This weekend a firestorm erupted out of the blue. A wave of questions is ringing my phone, piling up text messages, and populating my social media accounts. Because it seems premature, I preferred not to weigh in on LSA weight but given the volume of comments, neither can I remain silent. In addition, a shockingly near-term timeline for FAA to issue rulemaking further enforces the need to speak out now. I will provide information gleaned just an hour ago. In case you missed the story, here’s what AOPA reported: “EAA chairman and CEO Jack Pelton [was invited] onto the stage. On January 19, 2019, Pelton said, the FAA will publish a notice of proposed rulemaking that seeks to raise the weight limit for Light-Sport Aircraft from the current 1,320 pounds to 3,600 pounds.” AOPA went on to quote Pelton, “That will allow you to fly in a 172, have four seats in the airplane, and fly 150 mph.” Stop the Presses This news was flabbergasting to many and upsetting to others.
LAMA - Light Aircraft Mfrs. Assoc.
Core-Four-Plus-OneIn June 2018, a series of many meetings that began in 2014 came to an early but very promising point. Here is what I think this means for the Light-Sport Aircraft manufacturing industry and those who own and operate LSA. LAMA took a long list of suggestions about the then-10-year-old industry and reduced it to four initiatives. We were wisely counseled that too long a list would go nowhere. On the tightest of budgets*, we have been pursuing these objectives for four and a half years. The four core goals are:
- Encouraging FAA to allow special Light-Sport Aircraft to perform aerial work (beyond flight instruction and towing)
- Introducing the safety benefits (and performance gains) that come with adjustable propellers controlled solely by a single lever
- Urging FAA to permit electric propulsion and instruction in aircraft designed for such motors
- Solving the longstanding problem that requires modern gyroplanes to be built only as kits (with the attendant problem that no commercial training is possible).
Things are looking up for Light-Sport Aircraft, rather fantastically so in my admittedly biased opinion. While this space is usually dedicated to cool new airplanes — not boring government policy reviews …yawn! — this article will provide some rays of light to an industry approaching its 15th birthday (in September 2019). I think some of this may surprise you. LAMA, the Light Aircraft Manufacturers Association (kind of a GAMA for the light aircraft sector) and its partner — USUA, the U.S. Ultralight Association — have been heads-down working on improving the opportunities for LSA. Core-Four-Plus-One In June 2018, a series of many meetings that began in 2014 came to an early but very promising point. Here is what I think this means for the Light-Sport Aircraft manufacturing industry and those who own and operate LSA. LAMA took a long list of suggestions about the then-10-year-old industry and reduced it to four initiatives.