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January 25-28, 2017.
 


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First-ever DeLand Showcase
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With the first-ever, inaugural DeLand Showcase concluded, next up after the holiday season is Sebring, running January 25-26-27-28, 2017.

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...a web log of developments in Sport Pilot/Light-Sport Aircraft
Tecnam Upgrades Popular Sierra, Now Called Mark 2
By Dan Johnson, December 2, 2016

Fourteen years ago, light aviation leader Tecnam brought their only low wing, the Sierra, to market. It went on to become one of their most popular airplanes ...and that's truly saying something since the Italian company has a broad line of beautiful airplanes.

On the 65th anniversary of this company founded in 1948, Tecnam brought their sparkling new Astore to the market (so named in honor of the very first aircraft the company offered). At its debut most thought Sierra had been replaced by Astore, perhaps never to be seen again. Happily, that is not the case.

An old line is: Nothing succeeds like success. Therefore, given the impressive run of Sierra the First, and even with the Astore, Sierra Mark 2 may be utterly logical. "The market is always demanding greater comfort and more features," says Tecnam Managing Director, Paolo Pascale, "so improving and updating our product is a must."

The Capua, Italy-based company announced, "Tecnam has introduced a substantially updated and improved Mark 2 version of the company's popular P2002 Sierra." The model name P2002 indicates the original design was created that year.

Tecnam observed, "P2002 Sierra MkII retains all the features and flying qualities which have established the aircraft's position in the marketplace. However, the Mk2 model offers an improved cabin for greater comfort, top level avionics, new paint colors and interior options and a redesigned cowling for the 100-horsepower Rotax engine."

Sierra Mk2's cabin has been enlarged. A glance at the instrument panel or its snazzy sports car-quality seats displays the premium new interior design.

Led by their patriarchal and celebrated designer Luigi Pascale — this year's winner of the LAMA Outstanding Individual Award — Tecnam engineers redesigned the canopy to provide more headroom. With the new canopy, a positive-locking mechanism assures reduced noise level.

Seats are not only handsome but now offer additional fore and aft adjustment to better accommodate folks of different sizes and shapes.

Beside a sleeker engine cowling Sierra Mk2 has several distinctive options for paint colors and interior fabrics. The new creations definitely upgrade the older design and will impress anyone you take aloft with you.

A few facts and specs are in order. Sierra offers a 600 nautical mile range thanks to 29 gallons, thanks to the good fuel economy of its Rotax 912 engine, burning 4.5 gallons per hour, noted Tecnam. Sierra Mk2 weighs 809 pounds empty, has a 514 pound useful load with 44 pounds of baggage. It can cruise at 120 knots, Tecnam advises while stalling at just 38 knots. It climbs at 800 fpm.

Professor Luigi like to use tapered laminar airfoils with slotted flaps and Sierra also has these advanced features. As with all Tecnams, the main airframe is metal, familiar to any repair shop anywhere in the world... a useful factor for a company that sells all over the globe.

To my eyes — and many others agree — one of the best aspects of the Sierra is its sliding canopy. You can slide this aft, at least partially, in flight and those of us who enjoy an open cockpit love this sensation in an otherwise very civilized environment. About this all-clear canopy Tecnam noted it offers, "full rollover protection, tested via inverted drop tests.

A glance at the panel shows the great advancements in instrumentation since Sierra was first offered, long before digital glass screens and devices like iPad (which, by the way, Astore neatly incorportated into its panel). You can choose from either Dynon SkyView or Garmin G3X, either of which is superb.

Finally, handling has always been a very strong area for the Tecnams I've flown (which has been all their LSA models). The company stated, "The horizontal stabilator tail design provides remarkable longitudinal hands-off stability along with minimum drag and weight penalty. This provides balanced two-finger flight control."

The first model will be delivered to Tecnam U.S. in time for the 2017 Sebring Expo. The show runs January 25th-28th. Even if you can't make that 13th annual event, I'll be all over Sierra Mk 2.


Shark Flies in American Skies
By Dan Johnson, November 29, 2016

Retractable Shark airborne in European skies. photo by André Garcez
When you look at the photos of this new-to-Americans aircraft, you might have a vague recollection of one or more aircraft that looked something like Shark. Are you fuzzy about that recollection? That's understandable. It's been a decade since FlyItalia's MD3 Rider (photo below) had U.S. representation. MD3 did earn Special LSA approval, taking its place on our SLSA List at number 15. While Spaceport Aviation still reports operating a Rider for students, the model has mostly disappeared from American skies.

Another once-popular light aircraft sold in the USA — Skyboy, mentioned in this article and another — also sport the distinctive shark fin tail. These designs are substantially different, expressions of a creative designer, but all share this common appearance.

Now Jonathan Baron — operator of Virginia-based PB Aero — reported that the aircraft designer's most recent project, called Shark, has taken its first flight in the USA. Shark appears to be very different from MD3 Rider or Skyboy... low wing versus high wing; tandem versus side-by-side seating; retractable versus fixed gear; basic versus full featured. However, sharp readers may have already noted the vertical stabilizer and ventral fin look almost identical.

Jonathan Baron's Shark prepared to take its first flight in the USA.
If you noticed that, give yourself a pat on the back. That is indeed a similarity and it is why the name of the new plane was chosen. Doesn't it look like the tail of a shark? That design feature relates to principal creator, Jaroslav Dostál. He likes the look and finds it efficient to use the configuration. Continuing the theme, Jaro added shark-like cooling fins (gills?) in the aft portion of the engine compartment.

I first met Jaro many years ago at the Aero Friedrichshafen show in the south of Germany. Jaro is a talented engineer and is smart enough to know that producing the aircraft is a job for persons with those skills. He is a longtime expert in using composite and his design prowess is well regarded. Extensive use of carbon fiber helped keep the weight down for Europe's ultralight weight limit of just 472.5 kilos (1,040 pounds, around 80% of the weight of LSA) when a parachute is mounted; one is available for Shark.

Created as a high-performance, all-composite European ultralight, Jaro sought a fast-flying cross country aircraft. Tandem seating and the related slim shape are essential to the goal. A flight exceeding 300 kilometers per hour (188 mph) proved Shark can zoom along quickly on its Rotax 912 engine. The popular engine and sleek aircraft also allowed Jonathan to take a friend and enjoy a $20 hamburger (I'll call it), with only $9 of that expended on an hour long flight to and from an airport restaurant.

Jaro Dostal's earlier MD3 Rider. photo from Airplane-Pictures.net
The zippy speed, however, pushes Shark into the Experimental Amateur Built category as the speed is too fast for Light-Sport Aircraft in the USA and retractable gear is not what FAA had in mind when they created the category more than a dozen years ago.

If you are up for the building effort and if you have the budget for this speedster, you could enjoy exceptional visibility with the long, uninterrupted canopy. Tandem seating also helps both occupants get essentially the same view. In a slick design aspect, the aft seat enjoys its own instrumentation smoothly integrated into a cabin cross brace at the rear of the front seat.

Earlier, Jaro spoke of a LSA-compliant model with fixed gear and other changes to keep it within the parameters of FAA's regulation, however, with the market mainly overseas where greater speed is permitted, movement toward that version appears to have been postponed. If PB Aero finds a following for the retract Shark, the stiff-legged model might follow. Contact Jonathan Baron to find at more at this email. Keep up with the enterprise at their Facebook page.


Airplanes in the Creek; Beringerís Calendar
By Dan Johnson, November 28, 2016

For those trying to keep their flying on a budget, here's an excellent choice, the X-Air LS.
This last week, I trekked to FAA headquarters in Washington DC, an action that consumed three days of my time. This was a third visit in six months to meet with top ranked FAA officials, as two organizations combine forces to attempt bringing useful change to light aviation. I won't long dwell on the effort yet I admit it feels good to advance the ball down the field.

The U.S. Ultralight Association (USUA) represents pilots of light aircraft. The Light Aircraft Manufacturers Association (LAMA) represents the light aircraft producer and business community. USUA, headed by Roy Beisswenger, and LAMA, chaired by your faithful reporter have made a dynamic duo since early 2014 when we embarked on a mission of advocacy.

EAA and AOPA plus GAMA do some similar work and they do it well. However, they have a focus other than for recreational sport pilots and the not-certified light aircraft they fly. While LAMA and USUA gladly work with the other organizations whenever possible, it was obvious that those fine groups could not represent light aviation in the same dedicated way. USUA and LAMA are laser focused on the task.

Here's a resident with the multiple cool toys to get around: Christen Eagle (now from Aviat), an original Mini, and golf cart.
Following advice from experts, our long list of initiatives was reduced to four: Electric Propulsion (first for ultralights and later for LSA); Special LSA status for ready-to-fly gyroplanes (selling briskly around the world but restricted in the USA); FAA approval to allow training in former ultralight trainers and other aircraft (a longer story for another time); and finally, Aerial Work, an important push to allow LSA to function as work aircraft beyond current roles of flight instruction, glider towing, and rentals.

LAMA and USUA believe positive steps will make the industry more secure and stable, will give pilots more chances to make a living in light aircraft, and will more generally keep affordable aviation healthy and able to continue providing interesting aircraft that can be bought by regular folks. We think the effort is worthwhile and hope pilots and manufacturers will continue to lend support. This is a labor of love, I must add; no salaries are earned for this work.

On a more fun note... around these words you see a series of images that have almost nothing to do with FAA (except all of them have to be registered, etc., ad naseum). These airplane photos are from my home base of Spruce Creek Fly In, otherwise known as Florida airport 7FL6. I live in this community comprised of 1,600 homes, more than 600 of which have attached hangars. To get from the runway to your home means a tour by taxiway.

These two beauties aren't in my price range, but they're fun to watch. On top is the L-39 Czech military jet in modern paint; on bottom is a North American T28 Trojan in warbird paint.
Indeed, "the Creek" as many residents abbreviate it — nearby townsfolks always seem to use "the Fly In" — is blessed with taxiways and roads totaling some 33 miles, so I've been told. My wife, Randee, and I enjoy riding our bicycles all around the community. With that many miles and considering residents are respectful and careful, bike riding the Creek is a joy.

This is doubly so considering I regularly get close-up looks at airplanes like the ones sprinkled here but with many, many more types not pictured. The number changes as pilots buy and sell, but I'd guess we have nearly 700 airplanes based at this one airport. I've also been told 7FL6 is the world's largest private airport.

Naturally, Randee and I ride Rans bikes. The only airplane and bicycle producer, Randy Schlitter, sold his bicycle manufacturing company a couple years ago, but before he left the business to focus on aircraft, we acquired two of his bikes and we love them. My is a recumbent; Randee's is what's known as a crank-forward design. Both are so easy to ride, Randee has questioned how much exercise she gets riding for an hour.

In this post Black Friday weekend post and what with Christmas rushing at us like a fighter jet on afterburner, I want to draw your attention to the new 2017 Beringer Aero calendar. The preeminent wheel and brake company offers a collection of gorgeous photos that can make your office, home, or hangar that much better decorated.

Sure, I know we all have our iPhones, Androids, and tablets, but nothing really beats a large-format, high quality printed calendar. Get yours while they last and in time for the holidays. You pilots can share this post with your spouse and make a not-so-subtle hint that this would make a fine gift for their favorite aviator.

Beringer's calendar features airplanes equipped with the company's distinctive orange-ish wheels, brakes and landing gear. In glorious color, each page measures about 12 x 17 inches and a spiral spine allows the calendar to hang flat. The French company's calendar is available for $25 (including any applicable tax; plus shipping) from this email address.

In the video below you can learn more about the newest products from Beringer and hear a few words about their entire product line. You'll enjoy hearing Claire Beringer give you a tour.


Guardian Makes iPad in the Cockpit User-Friendly
By Dan Johnson, November 16, 2016

Guardian's system allows a smoothly mounted iPad (any model) that fits exactly flush with the instrument panel face.
Since 2000 Guardian Avionics has built a respected name for reliable and accurate carbon monoxide detectors for certified aircraft, LSA, or homebuilt airplanes. Maybe you knew that if you've been concerned about the deadly, odorless gas seeping into your cockput.

What you may not know is that the Tucson, Arizona-based company also offers a slick iPad panel mount with the ability to connect to and communicate with other avionics products from leaders like Garmin, MGL, and other avionics providers. Recently the company announced, "We have expanded our product line to include the new iFDR series of connected cockpit solutions, including the iFDR Panel Mount docks for iPad and iPhone and USB power supplies and panel ports.

"The iPad has become one of the most important tools for both professional and private pilots," said Ash Vij, President of Guardian Avionics. "Pilots need to keep that tool in their frame of reference in flight; that's why we felt it important to develop the iFDR Panel Mount series."

Guardian power supply, cords, and mount.
"But, other companies offer panel mounts or docks," you observe. Yes, that's true but no others of which I'm aware have taken it as far as does Guardian.

The mounts themselves are very cool, literally, as they have been custom designed by Guardian to allow airflow to keep a constantly-running iPad or iPhone from overheating. Power cords are firmly attached so when you mount the iPad or iPhone, it begins drawing from ship's power to keep the battery charged and the screen functioning. An audio cable is also available to bring device sounds directly to your headset.

The mount itself, a seemingly mundane piece of hardware, is also well considered. You angle the Apple device into the mount, pivot to flat and slide toward the power receptacle end. When mounted, the iPad or iPhone is completely flush with the rest of the panel, looking as though it were factory installed. It's beautiful. Getting the iPad out at the end of the flight is equally simple. Slide the device away from its power cord coupling, press the end opposite the home button, and the device will angle out where you can grip and remove it. [Note: This description was changed from an earlier version.]

Guardian goes to many of the shows, including ones like Sebring (coming up January 25-28, 2017) and has supported LSA functions like the LAMA Dinner at that show. Since they are also keeping down the price of their equipment, LSA owners, light kit builders, and ultralight pilots should check out their offerings.

Hear Guardian boss Ash Vij explain his line of iPad and iPhone mounts and more on this video.
Guardian is more than happy to serve the LSA and light kit aircraft community but they've also achieved FAA support to help out general aviaiton pilots that canot easily add an iPad to their cockpit, that is, mounted in their panel. That's now changed and good for Guardian!

Guardian Avionics recently received the first-ever FAA approval under a program called by the inevitable abbreviation: NORSEE. This translates to Non-Required Safety Enhancing Equipment and allows installation of not-certified compoents into certified aircraft.

Guardian was approved to mount all models of the Guardian Avionics iFDR panel mount line for the iPad and iPhone. They also got approval for their iFDR Power 150 and 250 USB power supplies to be added to Part 23 certified GA aircraft and Part 27 and 29 normal and transport category rotorcraft. Under the FAA authorization, the iFDR panel mounts and USB power supplies can also be installed as a minor alteration.

By eliminating cumbersome and clunky iPad and iPhone yoke mounts, along with the mess of power cables, certified aircraft owners can now experience cleaner and safer mounting and power options for their cockpits. Welcome GA airplane owners to the wonderfully digitized world of LSA.


GA Deliveries Decline Yet Tecnam Performs Well
By Dan Johnson, November 11, 2016

The world best seller is Cirrus SR22, especially the 22T for turbo.
Every quarter, like clockwork, the General Aviation Manufacturers Association (GAMA), issues its delivery report. I've used their data in the past (see HERE) and I appreciate the work they do for the GA producer community. For the past few years, these reports have not exactly been a bright spot, with fairly small numbers of aircraft reported delivered and trends sloping downward.

Thanks to my LAMA associate in Europe, Jan Fridrich, ByDanJohnson.com also reports airplane activity, although Jan and I use FAA registration data modified only by our intimate knowledge of the light aircraft industry. Both GAMA and LAMA must interpret some info as these data sources are more slippery than you might think. For each organization the best info is that which you can distill over years of reporting. If the detail may have potential errors (usually small) the long term trends are more reliable.

I want to give you a small glimpse at GAMA's numbers for the first nine months of 2016. I am well aware such info is not why you come to this website. However, as GAMA has coaxed a few of the larger LSA producers into its membership, I found some facts of interest.

Tecnam's lovely Astore resembles the Cirrus but costs a fraction as much.
The best news was Tecnam's numbers. This Italian company has been a major force in light aircraft production for years. That isn't changing; in fact, it appears certain to accelerate.

From GAMA's numbers I ignore all the business jet, turbine, helicopter, and ag-plane data. That stuff interests me and most readers only peripherally. So, I look solely at their Single Engine Piston (SEP) data as the closest comparison to LSA and light kit aircraft. GAMA reported 601 SEPs for the first nine months, or 800 annualized.

Of that, Tecnam logged 122 units for better than 20% of all GAMA SEPs. This does count all their aircraft with one engine including their Type Certified P2010 four seater as well as their LSA models, the latter accounting for 53 units or 71 annualized. GAMA decided from info supplied by Tecnam which ones were LSA, referring to their ASTM standards compliance. The GA organization leaves LSA out of their summary tables but includes those stats in their detail info.

To compare, Cessna reported 127 units in the same nine-month period. So, short by only a hair, Tecnam produced as many SEPs as did giant Cessna. Both significantly trailed Cirrus, which logged 226 units delivered (38% of all SEPs), by far the best in the list. Other GA producers, in order, were Diamond (46) and Piper (41), trailed distantly by Bonanza (16), Champion (15), Mooney (5), and Maule (3).

Tecnam's P2008 is a handsome and popular Light-Sport entry. Tecnam photos courtesy the company
The only other LSA producers included on GAMA's review were Flight Design (19) and CubCrafters (27... of which 22 were LSA). Flight Design is going through reorganization and how GAMA will handle that change remains to be seen. CubCrafters, with 22 LSA (all Carbon Cubs, zero Sport Cubs) annualizes to 29 LSA and that is far off their hot pace the last few years. In 2015, the West coast Cub-like builder slipped from their one-a-week rate in the preceding few years and 2016's info appears to slow further. Could the number of potential buyers of $200,000 Cubs be dropping or is this just a temporary slowdown? CubCrafters has competition from American Legend and various European suppliers of very similar aircraft (SportairUSA's Shock), American variations (Just Aircraft) that perform even better, and still others with more affordable prices (Rans).

All that said, Tecnam clearly looks like the strong company in light aviation with numbers way ahead of whomever comes second. The company has a wide line of several LSA (P92, P2008, Astore, etc.) plus the dual-Rotax Twin, the newer P2010 GA model and an 11-seater in progress. Good for Tecnam!


DeLand Showcase 2016 a Success in Inaugural Event
By Dan Johnson, November 8, 2016

The first-ever DeLand Sport Aviation Showcase finished on a high note with a sold-out flock of vendors giving kudos to event director Jana Filip and her team. I spoke to most exhibitors and heard zero complaints. By itself that's rather unusual. Perhaps they were cutting the new show some slack but more likely their enthusiasm was because the show had indeed been well executed.

At every airshow I've attended vendors seem hard to satisfy about foot traffic. By afternoon each of the three days, visitors seemed to thin, nonetheless most airplane vendors reported good qualified visitors. Several companies reported "solid leads" developed at the event and apparently a few sales occurred

Attendees also seemed to enjoy themselves in the abundant sunshine and 80-degree temperatures of early November. The event ran 3-4-5 this year and has already set dates for next year with an expectation of similar weather. One thing many attendees liked was the easy access to go take a demo flight in an aircraft they might be considering to buy.

Smaller events like DeLand offer a compelling case for visitors for precisely this reason. Among such focused shows, DeLand joins a group including Sebring (coming up January 25-28, 2017), Midwest LSA Expo, and Copperstate with another in planning.

Nando Groppo Trail fitted with cameras for an upcoming VPR, Video Pilot Report.
I judge DeLand 2016 a solid success that clearly benefitted from long experience and hard work by director Jana Filip, her husband Gary Filip, and airport manager John Eiff. Aided by a small army of volunteers the first-ever event functioned very smoothly. Most expect traffic to grow for subsequent events given how well everything worked over three straight days of pleasant weather. DeLand is near Daytona Beach and Orlando, Florida in an easily-accessed location. The airport and the new event is strongly supported by the City of DeLand with the mayor and other officials attending. DeLand is also a particularly active sky diving airport yet even with many disparate users, things ran safely and efficiently.

One smart decision was to pick dates near the gigantic National Business Aircraft Association (NBAA) show that occurred November 1-2-3 at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando. The two events could hardly be more different, but NBAA attracts all the main aviation publications. DeLand hoped to draw some of these journalists since they were in the area anyway. With visits from AOPA Pilot, General Aviation News, AVweb, Aero-News Net, Plane & Pilot, Flying magazine plus a number of free lance writers and photographers, I'd say this date decision was a resounding, over-the-top success. Look for the work of those journalists as uploaded or printed.

Even though it was a tail-end-of-the-season show, DeLand attracted some products Americans had not seen before this year. These include JMB Aircraft's VL3 and Russia's SP30 STOL that first debuted in the U.S. at Oshkosh 2016 plus the Sky Tractor and a novel new avionics device called WingBug.

In addition, we saw the first installation anywhere of Dynon's new HDX. Installed in the panel of a new CTLS now produced by AeroJones Aviation, we shot a video with Kirk Kleinholz, airshow tech guru for the west coast supplier of the most popular glass screens in Light-Sport Aircraft. The new unit builds on the wonderful success of SkyView with more easily operated physical controls plus a slicker-than-ever touchscreen operation. Watch for the new video.

The speedy sibling of the former Gobosh 800XP (see video) is this retractable JMB Aircraft VL3 capable of 145 knots.
JMB Aircraft attracted attention with their retractable LSA-like aircraft. I've seen this company in Europe at the Aero Friedrichshafen show. They are impressive marketers and they wish to use those skills to promote their faster model that smokes along at 145 knots propelled by the 100 horsepower Rotax 912 engine.

If the VL3 looks vaguely familiar to you, congratulations on your sharp eye. JMB Aircraft is the new production company of the VL3, a plane designed by Vanessa Air and produced in the past by Aveko. Truly keen readers will recognize Aveko was the builder behind the Gobosh 800XP of the earliest years of Light-Sport Aircraft. The 31.5-foot-span Aveko/Gobosh version is a fixed gear LSA model where the 27.7-foot-span retractable VL3 is allowed to perform better when registered as an Experimental Amateur Built or other experimental category. The LSA model maxes at 119 knots in max cruise where the high cruise of VL3 is 145 knots.

Russia-built SP30 STOL is clearly based on Zenith's 701/750 series although closer examination reveals a number of changes and such attributes as fully-bucked or solid rivets. A very sturdy looking machine, the example at DeLand had fat tires with chubby wheelpants that looked like they could handle fairly rough terrain yet still look at home on an airport ramp. This is a simply equipped airplane but it had a very modest price point for an all-metal aircraft.

Get more specs and descriptions on their English language page on the website of Canada-based Sky Tex Alliance.

Top left, clockwise: Just Aircraft SuperSTOL, Evolution Revo, Green Eagle Sky Tractor, and Progressive Aerodyne Searey, represented by FlyTheBeach.com.
Sky Tractor by Green Eagle was tucked in a corner of the indoor exhibit tent; I almost missed it. This single place Part 103-capable powered parachute entry boasts a 36-horsepower four stroke Kohler engine. It looks lighter than most powered parachute because it's closer to a four-wheeled powered paraglider. Cleverly designed to allow reasonably easy fitting of a jump seat, Sky Tractor would then have to be approved as an Experimental Amateur Built aircraft. Sy Tractor is very modestly price barely north of $10,000 depending on options chosen.

Last but by no means least was an pre-release appearance by WingBug as this new device prepares for market in 2017. Because the product is undergoing final configuration changes leading to a design freeze, I don't want to be premature. I will have more information to follow in an article as the new season arrives and Wing Bug is ready to hit the market.

WingBug is being developed by Alex Rolinski, known to light aircraft enthusiasts for his role in a different company, Aero Adventures, maker of the reasonable priced Aventura seaplane kit.

Wing Bug is a stand-alone device that can clamp securely to any Go-Pro mount. You'll probably stick it out on a wing, away from influence by prop blast. It wirelessly (not via BlueTooth) sends air data, attitude, and heading info (ADAHRS) to the WingBug app on an iPhone or iPad. This is not simply a GPS gizmo or flight navigation app. For example, to provide airspeed, WingBug has its own pitot tube. It looks slick, can be used on certified aircraft, and may prove to be game changer. I'll have more early next year.

The video below takes you on a quick tour of most of the outdoor displays at the DeLand Showcase 2016. The first year event earned rave reviews from vendors and plenty were on hand as all 100 or so spaces were sold out. Based on this first year, the DeLand Showcase seems likely to enjoy ongoing success. Dates for the 2017 event are set: November 2-3-4. (Regrets to any company not shown; this is not a complete vendor review.)


AeroJones Shows CTLS at New DeLand Showcase Event
By Dan Johnson, November 4, 2016

One company making a splash at the brand-new DeLand Sport Aviation Showcase event that opened today was AeroJones, occupying the first two spaces inside the entrance. I've written about this company before but since spring a striking change has occurred.

Flight Design — originator of the market-leading CT-series of LSA — has completed a court-appointed reorganization. Many of the former company team members will take certain assets and move forward. I will have more on that in a future article.

After the transaction is fully completed AeroJones Aviation will own the CT line including the current CTLS and CTLSi. They will also pursue completion of Flight Design's four seater, C4, that flew in 2015.

Introducing the new owner of America's popular CTLS...

AeroJones Aviation is headquartered in Taichung, Taiwan, often referred to as the "Silicon Valley of Taiwan." After first acquiring a license to build Flight Design aircraft more than two years ago, the company went through a thorough training and evaluation from Flight Design officials.

Aircraft production began for the Taiwanese company after they installed new production tooling and equipment including a five-axis CNC machine, water and Laser cutters, TIG welding, composite layup and post-cure ovens, plus a modern paint booth. Flight Design provided production worker training and quality management training. AeroJones finished their first airplanes in 2014 and has since been refining the production and quality systems. Proving their skills to government officials, AeroJones' production facility passed numerous audits and earned a Production Certificate from China's CAAC at the end of 2015.

Backing AeroJones is a parent company called GSEO (Genius Electro Optical), a manufacturer and supplier for industrial LED products and laminated lenses for many popular smartphones. GSEO has roughly 20,000 employees. Brand new production facilities were secured on mainland China, across the Taiwan Strait.

Initial CTLS and CTLSi supplied by AeroJones to American distributors and dealers won good marks. "The quality was very good," said Tom Gutmann, the country's largest Flight Design distributor, having delivered more than 100 aircraft. "AeroJones personnel spent several days with us and in great detail documented every minor issue we found in the first aircraft. We were impressed how carefully they listened."

AeroJones Aviation Executive VP, Hsieh Chi-Tai (L) with Senior VP of IAOPA Martin Robinson and Zhang Feng, Chairman AOPA China.
At DeLand Showcase 2016, AeroJones Americas held a press conference where they announced their new U.S. operation.

"AeroJones Aviation will be established in Florida as a centralized assembly and distribution facility for the AeroJones Aviation-produced CT series aircraft" said Chris Benaiges, CEO of AeroJones Americas. Chris has been associated with Flight Design and their CT series for several years; he and partners stepped in to restore the distribution of these aircraft after the court reorganization.

"AeroJones Aviation is pleased to bring renewed life to the very popular CTLS in America," said Hsieh Chi-Tai, Executive Vice President at AeroJones. "We are pleased to work with our U.S. representatives at AeroJones Americas as we resume shipments of CTLS to America."

Headquartered in Central Taiwan Science Park, AeroJones Aviation will ship mostly completed aircraft from mainland China. AeroJones Americas will receive the aircraft, assemble them from shipping containers, and will deliver to American customers. Over time they expect to add a growing number of American-sourced components at the U.S. operation. Many high-value items on a CTLS are already sourced elsewhere (Rotax engine, BRS parachute, Dynon or Garmin avionics and more).

"AeroJones Americas will have the resources to bring safety, quality control, and the end user experience to a new level for the CT series," stated AeroJones Americas COO John Hurst.

AeroJones will focus initially on CTLS and CTLSi. Further information on C4 will be available in the months ahead.


Remos Announces New Dealer as Network Builds
By Dan Johnson, November 2, 2016

The first-ever inaugural event of the DeLand starts tomorrow, November 3rd and runs through the 4th and 5th (THursday, Friday, Saturday).I hope you are planning to attend. The exhibitor spaces are full sold and several aircraft were in place by Wednesday afternoon before the show. C'mon down and check out the newest event in light recreational aviation.

After a major setback in 2014, Remos found and secured solid financial support for their light aircraft manufacturing enterprise. See the earlier story here but the great news is that Remos AG is now back and better than ever. This year at AirVenture 2016, I flew with marketing guru Patrick Holland-Moritz in the new Remos GXiS. As you can read here, I found the new model a joy to fly with the best implementation yet doe Rotax's fuel injected and upgraded 912 iS Sport powerplant. Patrick coined the term "smartification" to describe their approach and I love his new word.

As the German producer continues to reinvigorate their business, they are also securing new dealers to represent them both in the USA and overseas. Remos was founded in the mid-1990s. Today, Remos produces the Remos GX alongside the top-of-the-line GXiS. More than 100 Remos LSA are flying in the U.S., with some 450 operating worldwide. About 50 people work for Remos today.

Remos recently announced a new dealer in the United States. SimplyFly is supporting the German manufacturer with an innovative approach of how to bring people into aviation. The company is based at Aurora airport, just a 40-minutes car ride from downtown Chicago, Illinois.

When David Spano and Tony Sabos established SimplyFly six years ago in 2010, their goal was to provide flight training under the banner of Power Sports. They wanted to focus on growing sport aviation by targeting the general public. What is their approach?

"Around 15 percent of those who take the Discovery Flight go on to become Sport Pilots or Private Pilots," said Remos on behalf of SimplyFly. That is an impressive conversion rate after a single introductory flight. "All of the training is done in Remos aircraft," said Patrick. SimplyFly has four Remos models for this purpose and of course, the Illinois company — with an densely populated major metropolitan market a short drive away — is also a dealer able to sell new aircraft like GXiS.

At their fair, mall, and festival displays, "SimplyFly works to correct false perceptions and present flying as an attainable sport. They don't sell aviation as a mode of transportation, they sell fun," exclaimed Patrick!

Based at Aurora Municipal Airport (KARR) west of Chicago SimplyFly offers a Sport Pilot certificate for $6,400 and the Private Pilot for $9,600. This is no bare-bones training. The dealership and flight school includes 40 hours of flying for Sport Pilot training — 20 is the bare minimum according to FAA regs — or 60 hours for the Private. Both courses include ground school.

"Almost all our students pass their check ride in less than the allotted time," said David. "Once they start on a certificate, we encourage them to fly at least twice a week. We credit some of this success to the forgiving flight characteristics of the Remos GXiS." They report students become comfortable very quickly.

Flight training in Remos aircraft has worked out so well the partners moved up to become dealers so they can offer sales and service.

The second Remos dealer in North America after the German company's reorganization, SimplyFly is part of the Remos expansion as the European manufacturer rebuilds a global presence for their Light-Sport Aircraft. SimplyFly has plans of its own to expand to other major metropolitan areas.

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

 



 

 
 

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.

J230-D & J170-D

MVP.aero 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. Hereís one to examine much more closely!


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.

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.
Wave

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.

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

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.

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!
CTLSi

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

SilverLight Aviation created the first all-American gyroplane with modern sophistication and equipment, built by a proven expert. Gyroplanes like AR1 fly much like fixed wings but with real advantages.


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.


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.


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.

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.

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.

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.

Remos AG is the manufacturer of the next generation GXiS. This beautiful composite design built by German craftsmen offers excellent performance, light responsive handling, and a deluxe cockpit finish to please any aviator.

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.

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?

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.

Sonex Aircraft is one of aviation's best-known brands offering exciting performance, easy building, prices to match the budgets of most pilots, and you will do business with some fine people. Taking years of success to new heights, Sonex debuted the "B" models with numerous upgrades.

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.


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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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Updated: December 3, 2016

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