Here is an early, quick look at Skytrek SLSA
by Triton... China's first FAA approval.
Video sponsored by Continental Motors,
maker of the Powerful Titan X-340 Engine
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...a web log of developments in Sport Pilot/Light-Sport Aircraft
Most recent 20 postings.


Hawk is Finally Back and Looking Good
By Dan Johnson, February 19, 2017

At Sebring 2017, another long-awaited aircraft emerged... or re-emerged. After wandering for a few years since original Hawk developer Chuck Slusarczyk retired and sold his company, the once-popular design has a new home in central Florida.

I've written about this before (earlier article), but we hadn't seen much until Sebring 2017.

The season-starting Sebring Expo brought the debut of CGS Hawk now making its home in the sunshine state after migrating from Ohio to Alabama. Thanks to accomplished kit builder and restorer, Terry Short, this celebrated brand that once held a major presence in the ultralight aircraft space has returned. A refreshed Hawk was looking good.

Indeed, Terry beamed when he told me that he'd already sold six aircraft (recently; not all at the show), most of them the two-seat variety as shown in the nearby photos plus one Part 103 ultralight.

Because original designer Chuck Slusarczyk won FAA acceptance for an ASTM-compliant model, Terry can supply a fully built Special Light-Sport Aircraft version and at Sebring 2017 he told me that he fully intends to do so. Because any new manufacturer, even of an existing brand, can be required to go through an FAA audit, a SLSA Hawk may not be an immediate development. (The agency can also elect to review documents and not do an on-site inspection, at their discretion. For a slower speed, lighter weight aircraft with many hundreds flying, FAA may choose not to make a manufacturing site visit.)

Amid the displays at Sebring's 13th annual Expo, many attendees took a look at this new model and came away with a smile. Several times as I passed Terry's display at Sebring, people seemed to be examining his handsome entry with interest.

New Hawk proprietor Terry acquired the venerable Hawk line from previous owner Danny Dezauche who bought the company from Chuck. Danny kept the brand alive but did not progress too far with it.

All told, CGS Hawks number close to 2,000 units flying. Many owners to whom I've spoke truly love this simple but well-flying aircraft.

CGS originally stood for Chuck's Glider Supplies. Chuck was an early leader in hang gliding and made thousands of them. As "motorized" hang gliders arrived on the scene back in the late '70s and early '80s, Chuck made the jump. In fact, he formerly sold "power packs" to others who wanted to power their hang gliders.

One thing lead to another and Chuck developed his company into a airplane manufacturer, leaving behind his youthful days as a hang glider pilot and entrepreneur.

After decades of operation, Chuck sold his company to enjoy a well-deserved retirement and Alabama businessman Danny Dezauche kept it going for a few years.

A year ago, in January 2016, Dezauche sold CGS Hawk to Terry Short based in Lake Wales, Florida. After retiring from the Polk County School Board, Terry and his son Chris will operate the enterprise in central Florida. They will support the many hundreds of Hawks still flying with parts and services in addition to build several of the models including the Special LSA Model called Hawk II, a tandem two seater.

Catch Terry and the Hawk at Sun 'n Fun 2017, coming in just six weeks! In the meantime, interested pilots can contact Terry Short Aircraft Services in Lake Wales, Florida by calling 863-430-5829 or by emailing him. Short's website remains under construction.


Video — BushCat Is Fun and a Bargain!
By Dan Johnson, February 12, 2017

Are Light-Sport Aircraft too expensive? With yellow taildraggers from some companies exceeding $200,000, it certainly sounds so. Gorgeous and modern carbon fiber LSA run $125,000 to $180,000. So, yeah, if your budget is leaner or if you merely want to keep the price tag down for a recreational aircraft, it's tougher than imagined before the SP/LSA regulation was announced in 2004.

Tougher, but not impossible. In fact, I've long maintained that we do have more reasonably priced LSA for sale but some folks want the more expensive, every-bell-and-whistle aircraft even while they resist the prices such gear costs. Our PlaneFinder 2.0 feature tries to address this with a price above-or-below $100,000. Even determining that can be difficult as some aircraft offer most optional equipment as standard while others prefer a very basically equipped airplane for a low price and let buyers add the stuff they want. Fair enough; a free market in aircraft should offer more choices and let the buyer decide.

One company has a great value for you and a longtime American representative to sell it. The company is South Africa's SkyReach and their Wisconsin-based U.S. distributor AeroSport sells the BushCat. It is not a carbon fiber speedster. It is a very modestly priced aircraft that flies well, performs well, and has hundreds flying around the world for many years.

At the 2016 edition of the Mid-West LSA Expo, I got to fly BushCat with AeroSport partner Jeremy Knoll and the video below attempts to fill in some of the details.

Normally I stay away from price quoting as these figures change and, as noted above, stating a price means determining what is "standard equipment," what is "optional," and what you likely want... the latter being an impossible task since I am not you and as I have no idea what you want today (which itself could change tomorrow). Nonetheless, I'm stepping out on the thin ice to at least put it in perspective. Check with the company for current pricing.

I referred to Aerosport's price sheet and you can dig into the details yourself if interested.

As of November 2016, the starting price for BushCat is $65,400 for a Special LSA ready-to-fly model using the 80-horsepower Rotax 912. That engine is perfectly fine and can use 87-octane auto gas for low-cost, highly-reliable operation. Yet for only $67,600 you can have 20 more horsepower, so nearly everyone selects this option. Those low prices include basic analog instruments and are enough for most recreational aviators. If you like traveling with digital instruments and a transponder to handle certain FAA airspaces, you can spend $1,500 to $5,000 for a fairly deluxe panel or for much less choose an iPad and a flight app as an alternative.

A three-blade prop, a parachute, lighting, and cabin heat will bid the price up further but you can still stay in the $75,000-range. Even an amphibious float-equipped BushCat can be had for $105,000. From my viewpoint, BushCat is one of the great bargains of the LSA space.

An observation: BushCat is priced almost exactly where everyone seemed to expect back in 2004 after adjusting for inflation. That ain't bad.

To learn more about BushCat from SkyReach and to get views inside and out plus flying footage, catch the video below.


Video—Jabiru J-230D Reviewed at Midwest LSA
By Dan Johnson, February 10, 2017

Why do we go to all the little airshows? Good question. Everyone knows that a professional journalist or true-blue aircraft enthusiast almost has to trek to the big events like AirVenture or Sun 'n Fun — with the latter coming up soon April 4-9, 2017. Fine. Yet are the smaller events worth the travel expense and time?

For Videoman Dave and I this is a no-brainer. Gotta go! Why? Because events like Sebring just finished or DeLand's end-of-the-season show or the Mid-West LSA Expo early in September in Mt. Vernon Illinois (about an hour's drive east of St. Louis) are perfect for us to collect video footage and flying experiences that we can relate to viewers on Dave's widely-watched YouTube channel (to the tune of a million and a half minutes every month!) or here on our LSA Video page.

These smaller-venue shows are more relaxed, have smaller crowds, and access to the runways to go flying are the best of any airshows.

The great news about these shows is... well, a few reasons. Perhaps number one is the possibility for those attending to be able to spend more time with aircraft vendors to ask all the questions you want. At major shows, crowds can be so dense that you must compete with other attendees to get face time with a supplier. No so at Midwest, Sebring, or DeLand.

Visitors can also get demo flights more easily and achieving those flights will consume far less time, meaning you can do more of them if you wish. Perhaps your chosen aircraft representative can fly with you for a longer time because he or she does not have fourteen other people waiting for their turn. Finally, once you and the seller agree, you can hop in the airplane and in literally minutes you are launching into yonder blue skies.

For the many who cannot attend, we bring you videos like the one below about the Jabiru North America J-230, now in the newest "D" model. Frequent feedback tells us that most pilots seem to truly enjoy these videos and we are happy to keep making more.

Thanks very much for visiting this website and for watching the videos Dave and I produce. We plan to keep up the pace well into the future. Enjoy!


Video—Race Around Sebring 2017…a Quick Tour
By Dan Johnson, February 6, 2017

At last November's DeLand Showcase, I tried something new. I didn't know how it would work or be received but I took a shot. As it turned out, a good many folks seemed to enjoy my "Race Around DeLand 2016" video. I literally used a golf cart and did a drive-by video shooting of most outdoor booth spaces at the Florida event. A surprising number of pilots told me they enjoyed it.

With those comments in mind, I thought to repeat this with "Race Around Sebring 2017." You can see it below. This would be tough to do at Sun 'n Fun or Oshkosh where the LSA, light kits, and ultralights are scattered all over the grounds. It might work, though, in Sun 'n Fun's Paradise City or in AirVenture's Fun Fly Zone... we'll see about that.

Until those spring and summer extravaganzas, I hope you'll enjoy this rather speedy glimpse of Sebring 2017, the 13th running of this grandaddy of the small, focused events that draw enthusiasts of these recreational or sporting aircraft.

If these Race Around videos remain popular, I might even attempt this at Aero Friedrichshafen, except that will have to wait until 2018 because in 2017 Aero runs concurrently with Sun 'n Fun... darn it!

You might regard this as an (under) 15-minute tour of Sebring for those of you who could not make it. However, honestly, I hope you can attend either or both DeLand 2017 and Sebring 2018. I think you'll enjoy... good winter weather, concentrated aircraft in your interest area with many of your flying friends present, plus you can take all the demo flights you want.

See more about all kinds of affordable aviation... LSA, light kits, and ultralights on our LSA Videos page that is approaching 500 videos.

You can watch more than 1,000 videos on Videoman Dave's YouTube channel publishing as SportAviationMagazine.com. Your support of Dave's YouTube channel allows him to do this work. Please consider subscribing annually or Lifetime.


Announcement...Major Upgrade for ByDanJohnson.com!
By Dan Johnson, February 2, 2017

Light aircraft as they were when ByDanJohnson.com went live in April 2004.
Once upon a time, the world was without Internet, static and boring. In those ancient times, to follow aircraft developments, most aviators had to wait for a magazine that arrived once a month. In 1995, the World Wide Web was born and only four years later work began on ByDanJohnson.com. *

Many have called the Internet, specifically the Web, the most important change in history for human communications! Since that time, the pace of change has been ever quickening.

I am pleased to announce to you that ByDanJohnson.com is upgrading to a brand-new site that will have a modern look and will automatically adapt to your phone or tablet. This redesign has consumed more than a year's worth of work but the change will occur this month.

With more than 1,500 pages of information featuring millions of words, thousands of articles with photos, and hundreds of videos plus special features like PlaneFinder 2.0, the SLSA List, and our FI.R.M. List, this shift has been a massive undertaking. We have been working for many months but we are nearly ready for beta launch. Overwhelmingly our purpose has been to assure these changes will make for a better user experience.

The website view as you know (and hopefully love) it today.
All the same features you enjoy will still be available and nearly everything remains free of charge. However, while you should find everything much more accessible, you will see some changes in how you access various parts of the website.

Let's go back in time a few years...

With help from long time webmaster Dan Barker, this website was built starting in 1999. Due to the lack of modern tools and my focus on other work at the time — I was VP of BRS Parachutes in those days — we did not go live until April of 2004. This was a few months before the Sport Pilot / Light-Sport Aircraft regulation was announced. By pure luck, my timing was exquisite and I was able to position ByDanJohnson.com right at the front of the parade for FAA's newest aviation sector.

However, that early start meant we had to "stick build" the website. The project cost far more in dollars and hours than it does today to create a comprehensive, database-driven website. Years were spent creating everything from scratch. I had no idea what I was doing but Barker guided me well. Every time I wanted to add a new feature, it could take weeks, where today the same function might be added in hours or even minutes. In Internet Time, 13 years ago was something like the dark ages.

A fresh new look and function that is "Coming Soon!"
It was clearly time to jump into the future.

Today, mobile (smartphones and tablets) is dominant and PCs are fading. Websites remain as useful as ever — even in the age of social media — but a modern website needs to be something called "responsive." This term means a website knows what device is accessing the information and formats itself to better fit that device. The ByDanJohnson.com you know could not be so adaptive because of the way it had to be built in the early 2000s. Smartphones are smart so you could view the website but it wasn't optimal on mobile.

Change is hard for most folks. When you greet the new website, I hope you'll look around and get familiar with it. Our news stories will appear in brief form instead of one long home pages of article after article. If you prefer the original look, you can click "Switch to Classic View" at the top of the page (photo, arrow). You will also be able to leave comments on any article. Continued improvements will follow launch of the new website.

If you are one of the many who view ByDanJohnson.com on an iPhone, Android, iPad, or other tablet, the look will be different. If you seek one of our sponsors — advertisers... the main reason you can read most articles or watch videos for free — they'll be available but might appear in a different place. (Things will look mostly the same on a Mac or PC; it is on mobile that pages will appear different...)

The aircraft we cover as they look today (in addition to those above).
After a month or so of feedback and further tweaking, we'll launch ByDanJohnson.com 2.0 on April 1st (no fooling!), the 13th anniversary of ByDanJohnson.com going live. This will be our Grand Opening, once everything is working perfectly.

Thank you SO much for your loyal readership over the last thirteen years! We love what we do and we hope it shows! We will continue to provide highly focused content in written and video form covering Light-Sport Aircraft, light kit aircraft, ultralight aircraft, and the emerging new GA aircraft from companies we already cover.

* Thanks to longtime friend Cliff Whitney, who encouraged me to load my hundreds of pilot reports from print magazines onto a website; I'm not sure how soon I would have done this without his encouragement, and, as it turned out, my timing was perfect.

Video—BasicMed & LSA...Sebring 2017...More
By Dan Johnson, January 29, 2017

News from Sebring Expo 2017...

The thirteenth annual running of the Sebring Expo is history concluding on Saturday, January 28th. By most accounts it was a solid event. Show organizers were blessed with wonderful weather no doubt helping foot traffic to be substantial each morning and early afternoon. Several vendors told me they booked orders for aircraft and if anyone had negatives of substance they were not brought to my attention.

Kudos to principal organizer Bev Glarner (a full video interview with her will follow) and to airport director Mike Willingham for changing up the show in several successful ways.

On Friday of the event, I appeared as a guest on the Florida Aviation Network with host Diego Alfonso. We chatted about several matters that Light-Sport Aircraft or light kit-built aircraft enthusiasts and business owners may find of interest.

My goal in the interview was to hit a few topics generating high levels of attention at this time. These include: BasicMed, the new relaxation of third class medical and how that recent development may affect Light-Sport Aircraft.

We also talked about the revised show and its changes and how people seemed to receive them.

We discussed the advocacy work by LAMA, the Light Aircraft Manufacturers Association in conjunction with FAA to advance fully built gyroplane Special LSA, electric propulsion, and the exciting potential for aerial work or light commercial use for Light-Sport Aircraft.

Diego also asked about how I got into aviation. I hope you might find this 25-minute interview of interest, primarily for the sector-specific perspective.

Enjoy the video below and watch for more news and video about Sebring 2017.


Sebring...Meet Elf, a LSA Motorglider from Ekolot
By Dan Johnson, January 28, 2017

News from Sebring Expo 2017...

"We had a lot of interest in Elf," said Don Reece, the man behind Apogee A.C.E., the Florida dealer for Ekolot. Indeed, though even smaller and tucked behind Ekolot's better known Topaz, Elf caught the attention of Videoman Dave and I as we scoured the Sebring exhibit grounds looking to shoot video of any aircraft or development of interest. We get to do this at many shows so catching our attention means something. (Watch for an upcoming video on Elf after editing is complete.)

Ekolot Elf — It looks small and is physically smaller because Elf seats comfortably (but narrowly) a single occupant. It read "Light-Sport" on the outside but it has not completed the proof of compliance as of Sebring 2017. However, that's the plan after an FAA regional office told importer Krzysztof "Kris" Siuba that Elf was too fast for Part 103 and any attempt to remedy that would be fruitless so it could not qualify for FAA's simplest, least regulated category.

While Elf is capable of speeds close to 80 mph, the factory lists cruise at 71.5 mph (62 knots) which is not much above the Part 103 speed limit of 63 mph — or, per regulation, 55 knots. The Polish producer intended Elf to fit in Europe's fairly new 120 kg class (120 kilograms is 264 pounds, not much above Part 103's 254 pounds, though trimming weight when an aircraft is already this light could prove challenging). Because the Elf at Sebring had a parachute system it could weigh 278 pounds but the speed problem remains.

As Ekolot has already achieved SLSA approval for their two seat Topaz, they should be experienced in proving compliance. Once Elf has earned a Special Airworthiness certificate, the aircraft can use its full speed potential and could add pounds while easily staying inside LSA parameters.

Controlling Elf is common with center-mounted joystick and dual rudder pedals. The nose wheel is steerable and features a hydraulic brake. Dual main gear use composite suspension; the gear width is rather narrow but while permitting regular ramp operations, keeps the gear closer to the fuselage adds to the general smoothness of the design. The only unusual control is a right-shoulder-mounted braking handle for the prop.

Ekolot's JK-01Elf uses a single cylinder engine with folding prop, which itself is sophisticated with a small disc brake to slow the prop allowing it to fold back on hinges. When restarting after soaring as long as you wish, the blades will swing out and forward as motion develops lift. The electric-starting Polini Motori Thor 200 two stroke one cylinder air cooled engine offers max power of 26 horsepower at 7000 rpm. Elf is sleek enough and light enough that 26 horsepower is sufficient, said Kris. On board fuel is about 4.5 gallons. Under high power that won't last too long but this slippery airplane is meant to be flown with engine off or at low power so that represents plenty of fuel.

Electric propulsion enthusiasts will be interested to hear Elf is being fitted with a Geiger electric drive. Check with Kris or Don to hear about availability of and prices for a gas or electric powered Elf.


Sebring...Aeropilot Debuts L600 to American Market
By Dan Johnson, January 27, 2017

News from Sebring Expo 2017...

"Looks like a Cessna 182 Skylane." I heard that comment from several others and I thought it myself. The only difference is that I got that impression when I first saw this aircraft in Europe a few years ago where those I overhead saying it were here in the USA. No wonder as Sebring 2017 provided a venue for Deon Lombard to debut the new aircraft. (Watch for an upcoming video on L600 after editing is complete.)

Aeropilot L600 — known as Legend in Europe where that model is a European ultralight — the design does offer an uncanny resemblance to the popular Cessna model. Viewed from the rear and seeing L600's full-width rear window, the similarity is strong. (Cessna's 172 Skyhawk has a split rear window where 182's is full width.)

Aeropilot L600 — Built of mostly carbon fiber, L600 is sleeker than the riveted Skylane it emulates. Of course it has two seats to Skylane's four and it won't fly quite as fast. Yet it will consume one quarter to one third the fuel of the heavier spam can and it will cost approximately one sixth as much, comparing new to new. L600 has a starting price of $91,000 with a 100-horsepower Rotax 912 and three-blade Woodcomp prop. You probably want at least a $107,000 model with plenty of extras, though at $129,000 a fully loaded L600 may end being the most popular. You have several LSA choices below L600's higher price and a few LSA priced even below the basic L600 but Aeropillot is clearly offering competitive pricing.

At the end of the year I reported Aeropilot L600 had earned its pink Special Airworthiness card upon FAA inspection (see earlier article). At Sebring more folks got to examine L600. With its familiar exterior shape, dual yokes inside, and go-places performance, Aeropilot may be well received by Yankee pilots. Importer Deon Lombard of Aeropilot USA hopes so.

With 29 gallons of fuel on board and given a Rotax 912's modest fuel burn L600 boasts an endurance of seven hours yielding a 700 nautical mile range. Stall comes at 30 knots with flaps deployed. L600 can fast cruise at 113 knots or 130 mph and climb rate at sea level is reported at more than 1,300 feet per minute; The Aeropilot model can scoot along well enough to bring the model to Sebring from southern California in 20 hours of flying. With 66 pounds of luggage capacity (weight and balance allowing), L600 appears to be a good cross country cruiser.


Legend Cub Continues to (Slowly) Tear Up the Skies
By Dan Johnson, January 25, 2017

At last fall's inaugural DeLand Showcase event, I got a chance to fly Legend Cub on their own Legend Floats. I've interviewed Legend folks about this model, but flying one was still on my to-do list.

American Legend Aircraft Company was one of the very first in the Light-Sport Aircraft business and they've now fleshed out their product line of pretty yellow taildraggers... though, of course, they don't have to be painted yellow even if almost everyone orders them this way. I guess it's a vintage look thing, but I'm hear to tell you these Cubalikes are nothing like your granddad's Piper Cub (thank goodness, as Legend has made many desirable improvements).

One of the biggest changes is the wide variety of engines this company has offered. They started with the Continental Motors' venerable 100-horsepower O-200, added the 120-horsepower Jabiru 3300 six cylinder model, then tapped the 115-horsepower Lycoming O-233, and now Legend offers the mighty 180-horsepower Titan, offered these days by Continental following their acquisition of ECi of Texas. Along the way, Legend also did a preliminary mount of the Superior diesel entry although that particular engine has yet to come to market.

If you are patient enough to go through all the material you can see something about most of these powerplant variations in articles or videos found on this site. We've gathered it all in one place for you if you click this link to American Legend. Get a snack and a cold one and enjoy all things Legend Cub.

The company recently promoted some of their hard work. "Legend Cub from American Legend Aircraft Company continues to improve," the company wrote. "Since its introduction, the now-standard inclusions of a wider cabin, electrical system and double doors are amended with gentle strokes of progress." Some of those strokes come via the multiple engine choices the Sulphur Springs, Texas company offers.

ALAC's Super Legend boasts the big Titan engine coupled with a Catto propeller. "With so much power up front, a Legend Cub personifies short takeoffs. As a leader in STOL performance, the Legend Cub is light footed and makes short work of getting airborne." What a fun way to turn modest amounts of fuel into major amounts of fun.

Your grandfather's Piper probably had few instruments on board, perhaps an airspeed indicator, altimeter, and a few engine instruments... every one of them round dials. These are simple flying machines that need little else. Yet in the modern tech-world with far more helpful information available at, literally, the touch of a finger for reasonable cost, why not have the good stuff?

Legend Cub readily admits, "Cub has never really needed instruments for flying. So a glass-paneled Cub may seem the archetype of counterintuitive. Yet at the press of a button today's advanced Legend Cub instrument panel options broadly expand a pilot's navigation and communications capabilities."

Legend offers Garmin's wonderful G3X and Dynon's trendsetting SkyView. You may also equip your Legend Cub with an autopilot and ADS-B for traffic, weather and flight information services. To some Cub purists, this may seem sacrilege, but those folks may be privately envious at such a well-equipped Cub.

"Far from being a comprehensive list, power and panel are complemented by a host of other options," said the Texas airplane manufacturer.

Other gear Legend uses on their aircraft includes: Catto composite propellers -- lightweight and able to deliver high performance; bright LED lighting in the leading edges and wingtips help a pilot see while consuming less power; supersized tires allow Legend Cubs to master a greater variety of surfaces; and bungee-supported seats upholstered in ultraleather keep the occupants cooler on a pleasant summer day.

My flight in November benefitted from wonderful 80-degree weather in DeLand, Florida (about 20 miles inland from Daytona Beach on the Atlantic Ocean). It was a great time to check out Legend Cub on floats.

Learn more in the video below, including in-flight views and observing water operations. (See the same video on our page and skip the opening ad.)


Vickers’ Wave Is Gearing Up Quickly for 2017
By Dan Johnson, January 24, 2017

This simulated image shows what Vickers' Wave will look like as it takes flight later this year.
Pilots not closely following Light-Sport aviation can be excused for thinking only one LSA seaplane is available. Established LSA companies like Progressive Aerodyne and their Searey or Scoda's Super Petrel or Airmax's SeaMax or any number of aircraft to which floats have been fitted may be somewhat baffled by the outsized attention Icon Aircraft's long-delayed A5 receives from aviation and non-aviation media. On the other hand, most leaders of these companies do admit that Icon's media juggernaut also brings attention to LSA seaplanes in general.

With that in mind, are you ready for one that might out-WOW the A5? You cannot ride a Wave today, but 2017 may be the breakout year for this impressively-configured LSA seaplane entry from the other down-under country of New Zealand.

Indeed, principal, Paul Vickers -- the namesake of Vickers Aircraft -- wrote at the end of 2016, "Great strides have been made in the past months here at Vickers. We may have appeared quiet but we have been very busy preparing for 2017, which will prove to be an incredible year."

See an earlier article on the company and read about Wave's use of the Titan engine.

Any company making a product as advanced as A5 or Wave (or Lisa or MVP) requires two ingredients never in sufficient supply, it seems: time and money. Reams have been written about Icon's ambitious fund raising and the other developing LSA seaplanes just referenced have also been active in the finance arena. Vickers was working hard at this 18 months ago, but found solid financial support a while back. This allows them the ability to concentrate all their energies on finalizing the aircraft.

Paul confirmed this impression when he wrote, "We have secured funding from the USA that will allow us to expand our operations." He continued, "New machinery for carbon fiber part production and larger premises will streamline our processes." He noted that additional staff was hired to fill key roles to ensure smooth production and timely deliveries.

"I traveled to various U.S. states in 2016 to personally meet with potential investors and found the ideal partner in Florida," said Paul. "Our new partner brings not only a vast wealth of aviation knowledge but incredible American business experience which will ensure a strong and responsible Vickers brand in the USA."

With adequate funds in place, Vickers is charging ahead.

You are reading it first here that Vickers recently moved into what they call their "Stage 1 production facility," located at Hamilton Airport, New Zealand. This first stage of three will enable Vickers to produce 30-40 aircraft per year, according to Paul.

"In this new temperature controlled environment production carbon fiber parts are being prepared in accordance with manufacturing procedures that have been finely tuned over years of development," he explained. "It has always been of extreme importance to maintain control, quality, and cost over all components for the Wave. This has allowed for a modest investment and will result in an actual aircraft that will be both deliverable and affordable provided by an aircraft company that is sustainable."

"We have been developing the processes to produce conforming production components and we are very close to beginning structural testing on production sub-assemblies such as the wing carry thru and rear empennage." Nearby you see a recently infused carbon fiber mold insert just prior to trimming and finishing.

TenCate Advanced Composites USA has joined Vickers as a strategic partner to supply carbon fiber materials for Wave. "TenCate is pleased to support Vickers Aircraft with carbon fiber epoxy prepreg and ancillary composite materials for the development and production of their Light-Sport Aircraft," said David Clarke, CEO of TenCate. "We look forward to their successful introduction of this unique aircraft platform."

"Working with TenCate's superior products will enable us to produce an aircraft which will be of the highest quality yet help keep weight within LSA specifications," noted Paul. "TenCate is a leader in the aerospace composite industry and having them work with us to bring our aircraft to market will help make Wave exceptional."

Most readers know that carbon fiber is wonderful to combine strength with low weight but preparing the material for use on aircraft is an exacting effort.

"We have now acquired a critical part of our production process, a Zund carbon fiber cutting center," said Paul. The Zund cutting machine can cut carbon fiber at an astonishing three feet per second, ink mark part numbers and bar codes to integrate individual pieces of carbon fiber into our inventory system to ensure full traceability and correct placement during laminating." He added that the Zund cutter has the capacity to produce parts for more than 100 aircraft per year.

"We looked globally at other industry leaders and concluded that Zund was a stand out within composite manufacturing companies," reported Darryn Todd, VP of Composites for Vickers.

Along with the fresh funding Vickers has also appointed the American distributor for Wave. "We are very pleased to have such strong support from the USA," exclaimed Paul. "We are equally excited to have appointed a U.S. distributor in Florida, the ideal location for Vickers Aircraft USA."

Changes have been made to the Vickers Aircraft website and it now conforms to all screens including mobile and tablets.


Duc Hélices' New Factory Hosts Engineer Students
By Dan Johnson, January 22, 2017

In my experience, pilot love learning about engines. Yet without a prop, that engine may run fine, but nothing happens to the airplane other than converting a tank of fuel into noise. To get up and go, you gotta have a prop. How about a beautiful composite one?

French propeller maker, DUC Hélises moved to a brand new facility in late 2016.
DUC Hélices New Factory — French propeller manufacturer DUC Hélices moved its facility late in 2016, relocating from Lentilly to Frontenas on the Villefranche-Tarare Airfield.

Last year marked a turning point in the evolution of DUC Propellers, the company said. A relocation project was launched in April 2016 with the primary goal to move the company to the Villefranche-Tarare aerodrome to be at the heart of its business. "This move will allow [us] to expand our premises and modernize further. The move started in November of 2016 and an inauguration or grand opening will be completed by spring 2017."

Shortly after the big move, DUC was pleased to welcome engineering students from Centrale Lyon Engineering School the new site at the Villefranche-Tarare Airfield (LFHV) for a presentation of the facilities and DUC's design and manufacturing activities (nearby photo).

In other DUC news, the company announced, "After three years of work, DUC Propellers received in summer 2016 a EASA Type Certification for the three-blade FLASH-R and five-blade FLAIR-2." The company also supplies many propellers to Light-Sport Aircraft and many European ultralights.

"DUC Propellers will be pleased to welcome visitors to its booth at the US Sport Aviation Expo in Sebring (Florida) from January 25 to 28, 2017," the company invited.

See DUC Hélices at Sebring Expo 2017 in exhibit space NC114.


Guardian Adds More Cockpit Power for iPad Users
By Dan Johnson, January 22, 2017

If you own an iPad, iPhone, or its Android equivalents -- wait a minute, have we any pilots who don't own one or more of these handy gizmos? Well, if you're among the many, you need power for your favorite handheld tool. When I fly commercial and I'm in the gate house waiting for my flight, I appear to be like everyone else... looking for a free outlet to juice up my devices.

Now, your cockpit does not have to be one of those places of searching. Thanks to Guardian Avionics, you can recharge in flight in your GA airplane that was manufactured with a cigar lighter outlet.

Guardian Power Port — The Tucson, Arizona company introduced a new and simple USB power upgrade option for aircraft owners who have an old 12 volt cigarette lighter socket in their current panel. Guardian's Power 250-101R Dual 2.1 Amp USB Power Supply with a 0.9" diameter round faceplate is designed to fit a standard round cigarette lighter socket opening in the instrument panel.

"Since USB has become a popular standard for powering smartphones and tablets, pilots in certified aircraft have been required to use bulky adapters for their existing 12 volt lighter socket to gain a usable USB port," explained Guardian. "The new round USB unit perfectly replaces the lighter socket and adds a clean dual USB port that sits flush with the panel converting any aircraft power source from 9 VDC to 48 VDC down to an output of 5 VDC at 2.1 Amp per USB port. Only two countersunk screws need to be added to mount the new unit and the power supply can be wired to aircraft power through a 2 Amp circuit breaker in place of the existing circuit breaker for the 12 volt lighter socket."

This round dual USB unit, along with all USB models offered by Guardian, is listed as part of FAA's "Non-Required Safety Enhancing Equipment" (NORSEE) letter of authorization issued to Guardian Avionics. This means the unit may be installed by an A&P/IA with only a minor alteration logbook entry in any Part 23, 27, or 29 certified aircraft/rotorcraft. No time consuming and costly STC or Form 337 required.

"There are tens of thousands of certified General Aviation currently flying in the United States with a factory installed cigarette lighter in their panel," noted Ash Vij, President of Guardian Avionics. "More and more of the pilots flying those aircraft are using tablets and phones with apps for navigation and they need reliable and safe USB power to power them in flight. Our simple, affordable, and attractive replacement is a fantastic upgrade for any aircraft owner."

See Guardian Avionics at Sebring Expo 2017 in exhibit space NC107.


California Power System Announces Rotax Classes
By Dan Johnson, January 22, 2017

Maybe you missed the last series of classes. Maybe you simply weren't ready yet. Maybe you just joined Club Rotax (meaning your aircraft is powered by the popular Austrian engine). Whatever the reason, the more you know about Rotax engines, the better your flying experience.

Rotax Maintenance Classes — If you are a professional or wanna-be pro in the maintenance or overhaul of Rotax engines, you must take factory-approved training. You have choices in such training by recently California Power Systems announced a series of classes.

Rotax 2-Stroke Service Course is for technicians wanting to rebuild or maintain all water-cooled and air-cooled 2-stroke Rotax aircraft engines. Learn to perform a complete engine rebuild with failure analysis and a focus on preventative maintenance. —March 6-7, 2017.

Rotax 912 / 914 Service Class is for technicians wanting to service 912-series engines or owners wanting to do their own scheduled maintenance. This course will give any FAA A&P or LSA Repairman certificate holder the credentials to perform all scheduled maintenance and level #1 troubleshooting procedures. —March 8-9, 2017.

Other classes include: a 912 / 914 Maintenance Class for technicians wanting to perform more in depth maintenance tasks. —March 10-11, 2017; 2 Stroke and 912 / 914 Renewal Course for current iRMT license holders. —March 12, 2017; and, a 912 / 914 Heavy Maintenance Class for professional mechanics. —March 13-15, 2017.

All classes are held at California Power Systems' training facility at the Chino Airport (KCNO). Visit the CPS website for all details. You can also call Bryan Toepfer at 800-247-9653 x302 or email Bryan.

See California Power Systems representatives at Sebring Expo 2017.


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 occur (as it no doubt will) that a pilot has a medical issue while flying after seeing a regular doctor? 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," Eric concluded. "People should be made aware of this."


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 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

Doesn't the newest SLSA resemble an aircraft you know? Can you place it? 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.



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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

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!


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

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.

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



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


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

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.


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?

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

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.


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.

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.

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.

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.


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.

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.

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.

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