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Next Sebring LSA Expo
January 25-28, 2017.
 


Join ByDanJohnson.com's team and other light and sport aircraft enthusiasts at Aero 2017 -- 5-8 April.
 
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Next Sun 'n Fun
April 4 to April 9, 2017.
 

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2016 Dates: September 8-9-10
 

First-ever DeLand Showcase
2016 Dates: November 3-4-5
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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
What Effect Will “BasicMed” Have on Light-Sport?
By Dan Johnson, January 17, 2017

Tecnam's handsome Astore helped celebrate the company's 65th anniversary in business.
Are excited general aviation pilots kidding themselves about BasicMed? At least one prominent light aviation expert thinks so and judging from comments I've received, I am inclined to say this is much more common than some want to believe.

The number of inquiries or comments I have received compels me to speak to this subject. Several readers or viewers asked variations on this question, "Will this have an adverse effect on Light-Sport Aircraft?" I'll offer my response and then add some other comments.

Aviation medical reform is nearly complete (BasicMed becomes effective May 1st). Many pilots may be waiting to qualify. Most need only to fulfill the requirement for an online evaluation every two years (free from AOPA) plus needing to see a doctor every four. If they did not earn a third class medical in the last 10 years, they must get that out of the way first. This is potentially a big problem as many let their medical lapse for various reasons.

The good news: Light-Sport Aircraft or Sport Pilot-eligible kit aircraft trigger no such requirement.

The Airplane Factory's Sling is available as a two-seat LSA or a 4-seat kit.
Aviators from the LSA and Sport Pilot-eligible aircraft community are generally pleased that some pilots will be able to acquire airplanes from the used GA fleet at low cost or continue to fly the one they already own or rent. The fleet averages nearly 40 years old but that also means lower asking prices (though BasicMed demand could nudge the prices upward).

However, the appeal remains strong for a new LSA at an affordable price or a used LSA at a reduced cost. These roomy, up-to-date aircraft commonly have modern fuel-efficient engines, highly sophisticated equipment including glass panels, and feature low operating costs with performance to match many GA airplanes, albeit with two seats. Light kit aircraft offer broad customization at modest expense. All can be flown with no medical proof other than a valid driver's license.

When the rule change was first proposed five years ago, LSA sales took a nose dive. That body blow to a young industry segment has long since been absorbed and pilots who want a late-model aircraft have been choosing from dozens of models that are now well-established in the market and boast good safety records.

Contrary to some naysayers, LSA has been a global success. Today, LSA and LSA-like aircraft represent well over 60,000 units worldwide with annual sales around 3,000 new units. That last figure is about triple the number of new Type Certified aircraft delivered annually, according to recent reports. Find more details on LSA around the world in this article.

Remos debuted their slick new GXiS model at AirVenture 2016.
"As for the current [BasicMed] proposal, it is not the open medical idea that the LSA pilots enjoy," observed Eric Tucker, longtime industry expert and technical representative for Rotax in the Americas.

"The 'hoops' put in by the FAA make [achieving BasicMed] anything but simple," he added. "There are still checks, there are still evaluations that make this far more complex than the LSA medical we currently have."

Eric summarized noting that, given those fresh "hoops," LSA will not lose its appeal due to the medical changes for pilots.

"After reviewing the new requirements, the so-called relaxing of the medical for pilots, I am rather surprised at the pundits' responses," elaborated Eric. "This is not at all the same as the LSA rule. Indeed this is in some ways worse than what they have at the moment, in my opinion. You now have people who have to go to a doctor who will be unsure of what is really required and perhaps reluctant to sign off on a certificate that they know so little about."

Eric suggested asking yourself these questions: "Will doctors unfamiliar with aviation be willing to sign off for aviation medicals? Will they be willing to take on the responsibility for this in light of the legal response, if it should and no doubt will occur, should a person have a medical issue later while flying? I think that the positive thoughts expressed today by some might change when we recheck this in a few years. Time will tell."

"The LSA rule is far better. People should be made aware of this," Eric concluded.


Levil Aviation Makes iLevil 3 Do Even More
By Dan Johnson, January 13, 2017

In the new world of BasicMed — got that shortened phrase in your vocabulary yet? — more pilots seem likely to return to the air. While some worry about what this means for sales of Light-Sport Aircraft and light kits that can be flown without a medical, I'm not worried. In fact, more pilots returning to the skies means more prospects for LSA airframe manufacturers and sellers, including pilots selling a LSA they already own. Welcome back to blue skies, aviators!

One company deserves to be in the focus of those returning pilots as well as the legions of current recreational or sport pilots (...that is, those of you who haven't been sweating the medical requirement because you have been flying your LSA and light Sport Pilot-eligible kits). I refer to a company that is a neighbor of mine here in Florida: Levil Aviation.

Levil makes those little boxes that are capable of making your iPad much more useful. Without Levil, these screens do some great work, no doubt. Yet they can do much more! Now, Levil Aviation has a new-and-improved iLevil 3 that I want to describe for you.

iLevil 3 boasts all the same features of units past (dual band ADS-B, WAAS GPS, AHRS*) and adds the following — an ability to accept a standard SD memory card which will record and save all of your flight information. This information can then be transferred into an Excel spreadsheet to present a clear picture of your flight (position, airspeed, altitude, attitude, and more).

For those of you who enjoy X-Plane on your computer or device, iLevil 3's data is saved in FDR format allowing users to replay their flight in X-Plane Flight Simulator. Cool, huh?

The central Florida company sees this recording feature becoming a useful tool in this industry, for example, in a flight school environment to recreate a training flight in a safe, calm environment. Or, those doing flight testing in a new aircraft can now have access to valuable information with minimal effort and costs.

Levil Aviation marketing man Larry Rivera added, "Available on the iLevil3 AW model (the bolted-on unit; see photo, lower right) is a new optional GPS source meets the position source performance requirements for ADS-B out in the experimental aircraft market (according to FAA regulation 91.227)." Further the newest AW model can communicate with currently installed transponders (mode-S), to activate extended squitter, meeting the 2020 ADS-B mandate on experimental and Light-Sport. Levil recommends using one of Trig Avionics' transponders for this capability.

Levil general manager Ananda Leon said, "We always strive to enhance our current products by looking for ways to add functionality and usefulness to the instruments we manufacture. As a company that is owned and operated by pilots for pilots, we try to add features that we feel would make the overall flying experience safer, informative, and fun."

Levil Aviation was the first to manufacture a standalone AHRS* unit for iPad, eventually developing and introducing the iLevil all-in-one avionics products for iOS and Android leading to the release of the iLevil 3.

*AHRS is an abbreviation for "attitude and heading reference system" using sensors for three axes to provide attitude information including roll, pitch and yaw.


Paul Poberezny’s Home Like You’ve Never Seen It
By Dan Johnson, January 12, 2017

Have you ever flown the ultralight area pattern at EAA AirVenture Oshkosh? Quite a few readers of ByDanJohnson.com have done so or have at least seen their buddy's photo or video while flying above the world's most famous airshow.

Usually the aerial views you see are of the jam-packed area to the north with giant military airplanes, bizjets, and innumerable groupings of all manner of aircraft from spam cans to homebuilts and everything in between.

Those of us who love light (lightest) aviation are drawn to the ultralight area... "down on the farm" ...the area now cleverly named "Fun Fly Zone." If you fly the weirdly shaped pattern of the ultralight area, you have almost certainly seen EAA founder Paul Poberezny's house with a view that might look something like the one above (courtesy Google Earth).

"Pope Paul" died August 22, 2013 at the age of 91 after a amazing career spanning more than 70 years of flying and building arguably the most interesting member organization in aviation.

Back in 2004 and 2005, when I consulted EAA about the then-new Sport Pilot / Light-Sport Aircraft initiative, I visited Paul at his final home. I was focused on my talk with the man but he showed me around his mini-museum on the premises. That was a too-brief but highly personal glimpse of aviation history as captured by Paul.

I didn't see all he had in his collection but maybe now I'll get another chance.

Aircraft Spruce & Specialty announced, "[We have] purchased the former home of Paul and Audrey Poberezny in Oshkosh and will make the home available to the EAA for tours and special events." The original stone farmhouse is over 100 years old.

"This home hosted many of aviation's leaders and icons. [It houses] countless aviation artifacts and photos representing the relationships and events that shaped Paul's remarkable life ... providing insight into the lifetime passion and vision of one of aviation's greatest leaders," added Aircraft Spruce.

"Contact EAA for details on visiting the Poberezny home beginning in the summer of 2017," advised Aircraft Spruce. Cool! I'll bet many will take them up on this opportunity. Thanks to Aircraft Spruce for preserving this aspect of American aviation history!


What Are Pilots’ “Most Important Issues?”
By Dan Johnson, January 5, 2017

Update 12/6/16 — According to AOPA Online, "The Federal Aviation Administration has reviewed the AOPA Air Safety Institute's aeromedical online course and confirmed that it meets the third class medical reform requirements that Congress created last summer. Pilots would need to complete the course, which AOPA will offer for free, every two years in addition to seeing their personal physician every four years to operate under the law.

These steps are NOT required for anyone flying a LSA or Sport Pilot-eligible kit aircraft.—DJ

What issues are "most important" to general aviation pilots for 2017? Are "general aviation" pilots different than those of you who read ByDanJohnson.com? The second question can only be answered by each of you, independently.

My guess is that while you might consider yourself a GA pilot, you might also — or distinctively — consider yourself a "recreational" or "sport" pilot. Whatever label you prefer, I found the following chart of interest. The question was posed in an earlier edition of Aviation eBrief and after some compilation they released the results. I don't know the current count of eBrief readers but it was once something like 65,000. Neither do I know, nor do they state, how many responses were used to compile these stats. My guess is that it was a large enough sample to be valid.

Here's the Shock Cub (Outback Shock in America) offered by SportairUSA . Its price is far below the well-selling CarbonCub and a fraction of any new GA model.
The survey asked about "third class medical reform" even though this has already been done... well, done in the sense that the plans are now laid but not yet fully implemented.

AOPA reported, "Medical reforms have been passed by the House and Senate, and signed into law." This action occurred on July 15th, 2016, even before last summer's Oshkosh. The survey was done since that time.

So, still the biggest single issue is "Third class medical reform?" Hmm, seems odd to me but I found it on the Internet so it must be true.

The number two issue — hot on the heels of the number one issue — was the "Cost of flying." It was not defined what cost this meant. Perhaps it was the overall cost. Or cost of operation. Or both. Likely, this was somewhat in the eye of the beholder.

Conclude what you will but I found it fascinating that the medical and the cost of flying comprised two-thirds of the pilots responding. The values sum to 100% so you were permitted one answer.

The sleek and highly refined BRM Aero Bristell is a handsome, superb-flying choice, a model in perhaps its fifth generation of evolution.
BOTH issues have been squarely addressed by Light-Sport Aircraft for more than a dozen years, yet these remain the leading issues for GA pilots? Have they not looked at LSA? Do they not consider LSA "real" enough airplanes? I ask these questions without knowing the answers, but it seems to me some pilots are overlooking capabilities and values of LSA and light kit aircraft

Sure, I know some LSA are priced beyond what many pilots can afford. Yet lower cost options abound, with prices well below $100,000 and a few selections closer to $50,000 and even that is for fully-built, ready-to-fly aircraft. What about kits, some of which can get airborne for $30,000. If you accept alternatives like trikes, powered parachutes, or gyros, the "cost of flying" can be held quite low. At even lower cost are ultralights, some below $20,000, less than the average price of a new car.

I have to wonder what these two-thirds of respondents are saying. Keep your aircraft choice under 1,320 pounds and you address both top issues. Do you get it? I don't.

If you don't receive Aviation eBrief and if you want it, you can sign up here. It is free. All of it may be of interest but it tends to focus on general aviation (i.e., certified aircraft) and only occasionally delves into recreational aviation or Light-Sport Aircraft.


Sky Writing 2.0 — Flight Tracks in the Sky
By Dan Johnson, January 3, 2017

Christian Majunke (R), CTO of REMOS, hands over the keys for GXNXT serial number 448 to Yeng Cheng and Prof. Dr. Juergen Pannicke from German Light Aircraft, the Remos dealer for China and Taiwan. This aircraft will be shipped to a customer in Taiwan.
Almost every year at AirVenture Oshkosh, some pilot or team of pilots performs some sky writing, that is, trailing smoke while flying precisely enough that you can read what they are writing from the ground.

The slow script building of the letters captivates the attention from tens of thousands on the ground; of course, many are pilots who are compelled by their interest to watch any airplane gyrations. I also enjoy these aerial penmanship exercises. However, in the 21st Century and with the looming 10th anniversary of the iPhone, perhaps it's about time aviation caught up to the tech wave.

In this story two Light-Sport Aircraft went aloft for a whole different sort of sky writing, call it Sky Writing 2.0. In this exercise the scale is vastly larger and the challenge is perhaps greater as the letters cannot be seen, not from the air or on the ground or by the pilot. However, they can be seen on the GPS track displayed on various devices. Websites and apps come into play, in this case FlightRadar24.

On Monday, December, 12th, Remos engineers Paul Foltz and Christian Majunke took off for a special holiday flight from Pasewalk, Germnany,, headquarters of Remos. They "wrote" the words "Merry Xmas" on FlightRadar's map while flying over Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania in a Remos GXiS.
First up, Remos Aircraft offered a Christmas greeting, though to keep the flight a bit shorter, they used a common (if somewhat bothersome to evangelical Christians) abbreviation of "Xmas."

In announcing this aerial ballet, Remos said, "2016 was a very exciting year for the entire Remos team. In April we introduced the new Remos GXiS at Aero Friedrichshafen, and in summer we brought our new airplane to the EAA AirVenture in Oshkosh."

I had a chance to fly this bird with an old friend Patrick Holland-Moritz, now involved with marketing for Remos GXiS is a beauty. Read about that flight here.

"[Since then] we flew many hours without any issues," reported Remos. "We expect the certification both as German Ultralight Aircraft and U.S. SLSA very soon and are good on track for the European certification as LSA."

As the German company looks forward to a fresh year year with new ideas and projects, they added, "We would like to thank all our customers and partners for their support. We wish you all a Merry Christmas and a happy new year."

A related story appearing on CNN Online continues the theme with the other holiday celebration... New Years.

I don't know if the British pilot saw the work of the Remos pilots but I could not resist this double story.

As CNN reported, Ben Davis, a recreational pilot from Buckingham, England accepted a challenge of delivering an aerial message to the screen in your hand, laptop, or on your desk.

Ben took his Evektor EV97 (similar to the Sportstar though clearly an earlier model) on a cross country flight but he flew in straight lines only part of the time. His goal wasn't to get somewhere, but to spell "Happy NY" on Flightradar24 as that website tracks flights all around the globe.

"Flying enthusiasts also use the website to log their [non-commercial] flights," wrote CNN reporter Alex Leininger. The message he was able to spell by his flight path can be seen on a map accompanying the flight details (nearby photo).

UK pilot Ben Davis tweeted, "Here's a ... Happy [New Year] to you all." He reported flying 215 miles taking two hours and 23 minutes. "Cheers," Ben said!
"Seeing as it was going to take over two hours to complete, I didn't fancy flying far away to try," Davis said. "The trick was to make it one continuous line, starting and stopping the radar track log back on the runway." To my eyes, Ben appeared to have succeeded handily.

Ben reported his "sky writing" trip took two hours and 23 minutes and covered 215 miles between the towns of Royal Leamington Spa and Milton Keynes.

"It's my first-ever attempt and I'm pleased with it," Ben said. "If I'd made a mistake when almost done, I'd have had to scrap it and start over."

In the USA, Evektor is represented by Dreams Come True.


Aeropilot Legend 600 Is Newest Special LSA (#143)
By Dan Johnson, December 30, 2016

Most people have something of a love-hate relationship with email. Certainly I do and the not-good part looms larger when I let an email slip too far down my inbox. Exactly that happened when news of a fresh Special LSA steathily evaded my attention.

With that in mind... Any readers who have sent email for which you got no response, please know that I read all mail. Time simply does not allow me to respond to every one.

What is the new SLSA? Welcome Aeropilot Legend 600 imported by U.S. representative Aeropilot USA, which received a Special LSA Airworthiness Certificate from FAA on September 21st, 2016. After a bit of delay, we've now added Legend 600 to our 143-aircraft-long SLSA List.

Deon Lombard is the American rep. He comes from an aviation family following Anton Lombard, a World War II pilot who founded Safair Freighters in South Africa. They report this was the nation's first air cargo service and is now the largest air cargo company in the country. An aviation engineer by training, Deon created a flight school in South Africa and now runs Fly Light Sport California in Fullerton.

First introduced in Europe at the 2011 Aero Friedrichshafen show, the Czech-based manufacturer said, "Legend was designed as an 80%-scale version of the very successful Cessna 182, with two passenger seating for [European} Ultralight or LSA." They added, "But [Legend 600] actually has more passenger room than the Cessna." Aeropilot's European model is called Legend 540.

Aeropilot Ltd., began to plan production of the 600 kilogram (1.320 pound) Legend 600 in late 2014, building the first in 2015 for an Australian customer. For several years, the southern hemisphere nation has accepted the ASTM standards, allowing compliant Light-Sport Aircraft to be sold down-under. In May 2016 that first Aussie Legend 600 completed a 2,800-nautical-mile round trip circumnavigating all of southern Australia.

According to the Czech producer, "LSA Legend 600 is intended for elementary pilot training ... and for traveling." Low operating costs allow lower cost pilot certificates, said Aeropilot. "Great performance and extra utilizable load allow comfortable and fast traveling. LSA Legend 600 is full-composite [high] wing monoplane made of sandwich materials." Desginer Jaromír Smékal used modern composite techniques to achieve a lower empty weight that increases useful load."

Legend 600's fuselage is constructed using sandwich technology with a carbon composite material. Legend's wing is constructed similarly.

We are "introducing the Aeropilot Legend 600 starting at $85,000," said Aeropilot USA, "with the Starter Package [equipped with] the minimum required for daytime, VFR flight. "Great for the pilot who doesn't plan to enter controlled airspace." Legend retails for approximately $100,000 with the Trainer Package. Prices always change as does the equipment list, so email the California company for current pricing.

As the new pink airworthiness card proves, Aeropilot's Legend 600 complies with LSA standards. The aircraft is powered by a Rotax 912ULS swinging a three-blade Woodcomp prop. With 29 gallons of fuel on board, the carbon fiber Legend 600 boasts a flight endurance of seven hours equating to "approximately 700 nautical mile range."

Aeropilot Legend 600 specs: Empty weight 728 pounds (depending on options); Gross weight 1,320 pounds; Stall with flaps 30 knots (35 mph); Cruise speed at 75% power 113 knots (130 mph); Range 700 nautical miles (807 statute); Climb rate at sea level 1,375 feet per minute; Luggage capacity 66 pounds. All specifications are according to U.S. representative Aeropilot USA.

Welcome to Deon and the Legend 600 that now (somewhat belatedly) appears on our SLSA List. Hopefully we'll see the Cessna 182 lookalike at one of the major shows where we might capture video of the new model.

Happy New Year to all readers of ByDanJohnson.com!


Glasair’s Merlin LSA Coming to Sun ‘n Fun 2017
By Dan Johnson, December 23, 2016

Glasair Aviation (previously Stoddard-Hamilton) is a storied aircraft company in the USA that has since 1980 manufactured aircraft kits. Previously, they achieved broad recognition for the Glasair II and III series of speedy retractables in several variations. They struck gold again with the Sportsman (formerly GlaStar) with its rugged capabilities. The company reports more than 1,200 of their aircraft are flying.

Merlin LSA is the company's newest model and its first foray into fully-manufactured, ready-to-fly aircraft. This newest addition gives a complementary stable of aircraft entries to the Washington State enterprise now owned by Chinese investor and businessman, Tieji Fang.

Merlin is a composite high-wing using tricycle-gear airplane that flight schools prefer. Merlin uses a Rotax 912iS engine and has chosen Advanced Flight System glass-panel avionics (a company now associated with Dynon). An optional BRS parachute system is in development. Not offered as a kit, Merlin LSA carries a base price of $149,950.

According to my journalist friend, Al Marsh writing for AOPA, "[Glasair president Nigel] Mott contacted consulting engineer Chuck Hautamaki for [the Merlin] design." Al added, "Special emphasis was placed on making the aircraft docile, especially when performing aerodynamic stalls." Later, Glasair production manager and test pilot Ben Rauk coordinated with an outside engineer to investigate changes to the prototype seeking to reduce weight and improve speed.

Taking its first flight on April 7th, 2015, FAA subsequently accepted Merlin as a Special Light-Sport Aircraft in late March 2016. The company felt this pace was "a big deal for this pioneering kitplane manufacturer."

"Much happened after we announced the first flight of Glasair Aviation's Merlin Light-Sport Aircraft," said company officials. "For nearly a year afterward, refinements and testing, testing, testing were the name of our game as we prepared our newest model plane to demonstrate compliance to ASTM standards and for production sales."

Again quoting Al Marsh, "The flight controls resemble [those on the now discontinued] Cessna Skycatcher, but Mott told Cessna [that] under the panel [Merlin's] side-to-side-sliding control stick uses entirely different engineering." Marsh observed that with no stick coming up from the floor heavier and older pilots will discover easier entry.

Known for the detail of its engineering, Glasair is still refining the aircraft to ensure the best customer experience.

"We will roll out the first production plane ready for pick up in June 2017," said Glasair's Rick Paul. "In the meantime we are constructing our beta models, allowing us to offer demo flights at our Washington state base beginning in February 2017.

Glasair elaborated, "We continue our hard work to make the Merlin as strong, safe, light and enjoyable as can be. In our minds, it is the perfect Light-Sport Aircraft for rusty pilots rediscovering the joy of easy weekend hops across the state. New pilots will enjoy its stable, easy handling and forgiving landing gear." Certainly, occupants will appreciate Merlin's roomy 47-inch-wide cockpit. Good lateral visibility combines with skylights to facilitate seeing traffic around busy destinations.

"All in all, [Merlin is] a great plane for sport pilots and flight schools alike," Glasair expressed. For those wondering, Merlin is named after the smallest raptor, not the wizard.

"We are shooting to have a beta-model Merlin at Sun 'n Fun 2017. I'll keep you updated about that and production progress in general," said marketing representative Rick Paul.

Merlin Specs — cruise 105 knots (121 mph); stall with no flaps 45 knots, with full flaps 39 knots; wing Span 31 feet 9 inches; wing area 132 square feet; cabin width 46.5 inches; baggage capacity 50 pounds; and, fuel capacity 24 gallons.


Icon Aircraft Advances Work of A5 Production
By Dan Johnson, December 20, 2016

More than any other one light aircraft company tends to resemble a Silicon Valley company (indeed, they are not location too far away, in Vacaville, California). Icon Aircraft markets like the big tech companies with compelling messages, visually striking images, and impressive airshow displays (albeit almost exclusively at AirVenture). They've managed to capture all kinds of media in and out of aviation. Cessna or Piper wishes they could market as well as Icon.

However, the company has been so long in coming to market that they've also created a group of naysayers. I see it as similar to the elections Americans just endured where one or the other candidate has some vigorous supporters and large chorus of those espousing #NotSomebody.

Indeed when Icon announced a production slowdown this spring, the latter group grew louder. The company said it was "in order to improve the supply chain and production processes." Not everyone believed them; it depended on which camp was doing the listening.

"Those changes are well underway thanks to a new composites manufacturing facility currently being built in Mexico and ongoing low-rate aircraft production in California," said Icon. They added that the California experience is "giving [our] manufacturing team insight into how to most efficiently build the A5."

Recently, A5 serial number 16 (out of a claimed 1,800 orders) rolled off the California production line, Icon reported. "It is receiving its FAA Certificate of Airworthiness this week." Icon added that the California factory will continue producing A5 aircraft at a low rate until the new composites manufacturing facility is completed. "This will allow the company to in-source the production of all composite airframe components once full-scale operations begin in March."

Meanwhile, south of the border (south of that famous wall The Donald wants to build)...

"The new 306,000-square-foot facility in Mexico will be finished in the coming weeks, and the installation of manufacturing systems and building improvements is already underway," said Icon. "The first airframe parts made at the new facility will be completed May 2017, with customer deliveries scheduled to begin next fall."

Some will surely lament that this means another year delay. (...sigh!)

"In the meantime, {the company] is occupying a temporary 34,000-square-foot building nearby where direct-labor training and limited composite fabrication have already begun," explained the California company. "Parts made at the new factory will be shipped across the border to the Vacaville factory, which will continue the A5 manufacturing process as it does today, including paint, systems installation, quality control, flight test, and aircraft deliveries."

Meanwhile here in the USA, specifically at one of three sites including the newest in Tampa, Florida...

In November, almost precisely as the DeLand Showcase ran its inaugural event, Icon began flight operations at the Peter O. Knight airport (KTPF) in Tampa, Florida. Those who know the area or who attended the AOPA convention in Tampa back in 2005 know this charming airport right on the water in the central Florida city on the Gulf of Mexico.

"The new flight center is Icon's first East Coast facility and offers the same courses as the flagship flight center at the company's headquarters in Vacaville, California," clarified Icon. Courses range from a single introductory A5 flight to a full Sport Pilot License with water endorsement for zero-time pilots. "[We] also offers transition courses for pilots already holding landplane or seaplane ratings." Courses are open to both A5 deposit holders and the general public.

Icon said it selected Tampa and Peter O. Knight because of the year-round flying weather, outstanding water flying, and the airport's convenient location just 10 minutes from downtown Tampa.

To learn more about Icon's Flight Centers, go to this website or send them email or call 707-564-4100.

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

 



 

 
 


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

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.


Murphy Aircraft offers a wide range of highly capable aircraft from the light biplane RENEGADE to their newest RADICAL with many variations in between. Years of design and manufacturing experience combine with modern computer-based tooling to make solid, well performing aircraft kits.



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

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

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.

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.

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.

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.

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

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.

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

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.

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.

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. Here’s one to examine much more closely!


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.

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.

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.


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.

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.

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.

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.

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?

Triton America started with a familiar-looking LSA model and significantly improved it, making it stronger while preserving the well-regarded flight characteristics. Welcome to a newcomer with lots of experience and their new Skytrek.

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.

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.

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.

Glasair Aviation became famous for their Glasair series. Today the Washington state company is focused on the newer Sportsman in several varieties and on Merlin LSA. Later in 2017, buyers can buy a Merlin in fully-ready-to-fly form from this much-admired company renown for its top-tier customer service.


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.

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Updated: January 20, 2017

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