Several news items in our March 2013 LSA News Wrap and we’ll get to it … right after this: We’re thrilled to tell you that — for the second month in a row — ByDanJohnson.com achieved another record. Despite fewer days, February substantially exceeded January’s Unique Visitors, reaching another all-time traffic mark. Last year was amazing and 2013 is even better. THANKS so much for your regular visits and welcome to our new readers!
Sam LS Flies — Pilots love new developments, so aviation media outlets jumped all over the first flight of Thierry Zibi’s Sam LS. The retro-looking, all-metal Light-Sport candidate (it has not yet gone through the Special LSA process and will initially be sold as a kit) attracted plenty of attention at the Sebring Sport Aviation Expo where the company bought a premium position just inside the main gate. By Sun ‘n Fun in less than one month, Thierry will hit another benchmark as the aircraft flies for the public. Doing test pilot chores in Canada, Raphaël Langumier performed straight and level flight, 30-degree banks, and reported a max level speed of 127 mph (110 knots). First kits may ship by late summer 2013 at $39,000 with a ready-to-fly model priced at $135,000 following later. Look for Thierry and Sam at Sun ‘n Fun. Meanwhile check our video.
LSA Projects Arrive in Florida — No less than three LSA companies have recently struck deals with Florida airports winning the support of local government officials anxious to provide jobs. • Renegade LSA, producer of the Falcon and a key figure in the development of a LSA-oriented Lycoming O-233 engine, moved into a 70,000 square foot facility at the St. Lucie Airport. Proprietor Doc’ Bailey said, “We’re here, we brought everything down from Missouri.” According to WPTV Online in early March, Renegade “will hire 75 and commit $1.7 million in capital improvements in Fort Pierce.” Ever busy, Bailey also announced plans to assemble a LSA-version of the venerable Pitts Special biplane.
• Next, a company called Italico is planning big things at the Kissimmee, Florida airport where a reported 55 jobs are waiting. Here’s one of two Italian companies aiming at U.S. production. The European company EuroALA tried production in Malaysia but is now focused on building the Alfredo di Cesare JetFox design reborn as the Fredo X-1 in the USA. Promoter Sonny Buoncervello attended Sebring 2013; his experience helped create interest from local government officials in Kissimmee.
• Then we have Phil McCoy and his plans to recreate the Italian Storm company at the Bartow, Florida airport. His Light Sport America company plans to manufacture and sell four Storm Aircraft models: the all-composite Storm Rally, the Rally Amphibious, the all-metal Century, and the Century Conventional. Price are forecast to range from $99,000 to $117,000. Light Sport American also plans to produce several Storm kits, including the Fury, Fury RG, and 400. Reporting the story, the Lakeland Ledger’s headline read: “Maker of Sport Aircraft Moving to Bartow Airport, Hopes to Employ 125 by 2016.”
• So that’s 75 workers at Renegade, 55 at Italico, and 125 at Light Sport America for a total of 255 jobs. I hope it works out but given such great promises while unemployment remains high, no wonder several other Florida airports are also pursing LSA companies.
Aerolite Moves to Florida — Clearly, Florida has appeal proved by yet another design moving south. Terry Raber’s charming Aerolite 103 is now going to call Deland, Florida home. In 2012, Terry decided to pursue non-aviation business interests. After contacting U-Fly-It owner Dennis Carley a deal was struck resulting in relocation of the Aerolite production facility. Dennis earned a Grand Champion and other awards for his craftsmanship; he’s built more than 100 ultralight and experimental aircraft over the past 20 years. Aerolite 103 distinguishes itself through a remarkably low price ($16,500 RTF) for a surprisingly well equipped, full featured Part 103 ultralight, which itself means no pilot license of any kind, no N-numbers, and no medical … all for well under the average price of a new car. I can attest to Aerolite’s fine flying qualities and long proven design. Catch our video on this fun, inexpensive aircraft.
UAE Embraces LSA & ASTM — Adding to countries like USA, Australia, Columbia, Brazil, the EU plus other countries, Light-Sport Aircraft that meet ASTM standards got a boost when the United Arab Emirates (UAE) directed their CAA officials to develop regulations to open their skies to Light-Sport Aircraft. Reported by Arabian Aerospace Online, “Globally, [UAE’s] CAA joins only a few authorities providing regulation for the LSA sector.” The ePublication also reported that Czech Sport Aircraft spent the last day of the show demonstrating the PS-28 Cruiser to senior GCAA officials. PS-28 appears to be what Americans know as the SportCruiser. One of the solid promises of the SP/LSA concept involves using industry-written ASTM standards to gain acceptance from regulatory authorities the world over. All those who have labored long on these standards can feel satisfaction from the growing international acceptance.
Belite Updates — The ever-inventive James Weibe is promoting his latest work on a Belite ultralight aircraft with a “strong running, reliable four stroke engine.” He reports the powerplant, a half-VW with dual ignition supplied by Scott Casler at Hummel Engines, uses just 1.7 gph of 91 octane MoGas or 100LL. James says this is an engine “proven in aircraft use for many years, weighs 88 pounds, has dual ignition, and develops 45 horsepower.” He adds that the engine can be built from a kit, purchased fully assembled, or scratch built from VW parts.” • James also refers to his shiny, new and “beautifully engineered aluminum airframe” that has “a flying weight of 278 pounds including parachute.” The realized weight reduction finally allows the four stroke engine in an aircraft … ‘er, ultralight vehicle, that can make Part 103’s tight limitations. If you’re intrigued by this Part 103 entry from a fellow who’s pursued it with zeal, read lots more detail in his blog.
Moller SkyCar 200 LSA — Perennial pie-in-the-sky TV-Jetson-car developer Moller International claims a new investor in this announcement on the NASDAQ website, “[A new joint venture will] jointly produce numerous models of its vertical takeoff and landing aircraft. The venture will initially invest $80 million of a planned $480 million investment with the objective of producing a variety of VTOL aircraft by 2014. Production will include the Skycar® 200 LS, Skycar® 400, Skycar® 600 and Neuera| aircraft.”” The reason I paid attention to the article was that one of the models, Skycar® 200 LS, is referred to as a Light-Sport Aircraft version. You can follow Moller International under the stock symbol MLER. The company has long pursued their unique VTOL designs though creating a actual market has eluded them. Especially as Moller always promoted multiple engines on its other designs, it would take some clever engineering to have the single engine allowed on LSA power four ducted fan thrusters.
ADS-B Devices You Don’t Panel-Mount — Soon I’ll gain experience with a loaner Garmin GDL 39 to see weather and traffic on a Garmin 796. I’ve come to love the 796 and its many capabilities. However, now that I’ve become spoiled with ADS-B services (of free weather and traffic info) on Dynon’s SkyView, I wanted to compare those features on the 796 as well. Look for a report on this after we get the GDL 39 and the 796 communicating to one another.
• Well known for their high-end car audio systems Dual Electronics announced its XGPS170 ADS-B receiver last summer and are now moving into production, said Greg Lukins, VP of new business development and an airplane enthusiast. Paired to smartphones and tablets, XGPS170 delivers data wirelessly through Bluetooth technology; it can simultaneously serve two devices. The small units rests on a non-skid pad on a cockpit glare shield. A built-in rechargeable battery can power the unit for up to five hours. I’m in line for a loaner Dual as well; more on it later. Both Dual and Garmin ADS-B panel-top devices list for $799.
Paradise City Update —
Good news for the Sun ‘n Fun airshow. A potential disaster was averted in the FAA’s implementation of sequestration budget cuts. The Lakeland Linder control tower will be staffed during the event due to behind-the-scenes negotiation but following the event, questions remain. • In related news the revised and upgraded Paradise City display area is experiencing brisk space sales. All spaces south of the new road are sold and only a few spaces remain to the north of new Doolittle Road. A major draw is the relocated LSA Mall and the chance to fly demo flights all day even during the main airshow. Rotax BRP has also agreed to sponsor 6-seater golf carts that will run to/from the main gate to the LSA Mall. The carts will also be used to ferry demo flight customers from all over the grounds to Paradise City. It’s great to see the resurgence to an area once admired for its charm and high flight activity.
Videos and More Videos — As Sun ‘n Fun approaches, we’re planning many more videos for your viewing entertainment and information. Lots of you tell us you like the videos we do with YouTube sensation UltralightNews (more than 6 million views!) and we’re happy to provide more. Yet listen to this fact: with nearly 250 videos already posted on ByDanJohnson.com, we offer the equivalent in viewing time of more than 20 full-length motion picture films … all for free. Enjoy!