You might say it’s Sirius when TL-3000 takes to the air for the first time. Kidding aside, the new model’s U.S. importer is seriously happy about their composite high wing making its initial flight. Czech producer TL-Ultralight makes the sleek low-wing StingSport that SportairUSA has been selling since the first SLSA lifted into American skies. In development since 2006, TL president Jiri Tlusty recently flew the carbon fiber TL-3000 for the first time. *** SportairUSA boss Bill Canino was recently in Czech Republic making arrangements to market the TL-3000 alongside the Sting S3, an advanced generation version of the TL’s successful low wing model. The Arkansas-based importer says the 46-inch wide Sirius is powered by the 100-hp Rotax 912S, has a useful load of 600 pounds, and extended range with fuel capacity of more than 30 gallons. *** As with StingSport and Sting S3, TL-3000 will come standard with high-end safety features such as a Galaxy rocket-deployed parachute system, PCAS collision avoidance, and AmSafe 4-point inertial-reel seat belts.
Phone: (501) 228-7777North Little Rock, AR 72118 - USA
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.
SEBRING 2008 UPDATE — Through the first three years of LSA sales StingSport from TL Ultralights has earned the #7 rank equaling an estimated 5% of the U.S. market. The new Sting S3 should push the popularity of this 98% carbon fiber low wing. S3 has a new fully-tapered wing and redesigned elevator trim. According to Bill Canino, president of SportairUSA, “Lower stall speed, shorter take-off roll, faster climb rate, balanced controls and exceptional slow flight characteristics are among the results.” Clean stall speed is 39 knots (45 mph); with full flaps stall comes at 34 knots (39 mph). Cruise speed at 75% power is 116 knots (133 mph), according to SportairUSA. “Rate of climb with the 100 hp Rotax 912S is better than 1,100 fpm and take-off ground roll has been measured at 255 feet,” added Bill. *** A basic fly-away Sting S3 including the GreenLine EMS is priced at $102,900.
The customer is king…even before becoming a customer. StingSport seller SportairUSA has launched an online survey to find out what you think. Will you waste your time? Not if you have an opinion and want someone to listen carefully. You could also pick up $100 in cash for your time and have a chance at a $1,000 bonus prize. *** To offer your thoughts, click here and follow the survey instructions. I did it in 10 minutes. They ask 23 questions, some with multiple responses and a few require you to type some answer. Results could provide valuable info. Last year, Flight Design surveyed customers and offered a prize. It’s great to see these leading companies working hard to get real opinions. But don’t delay. The survey runs only through the end of November. SportairUSA and their research partner promise your answers will remain anonymous and they won’t try to sell you anything as a result of your participation.
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.
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.
You can hardly doubt the headline. A cruise through our SLSA List will show almost a quarter of all (12 of 50) designs that have won certification are from the Czech Republic. Even the USA counts only 11 SLSA models so far. Yet perhaps showing global cross-pollination, at least two Czech producers are owned by Americans (Czech Aircraft Works and Interplane). Even inside the Czech Republic one company often builds parts used by others. Since the Soviets withdrew 17 years ago, the Czech Republic has embraced recreational aviation with excellent success. *** Of course, Germany, Italy, France and Spain plus East European producers in Poland, Romania, and Hungary have also made their impact in the American LSA market. So, ASTM‘s LSA committee will hold its next standards writing and review session in Prague, Czech Republic. I’ll be going as will several other American leaders, partly as a significant gathering of EU aviation officials will also meet in conjunction with the ASTM meeting.
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).
With events like Sebring and Sun ‘n Fun, AirVenture Oshkosh is a grand venue to introduce something new…or something coming soon. The mockup of the Cessna Sport won’t be the only new model. SportairUSA has represented the low-wing, all-carbon-fiber StingSport since LSA arrived on the scene and it has earned a spot in the top five list of best sellers. *** At Oshkosh 2007, SportairUSA will preview a “cabin model” of the TL 3000 Sirius. The company says, “Flight testing is expected to be completed in the fall, with aircraft ready for USA delivery in 2008.” They elaborate on the sleek high wing saying, “Sirius will be constructed of the same carbon fiber composite materials as the StingSport and powered by the Rotax 912 engine series with a generous, 48-inch-wide cabin and room for golf clubs in the back. Folks who saw the full size mockup at Germany’s Aero show were impressed.
Talk about your transatlantic jet set…a number of exhibitors attended the first few days of Sun ‘n Fun and then blasted off for the south of Germany, to Aero — an every-other-year airshow that has become a focus for light-sport airplanes. EAA Sport Pilot editor, Mary Jones posted news including, “To the delight of most European manufacturers, Alain Leroy, who heads certification in the safety branch of [European authority] EASA, committed to the release of a notice of proposed amendment (similar to a U.S. NPRM) by June of 2007 that would outline rules under which a new light-sport aircraft category might operate.” Leroy had said earlier at Aero that EASA was also looking to the ASTM standards as the certification method for a European LSA. *** A major aircraft announcement was the new high wing design from TL Ultralight, manufacturer of the StingSport sold by SportairUSA.
At the second EAA Sport Pilot Tour SportAir USA and their local rep, Wicks Aircraft, brough a pair of their sharp Sting aircraft. Also known as the Carbon Sting or StingSport, the handsome low wing comes from the fifth of six companies to earn their Special-Light Sport Aircraft certificate. An estimated 300+ visitors got to examine this bubble-canopied aircraft and several attendees took flights. You can see my pilot report from EAA’s 11/04 Sport Pilot magazine right here. The carbon fiber Sting is sold with many optional items as standard; get more info at SportAir USA’s website