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The “Showcase” is On in DeLand this November
By Dan Johnson, April 27, 2016

What's in a name for an airshow? Quick, what's the official name of the big July show north of Chicago? "Oshkosh?" Yes, to most, but the association prefers EAA AirVenture Oshkosh. How about the one in Lakeland, Florida? "Oh, you mean Sun 'n Fun." The full name is Sun 'n Fun International Fly-In and Expo. Have you ever heard anyone say the whole thing? Another mouthful is Sebring U.S. Sport Aviation Expo, but it gets shortened various ways.

At Sun 'n Fun 2016 DeLand airport Manager John Eiff and recently hired Sport Aviation Administrator Jana Filip held a name-that-show contest. More than 30 entries were received. "Some were very clever and witty like DeLand, DePlanes, DeShow," said Jana. In the end, the winning word was "Showcase," offered by veteran Paradise City Commentator, Michael McClellan.

Jana Filip sits in the PIC seat of an AutoGyro gyroplane with Terry Rose. photo by Florida Aviation Network
Why Showcase? "Because that's what the event will be — a showcase for airplanes and aviation stuff," McClellan said. "In my conversations with Jana, it became clear the focus of the event will be to showcase what sport aviation has to offer... and what DeLand's Sport Aviation Village has to offer. So why not just use the word that best describes what they're going to do?" Michael will be DeLand's official commentator.

The first annual DeLand Sport Aviation Showcase will take place on November 3-5, 2016, following National Business Aircraft Association's NBAA 2016. That giant event with more exhibitors than even Oshkosh will take place just 30 miles down the road in Orlando, Florida. Filip said, "We hope that will make it easy for vendors, visitors, and the media to stop by to see what we have to offer in DeLand."

The corporate suits that populate elaborate booths at NBAA might like to have a day of fun in the sun. Or, maybe not; the busy people who can buy multimillion dollar aircraft have to run back to the corner office and review business plans. However, the folks who fly those bizjets, and fix them, and sell them might indeed taking an extra day to enjoy a walk (or demo flight) on the light side.

The big prize from following NBAA would be attracting some of the media throngs that attend the convention center show. That might help put the DeLand on the aviation map.

DeLand Airport seen from the air. Arrows identify (1) locations of U-Fly-It and Aero Adventure; (2) the SkyDive DeLand operation; and (3) the proposed site for the Sport Aviation Village, presently home to Renegade Aircraft.
"With this premier event, we'll be prepared to host 40 indoor and 40 outdoor exhibitors, as we get our infrastructure developed for a larger show in years to come," Jana said. "We're excited to build this show expressly to serve the sport aviation community. We'll make it easy for companies to offer demo rides and for customers to visit with exhibitors."

"People enjoy air shows (with aerobatic or military acts), Jana continued, "but when you're seriously shopping for an airplane, propeller, avionics, or whatever you need for your plane, you want as much face time with the companies as you can get. That's what we'll provide, along with a fun atmosphere for people to enjoy all that sport aviation offers."

Owned and operated by very supportive City of DeLand, DeLand Municipal Airport is open 24 hours a day. One reason the city likes the airport is that it carries its own weight, operating in the black and not consuming taxpayer dollars. It does this partly because some 35 businesses employ over 600 people in the parachute industry. It is also home to at least three airframe builders: U-Fly-It and the Aerolite 103, Aero Adventure, and Renegade Aircraft. It is the proposed home site for SPAR, the Sport Pylon Air Races.

The airport opened in the 1920s with the first asphalt runway built around 1936. The city donated the airport to the Navy in 1941 as part of the war effort. At the end of hostilities, in March of 1946, the Naval Station was returned to the City of DeLand.

The airport, officially named Sydney H. Taylor Field, sits on 1,600 acres in Volusia County, approximately 40 miles north of Orlando and just west of Interstate 4. Daytona Beach and the Atlantic Ocean is 16 miles to the east. Airport data for KDED is available from AirNav.

My 4 Favorite Aircraft Seen at Aero 2016
By Dan Johnson, April 23, 2016

I always love traveling to Aero Friedrichshafen because of the new aircraft I will see. We media types live for the new stuff (because it's what we believe our readers or video watchers want to consume). I made my last dash through the hall on Saturday — Aero ran from April 20-23, 2016 — and I am now in Zurich, Switzerland awaiting my flight back to the USA.

I saw many aircraft worthy of closer examination. I will prepare articles on those and more detail about the ones below, too. Later on, some of my Aero videos will hit YouTube after some editing. While the memories are fresh, though, I want to give an early peek at four aircraft that grabbed my attention ...and that of many others, judging from the challenge to get near them during opening hours. I present these in no particular order.

Zlin Savage Shock — Shock definitely created awe at Aero. On my final visit to their unique space with carpet that looked for all the world like grass (not that astroturf stuff that does a crude imitation), I saw visitors literally crawling under Shock, poring over its exterior details, and getting inside for a simulated experience. If you've seen Savage before — called Outback in America — you'll want to take a much closer look when it appears at Oshkosh this summer. This machine is a piece of work.

Importer Bill Canino of SportairUSA gave me a full tour. Actually, he had to do it twice as I experienced... um, technical difficulties with my new video camera's audio. Here are some highlights.

What's most obvious is the Just Aircraft SuperSTOL-like large shock absorbers and the big balloon tires. Shock also uses three sections of automatically-deploying leading edge slats (to SuperSTOL's two) per side. It has Fowler flaps with an integrated slat and vortex generators neatly tucked between the surfaces. The tail is larger to coordinate with a bigger wing (both deeper and of longer chord) and the tailwheel is, again like SuperSTOL, equipped with a shock absorber.

More changes inside include, most notably, a rearrangement of the welded steel cage to provide much more headroom so that pilots in the outback can comfortably wear a helmet. In all, this is a very thorough and detailed update. Add a 180 horsepower Titan engine and this baby is ready to scream.

UL-39 (at SkyLeader display) — I acted like everyone else when I first saw the UL-39. Although I'd already seen photos of it flying, thanks to my EuroColleague, Jan Fridrich, I still had to marvel. This pointy nosed, fighter-looking aircraft appears in most ways to be jet powered. It closely emulates the popular L-39 Czech military jet (200 of which are reportedly flying in America), so of course, it had to look jet-like.

UL-39 is presently powered by a BMW motorcycle engine driving a type of ducted fan though it uses impellers (13 of them!) with the engine running at a high revolution, more than 10,000 rpm at cruise, I was told. This aircraft uses retractable gear, naturally, as it tries to look like the fighter aircraft.

Yet UL-39 is in some ways more modern and I don't mean it has a glass cockpit. Indeed by the use of all carbon fiber (an L-39 is metal), this dashing aircraft can actually make Europe's ultralight class meaning gross weight is confined to 472.5 kilograms or a bit less than 1,042 pounds. Amazing ...and I clearly was not the only who thought so.

Led by professor Robert Theiner, UL-39 is a university project 17 years in the making. Composite parts were made by one of the partners with assembly of the pieces by LSA manufacturer, SkyLeader.

Bücker & Funk Clubman — He's done it again! A few years ago I got a big smile out of my longtime friend Peter Funk after seeing his latest Aero showplane ...a supersexy version of his FK-14 Polaris with a LeMans look to the cockpit. I called him the Steve Jobs of the light aviation world for his showmanship and superb craftsmanship. He rightfully beamed over the compliment but he comes back nearly every year with something equally attention getting.

This year it was a Clubman complete with a seven-cylinder radial engine that, like the airplane, looks old but is new. "Retro" was how Flight Design director Christian Wenger described it and he only referred to the aircraft. Not to leave it at that, Peter convinced all his exhibit space partners that a dress code was part of the environment he wanted to create. Indeed, the whole team was in dapper period costumes. Peter shared his space with BRS Parachute rep for Europe, Frank Miklis; he and daughter Stephie got into the game, too. The space had a vintage motorcycle, an old tabletop radio, and a collection of furniture built new to look old.

However, this was not simply a display. These aircraft Peter creates are built in small batches and sold to customers. Even this idea seems to work. By limiting the number available, they tend to sell out quickly. Marvelous. Well done, Steve' I mean Peter!

JH Aircraft Corsair — Conveying a look something like the UL-39, I almost passed this by before Bill Canino of SportairUSA told me this wonderful creation could qualify as a U.S. Part 103 (or the German 120-kilo Class) aircraft. "You have to be kidding me," I exclaimed to Bill! I was intrigued by its resemblance to the F4U Corsair military fighter with its inverted gull wing design but I thought this was some heavier kit-built airplane. Of course, that would have been interesting, too, but I don't cover the heavy segments of aviation.

Yet Jörg Hollmann's creation is indeed aimed at Germany's 120 Kilogram Class of airplanes that are remarkably close to America's Part 103 category. Part 103 has a maximum empty weigh of 254 pounds — a shade more than 115 kilograms. Alternatively 120 kilograms is 264.5 pounds but we're splitting hairs because Jörg is targeting 110-120 kilograms so he should easily be able to make Part 103.

I was still skeptical as all that large diameter welded steel structure surely weighed too much. Wrong. That isn't steel in the photo; it's all carbon fiber tubes, deftly cut and laminated together. To prove the light weight, Jörg got inside and picked up the whole bare airframe like it was nothing.

Jörg said his superlight Corsair will fly by Aero 2017 and be available for sale by Aero 2018. At a reasonably affordable $60,000, this might be the sexiest Part 103 aircraft ever.

I plan to come back with more on these aircraft and others seen at Aero Friedrichshafen 2016. I hope this appetizer whetted your appetite for more.

SLSA Market Shares Report & Commentary for 2015
By Dan Johnson, April 21, 2016

Updated 4/26/16 - This chart was updated to correct a formula error. The changed line refers to the "All other producers..." figure. It was 429 airplanes and 14.7% and that was incorrect.
My associate in Europe, Jan Fridrich of LAMA Europe, has been the source for a database search for many years as I seek to report market share statistics in the USA. He scours the FAA registration information and laboriously assembles the numbers. As he and I work to produce accurate info, Jan often makes contact with selected companies when questions arise, as they often do. I also reach out to producers in our effort to make the best possible use of the registration data to create our rankings.

Jan has been one of his country's representatives in the Czech Republic's official work with the Chinese to help that nation build its lighter aviation infrastructure. He's made many trips to China in the last two years. Along with frequent travel in his job for the Light Aircraft Association time is short for him to find the hours it takes to review FAA's data. For 2015 data, he completed the effort as I headed to Sun 'n Fun and then to Aero, so... finally, here is our report with hearty thanks to Jan for doing this tedious work.

The summary view is that American LSA registrations have remained very consistent over the last three years (2013, 2014, and 2105). Most industry players believe we should be seeing higher figures but the LSA results closely mirror trends reported by GAMA for type certified aircraft. Likely reasons for lower numbers may include pilots still uncertain what will happen with the medical and a large fleet of still airworthy though increasingly older used aircraft — the average age of which is around 38 years — that are available at lower cost than a new Light-Sport Aircraft. Since I am in Europe as this is written, I can pass along that several Europeans see a similar picture here, albeit without the medical issue.

SportCruiser by Czech Sport Aircraft, sold in the USA by U.S. Sport Aircraft, moved up again with a solid 2015.
As 2016 began, America had just shy of 3,000 LSA airplanes in the registry. As we've said for years, this figure does not include weight shift aircraft, powered parachutes, motorgliders, or gyroplanes, which, if they could be accurately counted, would conservatively add 20%. Also, the figure also does not count many ELSA and should not count Experimental Amateur Built even if those aircraft are nearly identical to Special LSA. See this 2014 article for an effort to give a more accurate total of the LSA, LSA-like aircraft, and Sport Pilot-eligible aircraft operating in the United States.

Our main fleet chart above reflects all SLSA airplanes ever sold in the USA, less any that have been removed from the registry, for example, if sold outside the USA or lost in an accident.

As you can see, CubCrafters continues their climb and is now hovering just below Flight Design. Czech Sport Aircraft, American Legend, and Tecnam continue their growth making up the top five names.

We leave Cessna on the chart for now but most readers know Skycatchers are no long being produced so they will climb no further. However, companies like Icon made their first tiny impact on the list with a single registration in 2015. I visited with Kirk Hawkins at Aero; he invited me to see their production facility in a month or so. When that California airframer begins serial production, their large number of orders should thrust them upward at an increasing pace (troublesome contract problems notwithstanding).

In recent years our main chart also attempts to at least mention ELSA ad EAB where we believe we can rely on the numbers we find.

Our more recent chart of single year performance is lead again by CubCrafters although even their pace slowed for 2015. The Western U.S. producer remains well ahead but others have done credibly well: Czech Sport Aircraft, Pipistrel, Progressive Aerodyne (Searey) and Van's. SportCruiser registrations were up from 2014 as were Pipistrel's while Van's, American Legend, Aerotrek, and Flight Design were down. Tecnam's numbers reflect only registrations of their LSA models but the company reports selling a similar number of type certified aircraft so their total American market presence is greater than our charts reflect.

One you haven't seen at airshows in the last couple years is the Phoenix Air motorglider, an elegant machine but one in too-short supply, said U.S. importer Jim Lee. He has not been attending shows and will drop his advertising as delivery delays have stretched out too far despite interest he has found from American soaring enthusiasts.

While repeating another respectable year of SLSA sales (in addition to their kit sales), Searey may have become the best-selling LSA in China.
As noted, Icon added only one SLSA registration in 2015, Cessna is gone, and Quicksilver experienced their own drop from 2014 as that company reorganized. However, honorable mentions are deserved for Super Petrel (4 added), Sling (3), Brazilian Paradise is returning to the market after an absence (2 in 2015) and Topaz continues to build modestly (2).

Another interesting development just announced includes the return of Zenair and their popular CH-750 STOL aircraft that will again be assembled as a ready-to-fly SLSA by M-Squared Aircraft in Alabama.

Those readers fascinated with these numbers may wish to compare 2014 and 2013 info, so click those links to read those earlier reports.

We dropped Allegro from the top-20 ranking even though their aircraft still has a good count as we've done with a few other brands over the years.

Finally, while our main chart focuses on the top brands, note that the largest single percentage are registrations from "All other producers." So-called boutique brands still have their place in the LSA spectrum.

As always, our disclaimer is that we only count FAA registrations and only those from the USA, which leaves out the rest of the world that accounts for most sales of LSA-type aircraft. Our statistics will not be identical to what companies reports as sales and do not include aircraft retired from service for any reason. Lastly, I repeat we cannot accurately count a share of new aircraft sales that might amount to 20-25% more if the data were reliable. These observations combine to make a more conservative report than may actually be factual but we prefer to err on the side of caution.

Early Preview of Aero Freidrichshafen 2016
By Dan Johnson, April 19, 2016

The great show of Europe called Aero Friedrichshafen is about to begin. It starts officially tomorrow and runs through Saturday (April 20-23, 2016). I've lost count, but believe this is my 20th year of attending, far more than any other European show. As he worked to help exhibitors and manage the million details of his event, boss Roland Bosch said the event started in 1977, meaning next year would be its 40th, but... Aero alternated years from 1977 through 1991 (as do many European airshows). With the 1993 event it went annual, meaning this is the 31st Aero.

On Monday, the vast 11 halls of the Messe (the facility name) were largely empty but slowly becoming populated with airplanes. In all of the gymnasium-sized halls with their elegant curved wood roofs, workers assembled displays. In Halls B1, B2, and B3 — where the light aircraft I follow are concentrated — displays are more elaborate than anything we typically see at U.S. shows. However, in the A-side halls, displays are magnificent, much like what one sees at the National Business Aircraft Association events (see Continental booth photo below.)

I enjoy observing the set-up effort. I've gone to many airshows and I am always amazed at this: on the evening before the show opens, chaos appears to reign. I can envision no chance it will all be ready in time. Yet, hours later as the entrance gate opens, booth spaces (called "stands" in Euro-English) seem completely finished, serenely awaiting the rush of first attendees. It's a marvelous transformation I've witnessed again and again.

As they set up their spaces, aircraft can be seen before they are dolled up for public consumption. I caught the retractable version of the BRM Aero Bristell. We may not see this airplane in the USA as the Light-Sport regulations don't permit retractable land planes (though, obviously, amphibious LSA seaplanes use what was once called "repositionable gear." I'm guessing this Bristell is quite a speedster that likely exceeds LSA's 120-knot speed limit in America.

Pipistrel, as you will read in my market share post to follow, continues to move up the U.S. LSA market ranking and this company refuses to sit still. Today, an announcement boasted that their Virus SW 121 has achieved full EASA type certification. A limited number of other LSA producers have earned a Restricted Type Certificate (RTC) for their aircraft; Pipistrel noted their's is not that but unrestricted approval by the European Union's equivalent to the FAA.

While Pipistrel charges (pun intentional) off in all directions, they chose to feature their Alpha Electro prominently in their booth space or stand. The company has already delivered a few of these pure-electric-powered Light-Sport-like aircraft to flight schools that use them for pattern flight training. A quick swap of batteries to keep one set charging can theoretically allow for very economical, and quiet, operations. An American company is doing likewise with their Sun Flyer project but has some ways to go to catch up with Pipistrel.

Over in the A halls, specifically in A-3, we see engine producers like Rotax — right up front in the highest traffic area — and Continental Motors, now also of Titan fame (the much-appreciated sponsor of our new video in the header above). In the A halls, visitors will find a dizzying array of flying products but also the biggest airplanes at the show. Along with their larger size, these companies mount impressive displays, like the two story-exhibit workers were assembling as I poked around early in the process. Along with their GA engines and their diesel entry, Continental displayed their Titan engine that has found favor on so many LSA in America. Company marketing guru, Emmanuel Davidson, said Continental will have some major announcements on opening day and I'll be present to hear items of interest to readers of

When I first started attending Aero, it was not in these giant halls. The new Messe was built after Aero began. In the first year I attended, the largest aircraft on display anywhere was a Cessna 206. Today, jets and big business aircraft are very much a part of the overall event, though I spend most of my time with the smaller aircraft that are my focus. The little guys cannot all afford to be present every year so this even-numbered year will not see the sailplane displays. Some LSA producers also don't come annually (for example, Tecnam will not be present) to preserve funds for other marketing expenses.

Positively electrical and a glimpse of the future is how you might describe exhibits in the e-flight-expo.

The Slovenian company Pipistrel, with a facility in very nearby Italy — where it finishes Light-Sport Aircraft intended for export to the U.S. (a necessity due to government requirements) — is one active outfit. In the e-flight-expo area, in the large entry foyer on the west end of the giant complex, Pipistrel was preparing a mock-up of their supersleek four seater called Panthera with a hybrid electric propulsion system.

The e-flight-expo, significantly arranged by my publisher friend, Willi Tacke of World Directory of Leisure Aviation (WIDOLA) fame, was setting up to show off the technology achievements by enormous corporations like Siemens (supplying the motor on the Panthera mentioned above) and tiny companies, those enterprises that often lead the race in new innovative directions. I plan to spend some time in the entry foyer looking over the achievements of these companies. We don't know that electric propulsion, or hybrids, will truly arrive on the aviation scene anytime soon, but plenty of folks are rooting for such, including myself.

One thing you will not see, as the show opens on Wednesday, will be the giant semi-tractor trailers that hauled in the merchandise. In the nearby view you see the enormous dual, tandem-wheeled trailer holding Roko airplanes (a company once associated with the aircraft now produced by BRM Aero, builder of the Bristell series). American companies have more modest funding, normally using trailers or flying their aircraft to events. Not all Europeans are so well-heeled either, but some have major hauling vehicles. The custom-built rig used by TL Ultralights was steadily being unloaded of aircraft and display equipment as I snooped around on Monday, two days before opening.

When Aero open on Wednesday the 20th, I will continue my investigation of all things marvelous in light aircraft. I hope to capture some video material for later editing by Videoman Dave and I hope to post daily stories about cool aircraft and flying gear ideas I find. Stay tuned. This is going to be as interesting as ever, I predict.

Sun ‘n Fun 2016 Debrief & Summary
By Dan Johnson, April 15, 2016

Doing What We Do... Interviewing Hsieh Chi-Tai of AeroJones Aviation about his Taiwan company's manufacturing of the Flight Design CTLS for import by Flight Design USA.
The super-short summary of Sun 'n Fun 2016: weather was beautiful; even the one night of rain gave way to a sunny day and all other days were as good as it gets. No accidents occurred to my awareness. Crowds were good if not record-setting. Airplanes were sold; I conservatively estimate about 30 sales of light aircraft, based on my inquiries. What's not to love?

As with any such attempt to cover an event the size and breadth of Sun'n Fun, this article cannot include all deserving aircraft, with regrets to any not mentioned below. We also shot lots video that will follow as the editing can be done (photo).

This article is longer than I prefer but I have plenty to tell you and I was simply too engaged during the event to keep posting. So... let's get going!

AIRPLANES (three-axis control) — Sun 'n Fun drew all the wonderful light airplanes we love but a few were touting fresh news not previously reported.

Paul Mather (L) shakes hands with Zenair CEO Matt Heintz after they inked a deal to join forces in creating a new SLSA version of the popular CH 750.
One of the most significant developments was a Zenair of Canada collaboration with Alabama's M-Squared Aircraft. They inked a deal for M-Squared to fully assemble the popular "Sky Jeep" CH 750 and deliver it as a fully-built Special LSA. Some years ago AMD and then Eastman built the popular STOL aircraft (as the 701, at that time) in a partnership with Zenair but it's been a rather long time since you could buy a ready-to-fly 750. That will change by summer; M-Squared boss Paul Mather reported the first subassemblies are being manufactured now. He expects to build perhaps 10 in 2016, ramping up as demand suggests. This is a smart move by Paul who will continue to make his also-SLSA Breese 2 among other models.

I reported earlier that Progressive Aerodyne won Chinese CAAC approval for their Searey amphibian, without a doubt the most successful light seaplane. Given a (presently) small market for that populous country and with 11 aircraft already shipped, Searey may have bragging rights as the best-selling LSA in China. Congratulations to Adam Yang, Kerry Ritcher, and the Searey gang. Given Icon A5 pricing soaring past the $200,000 barrier, Searey is a relative bargain for an aircraft with more 500 already flying (most built as kits).

Jabiru North America (their new company name) boss Pete Krotje was pleased to announce the first Jabiru J170-D will appear at Oshkosh, sporting a value-oriented price tag below $100,000 for a surprisingly well equipped aircraft. It should work well in flight schools, he believes; I think individual pilots could flock to the model. Pete's company will also debut new models of engines: their 81 horsepower 2210 four cylinder and 120 horsepower 3310 six cylinder.

We saw the first U.S. appearance of the handsome all-metal low wing Viper SD4 from Tomark Aero. Work is underway to gain SLSA acceptance though this may be some time off yet. They will reportedly also debut their high wing Skyper at Aero. I'll be looking for it next week.

Flight Design USA had a "come-back" show, we heard, thanks to their new arrangement to buy completed SLSA versions of their popular CTLS from AeroJones Aviation of Taiwan. They said the first aircraft will soon be delivered to distributors. The company is offering their 202 model, all ready with ADS-B gear. However, in work with consultant John Hurst, they also announced an ADS-B Out solution for the 400 existing owners of CT-series LSA.

Fixed wing Part 103 ultralights continue to attract buyers and the choices are broadening. In this file photo we see the lightest Quicksilver Sprint.
PART 103 (ultralights) — Although too many people mistakenly believe otherwise, the world of Part 103 fixed wing aircraft is alive and well. At Sun 'n Fun, we did a video interview with Dennis Carley about his kit version of the hot-selling Aerolite 103. He's doing that to offer shorter delivery times while he facility is working to capacity (about 50 aircraft per year). Kits will also allow non-103 customization some customers want.

We also did a video interview with Kolb Aircraft's Bryan Melborn about his tricycle gear version of the Part 103 FireFly, dubbed the TriFly... and they don't mean you have to try and fly it. They can build you one for around $25,000 or save you a bit with a kit you can customize. Kolb's display TriFly had a Rotax 447 mounted; that engine is out of production but many are available in good condition and, yes!, Bryan said TriFly can make Part 103 with that engine.

Other news involving three-axis Part 103 aircraft invoke two well known brand names: Quicksilver and CGS Haw. Both are very longtime players in the light aircraft space and both have just gone through major organization changes.

Quicksilver sold all inventory and numerous fabrication tools — "several semi-trailers worth" — to Bever Borne's Air-Tech Inc., operation in Reserve, Louisiana near New Orleans. Bever has been a Quicksilver man far longer than anyone at Quicksilver so he's arguably the best choice to hold all the cards. However, the California company has reportedly also signed an agreement with Aero Adventure to manufacture kit versions of the line at their DeLand, Forida operation. We'll watch to see how this plays out since the company restructured last summer.

Terry Short bought all the inventory, tooling, and rights to the CGS Hawk line. He had a booth space to talk to prospective clients but declined to do a video interview until he is better set up; the deal only transacted a couple months ago.

Sleek, smooth, and looking jet-fast is this new P&M Aviation entry called Pulsr.
WEIGHT-SHIFT (trikes) — We saw several interesting new trikes at Sun 'n Fun 2016. Among them was the P&M Aviation Pulsr that managed to score a Light Sport Innovation Award from the judges. Congratulations to representative Tony Castillo and the British design team lead by Bill Brooks. Pulsr manages to look fast sitting on the ground with its sweeping windscreen smoothly integrated to the aft carriage and engine cowl.

Evolution Trike, with the most colorful trike hardware on the planet, had a new Polini engine installation on their single seat, Part 103-capable Rev. This fascinating lightweight engine has gear drive and a clutch to make for a smooth-running single banger packing 35 horsepower. Between Rev and Revo, this Zephyr Hills, Florida company is always one I watch closely.

Tiny and superlight — and quickly foldable to fit in your sedan or light truck — are the operative terms for the Aeros Nano Trike (ANT), made especially for hang glider pilots who no longer want to run their take-offs or landings. This highly successful producer of competition-winning hang glider wings is helping their customers fly longer more comfortably. The Ukraine company is represented in the USA by SilverLight Aviation.

Rob Rollison of Aerotrek gives an interview for the new ELA gyroplanes he is representing including this very handsome Eclipse 10.
GYROPLANES — Rotax Aircraft Engines, the dominant player, by far, supplying powerplants to the light aircraft field around the world, has in recent years said they sell more 912 engines to gyroplane producers than any other aircraft segment. Between Germany's AutoGyro (which has delivered around 2,000 units) to Italy's Magni (900 units) to Spain's ELA (700 units) and all other builders (about 500 units), this class is exploding... although in the USA, one can only say it is growing because owners have to build their aircraft from kit as FAA never completed the goal of allowing a Special LSA version.

The agency's sluggishness to remedy this situation, despite years-long efforts by industry, brought segment leader AutoGyro to pursue Primary Category approval, a significantly-costlier and more complicated process than following ASTM guidelines (standards for gyros have been done for years). As reward, the company will be able to sell fully-built gyroplanes to Americans, though that approval may not carry over to other countries.

SilverLight made a public debut with their brand-new American Ranger AR-1. Developer Abid Farooqui, with whom we shot a video interview, said he went from concept drawings to completed aircraft in barely over nine months. Having given birth, SilverLight has created the first American gyroplane in the modern European style... all "Made in the USA!" (except for rotor blades, from France). SilverLight is an unusual light plane supplier representing a fixed wing aircraft, weight shift trikes (both by Hungarian builder Apollo), and their new gyroplane. Abid is also a well qualified engineer and ASTM expert who has helped several other companies. Impressive!

Speaking of impressive, people practically drooled over the very sleek ELA Eclipse 10 gyroplane being offered by Rob Rollison's Indiana-based Aerotrek. We've seen their open cockpit gyroplanes before but Eclipse 10 made its American debut at Sun 'n Fun 2016. Only a handful are flying though the Spanish builder has a solid track record with earlier models.

Miguel Soto has it down pat, completely tearing down and reassembling the Titan 180 horsepower engine in their display — twice! — during Sun 'n Fun. Videoman Dave's camera is mounted high to capture time-lapse imagery of the whole event.
POWERPLANTS — What goes up... must have an engine to do so. We looked at several, interviewing several officials.

Market leader Rotax, represented by Aircraft Engines Manager Marc Becker reported the new 915 iS engine debuted at AirVenture 2015 has more than 50 flying hours and some thousands of hours logged on the dynamometer in their factory test cells. The engine is highly awaited by many in the LSA field and Marc noted several dozen airframes are working with the design now. The 915 iS features the fuel injection of its 912 iS sibling but adds a 5:1 turbo that will deliver a high percentage of power up to 20,000 feet or more. So potent is it that an intercooler is needed and the new equipment needs planning by airframe builders. The company is consistent in saying the new engine will be available, all certified and ASTM approved by the latter half of 2017.

Continental's super-powerful, 180-horsepower Titan line is finding increasing support. CubCrafters started the parade but is now followed by Zlin's Savage Outback, American Legend, Kitfox Aircraft, Just Aircraft, Rans, and Vickers for the Wave seaplane LSA. Continental bought developer ECi last year and all signs are full speed ahead for this powerplant with a surprisingly good power-to-weight ratio. The company did a public tear-down and rebuild of a Titan engine in their display... twice. We mounted a camera set for time-lapse imagery to record the whole process. We think you may enjoy this when ready.

Belgium's UL Power is another company with growing acceptance, with more airframe companies giving one of their models a try. U.S. representative Robert Helms — who enjoys referring to himself as a "recovering lawyer" since he ditched the suit to pursue something more gratifying — took time away from his display to moderate three of LAMA's panels (see below) and participate in one of them. Robert reported that the Belgium-based creator of these high-tech engines (even featuring FADEC) is working to meet ASTM standards that could one day result in engines being factory installed on SLSA.

In the One-More-Thing department made famous by former Apple CEO Steve Jobs, work by Aircraft Spruce deserves a mention. The company is geared up to address homebuilders who want to speed the building of panels. The publisher of a giant 1,000-page+ catalog has a division of their company that custom builds wiring harnesses making the addition of a wide variety of avionics faster, easier, and more accurate than many kit builders might manage on their own. We did a video on this subject; watch for it in the weeks ahead.

DEBATES — I'll end this rather lengthy recap with something that kicked off the event and ran the first four days. I refer to the "Great Debates in Paradise City." In its big tent in the light plane area of Sun 'n Fun 2016 — made possible with generous support from Aviators Hot LineLAMA hosted four debates.

Sixteen of the best suppliers to the light airplane industry. Top left, engines (L-R): Moderator Sebastien Heintz, Zenith Aircraft; John Heitland, Continental Motors; Robert Helms, UL Power; Marc Becker, Rotax Aircraft Engines; Pete Krotje, Jabiru ||| Top right, writers: Ben Sclair, General Aviation News; Pia Bergqvist, Flying; Robert Goyer, Plane & Pilot; Paul Bertorelli, AVweb ||| Bottom left, avionics: Matt Litnaitzky, MGL Avionics; Ian Jordan, Dynon Avionics; Andrew Barker, TruTrak; Ananda Leon, Levil Technology ||| Bottom right, apps: Angela Anderson, ForeFlight; Steve Podradchik, Seattle Avionics (FlyQ); Paul Edhlund, WingX Pro (Hilton Software); Jim Laster, Garmin Pilot. writers photo by Kathy Lubitz
The first on Tuesday featuring engines for light aircraft, including Continental Motors and their Titan line, UL Power, Rotax Aircraft Engines, and Jabiru; next on Wednesday, a debate between four top aviation journalists including writers for General Aviation News, Flying magazine, Plane & Pilot magazine, and AVweb; on Thursday, LAMA collected four leading avionics producers including MGL, Dynon, TruTrak, and Levil; and concluding on Friday were all the best-selling iPad and Android apps featuring ForeFlight, Seattle Avionics' FlyQ, WingX Pro, and Garmin's Pilot.

A sincere thanks to all 16 panelists for taking time out of their busy days to participate and to the Flying Musicians Association for arranging professional-grade public address equipment to make it work.

All four debates were captured by Videoman Dave for his YouTube channel. In the way of the Internet, all these are freely available, but I encourage you to support his efforts by subscribing annually or get a great deal on hisLifetime offer.

Tomorrow, I blast off for southern Germany and the Aero Friedrichshafen show, where I hope to make more frequent posts about cool aircraft and gear I find in Europe.

Gyronauts ... Pre-Sun ‘n Fun Wing Fling
By Roy Beisswenger, April 5, 2016

Welcome to a guest editorial by Roy Beisswenger, publisher of Powered Sport Flying magazine and a close follower of the gyroplane scene. —DJ

The new American Ranger 1 in flight. photo by Roy Beisswenger of Power Sport Flying magazine.
Bensen Days in Wauchula, Florida is our annual pre-game party leading up to Sun 'n Fun. The Sunstate Wing & Rotorcraft Club schedules this annual soiree to coincide with Sun 'n Fun. By holding their fly-in one week before SnF, they make it possible for vendors and participants to get a two-for-one deal. One trip south gets them two great sport aviation events. The scheduling certainly makes it possible for Vickie and me to participate.

Gyroplane organizations are not the huge organizations that we see sponsoring major events like Sun 'n Fun and AirVenture. There is no paid staff and no big budget. The volunteers that put it together collect fees and donations to cover their expenses and build up the kitty for the next event. That is why it is such a pleasure to see an event like Bensen Days continue on year after year. It says a lot about the gyronauts in Florida!

A selection of the gyroplanes on the ramp at the Wauchula Airport. photo by Roy Beisswenger of Power Sport Flying magazine.
Anyone who shows up gets a lot of bang for the small number of bucks it takes to participate. Want to go for a flight in a gyroplane? This event gives you several choices and little to no waiting. Want to talk about gyroplanes? Try talking about anything but gyroplanes! Want to see what is new? Because this is the first major gyro event of the year and the scheduling proximity to Sun 'n Fun, you will often see things here first.

Named after famed gyro pioneer Igor Benson, Bensen Days gives people a chance to visit with vendors and pilots in the home-built market who don't make it to the larger fly-ins. These participants are just as enthusiastic as the newer, Euro-gyro owners, but they don't have the budgets to attend the larger events.

Some of the vendors I saw there included importers or manufacturers for Titanium Explorer, Dominator, Ela, Autogyro, Xenon and SliverLight Aviation. In fact Abid Farooqui officially introduced his American Ranger 1 gyroplane at the event. The gyroplane is going to be one of the first European-style gyroplanes designed and manufactured in the United States.

Bob Snyder with Autogyro USA's naked MTO. photo by Roy Beisswenger of Powered Sport Flying magazine.
The breezy day didn't stop the flying. Light airplanes could handle the winds, but they were quite a handful for the plane I saw take to the sky. The gyroplane pilots were aware of the wind, but had no problem with it.

One of the interesting designs I saw at the event was a 'naked' MTO Sport. It is 'naked' because it has none of the normal fuselage panels — nose cone, the floor, and integrated composite shell. Instrumentation for the aircraft is contained in small nose pod.

Autogyro representative Bob Snyder offered a flight in this unique version of their MTO. On a nice, warm Florida day, my short-sleeved shirt was just fine for the open-cockpit flight. I emptied my pockets of droppable stuff and stripped my camera down to the basic frame and lens for the flight.

After a quick introduction to the aircraft, I had to ask a somewhat embarrassing question, "How do you get in?" Most gyroplanes have some structure to use when entering, but this MTO had no floor. It stands up high on some tundra tires. Answer: Just throw your leg over the seat and slide on up. I'm glad I'm taller than average. It's like mounting a short horse without the benefit of a saddle horn!

Once aboard, the taxi to the end of the runway took very little time and Bob got us quickly into the sky. What a blast! All open cockpit aircraft remind me a little of a flying motorcycle, but this one really fit the definition. I was seated in a more comfortable seat than on a bike and had on a seat belt and shoulder harness, but everything else was incredibly open.

Sun 'n Fun will feature a good selection of gyroplanes including this new-to-Americans Eclipse G10 offered by Aerotrek.
Bob gave me the full familiarization flight. He showed me the capabilities of the gyro in the practice area next to the airport and over the cattle. Then he asked me if I wanted to see some alligators. Being from the Midwest, those animals always fascinate me. We went off to the phosphate mine ponds and saw some monsters, along with other wildlife.

And remember that wind I mentioned? It was barely noticeable to me on the flight. Fast-moving rotor blades have a way of just subduing most unruly winds.

I didn't do a survey, but I expect most vendors at Bensen Days will soon be at Sun 'n Fun. For the last few years, the gyroplane vendors have been located in Paradise City and conducting flight operations off of that runway along with the airplanes. The aircraft get along together famously. So if you have a desire to fly gyroplanes, you have another chance to see a lot of different models in one place!

Thanks for that report, Roy. Sun 'n Fun 2016 starts on Tuesday April 5th and runs through Sunday, April 10th. You can occasionally find Roy Beisswenger in the LAMA Show Center Pavilion. Check the Daily Schedule here. —DJ

A Powerful Wave Is Headed Your Way!
By Dan Johnson, April 3, 2016

This a rendering of Wave's upper fuselage center of Wave. Get a more complete view of the airplane in this article.
Unless you've had your mind on other pursuits — oh, for example, preparing to head to Sun 'n Fun 2016 next week (the show runs April 5-10) — you could hardly miss the growing buzz surrounding Icon. A soft whistle of air escaping the cabin turned into a deafening roar as Aero-News.Net (always fast with news), AOPA online, AVweb and others piled on to a story about Icon's 40-page A5 purchase contract.

Credible journalistic work was done by Jim Campbell, Jim Moore, and Paul Bertorelli (respectively of each of the publications mentioned above) in documenting the behemoth contract. I have an opinion too — one part respectful of the California company's wish to protect their brand and their investment and and one part saying, "What the...?" I see no reason to delve into further than the lengthy stories my fellow writers already posted.

Instead, I like following what's new in Light-Sport Aircraft, light kit aircraft, and ultralights. I have such an abundance of story material, my task is how to present it all. Thanks to Jim, Jim, and Paul for doing their jobs but I prefer to look south... way south, all the way south to New Zealand, nearly on the other side of the planet.

I refer to Wave from Vickers Aircraft. I've been following this since near the beginning (much like I did with Icon) and I want to provide an update from the company.

The above image shows three upper fuselage carbon fiber production components, some of which are for first customer aircraft deliveries.
People are scratching their heads about Icon. Many (like me) wish them well in their goal to grow aviation but wonder what is taking so long. Meanwhile, working furiously but out of the glare of bright stage lights is Paul Vickers and his dedicated team at Vickers Aircraft. Their work demands careful planing and other elements.

First: vision. Many think Icon started something good. Certainly their airplane is handsome and flies without fault. They had vision. Over my years in aviation publishing, I've met hundreds of engineers and hundreds of artists. I find those creative folks share a common theme, that of wanting to do something excellent. Aircraft designers envision what some of us cannot. Then they start drafting. The same could be said of a sculptor looking at a massive block of granite or marble and seeing the finished work before picking up a tool.

"From the beginning our plan was to build a production aircraft using realistic techniques and real world solutions," said Vickers CEO, Paul Vickers, with whom I've been communicating steadily for more than two years. "I am pleased to say that real progress is exactly what we are achieving."

Especially in light of recent events, Paul's observation — made several days before the Icon furor started — was, "The LSA sector is screaming out for an amphibian that is real and delivers on its promises. Wave will do so, you have my personal guarantee," asserted Paul.

In this image the windscreen mold has just been cured in Vickers' oven and is now ready for the first batch of screens to be made.
Second: money. You have to have it and plenty of it to build a new-from-scratch LSA seaplane. This may be one of the toughest tasks: birthing a new airplane company... just ask Icon or many other companies.

"We secured American investors to help us bring Wave to reality," said Paul. "Their incredible support helped to shape 2015 into a year of progress and success." The images accompanying this article give visual proof of progress much better than engineering drawings can.

"Our customers continue to give us the confidence and determination to reach beyond our limits to bring our incredible product to the aviation market," Paul expressed. "With strong encouragement from our supporters we were driven to strive for excellence."

Third: tooling. In 2015 Vickers Aircraft fired up their first curing oven. "We are well underway with producing the pre-preg carbon fiber parts for the first production cycle," said Paul. He added that custom-developed PLC software enables detailed control of heating cycles and offers the full traceability that is required to manufacture aircraft. Vickers' oven is capable of producing components for 30+ aircraft per year, he said.

Team Vickers is fully in control of their process. "All components for the Wave, both aluminum and carbon fiber, are made in house by our dedicated team," Paul noted. You cannot build an all-carbon-fiber airplane without some rather exotic tools. (For comparison, Icon does not primarily use carbon fiber, though companies like Flight Design have done so for years.)

Nose components of Wave. See more complete images of the LSA seaplane and read all we offer at this link.
Fourth: manufacturing. Over my years following more companies than I can recall anymore, I've seen brilliant designers create some fantastic airplanes... and then never build them, or not very many of them. Some engineers design for production from the start and Paul Vickers relentlessly stresses this is his goal.

Paul said, "As we enter into the next stage of growth for Vickers Aircraft we have begun looking for a suitable location to base Vickers Aircraft USA, our sales, training and delivery facility in the United States." He has begun exploring sites on the East and West coasts.

As reported earlier, Wave will be powered by the 180-horsepower Titan engine, now offered by Continental Motors. This potent powerplant should do wonders compared to similar weight LSA seaplanes using 100-115 horsepower.

"Deliveries will start early 2017," promised Paul. "We are aiming to be flying late this year." Indeed, a powerful Wave is building.

Below, watch a video of production work to make carbon fiber parts for the Vickers Wave...

Two More SLSA Makes 140!
By Dan Johnson, April 1, 2016

Predictions of a great thinning of the herd... of a consolidation of LSA producers to a handful of leaders never came to pass. No wonder, when the new Special LSA acceptances keep piling up.

What I find quite fascinating is that the four newest SLSA were Made-in-American aircraft or seven of the last ten. The Yankees are coming on stronger after the Europeans owned the market for the first few years.

I have new SLSA airplane market share numbers for 2015 thanks to hours of work by my friend and LAMA associate, Jan Fridrich. With Sun 'n Fun and Aero approaching I have simply been short of time to give such important info the attention it deserves. Yet, as soon as possible...

Meanwhile I am pleased to announce the latest SLSA. Welcome to Glasair's Merlin LSA that we reported in this video with company president Nigel Mott.

Merlin images are courtesy of Glasair Aviation.
AOPA crack reporter, Al Marsh reported Merlin LSA is priced at $149,950. He noted that that this acceptance by FAA "marks the kitplane company's first entry into factory-produced aircraft." He added, "It will not be sold as a kit." Glasair said Merlin LSA meets the regulation-mandated 45-knot stall speed and claims a 104-knot (120 mph) cruise speed. The company reported the new SLSA has a useful load of 530 pounds. When filled with a full load of 24 gallons of fuel, Merlin will have a payload of 386 pounds.

Other Merlin specs: wingspan 32 feet; cabin width of 47 inches; and baggage capacity 50 pounds. The company has selected Rotax's fuel-injected fuel-sipping 912iS engine along with Dynon's SkyView Touch digital instrument. Al reported "Glasair plans to offer an optional BRS airframe parachute system."

Over at Flying magazine, Pia Bergqvist wrote, "The FAA sign-off comes less than a year after the Merlin first took flight last April and two years after the program was announced at the Sun 'n Fun 2014." She added "Glasair has taken eight deposits to date. The initial production rate is set for 18 airplanes during the first year." Glasair Aviation is owned by Jilin Hanxing Group in northern China, a mere "155 miles from North Korea" Al Marsh noted.

Please note that Glasair's Merlin LSA is different from Aeromarine-LSA's Merlin PSA. Merlin PSA is a kit-built design at present.

SkyRunner image is courtesy of the company. This does not represent the current version displayed at airshow which is a larger two-seat variety.
One that everyone in aviation appeared to miss was the SkyRunner Mk. 3.2. That is no wonder, perhaps, as Team SkyRunner has focused their airshow displays on boat shows although they did attend EAA in the Innovation Pavilion last year and the Flying magazine Expo in Palm Springs.

Article Update 4/2/16 — A correction is needed to say that SkyRunner has not received the full blessing of FAA on their Mk 3.2. In most SLSA audits, authorities have a few points in documentation they want revised. Team SkyRunner is making these adjustments; I will report the final acceptance.

While I look forward to flying both these interesting machines that occupy nearly opposite ends of the LSA spectrum, the one that truly captures my attention is SkyRunner, if only because it can drive as well as fly. Based on their videos, it appears to haul butt on a sand dune or other off-road terrain. Indeed, the company has generated interest from the military and other non-traditional customers.

The last time we spoke at length about SkyRunner, boss Stewart Hamel said his company had logged around 150 orders for this gnarly-looking contraption. We also made a video about the cool ride for your viewing enjoyment.

Anyone who says the LSA sector does not remain vibrant and fascinating is either not paying attention or has a bad attitude. As closely as I follow this industry, it seems wonderfully alive and well.

Neither Merlin nor SkyRunner will be available for examination at Sun 'n Fun next week, but attendees will have plenty to catch their attention (see article below, which is surely not a complete list). I hope to see many readers present, but for those that can't come, I'll try to stay up late enough to post news as I find it. Stay tuned!

To read SPLOG postings going back to 2005 -- all organized in chronological order -- click SPLOG.




Super Petrel LS, manufactured by Scoda Aeronautica in Brazil and built by Super Petrel USA, a branch of the Brazilian company in Ormond Beach, Florida, is a unique and highly effective LSA seaplane. This biplane flying boat is well established with more than 20 years of history.

BushCat is the distinctive Light-Sport Aircraft within reach of almost any budget. With a solid heritage BushCat by SkyReach is fun, capable, and available as a kit, fully-built SLSA or ELSA.

BRM Aero manufacturers the handsome Bristell all-metal SLSA. This highly evolved, next-generation Light-Sport was carefully engineered for luxury, comfort, excellent stability, and safety while being fun, fast, and easy to fly.

Jabiru USA assembles the spacious and speedy J-230 with new, more attractive pricing making the model one of the best values in Light-Sport Aircraft.

The Shelbyville, Tennessee company also offers the Jabiru engine line with new 3310 and 2210 models in 2016.

The New J-230D

Hansen Air Group represents recognized brands in the LSA
space: FK Lightplanes and their distinctive biplane Comet, FK9, and FK51 plus the great-flying Magnaghi Sky Arrow. Based in Atlanta, Georgia Hansen Air Group is an experienced player in the LSA space.
Multiple LSA

SportairUSA imports the dashing and superbly-equipped StingSport S4 that has won a loyal following from American pilots. More recently, they introduced their TL-3000 high-wing LSA. SportairUSA is a full-line operation with maintenance and training, too.

Corbi Air represents the Made-for-Americans Direct Fly Alto 100. Created in the Czech Republic, Alto 100 was upgraded for USA sales and the result is a comfortable, handsome low wing, all-metal LSA with features you want.

Tecnam is the world's leading manufacturer of Light-Sport aircraft offering more models and variations than any other producer.

Besides the world's fastest-selling light twin and their new P2010 four seater, Tecnam offers these LSA: P-92 Eaglet, Astore, and P2008.

Many Light-Sport Aircraft & General Aviation models

Lockwood Aircraft is the builder of two of light aviation's best-recognized flying machines: AirCam and the Drifter line. Most sport aviators already know the Lockwood brand, a leader in Rotax maintenance and aircraft services.

Evektor is Number One and always will be. The Czech company's SportStar was the number one SLSA to win approval but engineers have steadily improved the model far beyond that 2005 version that started the race.

Aero Adventure offers what is likely the lowest cost boat-hull seaplane in the light aircraft space with a kit that, complete with engine, sells for less than $50,000. Add a long history to its credit and Aventura is a seaplane worthy of a close look.

Vickers Aircraft has created one of the most distinctive new LSA seaplanes yet to emerge. Powered by the 180-horsepower
Titan IO-340CC by Continental Motors, their Wave model is like no other seaplane ever introduced with multiple features to set it apart from the crowd.

Arion Aircraft has designed and built one of the most beautiful low wing entries in the Special LSA and kit-built aircraft sector. The all-American designed and built aircraft is priced fairly and flies wonderfully ... need you search for more?

American Legend has been in the LSA space since the beginning, offering their iconic yellow taildragger. The Texas company offers a full line of LSA and kit-built aircraft including the 180-horsepower Super Legend HP.

Flight Design USA imports CT, the top selling Light-Sport Aircraft. CT is a 98% carbon fiber design
with superb performance, roomy cockpit, great useful load, and a parachute as standard equipment ... the market leader for 10 years!

Progressive Aerodyne designed and supplies the SeaRey series, arguably the most celebrated of all light seaplanes in America. A close community of hundreds of owners offers camaraderie few other brands can match.

Quicksilver Aeronautics is the world's largest producer of ultralight aircraft, selling some 15,000 aircraft. The company's designs are thoroughly tested, superbly supported, and have an excellent safety record.

Aerotrek Aircraft imports the A240 and A220 tricycle gear or taildragger Special Light-Sport Aircraft. A finely finished aircraft at an excellent price, Aerotrek has wide, affordable appeal.

U.S. Sport Aircraft Importing represents the popular SportCruiser, one of the best selling Special Light-Sport Aircraft among 130 models on the market. The Texas-headquartered importer has long represented this familiar model.

Kitfox is one of the world's best selling light aircraft kits with more than 5,000 delivered. With unrivaled name recognition, Kitfox is admired for crisp handling, excellent performance, easily folded wings, and more. The design is flown around the world.

Evolution Trikes developed and continues to refine their Revo, an absolutely magnificent weight shift control aircraft (or trike). Rev is their new very affordable single place machine.

North Wing is America's leading manufacturer of weight shift LSA and Part 103 ultralight trikes. The company's wing designs are so good that most other trike manufacturers use them. Aircraft prices are highly affordable by all.

Aeromarine-LSA represents economical aircraft like Merlin PSA, fully enclosed and all-metal for less than $35,000; or Part 103 ultralights like Zigolo, a dual-purpose ultralight and motorglider with prices starting at only $12,000.

Just Aircraft has delivered more than 300 kit aircraft since 2002, but in 2012 they electrified pilots with the awesome performance of their all-new SuperSTOL. It may look extreme and performs extremely well, but it is truly docile and forgiving to fly.

The Airplane Factory (TAF) produces the Sling series of world-circling aircraft (literally) and now this fine-flying, all-metal beauty is available in the United States as a Special Light-Sport Aircraft. Here is an LSA to follow. turned many heads when introducing its one-of-a-kind entry to Light-Sport Aircraft seaplanes. MVP, for Most Versatile Plane, justifies that phrase by doing more than flying off water. Here’s one to examine much more closely!

Aerolite 103 is a remarkably well priced (way below $20,000), well-equipped, Part 103 ultralight that flies beautifully. Several hundred are airborne and production has never been more solid. Here is an airplane every pilot can love and afford.

X-Air brings a return to reasonably priced Light-Sport Aircraft, with a ready-to-fly flying machine you can purchase for a genuinely low price. No new arrival, X-Air has a rich history in light aviation.

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Updated: April 29, 2016

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