The Light-Sport Aircraft (LSA) sector is aviation’s newest and most prolific with numerous outstanding aircraft available from Europe and the United States.
Europeans seemed to own the category at first because regulations on the other side of the Atlantic permitted companies to fully build very similar aircraft. When the FAA caught up by releasing the Sport Pilot/Light-Sport Aircraft regulation in 2004, a tsunami of foreign models arrived on American shores.
In more recent years, U.S. companies made the transition from supplying aircraft kits to manufacturing ready-to-fly models. The two activities are very distinct business models, so the transition took some years.
With both sets of skills now well developed, many American companies are providing have-it-your-way airplanes in either kit form or factory built. To the FAA’s credit, the regulation is surprisingly accommodative of such innovative methods.
As we move deeper into the second decade of LSA, what might be called third generation designs are emerging and a number of these are something to behold.
A third-gen design is one created specifically to fit in the new category and one of the best known examples is Icon Aircraft’s A5 LSA seaplane. I got the chance to fly the production version at this year’s AirVenture in Oshkosh. [Read more…]