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LSA Seaplanes Remain Newsworthy in 2014

By Dan Johnson, January 5, 2014
Posing with the updated Atol Amphibian are: Vas. K.Tuisku, J.Maikkula, K.Vääräniemi, E.Inkeri, M.Koivurova, M.Jaakkola.

Someone remarked to me recently that LSA seaplanes seem to be the topic of the week or month (or however often you check in to see). Indeed, as we approach the tenth anniversary of Sport Pilot / Light-Sport Aircraft, we can reflect with pride upon more than 130 models making their way to market. True, not all have proven successes in the market place but having choice is always good for customers even if they finally select from a limited number of brands to occupy their hangar. Therefore, thanks to all those entrepreneurial designers that brought new airplanes to the sky. Now, in the closing months of LSA's first decade, a new focus appears turned to amphibious Light-Sport machines, with more than 20 vying for our attention. As always some are doing a better job of capturing mindshare than others. In this article I'll talk about two from nearly opposite ends of the new spectrum.

Atol's Amphibian aims at both the European Ultralight and American LSA markets (note metric gross weights on the tail).

You think it's cold in the USA in early January? How about in a factory above the Arctic Circle?! Way north in Finland, a team is finishing the updated version of the Atol Avion Ltd, Amphibian (see earlier article), a Finnish design that has been flying since the 1990s as a homebuilt. "We have redesigned and modernized it totally, by using the newest technology and materials to meet today's markets and demands," company leader Anssi Rekula told aviation online news outlet, AVweb. Atol is reportedly near its maiden flight, perhaps this month though clearly it will be a while before water operation trials can begin. "We have now three confirmed orders for next summer delivery, and can still take three more for 2014. [We are] planning to double production every year (12-15 in 2015  and 20-30 in 2016 etc.). We also have a financial package that enables us to start production January 2014." said Anssi. He expects to show the Atol at AirVenture 2014.

While water trials might have to wait a few months, snow isn't a problem and not only because an emergency landing on the hull could work. Atol can be fitted with skis, no doubt a logical choice for a company located in the frozen north. When the lakes do thaw, Anssi said a water steering system will enable precise docking (as an option). Atol wings can be folded for storage, and in keeping with the trend Icon set with their A5, an automatic folding mechanism will be available as an option. Atol can be described as a "wood composite" employing birch wood sheets with PVC foam in between. Powered by the Rotax fuel-injected 912iS engine, Anssi said Atol will be priced at about $200,000, fully equipped. You can keep up with what Anssi and his Atol team are doing by following his blog.

Icon Production Possibilities — According to Kimberly K. Fu writing for the Vacaville Reporter, the northern California city identified "another hurdle cleared for a Light-Sport aircraft company hoping to relocate to the city from Southern California." She noted that City Councilman Ron Rowlett said, "We got through another critical step" with an approval from Cal-OSHA for a paint booth. In her late December 2013 article Fu said that Icon has been in talks for several years with city officials. She wrote that Icon management "has made it clear that Vacaville, which is in the running with Arizona and Texas for relocation, is where Icon wants to be." Reasons cited include existing resources, including several bodies of water, its location along the Interstate 80 corridor and the support of the city. Her article noted that Icon plans A5 flying lessons at a facility yet to be built near the Nut Tree Airport. An estimated 500 jobs would follow. "In recent months, the city approved a final agreement with Icon including tax incentives such as sales tax rebates and the sharing of the transient occupancy tax. City officials previously emphasized that there's no risk on the city's part," Fu wrote.

In closing and as we start a new year of recreational flying, I'd like to offer my very sincere thanks to regular readers. In 2013, ByDanJohnson.com logged its most successful year ever and by a wide margin. After solid growth of about 20% in 2012, the year just concluded exploded with a doubling of traffic in the first half the year and another doubling in the last half. In fact, even with wintery conditions in the North and the holidays to keep us all occupied, December was our busiest month EVER, with 73,688 Unique Visitors. While we're certainly pleased you enjoy our written and video content, we see a larger picture of growing interest in Light-Sport Aircraft and light kits that can help keep flying affordable and more pilots flying. We'll work hard to keep providing content you want and we hope you'll keep up your regular visits.




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.

Progressive Aerodyne designed and supplies the SeaRey series, arguably the most celebrated of all light seaplanes in America. A close community of hundreds of owners offers camaraderie few other brands can match.

BushCat is the distinctive Light-Sport Aircraft within reach of almost any budget. With a solid heritage BushCat by SkyReach is fun, capable, and available as a kit, fully-built SLSA or ELSA.

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

Vickers Aircraft has created one of the most distinctive new LSA seaplanes yet to emerge.Powered by the 180-horsepower
Lycoming O-360, their Wave model is like no other seaplane ever introduced with multiple features to set it apart from the crowd.

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!

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.

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.

SportairUSA imports the dashing and superbly-equipped StingSport S4 that has won a loyal following from American pilots. More recently, they introduced their TL-3000 high-wing LSA. SportairUSA is a full-line operation with maintenance and training, too.

Tecnam is the world's leading manufacturer of Light-Sport aircraft offering more models and variations than any other producer.
Besides the world's fastest-selling light twin and a new four seater, Tecnam offers these LSA: Echo Classic, Eaglet, Bravo, Astore, and P2008.
Many LSA
& GA models

Renegade Light Sport produces the sexy low wing, all composite Falcon in America. The Florida company has also established itself as the premiere installer of Lycoming’s IO-233 engine.

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.

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

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.

Jabiru USA builds the spacious and speedy J-250 and more recently J-230 plus the training-optimized J-170, each certified as Special LSA. The Tennessee-based company also imports and services the popular Jabiru engine line.

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.

Aeromarine-LSA represents an economical Part 103 ultralight that is within reach of almost any budget. For local fun flying, or for those who enjoy soaring flight Zigolo is light enough to be lifted by even the most gentle thermals.

Arion Aircraft has designed and built one of the most beautiful low wing entries in the Special LSA and kit-built aircraft sector. The all-American designed and built aircraft is priced fairly and flies wonderfully ... need you search for more?

U.S. Sport Aircraft Importing represents the popular SportCruiser, one of the best selling Special Light-Sport Aircraft among 130 models on the market. The Texas-headquartered importer has long represented this familiar model.

Quicksilver Aeronautics is the world's largest producer of ultralight aircraft, selling some 15,000 aircraft. The company's designs are thoroughly tested, superbly supported, and have an excellent safety record.

Super Petrel LS, manufactured by Edra Aeronautica in Brazil and represented by Florida Light Sport Aviation, is a unique and highly effective LSA seaplane. A biplane design, this is well established flying boat with more than 20 years of history.

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.

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.

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.

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