Check out the wonderful B&F Clubman
...a huge hit at Aero Friedrichshafen 2016.
Video sponsored by Continental Motors
See them at AirVenture: spaces 229-234
 

...a web log of developments in Sport Pilot/Light-Sport Aircraft
Second most recent 20 postings.


Jabiru Engines’ Battle With Australian Government
By Dan Johnson, March 26, 2016

A six-cylinder, 120-horsepower Jabiru 3300 installed in an American Experimental Amateur Built aircraft.
Among all the engines that lift Light-Sport Aircraft and light kit aircraft into the air, a few names dominate the field. To be used in a Special LSA, the engine has to meet all the requirements of the ASTM consensus standards. That is tough enough that currently we have Rotax, HKS, Continental, and Titan, with even the Continental (like Lycoming) qualifying by virtue of those powerplants meeting FAR 33. The other major player is Jabiru... the engine company as distinct from the airframe producer. Other engine suppliers such as UL Power, and D-Motor (and perhaps more) could possibly qualify but have not completed the ASTM process at this time.

So, it was some surprise to many readers that in December of 2014, the Australian equivalent to FAA, called CASA, implemented restrictions on the operation of Jabiru-powered aircraft in that country. In the Sport Pilot magazine published by Recreational Aviation Australia, Dave Edmunds wrote, "These restrictions required passengers to sign a waiver indicating that they were aware of potential aircraft problems." Some areas of operation of flights schools were also imposed.

"Even the most cursory examination of these restrictions indicates they have no impact on safety, do not address any structural or mechanical problems, but have a huge effect on the reputation of Jabiru," continued Edmunds.

At issue was something called IFSD or Inflight Shut Down of engines and CASA documents produced under a Freedom of Information request revealed a technical survey of engine failure rates for a two-year period. Edmunds, who obtained the documents, said the shutdowns were not filtered to include only those related to mechanical failures. For example, Edmunds wrote, "The figures used by CASA for IFDSs are raw figures, and include running out of fuel."

Chart appearing in Recreational Aviation Australia's Sport Pilot magazine.
As the nearby chart taken from the magazine supplied by Jabiru North America shows, Jabiru has the lowest number of fatalities per 100 currently registered aircraft... by a wide margin. Even the U.S. FAR 23-certified Cessna Skyhawk, with a very similar number of aircraft flying in Australia, had six times the fatalities-per-100-aircraft rate.

CASA's documents also made no reference to Jabiru addressing known modes of failure via three separate service bulletins. Problems can happen with any brand; the solution is addressing them with remedies, as Jabiru evidently did. Indeed, Edmunds wrote, "Aircraft which have had the issues addressed in the service bulletins have a dramatically lower rate of engine failure."

Other reporting anomalies appeared. Edmunds wrote, "The CASA website reported 46 Jabiru 'problems and events,' whereas Jabiru believes these were only 12 shutdowns due to mechanical failure [in the period examined]." He added, "It is not clear why CASA has used the vague and all-encompassing term, 'problems and events'."

As Edmunds continued his article — which views the editor said, "do not necessarily reflect those of RAAus" — he expressed, "CASA is rightly concerned about its responsibility for safety." Yet he added later, "...if CASA is prepared to operate on data as thin as this, then perhaps there is a great deal it is missing the aviation environment more widely."

Government agencies including our FAA are often on the hot seat to provide answers where few may exist but they also seem willing to amplify a problem to a degree that can be hard to accept. The requirement for registration of wee little drones (as light as nine ounces) with demands for a pilot license to operate them when photographing — for example, homes for sale — border on overreach. The Academy of Model Aeronautics felt so strongly about it, the AMA advised members not to immediately register their RC airplanes. We have learned to trust these agencies but they are operated and managed by ordinary humans who are not superior to the rest of us.

Articles like that of Dave Edmunds can help present both sides of the story. Those of you going to Sun 'n Fun in a matter of days can stop by the exhibit of Jabiru North America and ask more questions. See their display at space N-056 & 057 (not far from the blue FAA building).


CGS Hawk Has Found a New Florida Home
By Dan Johnson, March 21, 2016

In the beginning ... the light aviation world was void and without form. Those were the earliest days of light powered aircraft that people could truly afford. I refer way back to the late 1970s following a period when hang gliders were the darlings of the affordable aviation world. Hang gliders evolved in various dimensions, among which was the addition of an engine to a previously unpowered type of flying machine.

In those formative years one man stood large. Not only a big man in physical form, he was big in stature and bold in his goals. Some readers already know to whom I refer — the always impressive and irrepressible Chuck Slusarczyk. History about him goes back far enough that much of it precedes the World Wide Web. The earliest articles about Chuck and his enterprise never made it into the digital universe but see this link for a number that did, including some videos.

Chuck is now enjoying his retirement, having sold off his company after producing around 2,000 Hawks in various forms: Part 103 ultralights, experimental single seaters, two seater tandems, Hawks on floats, and a Light-Sport version. The history of the Hawk is so rich and varied that it would take a full article to describe it all. Fortunately, website members can read much of the history here.

After operating his company — called CGS Aviation, the letters following on his earlier Chuck's Glider Supplies — for many years, Chuck found a buyer in Alabama named Danny Dezauche. For a few years Danny kept the brand alive but more recently he sought and found a buyer to continue the iconic airplanes.

In January of 2016, after earlier suitors didn't pan out, Danny (featured in the one of videos mentioned above) sold the company to Floridian Terry Short. His enterprise, Terry Short Aviation Services, "Home of CGS Hawk Aviation," is based at the Lake Wales Airport.

Terry got his start in aviation like many youngsters, building radio-controlled airplanes back in the 1970s. After spending eight years in the U.S. Navy, Terry obtained his Private Pilot certificate in 1994. However, he said, "I preferred to fly ultralights and Light-Sport Aircraft."

"I started building scale model aircraft and competing in realistic flight and realistic scale competition in 1980s" Terry explained. His RC building efforts including a half-scale J3 Piper Cub and he reported that he won first place awards "due to detail and quality of realism" in his assemblies.

I purchased my first full-scale ultralight in 1995 at Sun 'n Fun, an Airbike from Team Aircraft," Terry recalled. "This was the start of building a variety of light planes: an Aerosport II, a Capella, a Rans, and a Kolb." He said he enjoy restoration projects a favorite of which "has always been Piper J3 Cub." Terry reports restoring six Cubs in the past 15 years. "I like to fly them, but I really enjoy the project part of it the most."

"My love for the projects led me to establish my own restoration and services business this year," Terry said, "and I will be retiring from Polk County School Board soon to focus on new business with my son, Chris."

"We will be offering support on all Hawk aircraft and will build and sell Hawk Ultra and two-place Hawk Arrow kits, as well as the two-seat Special LSA Hawk II." Given the population of hundreds of Hawks in the light aircraft fleet this is bound to be welcome news to those needing parts and service.

Over the years Chuck Slusarczyk operated the business, I believe I flew every model the pioneer created. Chuck and I were contemporaries in the early days of hang gliding and I came to know the man very well. Along with many other light aviation enthusiasts, I always looked forward to more of Chuck's highly entertaining sense of humor.

I cannot imagine Terry Short or son Chris can continue that particular part of the Hawk tradition but in a period when plenty of pilots lament the high cost of very sophisticated Light-Sport Aircraft, the CGS Hawks offer a more modest expense. These are simple airplanes but they've proven themselves over many years.

I also know several builders of kit Hawks and the project demands a lower number of hours. Flying any of the Hawk models is quite straightforward. The handling is docile and flight characteristics are predictable.

If you are headed to Sun 'n Fun in a couple weeks, you can find out more about CGS Hawk aircraft at the booth of Terry Short Aviation Services, space LP-007A in Paradise City. He reported he will not have an aircraft — "We've just received all the components and tooling and didn't want to just throw something together to show" — but he will be available to answer questions.


CPS Revs Up Rotax Classes in America’s West
By Dan Johnson, March 14, 2016

It's springtime and all across America as the weather enters an inviting phase, pilots are getting out their ultralights, light kit aircraft, and the Light-Sport Aircraft. Doing a very thorough check of the airframe is obviously important but thoughtful pilots will not overlook their engine.

For years now, all manner of light aircraft are lifted by a powerplant from one brand: Rotax.

So, where do you take your Rotax engine for qualified and quality work? A number of repair stations or mechanics have established a reputation after being trained to work on these engines. However, as the LSA sector expands around the globe and as companies far and wide began to embrace the Austrian engine, a steady growth has occurred in maintenance technicians. When engine models change and to assure approved mechanics have the latest information, recurrency training is also required.

Many owners are quite capable of doing some of their own work. Where do professionals and experienced amateurs go to get training? For those in the western states one good choice is California Power Systems, now part of the Aircraft Spruce conglomerate.

The 65-horsepower, two-stroke Rotax 582 continues to be a successful light aircraft powerplant.
March is a great month for flying and a good month to get new or updated training. California Power Systems — or simply CPS — is ready with a series of classes. This first is happening as this was written. Others are following shortly.

Occurring today and tomorrow (but sure to repeat) is the CPS Rotax 2-Stroke Service Course is for technicians wanting to rebuild or maintain all water-cooled and air-cooled 2-stroke Rotax aircraft engines such as the still-in-production and very popular Rotax 582. Emphasis is on students being able to perform a complete engine rebuild with failure analysis and a focus on preventative maintenance.

Coming up in days — on March 16-17, 2016 — is a Rotax 4-Stroke Service Class for those who want to maintain 912 series engines. This class is also geared to owners wanting to do their own scheduled maintenance. If you hold an A&P certificate or are an approved LSA Repairman, you will receive training to perform all scheduled maintenance and Level One troubleshooting procedures.

For a higher level of maintenance, mechanics need greater training. These individuals will want to take CPS's Rotax 912/914 Maintenance Class is for technicians wanting to perform serious maintenance tasks on 9-series engines. The class focuses on troubleshooting faults, removing major components for shipment to heavy maintenance rated technicians, and reassembly. "This class will be held on March 18-19, 2016," said CPS.

California Power System's series of Rotax engine classes cover the entire line including the newest fuel-injected, iS-series powerplants.
If you have already taken training from Rotax outlets like CPS, you may need the Rotax 2-Stroke Renewal Course or the 4-stroke (912 & 914) Renewal Course. These two courses are for current iRMT license holders. The renewal program will cover all new materials released within the past 24 months. This is the most inexpensive and informative way to get a 24-month extension on your current certification. The course will be held on March 20, 2016.

Finally, with professional mechanics in mind, CPS offers a Rotax 912/914 Heavy Maintenance Class , designed for those making a living as a Rotax repair technician. The class covers a complete field level teardown, inspection, and reassembly. The class will be held on March 21-23, 2016.

"All CPS classes will be held in our training facility at the Chino Airport (KCNO)," said California Power Systems. For detailed information and future schedules for any of these Rotax Classes, please visit the CPS website at the links above or call Bryan Toepfer at 800-247-9653 x302 or email Bryan.

If you can't make any of these classes, contact Bryan at CPS to hear when the next series starts.


Cruzer Prepared for FAA Kit Evaluation Team
By Dan Johnson, March 9, 2016

Watch our Video Pilot Report to get more details about the Zenith Cruzer model.
Even very familiar companies like Zenith Aircraft company, part of a family light aviation empire including Zenair in Canada, has to prepare well when FAA comes to visit. Specifically, this would be the agency's KET or Kit Evaluation Team. When various representatives of the regulatory agency visit they use a multi-page list to assure that a kit aircraft meets the requirement that 51% of the kit is built by the owner.

Formerly called Experimental Amateur Built (or EAB), many aviators simply say the "51% rule." In earlier times, kit aircraft were scratch built — meaning a builder secured raw materials that had to be formed and finished while referring to drawings, a potentially very lengthy process. To ease the effort and increase sales, an industry developed to sell component kits. These have become increasingly sophisticated with qualities such as match-hole construction using CNC machines.

Making it easier for a builder to assemble his or her aircraft is good, but the kit manufacturer must be able to clearly demonstrate how the owner will do 51% of the work, as required. As you might imagine, this demands a thorough review of the kit.

To prepare for FAA's visit, company staff spread out all the kit parts for their Cruzer model in a hangar bay at the factory, showing what the kit looks like as supplied to builders (this video addresses how Cruzer fits in Zenith's line).

You can watch a short video below that Zenith recorded; it demonstrates the part count pretty well and from the time it took just to lay them all out neatly, you may get some concept for the build effort to follow.

Freddy Heintz hovers his quadcopter over the Cruzer kit parts as part of the video shoot (see below).
Zenith kits "are supplied ready for assembly, using pulled (blind) rivets," said Zenith. "Parts are pre-formed and finished at the factory, and supplied pre-drilled, mainly final hole-size and ready for riveting. Welded assemblies are welded at the factory, and wing spars are supplied factory-finished."

"This is just the latest Zenith kit to be evaluated by the FAA so the outcome of this evaluation is really not in question," observed Roger Dubbert, company demo pilot and customer service specialist.

As an EAB owners can choose engines, avionics, and other options as they like, demonstrating the flexibility the 51% rule offers. Zenith said that popular engines include Continental, Lycoming, UL Power, Rotax, and a number of auto conversions, such as Viking. "Instrument panels can also be fully customized by the builder/owner, ranging from full IFR glass panels (Dynon, Garmin and others) to basic 'steam gauges' and/or iPad panels," added Zenith. Company president Sebastien Heintz added that his, "airplane[s] ... can still be operated by a Sport Pilot."

Photos show the company's newest model the Zenith CH 750 Cruzer, "an economical all-metal two-seat cross-country cruiser based on the hugely successful STOL high-wing designs from aeronautical engineer Chris Heintz," concluded Zenith.

The following time-lapse video shows the team carefully laying out all the airframe parts for their Cruzer model.

For those who prefer to expedite the process of building Zenair offers a builder assist center. Get more info here on Zenair's Two-Week Wonder program.


The Brazilians Are Coming ... Super Petrel in USA
By Dan Johnson, March 7, 2016

Older readers may remember, "The Russians are Coming," a silly movie about a supposed Russian invasion from 1966. It was a comedy set during the Cold War. Here in the new millennia a different sort of aviation invasion appears to be happening. This time it's the Brazilians and they are not so much invading as looking for a better place to set up shop.

A decade ago, Brazil was riding high, one of the so-called BRIC countries on the rise as new economic powerhouses. Flush with commodities revenue the government was free to dole out public money very generously and things were looking good. Here in 2016, that situation has changed dramatically. The economy is sluggish, President Dilma Rousseff has been earning approval ratings in single digits, and doing business in Brazil is said to have increasing challenges.

Maybe that's why Brazilian aviation giant Embraer started making bizjets in Melbourne, Florida ... or maybe this country is where many of their fancy Phenom jets sell. Regardless, home country issues are definitely why Brazilian SLSA maker, Paradise Aircraft, established a base at the Sebring airport.

Now witness a North American base for amphibious SLSA manufacturer Scoda Aeronautics (formerly Edra Aeronautica, though this was only a name change as the ownership remains the same). Rodrigo Scoda is the principal of the South American company. He has now joined forces with North Americans Brian Boucher and David Kyrk to create a solid U.S. presence.

"Super Petrel USA Inc., recently leased a 6,000-square-foot hangar at Ormond Beach Municipal Airport where it will open an aircraft assembly, sales, distribution, and parts center," wrote journalist Clayton Park of the Daytona Beach News Journal newspaper.

Park's article continued, "Brian Boucher, a Spruce Creek Fly-In resident who works as a commercial airline pilot, teamed up with the founder of Rio Claro, Brazil-based Scoda Aeronautica and another Brazilian businessman to form Super Petrel USA on January 1, 2016." The newly formed subsidiary company signed a three-year lease at the airport, according to airport manager Steven Lichliter.

"We were contacted by telephone and by email in October" by the owners of Super Petrel, said Lichliter, according to writer Park. "They came for a visit and were impressed with the general atmosphere." The city's economic development director Joe Mannarino, said Super Petrel USA will start with four employees.

Brian Boucher, seated, and David Kyrk pose with a Super Petrel LSA seaplane at the Ormond Beach Municipal Airport. photo by Clayton Park of the Daytona Beach News Journal
Initially Scoda Aeronautica will continue all fabrication and major assembly in Brazil, however, the principles of the company — which include Rodrigo Scoda and other Brazilians plus Port Orange- Florida-based Brian Boucher — have indicated their plans could become more ambitious, with increasing amounts of work done in the USA.

As with many imported Light-Sport Aircraft a sizeable portion of the airplane comes from the USA already. Items such as avionics, brakes, wheels, lighting, emergency parachutes, intercoms, headsets, ELTs and numerous other components are supplied from American companies. Anyone can appreciate that it makes sense not to ship these items overseas for assembly only to ship them back to the USA. Add tariffs and other government fees into the equation and it becomes even more obvious to send airplanes without those and other items, adding them once the aircraft arrives in the U.S.

Most pilots understand that doing increasing work in the USA is efficient to supply the North American market. Yet, both Super Petrel USA and Paradise Aircraft have stated that shipping products from Brazil to other overseas markets has become more difficult. So, both U.S.-based outlets have indicated their longer term plans include exporting from America to other countries. Internationally-accepted ASTM standards aid this global effort.

From the early days when LSA were overwhelmingly built overseas — often using much lower priced labor, for example, in former USSR statellite countries — the situation has changed dramatically. Not only are American producers making a growing share of LSA in the USA for U.S customers but they are beginning to export more. The Brazilian aviation entrepreneurs are merely using this dynamic to their advantage.

Super Petrel seen taxiing at the Spruce Creek Fly-In airport in Port Orange, Florida.
Edra, now Scoda Aeronautica has been building Super Petrel amphibious biplanes for 15 years, since 2001. The Brazilian company has sold more than 350 Super Petrels to pilots in 23 countries. According to a news release from the company ten of the SLSA models were sold in the US in the last six months of 2015.

At a time when expectations run high for California's Icon Aircraft to start delivery of their long-awaited A5 LSA seaplane, a window of opportunity exists for companies like Super Petrel, Searey producer Progressive Aerodyne, and startups such as MVP.aero and Vickers Aircraft. Icon has taken orders for a reported 1,500+ aircraft but new orders may be facing a considerable wait, opening the door for competitors.

Price is another consideration. With Icon's A5 crossing the $200,000 threshold, a Super Petrel selling for $155,000 to $170,000 is a relative bargain. Seaplanes of any airplane sector are always more costly than the land version so $155,000 is genuinely a fair value for an airplane that looks as good as the Super Petrel. Searey is also available in this price range.

Given my close proximity to the new Super Petrel USA facility, I expect to gain experience flying the biplane seaplane and will report more as developments continue.


American Legend’s Greg Koontz Truck Landing Show
By Dan Johnson, March 2, 2016

In my years as a hang glider pilot — and for many friends who enjoy unpowered paragliders — the idea of what's called a "top landing" is something of the holy grail. Such a feat can now be rather commonly achieved, especially by a slower flying paraglider, but is nonetheless quite thrilling to launch from a mountain and then land back on top of that mountain. This avoids the need to breakdown, drive back up, and set up for another launch but mainly it is just a terribly cool thing to do.

Still, landing a hang glider or paraglider back on top of the mountain is reasonably straightforward compared to landing an airplane atop a moving truck. Sure, you may have seen it done at airshows and perhaps you marveled at the skill involved. Yet I'm guessing that virtually no one reading this article has ever attempted the feat much less done so repeatedly ... and, by the way, at an airshow with lots of people watching and cameras recording everything.

American Legend announced the successful completion and testing of a new Super Legend HP aircraft to be used in Greg Koontz Airshows' World's Smallest Airport flying routine. "Pilot and performer Greg Koontz concluded the tests of the Super Legend by successfully landing the aircraft on top of a moving pickup truck," reported the Sulphur Springs, Texas manufacturer.

Koontz's new Super Legend HP is a stock aircraft that incorporates options specific to his airshow, American Legend said. "These include a Smoking Airplanes 3.5 gallon smoke system; a larger step allows easier access to the cabin ... and a 180 horsepower Titan engine," now marketed by Continental.

Don Wade of C&D Aviation worked with Koontz and American Legend on this project. He summarized Koontz' initial reactions saying, "Greg [said] the airplane flies similar to the original Piper J-3." In his previous version of this act, Koontz used the vintage model Cub. "Greg is one the most precise airshow pilots in world. You have no idea how difficult landing on the truck is. You have just six inches either side of the wheels."

Greg Koontz has been performing in airshows since 1974 when he was a member of Colonel Moser's Flying Circus. Koontz credits having learned his maneuvers from retired Air Force Colonel Ernie Moser, who he said was "the best in the business." To know where he will perform the "smallest airport" bit with his powerful Legend Cub, visit his website for a complete 2016 show schedule that includes 16 stops including Sun 'n Fun and Oshkosh.

Super Legend HP uses the increasingly popular Titan O-340 engine, a stroked derivative of the Lycoming O-320. The powerplant is a four cylinder, 340 cubic inch displacement engine producing 180 horsepower, similar to the larger and heavier O-360. The company said, "Super Legend HP, with the Titan O-340, offers fast cruise speeds and the best ever takeoff and climb performance in a Light-Sport Cub." The company explained that to qualify as Light-Sport Aircraft, maximum takeoff power must be limited to five minutes with continuous power derated to 80 horsepower. "Special lightweight custom paint and avionics packages are available to maintain Super Legend HP empty weight at less than 904 pounds," to gain acceptance by FAA as a fully-built LSA.

Super Legend was first offered with the 115-horsepower Lycoming O-233 so the Titan-powered one perhaps ought to be called Super-Duper Legend. I look forward to see it perform at 2016 airshows.


Remos Roars Back with GXiS; Aero 2016 Debut
By Dan Johnson, February 29, 2016

Article updated March 9, 2016Skybound Aviation in Cape Girardeau, Missouri has been appointed the "exclusive resource" for Remos G3 and GX parts in the USA. The company operated by Glenn "Mac" McCallister and Bev Cleair is open for service 6.5 days a week (not Sunday mornings) and is also a dealer for Remos. Contact them at 573-833-0426 or email Mac.

In our 2014 report, you read that a well-known German supplier of Light-Sport Aircraft, Remos, fell from their high perch. The company became known to nearly all Americans when the U.S. importer, closely allied with the German producer, ran a series of full page ads in the USA's biggest aviation magazines. It brought wide awareness but cost the company dearly. As their timing coincided with the global economic downturn, Remos stumbled badly and was forced to go through reorganization.

As reported, a new investor stepped up during the process and Remos has persevered. Still building airplanes in Pasewalk, Germany, the company has revitalized following their tumble and recently announced a new model that will be debuted at the upcoming Aero 2016 show in the third week of April, a couple weeks after Sun 'n Fun (thankfully for those of us who attend both events).

On February's Leap Day, the European company announced that it, "will present the next generation of its high-wing composite aircraft Remos GX at Aero Friedrichshafen from April 20th to 23rd." They specified, "The redesigned cowling [reveals] what is to be found underneath: a Rotax 912 iS Sport with electronic fuel injection." The new model named Remos GXiS offers avionics by Dynon and Garmin.

Remos GXiS in front of their Pasewalk, Germany facility.
"With this new version, [we are] heading towards the European LSA with EASA certification," added company public relations spokesman, Patrick Holland-Moritz. Until recently when the company moved away, motivating him to seek work closer to home, Patrick was a journalist for Germany's large aviation magazine, Aerokurier where he often reported on the light aircraft sector.

For the last few years, Remos manufactures and assembles in Pasewalk, Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, Germany. They have long promoted the design as being wholly made in Germany.

Remos engineers and leaders like the newest 9-series Rotax for its electronic fuel injection that is more fuel efficient and makes carburetor icing a thing of the past. They added, "[Pairing the 912iS Sport] with the hydraulically operated constant speed propeller from the German-based manufacturer MT-Propeller, excellent flight performance is guaranteed." Of course, such an in-flight adjustable prop will not be allowed by FAA in America but it can make for higher performance in countries that do permit such equipment. ASTM standards already exist to cover adjustable props.

To implement the updated powerplant, Remos engineers had to make many changes, as did other airframe makers since the Austrian engine maker introduced the the 912iS. "At first glance, one may see the new air intake in the redesigned cowling of the GXiS. This is just one part of the completely optimized cooling system. There are also many invisible modifications on the fuel system and on the electric system on board." They summarized that the entire firewall-forward section of the aircraft was redesigned to accommodate the Rotax.

As those of us who have flown with the iS series know, it presents differences for pilot operation, but in many ways it is easier. Remos engineers said, "The start-up procedure is as easy as it is in your car. Almost all system checks, for which the pilot had to take care before, are done automatically now."

The attractive instrument panel of the GXiS is highly modern. Its avionics suite includes a touch sensitive 10-inch-screen combined EFIS/EMS Dynon SV-D1000T/B. In the center stack we see Garmin's GTN 750, an all-in-one WAAS GPS/NAV/COM navigation system and control panel for radio, audio panel, transponder and autopilot.

Even more intriguing is the inclusion of a collision avoidance system: TRX-1500 by Air Avionics. "It receives ADS-B signals, deals with FLARM and shows the surrounding traffic on the moving map," said Remos. The transponder installed in GXiS sends ADS-B signals. Like many Remos aircraft over the years, GXiS is equipped with an emergency airframe parachute made by U.S. manufacturer, BRS.

For the U.S. market and other countries that allow it, GXiS grosses at 1,320 pounds (600 kg). In Europe, an "ultralight" model must be lighter (472.5 kg) so, "Customers may choose between several more compact avionic options," said Remos. This version will come with the well-proven fixed-pitch three-blade propeller by Neuform instead of the MT adjustable prop and this is likely the choice for American buyers as well.

Remos invites those attending Aero Friedrichshafen 2016 to see the first article GXiS that will be used for EASA flight testing at space 207 in Hall B3. I'll hope to capture a video interview on the new offering.


Rotax Q&A and the Engine Manufacturer Debate
By Dan Johnson, February 24, 2016

It was the ninth annual LAMA Dinner at Sebring 2016. Each year, the organization has tried to do something different and this year broke new ground.

In the past LAMA has brought in speakers such as AOPA then-president Craig Fuller, EAA then-president Rod Hightower, and FAA ex-administrator, Randy Babbitt. Except for the last, they were active in their roles when they spoke but this is evidence of how things change over a fairly short time. However, two things seem not to change.

America (or at least the mainstream media) continues an infatuation with electing a new leader. Every four years — though it seems more often as the election cycles increasingly jam together — the two big political parties trot out their new candidates. The other, more relevant (to readers of this website) unchanging fact is that pilots love to hear about and talk about the engines on their aircraft.

This scene depicts a small portion of the enormous main engine assembly facility at Rotax BRP's plant in Gunskirchen, Austria.
With its beta-test debate at Sebring earning warm reviews, LAMA, supported by its principal airshow sponsor, Aviators Hot Line, is moving forward with a Great Debate series at Sun 'n Fun. As those plans come together, I will report further here. Until then, you can see and hear the Sebring engine debate below.

Meanwhile, back to that fascination with engines ...

One of the regular readers of this website had some questions, the sort that might be answered at the engine debate at Sun 'n Fun. He asked, "Does Rotax have a aviation engine line? Or, are all Rotax engines made the same, be it an aviation engine or a snowmobile or land based engine?" Answer: Rotax has a line and facility dedicated solely to the assembly of aircraft engines.

In 2015 Rotax celebrated forty years of manufacturing aircraft engines.
I've visited the facility and seen the sprawling yet immaculate and highly organized plant where motorcycle and snowmobile engines are built. With robots, computer-controlled tools, and a completely automated inventory system, Rotax BRP is very impressive.

The main plant in Gunskirchen, Austria looks more factory-like while the aircraft engine line seems more of a custom shop moving at a deliberate and measured pace. I understand workers at Rotax BRP are very keen to get into the aircraft engine side, so that team is likely the best of the best building the 9-series engines and more.

My inquirer said, "I know Rotax did away with most of the two stroke line." Comment: Most, but not all. While Rotax BRP no longer builds the 447 or 503 — and long ago did away with the single cylinder 277 — the Rotax 582 continues to be in demand and sells in good volume. "When they did sell [two-stroke engines]," he continued, "did Rotax have a special section for [those] engines that went into an airplane? Answer: They are built in the same aircraft engine facility as the 9-series though on different production runs.

"How many work in this [facility]?" Answer: About 25 technicians assemble aircraft engines and they are supported by engineering, sales, and management personnel. Some components of the aircraft engines come from the big plant, but the assembly is separate.

On the 25th Anniversary of the 9-series engines, Rotax brought out their red-shirted aircraft engine team to take a bow.
"Are Rotax aircraft engines made on an assembly line?" Answer: The Austrian engine manufacturer builds aircraft engines on a primarily hand-assembly line that is less automated than the main motorcycle and other engine production. Total volumes are quite different.

In addition to designing and testing aircraft engines — for example the new 135-horsepower Rotax 915 iS is getting closer to market — the European manufacturer also supports dealers and mechanics with a training facility that I have toured. I've also visited the Continental Motors factory in Mobile, Alabama, and it is also impressive in its size and technical sophistication but Rotax in Austria is a more modern establishment.

The questions above and more will be asked and answered at the Sun 'n Fun Great Debates, held in a new much-larger LAMA tent that will be front and center in Paradise City, the Light Plane area of Sun'n Fun. If you are attending the show, come to Paradise City each day and catch a Great Debate at 1:00 PM. You may get your questions answered, too.

Get an idea how the debates will go by catching this video:


Flight Design USA Forges Ahead with CTLSi
By Dan Johnson, February 19, 2016

Breaking News ... Recently Flight Design in Germany sent a letter to their dealers including this statement, "We have applied for a planned receivership which allows for reorganization of the company." What does this mean?

Since Light-Sport Aircraft burst on the aviation scene in 2004, Flight Design built the largest fleet in the United States. Using internationally-accepted ASTM standards to good advantage, CT series aircraft also sold well in other countries. Flight Design USA president Tom Peghiny was the first ASTM Airplane Subcommittee chair for several years in the mid-2000s while Flight Design Germany's Chief Technical Officer, Oliver Reinhardt served as overall F37 chair until very recently.

Parlaying their prowess in aircraft design, testing, and certification, Flight Design engineered an all-metal version of their carbon fiber CTLS, called MC, plus a four-seat certified aircraft design named C4, among other projects.

That may sound positive, but engineering-intensive projects require costlier talent and can consume boatloads of money. Several projects were started years ago and were underway as the global economy took a sharp turn for the worse in 2009. With funds stretched, serial production of existing products slowed. Something had to give.

Faced with a "liquidity crunch," Flight Design GmbH filed for insolvency on February 11th. A local German court provided Knut Rebholz, an attorney with experience in restructuring, to be interim receiver of the German corporation. After his assessment, court appointee Robholz reported, "The order situation of the company is good and the products have a very good international reputation in the market." He continued, "[The] most urgent task to enable intensive negotiations to fund operations."

Jack Pelton, actor Harrison Ford, and Tom Poberezny prepare for remarks at an NBAA event with the EAA sweepstakes MC as a backdrop.
The problems faced by Flight Design in Germany slowed aircraft deliveries motivating Connecticut-based Flight Design USA to recently announce a new source of supply for their CLTSi models from a properly licensed and very capable builder.

Introducing AeroJones Aviation ...

AeroJones Aviation is headquartered in Taichung, Taiwan, often referred to as the "Silicon Valley" of Taiwan. AeroJones negotiated and signed an exclusive agreement to license Flight Design products. The program to begin production called for the Taiwanese company to assemble new production tooling and equipment including a five-axis CNC machine, water and Laser cutters, TIG welding, composite layup and post-cure ovens, plus a modern paint booth. AeroJones also obtained production worker training, received training to provide quality management, and gradually built up to finished airplanes, which first occurred in 2014. AeroJones' production facility has passed numerous audits including earning a Production Certificate from China's CAAC at the end of 2015.

This is not a new, small start-up company but instead one with impressive credentials. AeroJones' parent company, GSEO (Genius Electro Optical), is a manufacturer and supplier for industrial LED products and laminated lenses for many popular smartphones; it has around 20,000 employees.

AeroJones has been building CTLSi aircraft and shipments to the USA are already scheduled. This will allow Flight Design USA to move forward with its business while the German company works to restructure.

Flight Design's four seat C4 made its first flight in 2015.
Flight Design USA noted, "Roughly 35% of a CTLS presently comes from the USA — wheels, tires, brakes, radios, antennas, GPS, autopilot, EFIS and EMS systems, intercom, Whelen lights, BRS parachute, ELT, headsets, and miscellaneous parts like the gascolator." Tom Peghiny continued, "The Austrian-made Rotax engine, propeller, composite materials, windshield and windows, paint, seats, and numerous other parts come from Europe. The planes made by AeroJones Aviation should correctly be called 'world aircraft' (just like Boeing and Airbus) as only about 25% will be of non-western origin."

All these steps — Flight Design in Germany reorganizing, Flight Design USA arranging a new, second source for completed airframes, solidifying components from all over the globe, and preparing for a refreshed American operation — lead to their newest product announcement: the CTLSi "2020" Edition.

A new season of flying will feature AeroJones-produced CTLSi aircraft with fully compliant ADS-B hardware.
"For 2016 we wanted to do a light upgrade to the avionics on the CTLSi centered around dual Dynon SkyView and the Garmin 796," said Peghiny. "We asked what would we want in addition if we were the customer?"

"Working closely with John Hurst, the technical and sales director of Americana Aviation [a Flight Design USA distributor], we came up with a package we think is very appealing."

"Since 2012, we have been delivering the Dynon SkyView SV-261 Extended Squitter (ES) transponder — which sends additional info for ADS-B out use. In conjunction with the new Dynon SV-2020 GPS source, this provides an FAA Next Gen-compliant ADS-B out solution," added Tom. Many LSA have ADS-B in today but FAA requires the extra "out" data by 2020, which suggested the new CTLSi edition name Flight Design USA chose.

"For ADS-B in we are offering three options," said Tom. "Customers can choose the Dynon SV-470 ADS-B in, which has the NEXRAD weather in the cockpit, UAT traffic displayed on the screens in vertical and horizontal position and TAFs and TFRs. Alternatively, the Garmin GDL-39-3D offers both 978 UAT traffic and 1020 ES traffic, Bluetooth connectivity to other devices, and a backup ADAHRs-like panel displayed on the Garmin 796. The third option is to have a mini iPad in an AirGizmo panel mount with a USB power supply and choose the ADS-B in software such as Garmin Pilot or ForeFlight. The 2020 Edition will come with the Dynon WiFi adapters installed which also allows loading flight plans into the Dynon mapping software."

"All this refers to just the ADS-B," noted Tom. "Of course the CTLSi 2020 also comes with the Rotax 912is fuel injected engine, the Dynon SkyView autopilot, standard airframe parachute, and all the other creature comforts that Flight Design owners have always enjoyed."

While the Germany company moves to restructure, it is good to see the American LSA fleet leader showing refreshed activity and many interested pilots will look forward to examining a new AeroJones-produced CTLSi at summer airshows.

Peghiny added, "The good news is that many existing LSA using appropriate Dynon hardware can meet the ADS-B 2020 requirements quickly and with less expense.


SuperSTOL Gets Superpower with Titan’s 180 Horses
By Dan Johnson, February 15, 2016

Article updated 2/16/16 — In a freshly-edited video (see at end), Just Aircraft key fellows Gary Schmidt and Troy Townsend provide extra comments and we add additional footage of SuperSTOL climbing strongly with the Titan.

Troy Woodland blasts off an airshow strip using the Rotax 912 with 100 horsepower.
Even before Continental Motors took over the former ECi, that company's Titan engine has been turning heads. CubCrafters was first to this party, installing the 180-horsepower engine on their Cubalike LSA, demonstrating very short takeoff rolls before climbing steeply. Since then, quite a few other producers have embraced the potent engine and more are coming. This development is sufficiently interesting that I am at work on an article about three "divisions" of powerplants for LSA, light kits, and ultralights.

However, all other users of the Titan are unlike Just Aircraft's SuperSTOL, which itself has turned many a head at airshow demonstrations. SuperSTOL was able to rivet pilots' attention when it performed with the 100-horsepower Rotax 912, so imagine the neck-snapping twists that will occur when people get a chance to see how this moveable-slats airplane on tall, telescoping gear performs with 180 horses doing the pulling.

The good news is, you don't need to wait. You can get a relatively unique aft-facing, landing gear view of SuperSTOL rocketing off its factory airstrip at the end of this article. I'll bet you enjoy that!

Just Aircraft reported they started flight tests with the Titan OX-340 engine on their stretched SuperSTOL XL. "Due to a redesigned crankshaft, the Titan develops 180 horsepower with elevated torque levels," said James Ball, a principal of Engine Components, International or ECi. "Essentially, the engine started out as a 160 horsepower Lycoming, but ECi reconfigured the engine to have a larger displacement resulting in more power."

In 2015, Continental Motors announced they expanded more deeply into the Experimental and LSA sectors with the purchase of ECi, a San Antonio, Texas-based manufacturer of FAA-approved engine parts. The deal provided Continental with a strong foothold in the light aircraft market with the ECi's Titan line of engines including the X320, X340 and X370 models, all of which are based on Lycoming type designs.

While Continental already enjoyed a solid presence in LSA and light kits with their O-200 line, Titan adds a very powerful engine choice that satiates the desire of pilots for more thrust. It's no small irony that one U.S. icon now offers engines based on another American engine icon, Lycoming. Full disclosure: Continental is owned by China's AVIC.

Under the "hood" of the SuperSTOL XL first seen at Sebring 2016 is the Titan XO-340 with 180 horsepower.
Just Aircraft considers the Titan a good option for the SuperSTOL. "It's premature to discuss performance numbers," said XL designer Troy Woodland (seen in the lead photo doing what he does so well at airshows). However, Troy is quick to add, "But there clearly is an improvement in the takeoff roll and rate of climb. We brought our newest SuperSTOL to Sebring 2016 on a trailer to introduce the Titan and the response was very positive and enthusiastic. Since then, we've started flying it and we're pleased with the results."

As is often the case, Troy is being a bit laid-back and modest, as the video below testifies.

Sold as a complete kit for homebuilders, Just's SuperSTOL XL offers "unparalleled performance in short takeoffs, landings and slow flight. Configured as a high wing, with two [side-by-side] seats and tundra tires, the XL can be set down in virtually any clearing."

SuperSTOL was designed for back country flying and weekend adventures and Titan adds a new dimension to those "adventures."

Want to see how enthusiastically SuperSTOL climbs behind the Titan XO-340? Then, watch this video. To add perspective, the runway at Just Aircraft is one of the most unusual I've ever seen ... a very short, very, very steeply sloped runway, which in this video SuperSTOL barely uses, climbing amazingly fast away from the surface. Whoa!


Merlin PSA Takes “Exhilarating” First U.S. Flight
By Dan Johnson, February 14, 2016

One of the fast paced developments I've observed has been Aeromarine LSA's new Merlin PSA. "PSA" stands for Personal Sport Aircraft and the Florida company may be truly onto something interesting.

While recognizing they are very capable airplanes, many lament the cost of carbon fiber speedsters with glass cockpits and autopilots. Aeromarine LSA perceives an opening.

Introduced at the U.S. Sport Aviation 2016 event in Sebring last month, proprietor Chip Erwin said Merlin PSA drew questions: "It only costs $35,000?" and, "That price really includes the engine?"

A longtime entrepreneur in the light aircraft manufacturing game, Chip sees a way to attract buyers with a very modestly priced aircraft that is fully enclosed, made with all metal construction and with interesting powerplant choices.

The first U.S. Merlin PSA is powered with the 65 horsepower Rotax 582 that provide outstanding performance for such a light aircraft. Alternative powerplants have been part of the plan all along.

Chip Erwin did not design or "invent" the airplane he now calls Merlin PSA but he has considerably advanced the project using his long experience. When I saw this airplane at Aero five years ago, it was underpowered with an unfamiliar engine and it was not assertively marketed. That is changing.

Chip's Merlin PSA is powered by the Rotax 582 that makes it perform most energetically but he has other powerplants in mind. One is a lightweight four stroke that might generate great appeal. For those many who are intrigued with electric propulsion, Chip is well ahead of that game, too, with a motor and system he has been developing for many months (see video). Four stroke and electric are coming, he reported, but if a low-priced, modern-looking airplane with a very well established engine sounds good, you have no need to wait.

"Merlin PSA brings the sport back into sport planes with a power-to-weight ratio about 50% higher than most LSA aircraft." Plus, he added, "It will be perfect on our new amphibious floats!"

Licensed as an Experimental Amateur Built aircraft Merlin PSA easily fits within the LSA parameters of weight and speed. Therefore, it can be flown with a Sport Pilot certificate — or by a higher certificated pilot exercising the privileges of Sport Pilot, meaning no medical is needed.

A complete kit including Aeromarine-LSA's builder's assist program is only $34,900. You need to invest some labor hours but you will be guided and the effort is said to be quite rapid. An all-aluminum design, Merlin PSA is available as a quick-build kit. Because it was created using 3D CAD/CAM equipment, Merlin offers easy-to-build, matched-hole assemblies that require no fixtures. "Build time is measured in days rather than months or years," said Chip. "Builders can enjoy a couple of weeks at our Builders' Center in Florida and fly their new Merlin PSA ... not 'taxi.' Fly." That's some promise.

As debuted at Sebring 2016, Merlin PSA is nicely equipped with a digital EFIS/EMS, GPS, radio transceiver, an ADS-B out-equipped Mode S transponder, BRS parachute system, electric trim, and the new TruTrak ECO autopilot. The price? "Around $50,000," stated Chip. At the show, Chip had not yet flown the eye-catching aircraft. That changed recently.

"The first USA Merlin PSA is flying," Chip exclaimed! "Acceleration and climb rate are exhilarating." His blog reported that he rotated in 3-4 seconds using less than 200 feet of takeoff roll. See more impressions here (video tour of the airplane and in-flight views also available).

"Flight conditions were less than ideal with gusty winds and choppy turbulence but the Merlin handled these conditions perfectly," observed Chip. "The pilot sits right on the longitudinal axis and the wing loading is higher than the average LSA so it is quite comfortable to fly all day long." He reported seeing cruise speeds over 100 mph and climb rates of 1,500 feet per minute.

For those looking for something different, Merlin PSA is flying in Europe in taildragger configuration using tundra tires. "This is an available option," said Chip.

"The next step, after flying off the test program, is to install the amphibious floats," he said. Amphibious floats are finished and the gear is operating perfectly using the remote wireless Bluetooth phone app for actuation. He demonstrated this to visitors at Sebring.


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 occupants 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 MVP.aero 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!


Redefining Open Cockpit Flying ... Sky Skiing?
By Dan Johnson, January 17, 2016

For my weekend posts, I often like to check out something out of the ordinary. From the photos you see nearby, you can see I found a qualifying topic. However crazy as this activity — involving the name "WingBoard" — may look, it appears grounded in reality.

If you think of wingsuit sky diving as just "edgy," then Aaron "Wyp" Wypyszynski's Wingboard could seem relatively tame.

Watching all his videos, I'd say Wingboarding was more akin to sky skiing, as in water skiing behind a boat, except a wider use of three dimensions than you get on water.

Start with the following video which gives a decent explanation of the project from the developer's point of view.

Aaron "Wyp" Wypyszynski began flying full-scale aircraft at age 13, soloed at 16, and remains an active pilot (photo below). He was inspired by a cartoon, saying "Kit Cloudkicker [was seen by] millennials who grew up watching "TaleSpin," and dreaming of carving through the sky like Kit on his airfoil." Funny how something we experience as a very young person can stick with us our whole lives, eh?

Aaron went on to more conventional flying but was drawn back to Kit and his board. Having acquired real world skills, he was driven to try designing a real wingboard. You can ponder if this was crazy or inspired.

Look, I know it's highly unlikely that you would ever try this but the idea is engaging. Sky divers do stuff somewhat like this all the time. Jetman inspired many with his stunts. BASE jumpers show incredible daring do. Maybe not you, but somebody will think this is the neatest invention ever, and it is actual flying, not like riding along in an automomous air vehicle.

The project has progressed through several stages from miniature to one-sixth scale to 40% scale (in December 2015) where the "pilot" — itself a pretty nifty bit of engineering — parachutes away from the board for landing. The wing has its own parachute. Let's check it out further.

According to the WYP Aviation website, "WingBoard works through a close coupling of the rider, tow rope, and WingBoard itself. The best analog is to look at the WingBoard as a wakeboard [operating] in three dimensions."

Staying true to his childhood fantasy Aaron WingBoard's "rider" — he uses this term instead of pilot but it clearly involves piloting skills — "...stands in an upright stance, similar to a wakeboarder, allowing him or her to lean and twist in all directions, while still maintaining a stable stance to brace against the tow forces." Aaron continued, "The rider is attached to the board via a binding, similar to a snowboard biding, providing a flexible connection to the board."

If flying a WingBoard sounds a bit nuts to you, how about standing on it while doing so?

As a longtime hang glider pilot I can tell you this is not so very different than modern ultralight-aircraft-tow-launched hang gliding, except the hang glider wing is above the pilot not below him and you fly prone rather than standing. Yet essentially these are very similar and hang gliding enjoys an excellent safety record. A good friend, Malcolm Jones, has operated a hang glider tow park called Wallaby Ranch in central Florida for nearly 25 years. They have done several tens of thousands of tows with very few incidents.

How does Aaron plan to tow his WingBoard?

"A key design feature is the tow rope connection," he wrote. "A single tow rope [splits into a Y-shape] approximately 10 feet in front of the rider. A lower line connects to the WingBoard, while the upper line goes to a tow bar, which the rider holds. The tow bar is then connected to the rider in a manner similar to a kite surfer, alleviating the loads the rider must bear."

The hang glider tow crowd learned the hard way to use things like weak links in the tow line to keep pressures from getting too high." Before a loss of control, a weak link triggers a release under tow, however, this makes me wonder how Aaron will cope with practical problems like this especially when it happens before parachute height.

Wyp WingBoard developer, Aaron "Wyp" Wypyszynski.
"WingBoard is controlled via two methods. The primary control input is the rider's position. Leaning forward and backward changes the angle of the tow rope triangle, thereby altering the WingBoard angle of attack, vertical position behind the tow plane, and amount of lift generated. The rider also leans and rotates to the side to place the board at that angle, using a side component of the lift vector to pull out to one side or the other of the tow plane. In addition to the rider's position, force sensors in the foot bindings and on the tow bar allow the rider to input additional roll commands. These commands further aid in rolling the WingBoard to the side and also allow for spectacular aileron rolls."

Aaron seems to have considered safety carefully. He is surely aware of some important things to work out about initial launch but he reports a cadre of high-time test pilots with backgrounds in piloting, skydiving, and wakeboarding.

As Aaron's team prepares for manned flight, they figure to start with a helicopter-deployed rider and WingBoard. "The helicopter will allow for sufficient height to be obtained before starting testing, allowing the rider to detach and deploy their parachute at any time during the testing should need arise," explained Aaron. As he learns more, he'll proceed to fixed wing aircraft of varying description.

Here's a link to their Phase 3 manned flight plans if you want read further. And if you're so inspired you can help with crowd funding.



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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.

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.

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

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

The New J-230D


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

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!


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.

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

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


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?

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.

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.

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

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.


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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.


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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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