In just two weeks, the U.S. Sport Aviation Expo will open its gates Jan. 20 for its 12th annual run.
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…]
Aviation news outlets and social media are buzzing with the news that Quicksilver Aeronautics is closing its factory. For example, one online news source is calling the event a “dissolution.”
This is not incorrect as it comes directly from a document previously issued by Quicksilver’s lawyers (see more below). However, letters from lawyers often portray things in very black and white terms and the situation is somewhat more nuanced than that.
For several years, I have known the principals of the company — Will Escutia and Daniel Perez — and spoke with both of them Oct. 20, when the news became public. What follows is directly from the horse’s mouth, as they say. [Read more…]
“Light-Sport Aircraft are too expensive. I thought they were going to be affordable.”
Statements like these are too common, but not particularly accurate.
Some superbly appointed Light-Sport Aircraft (LSA) are rather expensive at $150,000 to $200,000. However, many carbon fiber LSA are half the price of a new Skyhawk 172, although they can fly faster using 50% less fuel while providing 10 inches more width inside. Does that make them pricey or simply more than some want to spend?
Fortunately, affordable choices are available. Let’s look at four relatively affordable alternatives. [Read more…]
Can electric aircraft truly become part of the national or worldwide fleet? You might discount the possibility, but then consider Airbus. [Read more…]