ASTM’s F37 committee is composed of people with technical knowledge who achieved a challenging task: Start with a blank sheet of paper and create aircraft standards for the Light-Sport Aircraft (LSA) sector.
That this group did so in just a few years on the leanest of budgets is a credit to their dedication. [Read more…]
Officials at Bearhawk Aircraft report the first flights of two Bearhawk Light-Sport Aircraft built by customers from Quick-Build kits.
Owner/builders Bruce McElhoe of California and Bob Way of Alabama completed, certified and flew their Bearhawk LSAs, the first two completions, in November 2016. [Read more…]
HOMEDALE, Idaho – Kitfox Aircraft hung a 180-horsepower Titan X340 engine on an airframe and took it flying the first week of January.
“Flight testing is partially complete, but so far we are seeing massive climb performance,” reported Kitfox on its Facebook page. “We are seeing numbers at 2500 fpm cruise climb and are hoping for as much as 3500 fpm Vx. Should also be able to keep great climb without giving anything up in cruise. But have not tested top cruise speeds yet.” [Read more…]
Now that 2015 has entered the history books, we will slowly begin to see statistics for the year. My guess is that most aviation media will completely miss one of the big picture perspectives.
This oversight does not represent a knowledge failure, but instead reflects a U.S-centric focus on general aviation.
In the world of conventionally-certified aircraft, such a viewpoint is correct. An estimated 80% of the world’s such aircraft are produced and used in America.
However, beyond our shores lies an international gold mine for small aircraft producers. [Read more…]
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…]
It is no surprise to anyone that aviation has become expensive. Some four-seat, single-engine airplanes retail for nearly $1 million! Those airplanes are fast, comfortable, and superbly equipped, but at those prices few pilots have a large enough budget to allow for purchase of a new aircraft.
The great news is that not all airplanes are so costly. While you may not cruise at 200 mph, an entire field of airplanes is available from $15,000 to $200,000. Yes, $15,000 for a ready-to-fly three-axis aircraft, with hundreds operating successfully. In the $65,000 to $150,000 Light-Sport Aircraft (LSA) space, many handsome choices are available.
Is an LSA still too pricey for you? Or, are you wary about an airplane that costs only $15,000? Well, how about something entirely new? [Read more…]
LOS ANGELES — FAA officials have completed a compliance audit at ICON Aircraft’s Tehachapi, California, facility, which led agency officials to issue the first Special-Light-Sport Aircraft (LSA) airworthiness certificate for ICON’s A5.
With this milestone complete, ICON will now begin customer deliveries for the A5, which has a backlog of more than 1,250 orders, according to company officials. [Read more…]