‘Half the cost, twice the safety’

I recently attended an ASTM meeting. This is for the standards that are used to “certify” Light-Sport Aircraft. Yes, it’s pretty dry stuff but it is the way such a staggering development of 128 new models of LSA has been possible in just seven years, an accomplishment not replicated anywhere in aviation, worldwide, since airplanes first flew. That would not be possible when using government certification systems.

So successful has it been that the FAA is now moving with surprising swiftness toward a similar system for Part 23 or regularly Type Certified aircraft, such as Cessnas and Cirruses.

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Fly away in an RV-12

Van’s Aircraft has launched a new program to build completed, fly-away, RV-12s. Van’s has inked a working agreement with Synergy Air of Eugene, Ore., to manufacture the airplanes in the U.S.A.

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U.S. Sport Aviation Expo adds twilight airshows

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.

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Cessna tops LSA market list

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.

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LSA America breaks ground at IXA

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.

 

From yawns to very cool

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.

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LSA news wrap — Rotax-Icon-Tecnam-More

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?

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Cirrus returning to LSA? Well, yes…for Icon

Icon Aircraft and Cirrus Aircraft recently announced a deal for the general aviation composite aircraft producer to build parts of the Icon A5 and the news introduced dates for the A5 to come to market.

Several years ago I traveled to Cirrus’ Duluth, Minnesota, plant in the company of the Icon top leaders, including CEO Kirk Hawkins. In those days, Cirrus was seeking info to make decisions about their since-dropped LSA project called the SRS. The Icon fellows were obviously impressed and the trip subsequently paid off.

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Remarkably priced, fully built & powerful CH-750

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.

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Wanted: LSA pilots for FAA survey

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.”

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