Our roving reporter offers coverage of the 2012 Rocky Mountain LSA Expo event. Thanks my erstwhile videographer on our many videos. —DJ ||||
Remos Aircraft GmbH G-3
Phone: (888) 838-9879Pasewalk, -- 17309 - Germany
U.S. Distributor is Remos Aircraft, Inc.
Knocking around the ‘Net looking for signs that Light Sport is alive and well… *** Michael Combs is nearing the end of his 19,000 mile odyssey — what a vision. Latest word from PR dude Dave Gustafson is that the Flight for the Human Spirit in a Remos GX has made it to my old west coast stompin’ grounds. Five jewels of the left coast — San Diego, Burbank, San Luis Obispo, Monterey and San Jose — were on the itinerary for one magical flight day over one of the most beautiful stretches of coastal landscape in the world. God speed Michael, 18,000 miles and 45 states and you’re nearly done. • Imagine the human experience he’s having, flying all summer, meeting all the great people he’s met. I’m jealous, I admit it. • BTW, pilots are encouraged to fly along for any portion of Michael’s Flight.
At EAA’s Gathering of Eagles fund raiser at AirVenure 2008, movie stars Harrison Ford, John Travolta, and Cliff Robertson plus golf legend Arnold Palmer took the stage. With their encouragement, EAA raised a ton of dough that night. Young Eagles is a great program, having flown more than 1.4 million kids. But it isn’t the organization’s only youth-in-aviation initiative *** Some 260 kids aged 12 to 18 attended summer sessions in Oshkosh this year. Programs varied, said EAA, but every student got to fly a Remos G-3 for 20 to 30 minutes. “The Remos is fun to fly and easy to control,” said Bob Campbell, Director of the Air Academy. “Students held the controls until it was time to land and were able to log the time. It’s our hope that it will be the beginning of a Sport Pilot [certificate] for each one.” *** Remos Aircraft benefits from having a dealership based right on Wittman Field, the airport that plays host to AirVenture each summer.
Through the first six months of 2008, Light-Sport Aircraft deliveries have reflected the same challenges afflicting the rest of general or sport aviation…and for that matter, the overall U.S. economy. In fact, LSA registrations aren’t off as badly as are GA deliveries, perhaps due to significantly better fuel economy in an LSA. These FAA registrations can be analyzed to show trends. *** In the first half of 2008, the LSA industry registered 248 aircraft, which is 22% of all registrations from April 2005 through December 2007 (1,118). Many find it interesting to observe how market leaders compare. If a supplier registered less than 22% of their fleet in 2008, they slipped in market share (even if they registered more total airplanes). If they exceeded that figure, they gained market share. In the first half of 2008 gainers included: Remos up 62%; Czech Aircraft Works 47%; FPNA 45%; Gobosh 38%; Tecnam 35%; Aeropro 32%; and AMD 28%.
I can identify four factors in the economy presently affecting airplane sales: Potential customers (often with plenty of assets or creditworthiness) see the value of their stock portfolio going up and down like a roller coaster; worry over their once-soaring real estate, now down markedly in some areas; witness the continuing rise of the euro-dollar exchange rate, bringing much higher prices for many LSA; and, fret over a climate of political uncertainty during another election cycle. *** Perhaps due to these factors GA single engine piston sales are off 28% compared to the same period last year, according to GAMA. LSA sales are off 30% compared to trends six months to a year ago. *** Jet and turbine aircraft sales are up, but 2008 deliveries of those aircraft stem from orders taken 2-3 years ago. Contrarily, personal and sport aircraft sales react quickly to the slightest perception of economic shakiness. *** Despite that we have some bright spots.
Sun ‘n Fun 2008 is history, but planning is already underway for the 2009 event. Event boss John Burton confirmed we will again have the LAMA-hosted LSA Mall right at the front gate next April 21-26. A major success at this year’s Lakeland, Florida airshow, the industry Mall presentation featured 17 Special Light-Sport Aircraft. Weather prevented Fantasy Air’s Allegro from attending. Two days before the event, a tornado crushed a Sting S3 planned for display. And work at Quicksilver Manufacturing postponed the exhibit of the GT500 (they’re finishing SLSA approval, reports national sales manager, Todd Ellefson). *** The 17 who were in the ’08 LSA Mall enjoyed significant traffic all week and virtually every visitor to Sun ‘n Fun was at least exposed to Light-Sport Aircraft in a wide variety (although we were not able to enlist any trike or powered parachute companies).
Lots of folks are wondering about, or complaining about, the seemingly high prices of Light-Sport Aircraft. Recently a prior editor-in-chief of EAA publications, Scott Spangler, wrote a blog on JetWhine. Scott focused on expensive avionics as one reason LSA cost so much. While a factual observation, I believe the price increase is more complex. *** First, LSA suppliers install equipment like autopilots because buyers ask for them. A large chunk of all LSA are sold to “retiring” GA pilots used to such equipment in their Cessna or Bonanza. Simpler LSA are available; most suppliers have one. But customers are buying the loaded-panel jobs. *** Let’s look closer at those rising prices. Five years ago, in the pre-dawn of SP/LSA, a CT was selling for $60,000. Today it’s $125,000. By far the largest piece of that doubling is the euro’s soaring value compared to the dollar. Were the currencies at parity, that $125,000 would be $80,000.
Most pilots know AOPA, the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association, has been fighting the user fee battle…and they’ve been doing well resisting the might of the U.S. government. But they must also have a connection with Mother Nature as warm, beautiful weather shined on opening day at Connecticut’s Brainard airport. *** On display: StingSport, Skylark, the new Breezer II, Allegro 2000, SportCruiser, Sigma, Thorpedo, Sport Cub, Bravo, Sierra, CTsw, Jabiru J-250, Gobosh G-700S, and Remos G-3. Contrary to earlier info, American Champion brought The Champ, Cessna displayed their Skycatcher mockup, and Cirrus flew their SRS. In all, I counted 17 LSA at Hartford. That amounts to a healthy 19% of all airplanes on display.
Now we count 32 new Special Light-Sport Aircraft that have won certification…all within less than one year! The newest arrivals come thanks to work by veteran light aircraft distributor Rollison Light Sport Aircraft and two manufacturers. The Indiana importer gained approval for the handsome German Remos G-3* and their Aeropro EuroFox (lower photo). The G-3 is an impressive design that forms the high end of LSA offerings. But if G-3 doesn’t fit your budget, you can consider RLSA’s economical model. EuroFox builder Aeropro has sold more than 180 aircraft. Priced in euros, RLSA lists a nicely equipped 80-hp Rotax 912 EuroFox for less than $60,000, which includes the cost of shipping from overseas. Quick-folding wings (“1 person, 8 min.”) may help you find space at the local airport. For more details, read my evaluation of EuroFox or G-3 right now. * [UPDATE: late 2006 — The Remos G-3 is now handled by Remos USA, Inc.]
Within 24 hours of getting home from Sun ‘n Fun, several industry leaders including Evektor America’s Jeff Conrad, Flight Design USA’s Tom Peghiny, Jabiru USA’s Ed Ricks, and BRS parachute’s Gregg Ellsworth packed up and headed off to California. What motivated these men to depart so soon after a long week in Florida? They all wanted to support proprietor Mike Fletcher as he and his staff celebrated the Grand Opening of Light Sport Airplanes West. I also flew out to join the party for America’s largest LSA showroom and a grand affair it was. Estimates put attendance at 300 (I suspect that didn’t include everyone present as some 100 aircraft flew in). Representing the Sportstar, CTsw, and J-250 plus the Remos G-3, TL Ultralight StingSport, and Tecnam, LSA West has an impressive line and a large inventory of LSA in stock.
Rob Rollison imports the gorgeous Remos G-3. [2007 UPDATE: The new importer is Remos USA. Call: Toll Free: 888-838-9879] He is working closely with German designer Lorenz Kreitmayr to certify G-3 as a Special Light-Sport Aircraft. Early sales will be to sophisticated buyers that see the sleek machine as a personal aircraft with impressive performance. But at the Sebring Expo 2006, I met a German instructor who sees it differently. Josef Sporer somewhat hesitantly bought a G-3 to see if it would work in his flight school. After an astounding 20,000 landings and 3,500 hours on one aircraft, he is so convinced of the aircraft’s sturdiness for instructional use that he’s added a second one. So while the Remos aircraft looks like a dream, and boasts good gliding and cruising performance, it qualifies quite well as a trainer, too. Built since 1997, more than 164 are flying around the world.
At Oshkosh I took the chance to speak with several general aviation leaders — CEOs of top general aviation companies and presidents of leading membership organizations. All have been kind to me with their time and generous with their support for the Sport Pilot concept, but I sensed they didn’t yet accept LSA deep down. Minor questions remained. Today that seems convincingly gone. The same not-100%-certain leaders now chorus, “LSA is here to stay.” *** Evidence of that is again marshaling for AOPA’s season-ending event for general aviation. The D.C.-based organization now counts more than 413,000 members, more than two-thirds of all pilots on the FAA register. The traveling Expo show typically draws well from a region’s pilot population. Action starts October 4-6, 2007 at the Hartford-Brainard Airport (HFD). *** For the third year running AOPA is providing a grouped location for Light-Sport Aircraft right where you enter the airplane display area (SLSA exhibitor list under photo).
|Empty weight||625 pounds|
|Gross weight||1,232 pounds**|
|Wing area||131 square feet|
|Wing loading||9.4 pounds per sq. foot|
|Fuel Capacity||18.2 gallons|
|Notes:||* With wings folded, height is 5.5 feet.|
**Final gross weight is pending issuance of the light-sport aircraft rule. Performance Max cruise speed 130 mph Max level speed 142 mph Stall speed 38 mph Max rate of climb 1,300 fpm.
|Power loading||12.3 pounds per hp|
|Max Speed||142 mph|
|Cruise speed||130 mph|
|Economy Cruise||2.9 gph|
|Stall Speed||38 mph|
|Rate of climb at gross||1,300 fmp***|
|Takeoff distance at gross||200 feet|
|Landing distance at gross||350 feet|
|Range (powered)||over 600 miles|
|Notes:||*** With fixed-pitch prop as required by the sport pilot proposal.|
“White, composite, and from overseas”…was a theme of EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2002 in the ultralight/lightplane area. I’ve already congratulated Experimenter Editor Mary Jones and Art Director Pierre Kotze on the October issue’s beautiful layout of the aircraft from afar, which may become near and dear to Yankee pilots. This month, I’d like to introduce you to one of the new flock of white, composite, and overseas aircraft—Remos Aircraft’s G-3 Mirage. For the second EAA AirVenture Oshkosh in a row, I was delighted to fly with Allistair Wilson, an Irishman now residing in the United States. Like last year, he is working with Rob Rollison and the Rollison Light Sport Aircraft Inc., based in Bloomfield, Indiana. Last year, Allistair and I flew in the Flight Designs CT. This year it was the Remos G-3. Both are white, composite, and from overseas. The trend is real! The Factory and People In addition to flying with Allistair at AirVenture, I also chanced to meet the G-3 Mirage designer, Lorenz Kreitmayr, at a French ultralight show called Blois (the town it’s near).