Most free people know that with freedom comes responsibility. In aviation, this has played out dramatically with the emergence of the Sport Pilot/ Light-Sport Aircraft rule issued in July 2004.
“The industry has demonstrated several strengths as it formed out of a clear blue sky,” stated Dan Johnson, president of the Light Aircraft Manufacturers Association (LAMA) and General Aviation News’ SPLOG blogger. “The sheer number of new models — 115 in just six years — is proof of the flowering of innovation that comes with increased freedom and reduced regulation. The industry’s safety record earns kudos in remarks given publicly by FAA Administrator (Randy) Babbitt. Steps to improve transition training for pilots has produced positive results. Distribution of aircraft and the growth of organizations to service those LSA have been developing well, despite a very challenging global economy. ”
In concert with these accomplishments, the LSA industry must continue to step up and take responsibility for functions long delivered by government. “LAMA is doing that,” maintained Johnson.
Recent LAMA accomplishments include:
Established LAMAsafety.org – In response to FAA and industry needs, LAMA stepped up to create a website that assists owners and mechanics find Safety Bulletins and other information to assure continued safety monitoring of the LSA fleet. The website – live now but still in development – will also archive all available information to help owners continue flying an aircraft whose manufacturer may have left the business. The effort has generated a strong letter of support from the FAA, Johnson said.
LAMA Joins With Embry Riddle to Provide Audit Services – To provide the highest level of safety monitoring to benefit consumers, LAMA has joined forces with Embry Riddle Aeronautical University. In January 2011, LAMA signed a Memorandum of Understanding with ERAU’s Eagle Flight Research Center which will result in Embry Riddle personnel providing the former LAMA audit to LSA companies on a voluntary fee basis.
LAMA Europe Coordinates Efforts in the EU – In 2010, LAMA (USA) organized LAMA Europe to assist producers in the European Union in its work with EASA (roughly the equivalent of FAA for the EU). More than 30 manufacturers signed an agreement to form the group. They met again at Germany’s Aero show last week. LAMA Europe is directed by Jan Fridrich in the Czech Republic. “Jan has been a tireless worker for the LSA industry in Europe,” stated Johnson.
Collaboration with Other Organizations – LAMA recently agreed with GAMA to hold regular meetings with industry players in both LSA and GA sectors. Such collaboration between organizations (with AOPA and EAA as well) will strengthen the Light-Sport sector as it expands and will assure progress to the refinement and growth of aviation at large.
LSA Malls Broaden Sector’s Visibility – Another major success has been the creation of LSA Mall displays at major airshows like Sun ‘n Fun, AirVenture, and AOPA Summit. A collection of top-selling brands has been greatly appreciated by attendees to these events as it makes comparison easier plus helps interested pilots locate the main displays for companies they wish to examine further. “LAMA is especially grateful to Aviators Hot Line/Light Aviation Edition for their support in making possible the LSA Mall,” said Johnson. “We literally could not provide these LSA Mall displays without their backing.”
“We are pleased to note that all the preceding actions have occurred in just the last two and a half years during a challenging time to start new activities,” noted Johnson. “We are grateful for the support of many organizations; we have too many to list here but deeply appreciate the help from established entities such as AOPA, EAA, and GAMA, among others.
LAMA, the Light Aircraft Manufacturers Association, is the light aviation industry’s trade association. Founded in 1984, it represents approximately 100 members of the LSA business community including airframe manufacturers; producers of engines, avionics, and components; suppliers, distributors; flight schools; and other aviation businesses. LAMA operates LAMAsafety.org to disseminate safety advisory information for the industry and LAMA provides the LAMA/Embry Riddle Compliance Audit to producers wishing to demonstrate third party oversight. The organization recently earned the support of FAA for its safety website and from the insurance industry for its audit program.
A list of LAMA members can be found at LAMA.bz