Various events are bubbling to the surface as we approach the 10th anniversary of the Sport Pilot/Light-Sport Aircraft (SP/LSA) rule this summer. One of these activities occurred at SUN ’n FUN: The USUA/LAMA Safety & Industry Light-Sport Conference.
Many have now heard that the Light-Sport Aircraft industry achieved an impressive benchmark in its first decade. As the newest aviation segment approaches its 10th birthday in the summer of 2014, airplane designers have created and gained FAA acceptance for 134 models, a pace of more than one new design every month for 10 years running. No one has claimed a more active period in worldwide aviation since 1903 witnessed the Wrights making their first flights.
Yet even within this ocean-swell of engineering, flight testing, manufacturing and marketing, the industry is gearing up for a secondary wave.
Even as we come to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the Sport Pilot/Light-Sport Aircraft rule in 2014, many general aviation pilots have only recently become fully aware of this large and growing fleet of more than 134 designs.
Let me repeat: That is 134 new aircraft models in less than 10 years, a pace of more than one new aircraft model every single month for 10 straight years. I doubt anyone can show an example of more breathtaking development in all of aviation history, worldwide.
People are arriving in Florida for the kick-off of the U.S. Sport Aviation Expo in Sebring, Florida, Jan. 16. As we enter the last-minute rush to head to the 10th Sebring LSA Expo, as it is known, a few news items arrived and I’ll run through them so you have some idea of what will be present at the LSA event.
A number of people have asked about an updated sales report for 2013. While remembering that we report registrations, not sales, last year was a different sort.
Registrations were down from 2012, with the exception that CubCrafters remains the registration (and presumably sales) leader. American Legend and its Cubs also showed more activity than previous years. Beyond the yellow taildragger squadron, it’s something of a mixed bag.
True for most of aviation, the Light-Sport Aircraft sector may not recall 2013 as a banner year.
However, it was a year of movement in the right direction with a few enterprises doing well. [Read more…]
At the NBAA show this fall, multimillion dollar business jets and working aircraft were the focus. No surprise. After all, the organization is the National Business Aviation Association. While I’ve attended a few times (and am always stunned by the size of the exhibit hall and the opulence of the displays), I was caught off guard when I heard that some reporters asked Cessna’s President and CEO Scott Ernest about the Skycatcher.
One thing that did not surprise me was Ernest’s comment: “No future.”
“It’s always been done this way” begins a familiar statement for someone defending a long-standing practice. The reference here is to the nearly 10-year-old category of Light-Sport Aircraft and how these airplanes are permitted to fly across the USA. It is no longer being done the old way and the results are good.