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.
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.
The group of folks, mostly volunteers, who have written the ASTM standards used to “certify” Light-Sport Aircraft celebrated their 10th anniversary in Atlanta at the end of October.
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.
After a lengthy delay while various government agencies squabbled about exact plans (gee… sound familiar?), earth is being moved on the grounds of the SUN ’n FUN campus on Lakeland-Linder Regional Airport in Florida, to create an all-new Paradise City.
When talking of success stories in the Light-Sport Aircraft (LSA) world, consider Pipistrel.
“This really important news kind of snuck up on me as a surprise,” observed U.S. representative, Michael Coates, “but I have just noticed that our multi-year cooperation with Pipistrel has resulted in selling our 100th aircraft recently!”
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…]
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…]
Even aircraft giants can have problems. Cessna recently issued work orders for more than 200 Skycatchers in an effort that has to cost the big Wichita company well over $300,000*.