You have more privileges than you may know with your Light-Sport Aircraft. One of the more misunderstood aspects of FAA’s sweeping 2004 Sport Pilot/Light-Sport Aircraft regulation is ELSA or Experimental Light-Sport Aircraft. Some people call these “kit” LSA. While they can be sold that way, no percentage applies so a manufacturer could call an ELSA a kit by merely having the buyer apply a single decal. To gain its Special Airworthiness certificate, an ELSA must first be a bolt-for-bolt copy of the manufacturer’s Special or fully-built version of LSA. However, once certificated, the owner can begin to make changes on his or her own. They can also become qualified to do all manner of maintenance themselves, assuming they so desire. An Airframe and Powerplant mechanic (A&P) or Light-Sport Repairman – Mechanic (LSR-M) can also work on ELSA as they can SLSA. Once certificated and in his possession the owner can change to ELSA status allowing him or her to do almost anything …change avionics or even swap engines.
Aeropro Aerotrek A220
Phone: (812) 384-4972, -- - Czech Republic
U.S. Distributor is Aerotrek Aircraft
Phone: (812) 384-4972Bloomfield, IN 47424 - USA
When this website went live a few months before the Sport Pilot & Light-Sport Aircraft rule was announced at Oshkosh 2004, it began life as an archive of several hundred pilot reports I had written for a number of print magazines in aviation. That launch seems a long time ago … it has been eleven and a half years. (Development started only a few years after the World Wide Web emerged and ByDanJohnson.com went live in April 2004.) One year after going live, I began to add news via a blog, which I called “Splog,” for Sport Pilot web log. Videos started in 2008 and by 2015, news and video have become the primary content items. You might be surprised to hear ByDanJohnson.com predates YouTube, which began when three former PayPal employees created a video-sharing website. The Internet domain name YouTube.com was activated on February 14, 2005 and the website went public in November of that same year.
Not long ago, I posted about Kitfox tending to business and expressing regret that they chose to stay home in Idaho versus making the trip to the Sebring LSA Expo 2014. Team Kitfox was not the only one, however. In addition, AeroSport didn’t bring their BushCat, nor did Aerotrek bring their A220 or A240, nor did Quicksilver show with their SLSA candidate, Sport 2S, or their joint venture Electric Motor Glider (a very cool project from the west coast about which I will do a further update in the future). The reasons for these no-shows were varied but the good news is that they’ll be at Sun ‘n Fun. Oh, and one more thing about all four aircraft mentioned below: each of them offers a purchase value that defies the current mindset about the cost of modern LSA. BushCat by SkyReach is one of those SLSA that easily answers the lament, “These LSA have become too expensive.” Too many pilots say this without considering their other choices.
You may have missed it. If so, this article provides another look at a LSA provider that I consider something of a “sleeper” … and if you do not know that term, it’s meant to be positive yet refer in this case to a company that does its thing well if somewhat quietly. I am writing about Aerotrek Aircraft and its two models, the taildragging A220 and the trigeared A240. These airplanes may look familiar — itself a good thing as they are based on a very well proven original design — yet they have seen steady updating and improvement that makes a distinct airplane as we head into 2014. Proprietor Rob Rollison has shown a very steady hand at the tiller and recently updated his company’s news. “Sales of our Aeropro planes continue to be good — sold out until late-August 2014,” wrote Rob. “We will show 10 planes delivered in calendar year 2013.” However, his company also sold one to Mexico, so that one will not show up on our third quarter 2013 market share report to be published next week. Two more Aerotreks are aboard an ocean freighter so will be counted as 2014 deliveries. Another pair are reported complete but will not be shipped until after the new year. This suggests Aerotrek will continue a steady climb up from 2013.
We’ve been getting requests for market share information and I am happy to provide an update, thanks to my European associate Jan Fridrich who does the hard work of sifting through FAA’s database. I remind you that his efforts are not merely tallying whatever FAA publishes. In fairness, Jan has to evaluate many pieces of information and judge accuracy of the entries. This isn’t because FAA’s registrars are bumbling fools that cannot enter data accurately. The challenges come from sheer number of brands (90) and models (127) over a mere seven years… unprecedented in aviation history. To that add the variations of Experimental Amateur Built (EAB), Special Light-Sport Aircraft (SLSA), Experimental Light-Sport Aircraft kits (ELSA) and converted two-place ultralights to LSA status. Then factor in that some standard category or homebuilt aircraft meet the LSA parameters of weight and speed and such so some people consider them “LSA,” when in fact they mean they can be flown by some possessing a Sport Pilot certificate.
Aerotrek may be one of those “sleepers.” You know, the kind of company that does well, has few problems, and doesn’t need to make a lot of noise to be successful. Aerotrek’s tri-gear and taildragger models look great, fly well, and are priced so reasonably that sales are remarkably steady. The company ranks #12 in fleet size and came in fifth for 2011 registrations. The numbers aren’t big but they could be bigger, said importer and longtime light aviation specialist Rob Rollison. *** Rob noted their last year registration was “way below what it should have been, but [the manufacturer] Aeropro wasn’t able to ramp-up production quickly enough to keep up with increased demand for our planes starting in late 2010.” He continued, “They also had production delays during 2011 as they worked to get UK certification but this was quite worthwhile, resulting in a few nice improvements to our planes.” *** I can add that I know something about British certification and it is one of the most demanding systems in the world.
After a tough winter in most parts of the USA, spring evidently arrived early with 80-degree temperatures as far north as Minnesota… all before Sun ‘n Fun. More good news: After its coldest winter since the early 1980s Florida is extremely pleasant now, warm with low humidity. *** Indications are the economy continues bearing down on Light-Sport aviation. Confronted with cautious customers, some aircraft producers have tightened their costs and are offering sharply lower prices in time for Sun ‘n Fun. *** Flight Design announced its CTLS Lite, which makes two impressive accomplishments. By slightly trimming the equipment list and making other adjustments, the market leader was able to slice $20,000 off the price, coming in at $119,800. They also cut a most impressive 50 pounds from the empty weight. *** Jabiru USA offers two models discounted for a short time. Taking $11,000 off the price of their J-170 brings the base to $85,900.