In its first year as the AOPA “Summit” (versus “Expo”), the 70-year-old, 415,000-member organization made lots of changes large and small. Among the most notable under capable new president Craig Fuller was much greater attention to LSA. Here’s the fast-read update… *** AOPA announced their 2010 Sweepstakes airplane is a Remos GX; the company had multiple displays and aircraft. Cessna brought a Skycatcher for selected reporters to fly. Craig Fuller had Icon A5 developer Kirk Hawkins on the center-hall stage. EAA’s Earl Lawrence led a LSA panel of FAA and industry experts (including yours truly). LAMA operated an LSA Mall area and had fruitful discussions with AOPA to advance goals of the LSA industry. SeaMax USA showed off their simulator seaplane running on MS Flight Sim. Tecnam North America, with several aircraft on display, announced new service centers for the popular Italian line of aircraft they now represent.
Remos Aircraft GmbH GX
Phone: (888) 838-9879Pasewalk, -- 17309 - Germany
U.S. Distributor is Remos Aircraft, Inc.
We’ve arrived at the end of the main float-flying season, but two of our largest Light-Sport Aircraft manufacturers just announced floatplane models. Welcome to the American Legend FloatCub and the Remos GX on floats. Each company contracted with float experts (a big difference from SeaMax or SeaRey). *** The most successful American LSA producer, American Legend won approval on October 2 for their Amphibious Legend FloatCub after declaring they met ASTM standards. FloatCub was put on sale for $159,000 and the first customer aircraft is being assembled. Legend went to long-established float company, Baumann Floats of New Richmond, Wisconsin. The new model flew in July, 2009 and made an appearance at Oshkosh. Unlike original Piper Cubs that were often put on floats, the Legend Cub has doors on both sides, a big benefit when docking. If purchased with the 120-hp Jabiru 3300, Legend FloatCub should prove quite energetic even at high elevations.
We all discuss declining numbers of pilots in FAA’s database. Despite widespread concerns, efforts to bring more people into aviation have fallen short. *** Several worthy projects have attempted to reverse the drop in the pilot population. Over the years, EAA’s Young Eagles program has put nearly a million and a half kids into airplanes. That’s a wonderful achievement, thanks to EAA’s leadership and many thousands of willing volunteer pilots. One LSA provider, Remos, has worked with the organization to provide flights to a large flock of kids attending EAA summer flying camps (photo). *** Yet we must do more to interest people in flying. Along those lines, I’m at once amazed and appreciative that AOPA and EAA have chosen to combine efforts (finally!). AOPA is also completely refashioning its former Expo into the new AOPA Aviation Summit. “For the first time, AOPA will be reaching outside the aviation community to welcome the public into all general aviation has to offer.” AOPA’s new initiative, combined with a new collaboration with EAA, joined to entry-level Light-Sport Aircraft looks like a winner to me.
Viewed from the LSA Mall, AirVenture 2009 was much more than the summer’s big celebration of flight. Several important events tell a story of growing acceptance of LSA. Here’s a short list: LAMA hosted a meeting of G10 (the 10 largest LSA producers) and another of G5, while paying visits to every LAMA member in attendance. *** At the G10 meeting and again at LAMA’s press conference, Avemco president Jim Lauerman detailed his company’s support (in writing) for LAMA’s audit activities. His expressions were corroborated by Falcon Insurance VP Bob Mackey. *** Earl Lawrence, VP of government relations for EAA, brought brand new FAA administrator Randy Babbitt to the LSA Mall, where he met with presidents of LSA companies: Flight Design, Tecnam, Remos, and IndUS. *** At AOPA’s invitation, LAMA arranged a meeting for several LSA industry leaders with new AOPA president Craig Fuller.
We continue to see the effects of the last year of economic turmoil in Light-Sport Aircraft market shares. The chart accompanying this SPLOG tells the numbers as always presented, with total market share since the first deliveries in 2005 based on carefully-reviewed FAA registration data. The top twenty (of 70 total) producers still represent almost 90% of total SLSA registrations. For the record… registrations on FAA’s database are not the same as sales. Aircraft can be registered and not sold. Aircraft can be identified as sold yet no longer registered, for example, if removed from service due to a non-repairable crash. To get some idea of the work my associate Jan Fridrich does to collect this information, go look for yourself at FAA’s database. *** Remos continues its solid 2008 performance despite the troubled economy. In the 16-month period since January 1, 2008 the German brand is the leader with 73 units registered, followed by familiar names, in order: Flight Design 62; Tecnam 49; Czech Aircraft Works (see below) 44; Jabiru 32; American Legend 27; AMD 23; CubCrafters 22; Aeropro 14, plus Evektor and TL Ultralight at 12 each.
With one month to go (and it’s hard to imagine a big December), we have figures to report for this most extraordinary year. We’re all (painfully) aware of the economic predicament, but how has this impacted light-sport aviation? Here’s my observations. *** In 11 months, the industry has increased fleet size by 35% to 1,510 fixed wing airplanes from 1,118 on January 1st. Annualizing the numbers, all airplane LSA should register 427 airplanes, which equates to about 35 aircraft per month, which means sales were about 20% off the monthly pace recorded since early 2006. *** Flight Design held its top spot and again delivered the most, but just barely. Remos has been the rising star of 2008 with a 147% increase over their total on January 1st. Tecnam became only the third company to pass 100 units registered. Other solid gains were logged by Czech Aircraft Works (up 69% in the year); Jabiru (up 53%); FPNA (up 55%, though from a lower number, which makes larger percentage gains easier); Aeropro (up 52%).
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.
Among many new aircraft shown at Oshkosh, one long-anticipated model was the updated Remos GX. The German company has moved steadily up the market share ranking of Special Light-Sport Aircraft using the earlier G-3 model designed in the 1990s. Following a major engineering effort, GX was shown to American buyers at the Wisconsin event. I was fortunate to fly the new model and found it has light and pleasant handling with several new features. *** Most notably, the wing has changed from the fabric covered version to a composite exterior that will likely be appreciated by customers including flight schools. The outer span is now tapered and the wing section is thinner, helping GX run close to the maximum speed allowed under LSA rules. GX, which is 100% built in Germany, retained the wing folding that attracts many buyers. Directional stability was enhanced by a longer “strake” or dorsal fin leading to the vertical stabilizer.