LSAs vs. Cessna 150s


There’s been a lot of debate in the aviation community over the value and challenges of LSA as flight trainers compared to old standards like Cessna 150s. I’d like to weigh in on some the questions being raised.

Are LSA harder to fly — specifically, are they harder to land? The best way to respond is to say that they are different. [Read more…]

Welcome to Sling


Have you been thinking that it’s been some time since a new Special LSA was announced? While the torrid pace of yesteryear has abated, it ain’t over by a long shot. I know of at least a dozen aircraft still in progress to achieve SLSA status. Now, welcome to Sling, SLSA #125.

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Aerotrek success mirrors other positive news


Aerotrek may be one of those “sleepers.” You know, the kind of company that does well, has few problems, and doesn’t need to make a lot of noise to be successful. Aerotrek’s tri-gear and taildragger models look great, fly well, and are priced so reasonably that sales are remarkably steady. The company ranks #12 in fleet size and came in fifth for 2011 registrations.

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FAA forecast for LSAs improbable

The FAA recently issued its 20-year forecast for aviation, showing growth prospects for business jets and LSAs. It also forecasts a decline in the total number of piston-powered aircraft. Viewed from a distance, this might seem beneficial to LSA producers and sellers. Reasonably, FAA’s report appears to suggest recreational pilots will enjoy more hours aloft in a growing fleet of LSA.

Against a backdrop of what seems to be continuously increasing prices for avgas — some believe 100LL might even disappear — the fuel efficiency of LSAs becomes more important. For example, Rotax just launched its 912 iS fuel-injected engine boasting a 21% reduction in fuel consumption, taking the popular engine from burning about five gallons per hour to a theoretical four gallons in an hour of flying. Should we LSA enthusiasts celebrate these facts?

Regretfully, I find FAA’s forecast improbable (see details below). [Read more…]

Tecnam’s design juggernaut: Do these guys sleep?

Tecnam already released news about its new Sea-Sky Hydroplane option of straight or four-wheel composite amphibious floats for the Echo Classic or Eaglet models. For the Echo, also known as the P92 (referencing 1992), this represents the sixth generation of that model. The in-house-designed Sea-Sky Hydroplanes (pictured) should be present for Sun ’n Fun, according to importer Tecnam North America.

As late-night TV ads shout, “But there’s more…!” Tecnam also introduced its brand-new taildragger version of the venerable Echo, done in what Phil Solomon calls a “retro style,” with a wood panel and other touches. [Read more…]

Like LSA seaplanes?


Life is good if you like LSA seaplanes. Here’s a quick look at five that are either on the market or in development.

Today SeaRey reigns as far and away the most successful and proven design, with nearly 600 flying. [Read more…]

Questions erupt over EAA/AOPA medical plan

“I’m of mixed feelings over this,” express many LSA industry participants who have caused my phone to ring regularly since late September. That’s when EAA and AOPA came together to address requests from some members for a driver’s license “medical,” which would allow aviators with certificates beyond Sport Pilot to fly GA aircraft with clearly defined limitations without the need for an FAA medical.

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Looking ahead to a better year

Happy New Year! Everyone in aviation from hang gliders to jets is hoping for a year of improvement in 2012. Certainly it’s been a tough four years since 2008’s tumble.

Many see hope and promise in the arrival of a new year and that mood is powerfully amplified by the Sebring LSA Expo in January. Starting its eighth run with new management, the Florida event, slated for Jan. 19-22, is a welcome respite. More than 10,000 attendees will flock to the Sunshine State to catch the action in the newest, most dynamic slice of the aviation pie.

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