60,000, just as most expected then.

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The cost of certification

Since AirVenture 2012, I’ve been part of several discussions about the way — and reasons why — aircraft become certified. Sound boring? Yes and no.

One way this might get your interest is to consider if Icon Aircraft, which is developing the A5, could join Cessna in going Primary Category instead of Light-Sport Aircraft (LSA). (Disclaimer: I have no information about any such decision from Icon — this is merely a discussion.) Perhaps even more to the point is the price of airplanes based on their certification cost.

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Electric! Gorgeous! Freedom!…4th generation ULS

Randall Fishman virtually invented the electric aircraft. That’s a rather big statement, yet I stand behind it. Randall first showed a functional electric trike at Oshkosh 2007. He’s been on a tear ever since and his ULS is his present state-of-the-art, his fourth generation of electric aircraft design.

I use three words to describe ULS deliberately. [Read more...]

What’s expected at Oshkosh from our LSA expert

I have several targets on my radar for follow-up at this year’s AirVenture, which kicks off tomorrow, July 23. Here’s a beforehand review; details will follow.

LSA seaplanes will generate plenty of interest, [Read more...]

A tale of two flight schools

Flight schools — like many private buyers — are hyperfocused on, “What does an aircraft cost to operate?” Busy flight schools operating at high volume simply must track how all the pennies add up. In this post we asked US Aviation’s Scott Severen for additional info. Why US Aviation? While much of aviation has been down in the dumps, this Texas operation has been growing rapidly. Everybody is else down. They’re up. How to explain? Could it be the company’s willingness to embrace change?

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