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Next Sebring LSA Expo
January 25-28, 2017.

Join's team and other light and sport aircraft enthusiasts at Aero 2016 -- 20-23 April.
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April 5 to April 10, 2016.

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With Sebring completed, the 2016 airshow season is ready to bloom. Next up is Sun 'n Fun 2016, followed closely by Aero Friedrichshafen. Come see us in central Florida over April 5-10, 2016 or in Germany April 20-23, 2016.

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...a web log of developments in Sport Pilot/Light-Sport Aircraft
Newest Special LSA Is ... Rans’ S-20 Raven
By Dan Johnson, February 8, 2016

The world of Light-Sport Aircraft has matured in the sense that we no longer have an airplane or two or three every month being added to the SLSA List. That may sound like a "industry slowdown" to some folks but I don't believe that's an accurate assessment.

A more realistic view is that the feverish rush days of 2004-2006 are over. That means not as many new SLSA are being offered though the truth is many of those 137 aircraft never found a substantial market.

Indeed, our market share list of SLSA airplanes shows the top 20 brands represent better than 85% of all sales. Regretfully, our ranking shows only airplanes as we are unable to pull good data from FAA's database for motorgliders, weight shift trikes, powered parachutes, and other "alternative" aircraft.

All that said, I am pleased to announce one of our most solid companies — Rans — continues to introduce new airplanes like their S-20 Raven and to qualify them to be accepted by FAA as a fully-manufactured Special Light-Sport Aircraft.

In general terms, Raven is something of a blend of the company's massively successful S-6 Coyote that comes in several flavors and their tandem seating S-7 Courier. The latter has long been very popular among certain Rans enthusiasts and I joined their ranks a decade ago after flying with designer Randy Schlitter at an AOPA show in Tampa, Florida.

Yet one thing held back the S-7 from even broader acceptance. Although tandems have some advantages — good visibility for both pilot to either side, and a slightly leaner shape, for example — many pilots prefer side-by-side seating. Make it so! From the prolific mind of Mr. Schlitter came S-20 Raven.

As the number implies, this is his 20th design and, to some, it may be his best yet. Rans offers quite a variety from the sleek, all metal S-19 Venterra speedster to the open-air S-18 Stinger (another tandem by the way). Yet to many recreational pilots who just love flying, Raven hits all the high points with several features not found on other Rans models. For flight qualities and more about this newest Rans model, watch our Video Pilot Review.

Interested customers have been able to buy an S-20 Rans kit for several months. Now, with a fresh airworthiness certificate, Rans can begin delivering Ravens in ready-to-fly mode.

The Rans team poses with their new certificate (held by boss Randy Schlitter) after winning FAA acceptance as a Special Light-Sport Aircraft (#137).

all photos courtesy of Rans, Inc.
Let's look at the previously available S-20 Raven kit first. A complete airframe kit with the firewall forward components lists for $27,500. An engine installation kit for the 912ULS (engine not included) is $5,000. A prop (choices available) and mounting hardware will run around $1-2,000. Add the 912 engine, paint, interior, and basic instruments and you reach around $60,000. Assuming you don't put a price tag on your labor that is a quite a good bargain for a great-flying airplane representing a contemporary design.

A Quick-Build Kit will add $9-10,000 or slightly more — depending on how you want pre-built parts painted — but may be well worth for pilots who want to fly sooner and for whom the building project is a chore rather than a pleasure.

If you just can't wait to fly Raven, a beautifully-finished, factory-built edition retails for $119,000 with deluxe analog day VFR instruments, radio with intercom, transponder, and GPS. You can choose a tricycle gear or taildragger configuration for the same price.

For powerplants, if you opt for the fuel-injected Rotax 912iS over the carbureted 912, add $5,000. Or, for Lycoming fans, Rans is now offering the 115 horsepower O-233 engine for an added $7,500 over the standard 100 horsepower 912.

Add a "deluxe digital panel" for $10,000 and a lighting package of nav lights, strobe, instrument, and landing/taxi lights for $2,500. Of course, this well established company offers a number of other options which you can find on their website. Go here to see more.

Learn to Fly and Have Fun. Is that Wrong?
By Dan Johnson, February 5, 2016

Flying is serious. You can ... well, perish, perish the thought. Of course, you are vastly more likely to die in a car or maybe even in your bathtub. We all know that. We also know that aviation has not earned an enviably good safety record by emphasizing pure fun. The "fun" part may be implied but is that a bit too dry if we hope to attract newcomers to aviation?

For many years a long while back I was involved with hang gliding. I ran a dealership and flight school in the mountains around Chattanooga, Tennessee. I want to tell you that folks who jump off mountains in hang gliders know how to have fun. OK, technically, you don't "jump off" mountains — you "launch" — and while those pilots do have fun, they are zealous about safety. In the early days, way back in the '70s, the sport suffered a rash of accidents but today you very rarely hear about a hang glider accident. Fun, however, was most definitely part of the motivation to learn the sport of flying hang gliders.

I believe this shows you can have fun in aviation even while being a stickler for safety. Recently I became more aware of how one Light-Sport company is pushing hard to make themselves look like the FUN guys in Sport Pilot training. To get an idea, check out the video below.

I trust you enjoyed that and got the humor involved in claims like, "We've been to the International Space Station." Look, I completely get what these fellows are trying to accomplish, led by rising YouTube star, Nathan Rausch — repeatedly whipping off his sunglasses in imitation of David Caruso playing Lieutenant Horatio Caine on "CSI Miami." Flying doesn't have to always be so deadly serious and many believe you should have a good time learning to fly.

Catch our own video in this SportCruiser aircraft review, one of around 500 videos we've produced since 2008.
U.S. Sport Aircraft is creating a whole series of videos to showcase their efforts. You can sign up here. People seem to like USSA's videos making comments such as: "I just watched your video last night and was dying laughing..." or "I wish I had watched your flight training series before I started training at my current school."

Team USSA say their goal with their video channel is to highlight various aspect of their company including flight training, aircraft sales, fractional ownership, aircraft maintenance, and SportCruiser flight tours. I recall the former Saturn automobile company focusing on building a community of their owners and USSA aims to do the same, referring to their "country club atmosphere."

In the age of social media, including YouTube, it makes sense to use new methods to attract new student pilots. The old way is, well, old. I want to encourage USSA's fresher approach

Flight school manager Nathan said, "When we started these videos we were aiming to educate people about aviation. Then we started to add comedy and we realized that we hit a nerve that has made us really popular among viewers. People want to be entertained."

Getting a bit dryer about what USSA offers, I want to present some points that help define the company in more concrete details ... and I promise not to metaphorically whip off my sunglasses while doing so.

In the greater Dallas/Fort Worth area, U.S. Sport Aircraft, based at the Addison airport (KADS) is about the only Light-Sport-equipped flight school in the area, Nathan confirmed.

  • USSA reports maintaining 5-10 aircraft in their flight school training fleet
  • They say they have an average of 50-75 full time students in flight training at any given time
  • They say many new SportCruisers are sold every year
  • USSA has 18,000 square feet of maintenance space
  • They offer 18,000 square feet of showroom and flight school with three classroom work areas
  • Students have the option to preflight in-hangar (out of the elements)
  • They offer monthly weekend Sport/Private certificate ground schools
  • USSA's SportCruiser Flying Club hosts 2-3 SportCruiser trips every year; generally overnight adventures to destinations 200-400 miles away drawing 10-15 participants
  • Owners can partake of USSA's SportCruiser Owner Concierge Program including aircraft fueling, washing, and hangarage

Since nearly the beginning of Light-Sport, the SportCruiser has been one of the top-ranked sellers. More than 200 aircraft appear in the FAA N-number registry. With this gang of gung-ho USSA'ers running the show and finding the time to make watchable videos, it would appear they can keep the operation running a full tilt for years to come.

Breezer Gains EASA’s Restricted Type Certificate
By Dan Johnson, February 2, 2016

A well-worn line is often repeated by those trying to gain approval for an aircraft. The line is typically employed referring to FAA Part 23 type certification because that regulation dictates massive documentation of design, testing, production systems, and more. It is often stated humorously but it's quite serious.

"When the paperwork weighs more than the airplane, you're done!" It means an impressive amount of documentation is required to get FAA's blessing for a new Cessna-Cirrus-Diamond-Piper.

In recent news about the approval of a Light-Sport Aircraft by the European Aviation Safety Agency, Breezer lays claim to a fairly rare credential.

Breezer is only the fourth LSA I am aware of to achieve Restricted Type Certificate approval from EASA, the Europe Union equivalent to FAA. The first two were (in order) PS-28 Cruiser from Czech Sport Aircraft followed by the CTLS-ELA from Flight Design. Both were awarded at Aero 2012. These two were followed by Evektor in the number three slot.

On January 22, 2016, "Breezer Aircraft received the EASA Type Certificate for the B600m" reported Wolfgang Nitschmann, head of sales for the German producer. He said that after their first sales in the American LSA category in 2009, Breezer began work on certification for EASA's version of LSA. "It is fairly similar to the ASTM rules," noted Wolfgang. However, beside meeting all ASTM standards, Breezer had to gain Design Organization Approval, which they accomplished in 2012.

"Certification has been an intense verification process of strength assumptions, aerodynamic performance, usability and structured documentation," Wolfgang observed. "At the end, the type certificate [required] 3,000 documents ... roughly 15,000 sheets of paper to achieve final [approval]." He added that 150 flight test hours were performed and it took roughly 1,000 hours to work on the data achieved during flights, incorporating them into strength assumptions and into the pilot's operating manual.

For Breezer Aircraft, the process of certification has been a milestone achievement. "Especially the EASA rules for quality management lead to an increased level of quality awareness." said Wolfgang. Many believe customers benefit from the tighter processes involved to gain the Restricted Type Certificate.

When the first aircraft won their RTC AOPA wrote, "While the new [European] standards for light aircraft certification are less cumbersome and costly [than those required for heavier aircraft], Light-Sport certification in Europe remains similar to Part 23 certification in the United States." No wonder only a few aircraft have gone through this tedious process.

My longtime associate at LAMA Europe, Jan Fridrich noted that EASA still pursues an expensive and complicated process for approval. He wishes it was "one to one," meaning an identical procedure as in the USA. Indeed, the safety record after a dozen years of LSA is, to use FAA's preferred term, "acceptable."

Breezer Aircraft has produced their Rotax-powered all-metal aircraft in northern Germany since 2000. For some years, the model was represented in the USA but at present, Breezer is not sold in America. If interested, you find company contact info here.

Breezer's certificated B600 is available with two levels of equipment. You can have a fully loaded Elegance model with a Dynon glass cockpit and a list price of $134,950 at present euro-dollar exchange rates. For flight schools or those on a slimmer budget, the more basic Attraction model lists for less than $108,000 (98,800 euro). Both models use a 100 horsepower Rotax 912 ULS engine.

Originally aimed squarely at the American Light-Sport Aircraft market, Breezer is a 13-year-old design. Cruise speed reported as 103 to 118 knots, with fuel burn between 3.4 and 5.8 gallon per hour following the old car racing line, "Speed cost money. How fast do you want to go?"

See several videos and articles on Breezer here.

Does Canada Welcome Light-Sport Aircraft?
By Dan Johnson, January 31, 2016

You may not be thinking about it now while the snow swirls and piles up in mountainous white drifts, but in a few months, Canada will again be a very scenic place to fly. May an American LSA owner do so?

While a growing number of countries around the world have been steadily embracing use of ASTM standards — as are used to gain FAA acceptance in the U.S. — Canada has resisted the trend. America's neighbor to the North has another category called Advanced Ultra-Light Aeroplane (AULA) that is very similar to LSA and has worked for Transport Canada for years.

Canadian authorities have subtly changed the game and relaxed the cost of flying your Yankee LSA north of the border. According to writer Patrick Gilligan, "An exemption by Transport Canada (TC) makes it more affordable and less onerous for Light Sport Aircraft (LSA) from the United States to be flown into Canada."

Gilligan continued to explain (original COPA article) saying that American LSA owners simply have to download and complete a Standardized Validation form (available here).

The good news is that a former $100 fee has been eliminated. The bad news is that TC still requires a private pilot certificate with a valid medical.

One of Canada's most famous aircraft producers is Zenair, a sister enterprise to Zenith Aircraft based in the USA.
How about Canadians who want to own and fly a LSA in their home country? TC is still considering industry proposals. However, Gilligan wrote, "While the recommendations work their way through the bureaucracy, there are three existing aircraft categories into which a LSA can be registered in Canada."

Method one is that LSA can be registered in the Advanced Ultra-Light Aeroplane (AULA) category. (A Basic or BULA category allows for simpler, more American-style Ultralight Aircraft.) The manufacturer must make a "Fit for Flight" statement, conform to AULA standard TP10141, appear on TC's eligible list, and meet other conditions which can be found here. The aircraft cannot gross more than 1,232 pounds with no float allowance.

Method two is LSA can be registered in the Amateur-Built category. Aircraft in this category have no weight or seat limitations and "LSA ASTM maximum takeoff weights are 1,320 pounds or 1,430 pounds if the aircraft is operated on floats." An LSA using this category must meet a 51%-owner-built requirement and the aircraft must be on the joint FAA/TC eligibility list or pass a determination. Gilligan added, "The pilot/owner must hold an appropriate license to fly the aircraft in Canada, which is at least a pilot permit-recreational or a private pilot license."

From the 1982 vintage Jesse Anglin's J6 Karatoo comes L'il Buzzard, introduced in 1990. Background: here - Specs or order: here. L'il Huster and L'il Buzzard are kit aircraft with professional builder assist available.
Method three is that LSA can be registered Limited Class, which was developed to allow old out-of production, non-certified aircraft but LSA can be included in this category. Gilligan explained, "This category does not have a weight limitation but LSA ASTM maximum takeoff weights are 1,320 pounds [with a] 1,430 pound allowance on floats." A Special Flight Authority application is required for flight into U.S. airspace. Special approval is needed from Transport Canada.

Most countries, even those that say they fully embrace Light-Sport Aircraft approved to ASTM standards, tend to add some of their own regulation. So Canada can hardly be blamed for sticking to their AULA sector, which has a far longer history than FAA's SP/LSA rules. It appears most government agencies prefer to show their independence and not perfectly imitate FAA.

While LSA are now better accepted in Canada, authorities in that country do not presently welcome flying by those holding a Sport Pilot certificate. So far only the only country outside America that does accept Sport Pilot is the Bahamas. You'll still need a medical and your Private certificate or better but duly licensed Americans can at least fly their LSA over the many lovely parts of Canada.

Weather Threat Derails Sebring for One Day
By Dan Johnson, January 22, 2016

All images with this article were taken from Sebring Expo's Facebook page. They all appear to be the work of photographer extraordinaire, Jim Koepnick. See more of his superb work on his website.
SEBRING EXPO 2016 — Opening day Wednesday started out unseasonably cool ... but true to form — Florida is called the Sunshine State for good reason — the sun warmed the day nicely. Several vendors told me they thought it was the best opening day yet for the Sebring Expo.

Thursday was even more pleasant. A few of us showed sunburned faces by the end of the day, but in all, it was a second good day of the event in its 12th year (not coincidentally the same number of years for which we've had Sport Pilot / Light-Sport Aircraft). Several vendors reported many qualified customers and many attendees to whom I spoke seemed pleased with the depth of exhibitors and products to examine. Shows like Sebring and the Midwest LSA Expo offer more opportunity for demo flights and longer conversations with vendors who are often besieged with dense crowds at AirVenture or Sun 'n Fun.

Friday, however, brought a threat of strong thunderstorms, prompting Sebring airport's executive director to close the show and cease ticket sales. It was also recommended that all the vendors leave the grounds.

Some thought this decision was a bit "drastic," or "hasty," but after tornadoes at Sun 'n Fun in recent years and wild weather at Oshkosh that causes debris to be blown about, sometimes violently, the action to close the event for the day might be described as no more than an excess of caution.

One of our many video interviews was with Rans designer, Randy Schlitter, regarding his low-wing S-19 Venterra shown here doing a demo at Sebring.
I was just informed that the show will continue for its final day Saturday. Weather will be cool again after the front passes, though it is hard to be too critical while the country's East Coast gets hammered with blizzards and very hazardous driving.

Saturday at Sebring is also a free day for students and all visitors will find more exhibitors than last year, although a few may have bailed due to the uncertain weather on Friday. However, for those flying or driving north to their home base when Sebring concludes, most saw no hurry to leave as the further north you go the higher the likelihood of encountering truly difficult weather. Florida is looking mighty good in comparison.

On the first two days and planning to continue on Saturday, Videoman Dave and I were scurrying about the show grounds collecting a batch of new video material for your viewing enjoyment in the weeks ahead.

I am pleased to report LAMA's Ninth Annual Dinner went very well with about 280 LSA and light kit business persons in attendance. They witnessed the first of the "Great Debates," this time with engine manufacturing describing their products and answering questions posed by moderator Sebastien Heintz (Zenair). Numerous comments were offered that revealed even those in the business learned new facts about engines.

Of particular interest was a discussion about fuels that can be used with each engine. Part of the fuel debate portrayed ethanol as a very challenging substance not only for the engines but for the airframe systems such as fuel tanks and lines. LAMA Dinner invitees also heard about the coming 2210 and 3310 Jabiru engines, an announcement that caught everyone by surprise.

The debates (photo below) included Rotax, Continental, Jabiru, UL Power, and Viking with comments from publisher Will Tacke regarding electric propulsion.

With its "beta test" of the Great Debates successfully completed, LAMA will now dive deeper into plans for additional Great Debates at Sun 'n Fun 2016. Debates will be held on LAMA's space (LSA Mall) in Paradise City. Everyone is encouraged to visit, not only for the debates but to see the newly improved and significantly lengthened runway at Paradise City.

The Great Engine Debate, featuring (L-R) moderator Sebastien Heintz, Rotax's Christian Mundigler, Continental's John Heitland, Pete Krotje of Jabiru, UL Power's Robert Helms, Viking's Jan Eggenfellner, and publisher Willi Tacke.

See the New Merlin PSA at Sebring 2016
By Dan Johnson, January 19, 2016

SEBRING 2016 PREVIEW — Why do pilots and friends flock to Sebring? Several good reasons come to mind: Weather is flying-friendlier than in America's snow belt; More than 130 exhibitors include dozens and dozens of the most popular and successful Light-Sport Aircraft, light kit aircraft, and ultralights; Many educational forums are presented; Hear speakers and panels; Excellent demo flight possibilities; and, for those in the business of serving LSA and light kits, the LAMA Dinner on opening night promises to be interesting with a "Great Debate" of engine manufacturers.

Sebring Expo is also the place where new aircraft appear, trying to get a jump on the aviation calendar with new offerings. In this article, we bring one of these to your attention.

I've written about Chip Erwin's newest development before (here and here). At Sebring 2016, you will finally get to see an example so fresh the paint is barely dry ... yet you will hardly miss its attention-getting color.

Offered by Aeromarine LSA and clearly labeled Merlin PSA, this is not Glasair's Merlin LSA. Instead "PSA" refers to Personal Sport Aircraft and perhaps the surest way to identify Merlin PSA as such is the single seat inside this handsome, bright aircraft.

Although some may be dismissive of the single seat, recreational aircraft are often flown solo and the economic facts are that a single seater can be much less costly, which may be less about the airframe than the engine needed to make it perform well. Whatever the explanation, Merlin PSA is advertised at the very modest cost of $34,900 for a finished kit; building it is said to be swift. Based on how many folks talk about the cost of high-end LSA, I expect Chip could find some significant interest from those attending Sebring.

Merlin is said to have a cruise speed of 120 mph (104 knots), has a fairly roomy cabin and offers an interesting set of possibilities including a four stroke engine, an electric propulsion option, and amphibious floats. Other options that may prove popular include glass instrument panel choices, autopilot, and a BRS emergency airframe parachute.

Come see Merlin PSA at Sebring and talk to Chip.

Floatplanes do all sort of duty in Alaska, including hauling lumber strapped to the floats.
As they did last year, the local EAA chapter will host a dinner on Friday evening (22nd) and invites Sebring attendees or exhibitors to come help support their efforts.

In recent years, Chapter 1240 has entertained guests with a dinner served by high school students who benefit from the work of the EAA group to interest them in aviation. This year's guest speaker will be J.J. Frey, a float flying expert who offers a book called (logically) "How to Fly Floats." Copies will be available for budding seaplane pilots for only $10.

The student-focused group is led by local aerospace teacher John Rousch and has attracted funding for their hangar from aviation philanthropist James Ray. Ray helped with construction costs for a 60 x 70-foot structure on the Sebring airport. The hangar has classrooms and other facilities to help students learn aircraft restoration. Flight training scholarships are also offered.

The event is a fund raiser to benefit their work with the students, so dinner is $50 or you can sponsor a table of eight for $500 and bring friends or customers. The meal is not your usual mystery-meat but has previously featured some rather fine dining on fare such as Cornish Hen, red potatoes, grilled vegetables, salad, beverages, and dessert prepared by local culinary experts. Help a good cause and enjoy an excellent meal.

Sam Aircraft Snapped Up by Zenith / Zenair
By Dan Johnson, January 19, 2016

Watch our video about Sam Aircraft's Sam LS.
Zenith and Zenair are closely-linked enterprises with different leaders in different countries. In recent years, the three Heintz brothers took different responsibilities for the business founded by dad, Chris Heintz. An aeronautical engineer, Chris founded Zenair Ltd., in Canada in 1974 and parleyed his design pedigree into a flock of airplanes that have sold by the thousand all over the world. Today, Matt, Sebastien, and Michael run the multifaceted firm.

Through 2015, the combined effort of Zenith and Zenair sought to produce light plane models called 750 STOL, 750 Cruzer, and 650B Zodiac plus four seat kits called CH 801/8000, a sport-utility plane, and the four-seat CH 640 plus a type-certified four seater called CH 2000.

That fleet recently got a bit larger when Zenith / Zenair bought the assets from the Canadian developer of Sam LS.

"Sam Aircraft assets have been acquired by the ... owners and operators of Zenith Aircraft Company (U.S.) and Zenair Ltd. (Canada)," Matt and Sebastien Heintz announced on January 18, 2016. Founded in 2009 by Thierry Zibi in Quebec, Canada, Sam Aircraft's LS model was developed as a Light-Sport Aircraft.

A low-wing all-metal tandem two-seater, the Sam Aircraft design sets itself apart with a rare balance of retro styling and modern engineering. Thierry was inspired by legendary trainers of the Golden Age of Aviation but he wanted to offer pilot comfort, modern technology, and dependable flight characteristics that present-day pilots seek.

"Several variants of the design are being developed for different load configurations and performance characteristics," said the new owners. They referenced variations that feature different wing sections with various spans; both tricycle and tailwheel landing gear; and fully enclosed or open cockpit canopy choices.

As they absorb the new model into their fleet of Chris Heintz original designs the brothers have been researching market viability for the different design configurations. The possibilities include the LSA version at 1,320 pounds gross weight, or Amateur-Built Experimental at 1,440 pounds gross weight. These will use a wing span of 28.5 feet, and the company believes the Sam flying prototype meets the LSA definition.

Kit variations can have different parameters. For example, Amateur-Built Experimentals can operate at 1,800 pounds with the option to install heavier engines such as the Lycoming 0-320 at 160 horsepower or modern auto conversions. Wing span for these models is 32 feet.

Finally, a amateur-built Sport Aerobatic Configuration would have a wing span of 25.25 feet and carry two people at 1,440 pounds for limited aerobatics or one person at 1,200 pounds for full G-load aerobatics as per FAR 23.

You can read my pilot report after flying the Sam LS with developer Thierry Zibi.
"Zenair engineers are currently performing a thorough review of the Sam Aircraft design," said Matt Heintz of Zenair. "The advanced engineering [Thierry] used in developing the Sam is impressive, including extensive use of 3D modeling. With us bringing this aircraft to market, the new Sam Aircraft design will benefit from our 40 years of experience manufacturing aircraft kits."

To help the companies focus on the most popular features for the new Sam Aircraft models, Zenith Aircraft has created a short survey and is inviting all interested parties to complete the online survey.

Sam in all its variations appear to fit the Zenith / Zenair enterprises well. Like the companies' existing Heintz designs Sam Aircraft models are constructed primarily of 6061-T6 aluminum assembled with blind rivets, making them easy and quick to build as well as durable and affordable.

"The design, construction and assembly of the SAM Aircraft series will integrate well into Zenith Aircraft's current production, which already relies heavily on CNC parts production, said Sebastien Heintz, president of Zenith Aircraft Company in Missouri. Based on survey results, SAM Aircraft may be offered as complete kits, quick-build kits, and/or as fully factory-assembled aircraft.

MVP on Tour — Thunderbird Pilot Joins Team
By Dan Johnson, January 18, 2016

SEBRING 2016 PREVIEW — Folks are headed to Sebring. I'm already here, residing about three hours north in Daytona Beach, and it is sunny and pleasant outside. To a Floridian, it seems a bit cool ... meaning mid-50s. Now, I know it's become quite cold up north, so 50s may not sound bad; we're softies down here.

Opening day Wednesday looks improved with forecasts saying a high of 63 degrees and winds out of the north at 5-10 mph. Thursday looks even warmer with a high of 71 and winds south-southeast at 5-10 mph. Friday should remain warm but rain is forecast. However, the final day, Saturday the 23rd, looks sunny, cooler (55) and windier. Every day may not be perfect but the two opening days look optimal.

For aircraft departing on Sunday, weather again looks quite accommodating with the high above 60 and winds out of the west-northwest at only 5 to 10 mph.

MVP beautifully displayed in its appointment-only showroom at the Spruce Creek Fly-in near Daytona Beach, Florida.
"The MVP World Tour continues with it's first public showing in Florida at the Sebring Expo," indicated boss Darrell Lynds. "MVP's unique transformation ability will be demonstrated live with the camping and fishing configurations. Come and see the future of aviation innovation up close and full size!"

In a similar class as Icon's A5 but boasting greater forms of utility (many details in this video), MVP, along with the Vickers Wave, are examples of what I call third-generation Light-Sport Aircraft. Although a few other good examples exist for 3rdGen LSA, these three — A5, MVP, and Wave — are exceptional developments. Icon is starting the effort of production while MVP continues in design and team building. Their aircraft has played to rave reviews at AirVenture Oshkosh and other locations where its has been examined.

Speaking of team building, MVP welcomed Jeff "Roach" Rochelle to their team. Jeff is a fighter pilot turned businessman with more than 4,500 hours in the F-16 Fighting Falcon.

"Roach" is an aeronautical engineering graduate of the U.S. Air Force Academy, a graduate of the Air Force "Top Gun" Fighter Weapons School and has a Masters Degree from Embry Riddle Aeronautical University. His pedigree includes a tour with the Thunderbirds aerial demonstration team. Jeff joins MVP after over 11 years with Lockheed Martin Aeronautics fielding the latest technology in the F-16. Now the founder of an aviation company flying the Eclipse jet and Extra aerobatic aircraft, Jeff brings MVP Aero over 40 years of aviation experience as a pilot, engineer and businessman.

Regarding MVP, about which he is clearly enthusiastic, Jeff aid, "MVP uses brilliant engineering to make the world's safest and most useful seaplane! The discerning pilot will appreciate this aircraft."

Come see MVP and hundreds of other aircraft and all manner of aviation equipment at Sebring. You can also attend forums, talks, and business folks will enjoy the LAMA Dinner on opening night. C'mon down!

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 represented by Florida Light Sport Aviation, is a unique and highly effective LSA seaplane. A biplane design, this is well established flying boat with more than 20 years of history.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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?

Phoenix Air USA imports the beautiful Phoenix Special Light-Sport Aircraft, a performance motorglider that can cruise swiftly and serve both functions with excellent creature comfort. Given its clever wing extension design, you get two aircraft in one!

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

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!

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.

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

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

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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. 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!

Rans, Inc., is one of the most successful brands in light aviation having shipped more than 5,000 units. A longtime airplane kit supplier, Rans also offers three fully-built SLSA models with a range of prices, starting at only $79,000!

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.

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.

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.

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Updated: February 9, 2016

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