SEBRING, Fla. — The 9th annual U.S. Sport Aviation Expo will kick off on Jan. 17-20 at the Sebring Regional Airport with several changes, including twilight air shows by Team RV on Friday and Saturday evenings.
Anticipation is always high for the latest market share information and I am happy to provide an update, thanks to my European associate Jan Fridrich who does the hard work of sifting through FAA’s database. I remind you that his efforts are not merely tallying whatever FAA publishes. In fairness, Jan has to evaluate many pieces of information and judge accuracy of the entries.
This isn’t because FAA’s registrars are bumbling fools who cannot enter data accurately. The challenges come from the sheer number of brands (90) and models (127) over a mere seven years…unprecedented in aviation history. To that add the variations of Experimental Amateur Built (EAB), Special Light-Sport Aircraft (SLSA), Experimental Light-Sport Aircraft kits (ELSA), and converted two-place ultralights to LSA status.
LSA America, which produces the Allegro Light-Sport Aircraft, has broken ground on a new 16,000-square-foot manufacturing facility at Halifax-Northampton Regional Airport (IXA) in North Carolina. According to a report at RRSpin.com, the company expects to make the move from its current location in Littleton in May.
Does the idea of electronic circuit breakers (ECB) make you yawn and look around for something more interesting? I understand, but this is truly a cool product. ECB developer Vertical Power also offers a related and extremely compelling product. After visiting with Marc Ausman at SUN ’n FUN, again at AirVenture 2012, and then with several LSA builders, I got over the yawn reflex and realized Vertical Power is a most progressive company, one that deserves additional attention.
Another busy week in the Light-Sport Aircraft world. Here are just a few brief news stories from the LSA space:
ROTAX “EMERGENCY AD?” — Aviation media was all over the Rotax “Emergency AD” story, but is that entirely accurate? Aren’t LSA subject to manufacturer-issued SBs or Service Bulletins rather than Airworthiness Directives, which are normally issued by FAA for certified aircraft?
Some say Light-Sport Aircraft (LSA) are too expensive. With some topping $200,000, that rings true… in some cases. Yet more budget-friendly models are available and Oshkosh 2012 unveiled another. Now Zenith Aircraft’s kit STOL CH 750 is available as a fully-built LSA. The price? A bargain $74,900, an intro price, admittedly, but regularly it’ll still be only $84,900. By any measure, that’s a good deal. Take the intro price back to when LSA was announced in summer of 2004 and the figure would be barely over $60,000, just as most expected then.
The Light Aircraft Manufacturers Association is asking all pilots of Light-Sport Aircraft (LSA) to participate in the 34th annual General Aviation (GA) and Part 135 Activity Survey, which is used to assess aviation safety. Because of the newness of LSA, it is essential to improve the statistics, LAMA officials said, noting more participation will “reinforce the acceptable safety record of the sector.”
Randall Fishman virtually invented the electric aircraft. That’s a rather big statement, yet I stand behind it. Randall first showed a functional electric trike at Oshkosh 2007. He’s been on a tear ever since and his ULS is his present state-of-the-art, his fourth generation of electric aircraft design.
I use three words to describe ULS deliberately. [Read more...]