Looking ahead to the Sebring LSA Expo

Sebring

The holidays approach like a lumbering airliner on final, sure and certain. With its arrival, aviation in America can take stock of the year and begin the anticipation for a new season to dawn once the days begin to lengthen. Winter in many northern states is a time of reduced recreational flying activity but (speaking as one who endured many Minnesota winters before permanently flying south) the short days and cold nights help to build excitement.

In the world of Light-Sport Aircraft and light recreational aircraft of all kinds, the focus now gathers on the Sebring U.S. Sport Aviation Expo, or more simply the Sebring LSA Expo. Last year’s event drew more than 16,000 visitors to a trade show oriented to help buyers view all the airplanes from which they can choose. [Read more...]

Russian ‘Beetle’ takes off

Beetle

News from Russian sport aircraft producers is rare. Though the old USSR had a vast military aircraft complex, that hasn’t translated to recreation aircraft the way it did in the formerly Soviet Czech Republic, where many of our LSA originate. However, that doesn’t mean efforts are absent. We’ve seen some uptake of LSA (like Pipistrel) into Russia but here I’ll portray an unusual Russian development. It may not find a U.S. market but I find it intriguing.

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Long, winding approval tale — SLSA #128

Pitman

A most remarkable thing happened recently. I refer to a recent approval of a brand new Special LSA. Why is that noteworthy, especially as it is #128 on our SLSA List? Everyone in the business of LSA and most other alert readers have followed the long, winding, still-evolving path of FAA approvals in the fall of 2012. Specifically, FAA has released an order that says any new model from an existing LSA supplier or any LSA from a new company must be blessed by FAA headquarters in Washington, D.C.

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LSA not durable enough? Nonsense! Here’s proof

McBeanKitfox

Again, I heard a common refrain. This time was at the AOPA Aviation Summit in Palm Springs, California. I was speaking with some GA fellows, the kind — like so many — that know well of Light-Sport Aircraft but have opinions about them based on speculation or heresay. This time it was the familiar, “LSA are nice little airplanes, but they are too lightly built to hold up to the duty of a traditional flight school environment.” I’ve heard this statement so many times I’ve lost count.

Right before the above conversation, I had been visiting with my editor/publisher friend Ben Sclair of General Aviation News fame and Kitfox Aircraft co-owner John McBean. Ben and I were admiring a handsome tundra tire-equipped, taildragging Kitfox that looked immaculate — as John’s airplanes usually do. Truly, it looked almost new. It was not. I told the GA “experts” in the opening conversation that they needed to go look at this particular Kitfox to see how well a LSA can endure flight training. I hope they did so.

John McBean and the Kitfox at the AOPA Summit

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Jubilee Jubilation

FlightDesignJubilee

LSA market leader Flight Design is beginning to celebrate 25 years in business. To commemorate the occasion, the German company will build a special Jubilee edition of several models in a very limited series of 25 airplanes, [Read more...]

Good to go in China

Flight Design CTLS

Things are happening in China. “So, what’s new,” you say? “We’ve been hearing about China for months.”

Things may move slowly in China but recently Airshow China was held in the southern city of Zhuhai and my colleague, Jan Fridrich was present. He reported that some LSA are displayed including Triton’s Mermaid and SC3D (based on the SportCruiser), Flight Design’s CTSW (pictured), Colyaer’s Freedom, and other aircraft. [Read more...]