Oshkosh starts in just one month! Excitement is building to a fever pitch.
Splog: Super Affordability: U-Fly-It’s Aerolite 103 Ultralight Aircraft Will Be a One-Week Super Wonder
Super affordability. Super Wonder. “Super?“ — surely, I exaggerate, right? Hmmm, I don’t think so.
Splog: Charging Back into the Lead — Flight Design ga’s F2 and F2e Light-Sport Aircraft (Gasoline or Electric)
Once upon a time in the then-new world of Light-Sport Aircraft Flight Design lead the pack for airplanes delivered and registered.
A funny thing happened on our way to quarterly reporting of LSA and Sport Pilot kit market shares.
Most pilots love a fast-looking aircraft that looks as good on the ramp as it does in the air?
News about Sebring Expo’s shutdown captivated readers of this website. Other media outlets also picked up on the news.
“It’s a wrap” as the iconic LSA show called Sebring Expo (full name Sebring U.S.
I regularly attend Aero Friedrichshafen every April certain I will see aircraft I’ve never seen before — but also because I will see upgrades to existing popular models.
One of the controversies surrounding Light-Sport Aircraft has to do with that first word: “light.” Early on, one aircraft importer lobbied to remove the word as it was negatively viewed, he believed.
Could 2020 bring a new description of aircraft under the LSA banner?
Splog: Celebrating 15 Years of Reporting Light-Sport Aircraft, Sport Pilot Kits, and Ultralight Aircraft
Splog: Aero Friedrichshafen Day 4…Wrap — BlackWing 600, JMB Aircraft, FlySynthesis Synchro, ScaleWings P-51 Replica
Aero Friedrichshafen is over. At the beginning, show organizers said it was their biggest yet, measured by the number of exhibitors.
Splog: Aero Friedrichshafen Day 3: ELECTRIC, Hybrid on Tecnam and Comco – Battery on Horten and Bristell
More from Aero as Day 3 closes. Because of the number on display — and because several readers asked — this post will focus on electric propulsion in two distinct forms.
Splog: Aero Friedrichshafen Day 2: Tecnam Mk II, SkyArrow, Corsair Delivering, Delta Cruiser Floatplane
Aero Friedrichshafen continues, delivering a broad preview of new aircraft projects plus a glimpse into light aviation in Europe.
Splog: Aero Friedrichshafen Day 1 Aircraft Highlights: Zlin Ultra 915, Flight Design F-Series, Belmont
Jetting straight from Sun ‘n Fun, we were able to arrive at Aero Friedrichshafen by noon on opening day.
Splog: Sun ‘n Fun Day 5 …Wrap Up — Cub and Mother; Sopwith Camel Replica, Father of Ultralight Aircraft
Sun ‘n Fun is over. While staff, tent vendors and more have plenty of work to do, customers and vendors have all vacated the area, scattering off across the USA as they return to base.
Sun ‘n Fun streaks on with Blue Angels and Stearmans cracking the air.
You wanna go fast? Of course you do. What pilot doesn’t want to go fast?
Seaplane flying is a specialty within aviation but it is one that has steady appeal and develops passionate aviators.
Splog: Sun ‘n Fun Day 1 — Affordable Aircraft: CGS Hawk Ultra, Evolution RevX, Kolb Trifly, Thatcher CX5
Videoman Dave and I never left Paradise City’s exhibits in our first day of video interviews.
What’s new at Sun ‘n Fun 2019? Again, as I’ve observed for previous airshows, it appears impossible for all exhibitors to be ready by gates-open tomorrow, Tuesday April 2nd, 2019.
Most Americans know the childhood story about the “Little Engine that Could,” a tale of determination, working against long odds and succeeding despite them.
This Just In!
Follow the Sling TSi LIVE tomorrow, Sunday March 31st, 2019, as the new model flies this route: KTOA – KLAL (Coast to Coast) • Torrance, California to Lakeland, Florida, a distance of 1,900 nautical miles
Intended Departure: Sunday at 4 AM Pacific • Landing Florida before 7 PM Eastern in a flight forecast to take “under 12 hours” at a predicted speed of 160 knots (184 mph), at altitude.
Let me admit right up front: I am a big fan of AirCam.
A few years ago, I visited Continental Motors in Mobile Alabama on the Gulf coast of the southern U.S.
This year celebrates 15 years of Light-Sport Aircraft and its companion pilot certificate, Sport Pilot.
In late February, Texas Aircraft invited me to an unveiling ceremony.
Something old. Something new. Hang glider pilots I know are very familiar with Horten designs, a form of validation for modern hang gliders …flying wings, aircraft with no tail or fuselage structures.
“You just saved my life!” It’s not often anyone, even a medical doctor, hears those words.
Light-Sport Aircraft have accomplished much in the 15 years this new class of aircraft have existed: • Lower purchase cost — with choices spread over a wide variety of aircraft.
We again have the pleasure of a flight review from British aviation journalist, Dave Unwin.
“We are Arizona’s newest aircraft manufacturer,” said Garrett Komm when we finally located him and his bright blue and silver aircraft.
At a major show in China called Zhuhai visitors saw something: a new 6-axis LSA flight simulator.
I have to admit my pleasant surprise. This tie-up of Copperstate and Buckeye Air Fair might be exactly what is needed to generate a major show in the Southwestern USA.
The Copperstate airshow is on in Arizona! Put on by a new combination of Copperstate leadership in cooperation with the town of Buckeye Arizona — which has been hosting its own Buckeye Air Fair — the new event is off and running in its new time slot of early February.
“I knew we had all the pictures we needed but I was having a blast and just wanted to keep flying Minifox,” wrote British aviation writer, Dave Unwin.
At the recently concluded Sebring Sport Aviation Expo, I heard from a number of pilots and vendors about this website publishing fresh market share data.
Video review: Insurance for Light-Sport Aircraft and Kits
Aircraft Insurance is one of those things pilots need. You want to protect yourself, your aircraft investment, and anyone who may be affected by the operation of your aircraft.
Video review: Aviation Insurance Resources’ Gregg Ellsworth
You own an airplane — or you are considering buying one.
The final day of the Sebring U.S. Sport Aviation Expo brought good flying conditions until mid-afternoon when light precipitation returned.
As Day Three arrived, blue skies returned to Sebring after a damp start on Day Two and with them came the best crowds of pilots and companions of any day so far …by far.
“Duck and cover” was a phrase to describe the morning on Thursday, Day Two at Sebring.
Sebring Day One was true to form for the 15th running of this grandaddy of Light-Sport and Sport Pilot Kit shows.
Splog: Setting Up Sebring 2019 — Heaven for Light-Sport Aircraft and Sport Pilot-Eligible Kit Aircraft
Sebring Sport Aviation Expo 2019 — I’m here. Where are you?
As a new season of flying is upon us (even while northern pilots may still be still shoveling snow), one company continues their vigorous comeback.
Update 1/15/19: Thanks to reader feedback — a resource we value very highly — we have updated our statistics to correct another naming challenging.
If you like Light-Sport Aircraft and if you like statistics, you are going to love this article.* Our wholly refreshed look at aircraft registrations marks the return of our popular market share rankings and now includes much more information.
Throughout the 115 years since the Wrights took their Flyer into the skies for the first time, aviation has enjoyed remarkable progress.
As pilots clear the skies so Santa and his flying reindeer can go about their mission, it seems fitting to offer a word of thanks to all of you who have frequently visited this website.
UPDATE 30 Dec 2018 — Sad news about a crash of one of the Handiflight aircraft with the loss of one of the pilots.
UPDATE 12/20/18 — Video added regarding the second book below. See at bottom of post…
Unlike most aviation outlets, I’ve refrained from putting out a Christmas gift guide for pilots.
When Rotax debuted their new 915iS engine at an Oshkosh press conference, Sling designer Mike Blyth raced forward at the end of the conference to closely examine the new power plant.
One year ago, I was touring around China thanks to my good friends at AeroJones, the China-based manufacturer of the popular CTLS for the Asia-Pacific region.
Continental Motors, part of China’s Avic International Holding, announced recently that they have entered a strategic partnership with Liaoning Cub Aircraft Corp to be the engine provider for the Top Cub, which the company said is the first kit aircraft built in China, for the Chinese market.
Imagine you are in charge of marketing for French propeller manufacturer, Duc Hélices.
Since shortly after ByDanJohnson.com went live (on April Fool’s Day 2004, just a few months before the LSA rule was released), one regular website feature has earned positive reviews.
At the season ending DeLand Showcase show, Flight Design was ably represented by John Hurst.
DeLand Showcase 2018 is over, which signals the airshow season is over for this calendar year.
At a reception ending Day Two, DeLand Showcase Director Jana Filip reported that front gate receipts were greater on Thursday than either Thursday of the two prior years of the Showcase.
Day One of the third running of DeLand Showcase is complete.
The end of the year is approaching. We just wrapped Halloween and now begin the headlong rush into the holiday season.
In mere days now, DeLand Showcase starts. The new event closes out the year’s shows.
A popular American childhood story called “The Little Engine that Could” relates to this article.
This week kicks off the truly gigantic trade show known by its sponsoring organization’s abbreviation: NBAA, or in common lingo, “Enn, Bee, Double A.” While not taking up the extensive terra firms of Oshkosh, NBAA actually has more paying exhibitors.
An article from last weekend’s news about a massive jump in LSA weight propelled this website to an all-time record as light aviation enthusiasts from around the nation and the globe signed on to make comments and shared the article with their friends.
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.
Have you noticed how much LSA seaplanes pop up on this website and all over the web and print world?
So far, at least three entries* in the multicopter sweepstakes qualify themselves as Part 103 ultralight vehicles.
FAA’s Light-Sport Aircraft category involves quite the intriguing mixture of aircraft.
Updated September 26, 2018 — This article has been updated to include more producers.
This article has been updated with a new image; a minor correction was made.
While weather starts to cool in the northern USA, in the sub-tropical south, it is still warm enough to enjoy float flying.
This article was updated with additional photos; see at bottom.
Midwest LSA Expo held a special ceremony to honor two men in their donation of a beautiful LSA-like aircraft now permanently displayed on an striking pedestal near the airport entrance.
Many pilots expect the first appearance of a new model at the biggest airshows, but here’s one of those times when the sector-specific shows win.
Building kits for homebuilders and assembling fully built aircraft are two very distinct business models.
Perhaps not every pilot needs for aircraft to be affordable but a great many do.
One essential visit at AirVenture Oshkosh 2018 was to the Quad City booth in the Fun Fly Zone.
Things are looking up for Light-Sport Aircraft, rather fantastically so in my admittedly biased opinion.
One aircraft at EAA AirVenture Oshkosh really caught my eye. OK, truth be told, dozens of aircraft caught my eye but this shiny example seemed to be looking back at me.
The LSA seaplane sector is one of the most intriguing areas of the diverse Light-Sport space.
UPDATE: Video on Ranger at bottom…
Often at EAA AirVenture Oshkosh we see improved models among vast displays of showplanes.
For your enjoyment, here is arguably the most unique airplane I found on the grounds of EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2018 …and with around 3,000 show planes, that is truly saying something.
You have more privileges than you may know with your Light-Sport Aircraft.
Maybe you never flew a floatplane or seaplane (the latter implying a hull).
A new-to-Americans Light-Sport Aircraft made its debut showing at AirVenture 2018.
CGS Hawk is one of our most storied brands of ultralight and light aircraft.
On my first day on Wittman Field here in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, we took the privilege to drive around the grounds and capture video scenes as hundreds of exhibitors arrive and set up their displays.
This article has been updated…
Technology company TQ Group established a reputation for high quality engineering and precision products.
This article again delves into the changing face of aviation and in this case within the Part 103 Ultralight Vehicle sector.
In the fascinating LSA seaplane sector-within-a-sector, we find both good news and bad news today, though the latter can be overcome.
In the world of Light-Sport Aircraft, we have more than 90 manufacturers and 145 Special LSA (see our whole list) accepted* by FAA.
After Aero 2016, we enthusiastically reported on the Zlin Shock Outback (as it is known to Americans; Shock Cub to other countries).
Many pilots who first set eyes on the SW51, a precisely faithful 70%-scale imitation of the famous North American Aviation P-51 Mustang managed to utter a single word: “WOW!”
Can you blame them?
Years ago, back in the late 1990s, I flew an aircraft called JetFox 97.
Early in June, John Monnett spoke about stepping down from Sonex Aircraft, the kit manufacturer he founded and has lead for decades.
The big Italian company that LSA enthusiasts know very well through models such as P92, Sierra, and P2008 has a large and growing presence in global aviation.
BRM Aero boss and chief design, Milan Bristela, has convincingly proven his visionary credentials.
UPDATE (5/28/18): Since this article was published, we’ve added our video interview from Aero 2018.
Video review: Updated Lightning Bug — Affordable Homebuilt (2018)
Brian Austein did it again! He drew big crowds and head-shakes of amazement at what he has created for — get this — a mere $3,000.
For the second year in a row, I was blown away with Lightning Bug.
For three years at Aero Friedrichshafen, the wonderful April show in the south of Germany, I have admired one genuine ultralight called Swan.
Dogs in the Cockpit? A few years ago, various stories began to pop in mainstream media discussing the car industry’s newest focus …no, not only on how many cup holders they could install in your new ride — but instead on accommodations for pets, mainly dogs.
Sun ‘n Fun 2018 ended a great event on Sunday.
What on Earth is going on in Airplane DesignerLand? Are we headed for a bifurcation, a parting of the ways among those engineering the next generation of aircraft?
Video review: Searey Equipped with Single Lever Control
Yes, yes, I know — in-flight adjustable props are not permitted on U.S.
Immediately following Sun ‘n Fun 2018 is Aero 2018.
Sun ‘n Fun 2018 is done. The show actually closed early at about 1 PM due to forecasts of severe weather.
When most pilots think of imports, they assume a foreign manufacturer builds an aircraft in another country, finds a U.S.
After a damp opening day, the sun returned on day #2 at Sun ‘n Fun 2018.
Day One of Sun ‘n Fun got off to a solid start even if a number of light aircraft arrivals are still pending.
After earlier news about the change of representation for Jabiru aircraft, a fresh announcement was made as Sun ‘n Fun 2018 was about to start.
One bone of contention among LSA sellers is that legacy flight schools — the sort that typically uses Cessna or Piper trainers — sometimes disregard LSA as trainer aircraft.
Let me be clear. I have no issue with sharks in the sea.
Besides LSA seaplanes, one area of furious development (and sales) is gyroplanes, the term modern industry prefers to “gyrocopter,” which was actually a branded name used since the days of Igor Benson.
After you finish Easter Sunday dinner with the family, how about going out for a spin on your new Scorpion 3 Hoverbike?
Today I got a good look at the new Aventura S-17 built in DeLand, Florida — also home of the Aerolite 103 and the DeLand Showcase …plus a large volume of sky diving.
Scott Severen is an old friend and a longtime veteran of the light aircraft business.
Recently I had an exchange with Australian Flying magazine editor, Steve Hitchen.
Since I saw what had to be Randy Schlitter’s first appearance at Sun ‘n Fun, and since he is celebrating the 35th anniversary of the first flight of his S3 single-place Coyote I …well, we’ve been in this game for a good amount of time.
For most years of Light-Sport Aircraft one aircraft model convincingly lead the parade.
The aviation industry — led by a flock of alphabet member organizations — is clinking champagne glasses over the “defeat” of ATC Privatization.
Because we promote this website as focused on “affordable aviation,” one of our favorite companies is Sonex.
As the 2018 flying season launches, a long-awaited powerplant from Rotax Aircraft Engines is beginning to arrive in the USA and to be shipped on to customers for installation.
From Washington State arrives a fresh, new airplane created from scratch to enter the Special LSA space.
Forever, Evektor will remain the very first Special Light-Sport Aircraft approved by the FAA, beating Flight Design’s CT series by a small margin.
The great spring airshow everyone knows as Sun ‘n Fun starts in about six weeks.
While I doubt airliner behemoths Boeing or Airbus are aiming to create aircraft you might buy, their work along with other developers, may nonetheless lead to something new in the future for recreational aircraft pilots and buyers.
One word can make a huge difference. This unassailable logic was recently put forth by Michael Coates of Australia regarding the LSA regulation.
We started a few shows back doing a drive-by shooting (except in a good way).
Let’s be clear. Boeing, Airbus, Google, Amazon, and other immensely deep pockets are not seeking to build fun flying machines for you and me.
Special deals are unusual in aviation, an industry of hand-built flying machines sold in modest quantities.
Sebastien Heintz of Zenith Aircraft in Mexico, Missouri is one of the more vigorous promoters in light aviation.
Is your aviation horizon is getting confused by quadcopters, electric aircraft, and airliners?
After a busy week at Sebring — a show that exceeded my expectations …and probably also for several vendors who logged sales to kick off the year in a great way — I have a couple alternative messages for readers.
The fourteenth running of the U.S. Sport Aviation Expo is history and if this is how the rest of the year goes, I predict a stronger year for LSA sales.
Day two of the year’s first show, Sebring was a bit cooler and windier but still a fine day as the photos show.
For all who could not attend, our title forms a common question.
Along with many others, I’m sure, I’m presently en route from Daytona Beach to Sebring, Florida as the 2018 or 14th running of the U.S.
Two years ago, Flight Design was the number one producer of Light-Sport Aircraft in the USA backed by strong sales in other countries.
This website was born in 2004 after a few years of laboriously uploading a large number of written pilot reports that had appeared in aviation print magazines over the years before.
As the world appears to shift into overdrive about electric cars, planes, and drones, what is happening in this dynamic, unfolding sector in aviation?
In December 2017, South Korea’s Vessel Co. won what was described as “safety certification” from the Transport Ministry for their new two-seat light aircraft called KLA-100.
Amazingly, “Holy Batcopter!” was not one of the 368 different “Holy…” exclamations uttered by the Robin character in the 1960s TV series.
Here in Florida, home to ByDanJohnson.com, we take hurricanes very seriously.
I don’t really know when the Leon family sleeps. They must, of course, but their steady output of high-quality, reasonably-priced products that pilots need must make for many long workdays.
My guess is most readers do not care particularly about recreational aviation or sport flying in China.
What a great Christmas present for the Rotax Aircraft Engine team members (lower photo).
Continental Motors powerplants are manufactured in Mobile, Alabama, which is now also home to an assembly plant for Airbus airlines.
For many years the brand name Jabiru — both airframes and engines — has been associated with Pete Krotje and his family and other team members, doing business as Jabiru North America.
Recently, a couple major benchmarks were reached by some of our important brand names.
Sometimes I am told I have the best job in the world.
Years ago, back in the early days of the Light-Sport Aircraft sector exploding into the world of aviation, of affordable aviation, one of the early entries was SeaMax, from a Brazilian-based company called AirMax.
When Rotax moved their 912 iS Sport project from engineering to production, the big Austrian engine manufacturer elevated their already-immensely-popular 9-series engines to a higher level.
If you did not get to DeLand Showcase 2017, the second running of this new LSA, light kit aircraft, and ultralight show, we’ve given coverage with more to follow, but you might really like the quick view of most aircraft on exhibit at the event just concluded.
The second year of the DeLand Showcase is over.
[from a talk given at DeLand Showcase 2017…]
After more than 13 years of LSA, I believe the industry can stand tall and proud…
Even with more than 140 attractive, innovative, and roomy LSA of every description, much of what makes LSA a strong and worthy addition to aviation is less obvious to many.
We spent the first day of the second year of this event zooming around DeLand Showcase 2017 shooting several videos for you and I have a sample MiniVideo for you to view.
My video partner must be working around the clock as he prepared a blizzard of videos for release starting November 1st.
In the world of kit aircraft a few companies stand out for having delivered many kits that have launched into the air.
Every pilot I know… every aviation organization… every aviation government official… all acknowledge the same requirement for the future of aviation.
Are you a YouTube fan? I don’t mean the company or its owner Google/Alphabet (which has removed videos for reasons only a YouTube censor could comprehend).
Given a successful Midwest LSA Expo, you could say the “LSA show season” is underway.
A good friend in aviation journalism and Editor-in-Chief of Plane & Pilot magazine is Robert Goyer.
It’s over …yet it’s just begun. I refer to the Midwest LSA Expo, which, you might say, kicks off the LSA show season including light kits and ultralights in addition to LSA.
America’s neighbor to the north is USA’s largest trading partner …yes, bigger than China, or any other single country.
When I started this website back in 2004, even before Light-Sport Aircraft officially arrived on the aviation scene, I began by uploading hundreds of pilot reports that had appeared in various aviation magazines.
Article Updated: 9/18/17 (see below)
Electric airplanes continue to catch the headlines… but don’t impact the market much (yet).
“Oshkosh is all about airplanes, right?” asked The Airplane Factory USA‘s Jean d’Assonville.
In a eNewsletter to what they call “Breezerians,” the German company with the same name as their model reported a festive debut to their newest model called Breezer Sport.
Stuck as I am in Florida preparing for the onslaught of Hurricane Irma… with great regret, I am missing for the first time the Midwest LSA Expo in Mount Vernon, Illinois (about an hour east of St.
Belite entrepreneur James Weibe has successfully used his tech industry background to raise interest for his latest project, this time his first two seater called Chipper.
Video review: Lightning Bug — Fun One-Off Design (2017)
“What on Earth is that?” asked plenty of people at Sun ‘n Fun 2017.
As we work on PlaneFinder 2.0, our one-of-a-kind method to help pilots find the best Light-Sport Aircraft — watch for it in a few more days — we have another list-in-waiting.
I believe you should applaud Milan Bristela. Now a veteran of the Light-Sport Aircraft sector, he has steadily built a successful aircraft manufacturing enterprise — BRM Aero — that recently rolled out Bristell #300.
Video review: Aeropilot USA — L600
L600 — known as Legend 540 or 600 in Europe — is a new arrival in America, although this high wing LSA is known in Europe for a few years.
We reported on FX1 shortly after it began flight trials in the hands of American light aviation expert John Hunter.
Before America becomes completely consumed with Eclipse Viewing Fever, you might want to pull your (solar filter-protected) eyes away from the soon-to-darken sky to catch a few glimpses of intriguing aircraft from EAA’s summer celebration of flight.
“Coming to America” is a common refrain from light aircraft producers in some countries.
Update 8/17/17: See our video interview at EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2017 on this aircraft (at bottom).
Icon Aircraft CEO Kirk Hawkins shared a computer depiction of events leading to the crash of an A5 flown by factory chief pilot, Jon Karkow.
If you know the Part 103 category of the FAA regulations, you know these are the lightest aircraft in aviation (that is, man-carrying aircraft; drones excepted).* After years of disappearing, Part 103 entries have come back more recently and at AirVenture Oshkosh 2017, we saw another.
After more than a year, a resolution was reached for the airplane that topped the charts in the LSA space since Day One.
Now that we are in the middle of winter, activity is brisk.
If you seek affordable aircraft (like most readers), then you already know Sonex Aircraft.
Video review: Sonex Aircraft — Video Tour of Factory (2016)
Join Dan Johnson as he takes a factory tour of Sonex Aircraft with General Manager Mark Schaible.
One of the stalwarts of the light aircraft sector is Kitfox, a brand known widely around the globe.
You may not know this Dragonfly airplane but I do. Very well.
I readily admit I find Arion’s Lightning LS-1 (the Special LSA model designation) one of the most handsome in the Light-Sport fleet …which is saying something as we enjoy dozens and dozens of quite beautiful aircraft in this sector.
When summer rolls around and the sweat rolls off, it’s a perfect time to think about float flying.
A key phrase for this website is “Affordable Aviation” (in fact, we bought AffordableAviation.com for future use).
Seamax will join Embry-Riddle Research Park’s Customized Business Acceleration Program, the aeronautical university based in Daytona Beach announced on July 3rd, 2017.
In a familiar theme, a Chinese company has acquired an American aircraft company.
Let’s say you are flying on a wonderful cross country trip.
Let’s make an important point right up front. Seaplanes cost more than land planes.
Video review: Aircraft Spruce — Wires Your Panel for You
For many homebuilders, the process goes like this: You get and assemble the airframe and its control surfaces.
Beringer Aero USA announced an expansion of the French company’s U.S.
Update: Unknown at the time this article was posted, Viking Aircraft Engines reports it provides the powerplant for SureFly.
If you live in France or are traveling to the country (soon!), you might want to join the party… the DUC Propellers party, that is.
SeaMax from Brazil has been somewhat absent in recent years.
One of the big hopes of the global aviation community — besides the shared wish for more young people to take up flying — is that Chinese interest in aviation grows.
Sonex made a splash earlier when they announced their “B Models” for the Sonex and Waiex.
Adam Yang, the CEO of Progressive Aerodyne, resigned from the CEO position on May 18, 2017 and is handing the position to his successor, Geoff Nicholson.
Flying light aircraft to Cuba seems to be a kind of new normal.
This article has been modified since originally posted. —DJ
These days you can go to Cuba.
CubCrafters now leads the field for Special LSA (see this report to learn more) thanks significantly to their early installation of the 180 horsepower Titan engine.
Video review: Just Aircraft — SuperSTOL with 180-hp Titan (2016)
Just Aircraft turns heads everywhere when they first introduced the SuperSTOL (STOL stands for short takeoff and landing).
Wind blows across the dunes here in Nags Head in a way that first drew the Wright Brothers 114 years ago.
Normally we elect not to delve into accidents on ByDanJohnson.com but where it can be instructive and when readers are keen to learn more — and when we have direct information — discussing such matters can be useful.
Does any aviator in the country not know the name Aircraft Spruce?
The Marana Regional Airport, in Marana Arizona was the site of the first annual U.S.
In the late ’90s, an earlier iteration of Remos Aircraft delivered their first aircraft, a G-3 Mirage, originally designed by the very talented Lorenz Kreitmeyer.
Surely all readers know that Rotax-brand engines dominate the light aircraft landscape.
A dozen years after FAA created aviation’s newest sector, we have a new leader among manufacturers of fully built Light-Sport Aircraft.
Mainstream media outfits exploded with news of Google’s flying car. Although such news outlets rarely seem to notice recreational aviation other than when an accident occurs, the reports I read did a respectable job of covering flying car projects we already knew about (reported here and here earlier; some projects have advanced, some have dropped out, and others have arrived).
On April 13, 2017, only briefly after the Aero Friedrichshafen show ended, LSA manufacturer Remos has a major announcement.
In my views of Swan at previous Aero Friedrichshafen shows, the design caught my eye as it was (a) a single seater, (b) light enough to qualify as a Part 103 ultralight or its European equivalents, and (c) as it was an all-composite, nicely designed aircraft.
In the late 1990s, the Italian JetFox 97 flew as an evolved ultralight.
Electric aircraft may still have minuscule market share but innovations could change that in the near future.
Could Light-Sport Aircraft, light kit aircraft, and even ultralights benefit from in-flight adjustable propellers?
The German aviation trade fair or show is Aero Friedrichshafen.
John “Lites” Leenhouts announced to a largest-ever gathering of volunteers that the event had set all-time records for attendance at the 2017.
Sun ‘n Fun is not even over; a final day remains (Sunday, April 9th).
Videoman Dave first pulled me aside to look at an unusual ultralight aircraft nestled in the homebuilt area hidden behind a row of porta-potties.
Here’s another quick update from new friend, Mike Friend, who is covering Aero along with Roy Beisswenger.
People here at Sun ‘n Fun have been asking questions about Flight Design as the company has no exhibitor presence.
The grand show called Aero in Friedrichshafen, Germany (that I’m not at… darn!) is happening at the same time as Sun ‘n Fun.
Here at the Sun ‘n Fun 2017 airshow LAMA’s LSA Mall is full and strong with 13 aircraft gathered from some of the leading brands.
The big show at Lakeland, Florida is open and happening. Today (Tuesday April 4th) is opening day; the event runs through Sunday, April 9th.
You could call it thirteen years in the making. More pragmatically, ByDanJohnson.com has now caught up with the mobile revolution.
How is it that Rotax so dominates the supply of engines to light aircraft?
Video review: BRM Aero — Bristell IFR (0117)
“You cannot fly IFR in a Light-Sport Aircraft!” Is that what you think?
“It cannot be done,” is the quick dismissal from many in aviation, referring to instrument flying in a LSA.
We lost one of the good ones recently. You may not have met or even know this man, but you certainly know — and may absolutely love — the airplanes he created.
DAN JOHNSON has been called “the leading reviewer of recreational aircraft” after writing hundreds of pilot reports.
Video review: Quicksilver — Bever Borne of Air-Tech (04/16)
If you want to know any and everything about Quicksilver, one man knows it all.
One of the major stumbles in the light aircraft world was the closure of Quicksilver Aeronautic’s southern California factory in Temecula.
We are fast approaching an important time of year… only this year I am a bit conflicted.
For thirteen years, ByDanJohnson.com has served the light aircraft community, covering Light-Sport Aircraft, light kit-built aircraft, and ultralight aircraft.
Video review: Zlin Aviation — Outback Shock (Sportair USA)
Here’s an airplane almost certain to grab your attention. It has huge power (180 horse Titan X340); a “hyper”STOL wing; double Fowler flaps; tremendous shock absorption, including on the tailwheel; and enormous tires.
Once upon a time, the producer of a yellow LSA taildragger installed the industry’s most powerful engine resulting in a performance leader.
Two forms of flying are racing at us at increasing speed.
At Sebring 2017, another long-awaited aircraft emerged… or re-emerged. After wandering for a few years since original Hawk developer Chuck Slusarczyk retired and sold his company, the once-popular design has a new home in central Florida.
Are Light-Sport Aircraft too expensive? With yellow taildraggers from some companies exceeding $200,000, it certainly sounds so.
Video review: SkyReach (Aerosport) — BushCat
If you’ve been saying that Light-Sport Aircraft are too expensive, here is an airplane that may force you to readjust your thinking.
Video review: Jabiru — J-230D (9/16)
Here’s a flight review of the latest version of the J-230, the D model.
At last November’s DeLand Showcase, I tried something new.
Video review: Race Around Sebring 2017
Following the good reception to the earlier “Race Around DeLand 2016” video, I repeated for the Sebring U.S.
Once upon a time, the world was without Internet, static and boring.
Video review: Vickers Aircraft — Wave LSA seaplane
Among all Light-Sport Aircraft, some of the most intriguing new design qualities are emerging from LSA seaplanes.
Video review: American Legend — on Legend Floats (Video Pilot Report)
American Legend is one of the first entries in the Special Light-Sport Aircraft space and it remains and industry leader with a full line of models and variations including multiple power plants.
Video review: Dynon Avionics — SkyView HDX
Dynon Avionics has become the leading seller of glass screen instruments in Lihgt-Sport Aircraft and light kit-built airplanes.
Video review: Triton America — Skytrek (pilot report) 2016
SkyTrek is a new design from Thomas Hsueh, a longtime aeronautical engineer with impressive credentials (he is also now the owner of the Adam Aircraft twin engine, six-seater).
Video review: Murphy Aircraft — Radical (07/16)
You know the name Murphy Aircraft, from models such as their biplane Renegade or their all-metal Rebel.
Video review: AirCam — Twin Engine Kit Aircraft
This unusual looking aircraft is a twin engine taildragger. While fascinating, those two characteristics might make you wonder if you can handle it.
Video review: Evektor — Harmony LSA
First on the market way back in 2005 was the Evektor SportStar.
Video review: Guardian Avionics — iPads mounts & more
Guardian Avionics made a name for themselves with carbon monoxide (CO) detectors to.
News from Sebring Expo 2017…
The thirteenth annual running of the Sebring Expo is history concluding on Saturday, January 28th.
At last fall’s inaugural DeLand Showcase event, I got a chance to fly Legend Cub on their own Legend Floats.
Pilots not closely following Light-Sport aviation can be excused for thinking only one LSA seaplane is available.
In my experience, pilot love learning about engines. Yet without a prop, that engine may run fine, but nothing happens to the airplane other than converting a tank of fuel into noise.
If you own an iPad, iPhone, or its Android equivalents — wait a minute, have we any pilots who don’t own one or more of these handy gizmos?
Rotax Maintenance Classes — If you are a professional or wanna-be pro in the maintenance or overhaul of Rotax engines, you must take factory-approved training.
Are excited general aviation pilots kidding themselves about BasicMed? At least one prominent light aviation expert thinks so and judging from comments I’ve received, I am inclined to say this is much more common than some want to believe.
Have you ever flown the ultralight area pattern at EAA AirVenture Oshkosh?
Update 12/6/16 — According to AOPA Online, “The Federal Aviation Administration has reviewed the AOPA Air Safety Institute’s aeromedical online course and confirmed that it meets the third class medical reform requirements that Congress created last summer.
Almost every year at AirVenture Oshkosh, some pilot or team of pilots performs some sky writing, that is, trailing smoke while flying precisely enough that you can read what they are writing from the ground.
Continental Motors is known worldwide for its aircraft engines.
Pardon a little fun in the title. I recalled the line long ago attributed to Henry Ford, “You can have any color [Model T] you want as long as it’s black.”
Sonex Aircraft had so regularly brought bright yellow airplanes to airshows, folks could be excused for thinking that was the only color available.
Fourteen years ago, light aviation leader Tecnam brought their only low wing, the Sierra, to market.
When you look at the photos of this new-to-Americans aircraft, you might have a vague recollection of one or more aircraft that looked something like Shark.
This last week, I trekked to FAA headquarters in Washington DC, an action that consumed three days of my time.
Every quarter, like clockwork, the General Aviation Manufacturers Association (GAMA), issues its delivery report.
The first-ever DeLand Sport Aviation Showcase finished on a high note with a sold-out flock of vendors giving kudos to event director Jana Filip and her team.
One company making a splash at the brand-new DeLand Sport Aviation Showcase event that opened today was AeroJones, occupying the first two spaces inside the entrance.
I guess I’m still old fashioned. I still call those things in front of the pilot “instruments,” although the preferred term for a panelful of them shifted to “avionics.” At least most people and I have stopped using “gauges.” Choose the term that works for you, but mail order giant Aircraft Spruce just sent offerings to builders, whether at home or in a factory.
The stories we hear about North Korea are usually bad. OK, I’ve rarely heard anything good so I guess the news is just about all bad.
First a personal tale and then something completely different…
In the last week, I encountered something brand new to me, although old as the ocean.
The newest owner of a SLSA Special Airworthiness certificate is Triton AeroMarine for their Skytrek.
Article Updated 9/7/15 — See new information at the bottom of this article.
Most pilots never probably have witnessed the testing a wing endures before designers and regulators will sign off on it, signaling that it has been adequately stressed so that pilots can depend on it.
Video review: Dual Electronics — XGPS190 (GPS, weather, traffic)
Dual Electronics has been a leader in the panel-top devices that supply valuable information to iPads and other tablets that have become so popular in cockpits.
Video review: Airsport (Melody Aircraft) — Song motorglider 2014
We’ve seen the Song but as the ULS, a pure-electric version of the same airplane as substantially modified by Randall Fishman’s Electric Aircraft Corporation.
Video review: Glasair Aviation — Merlin LSA (2014)
Glasair is the well-known company behind models of a similar name but now they have something very news.
Video Pilot Reports are some of the most popular of our hundreds of videos.
Here’s Part 2 of our Video Pilot Report on Van’s Aircraft’s very poplar RV-12 is presented in two parts.
Video review: Bulldog — Autogyro
One of the most eye-catching aircraft I saw in the immense halls of Aero was the Bulldog Autogyro, a superbly finished prototype almost too good to fly.
Video review: Superior Air Parts — Gemini Diesel Engine (0415)
The first major introduction of a diesel engine that will enter production, perhaps in 2015, came from Superior Air Parts at Sun ‘n Fun 2015.
Video review: Quicksilver Aeronautics — Sprint / Max 103 (2015)
Quicksilver’s Sprint has long been a great little airplane. Versions of it have sold many, many thousands of units and they consistently deliver good flying qualities with an excellent safety record.
Video review: Evolution Trikes — Rev 1 of 2 (2015)
The people behind the very impressive two seat deluxe trike called Revo introduced their first single seater called Rev.
Video review: Evolution Trikes — Rev 2 of 2 (2015)
If you saw Part 1 on the Evolution Trikes Rev, you saw it assembled from trailer form to flight form in a few minutes.
Video review: SkyReach — BushCat with higher gross (2015)
BushCat has long be both a very interesting design with features you will not find on other aircraft and it has a price point that most can consider.
Video review: Electric Power — Chip Erwin’s new development (4/15)
Electric aircraft are a major buzz with even aviation gian Airbus working on their eFan.
Light-Sport Aircraft are awesome. Many pilots want one but not all can afford one.
Video review: Rotax Aircraft Engines — Award at Aero 2015
Convincingly the most prolific and successful aircraft engine producer for the light, recreational aircraft segment, Rotax wins awards from readers of magazines that vote on the best powerplant.
Video review: Flying Aviation Expo — Interview with Robert Goyer
For the second year, Flying magazine is the main sponsor of the Flying Aviation Expo.
Video review: Rotax Aircraft Engines — New 915 Engine (135 hp!)
At AirVenture Oshkosh 2015, Rotax Aircraft Engines made a special announcement … that of their new 135 horsepower 915 engine.
Video review: DirectFly (Corbi Air) — Alto 100 with air conditioning
The very first Light-Sport Aircraft to adopt air conditioning was the Corbi Air Alto 100 from DirectFly.
Video review: DirectFly (Corbi Air) — Alto 100 (2014)
Some folks believe Light-Sport Aircraft cannot function well in a flight school environment.
Video review: Sea-Avio — Risen (high performing Swiss microlight)
One of the most eye-catching microlights at Aero 2015 was the Sea-Avio Risen.
Video review: Pipistrel — Sinus
Many of us who enjoy soaring flight love the Pipistrel Sinus as it offers some wonderful gliding capability.
Video review: Superior Air Parts — Gemini Diesel on Legend (0715)
Only a few months earlier, at Sun ‘n Fun 2015, we got our first glimpse of the Superior Gemini Diesel engines aimed at the Light-Sport Aircraft space.
Video review: Icon Aircraft — A5 (Video Pilot Report)
Finally! I got to fly Icon’s long-awaited A5 LSA seaplane. In a word: superb.
Video review: Paradise Aircraft — P1NG (01/15)
Welcome back to Paradise, that is, welcome to Brazilian producer Paradise Aircraft to the tropical paradise of Florida where the southern hemisphere builder has set up a remote manufacturing operation.
Video review: Continental (ECi) — Titan engine
CubCrafters made the Titan engine well known to Light-Sport Aircraft enthusiasts when it added the 180-horsepower engine to their line of Cub-like airplanes.
Video review: Pipistrel — Elektro (04/15)
We first knew of this project as WATTsUP. That name was fun but as the project came to production, it was renamed Electro … basically their Alpha but with electric propulsion.
Video review: Pipistrel — Electro (04/15)
We first knew of this project as WATTsUP. That name was fun but as the project came to production, it was renamed Electro … basically their Alpha but with electric propulsion.
Video review: Quicksilver Aeronautics — GT 500 Restore (0715)
In this video, we think you will see something unusual. This is a 1991 Quicksilver GT500 that looks as though it just rolled off the assembly line.
A few years back the folks at I-TEC introduced their Maverick, a powered parachute but with such a substantial carriage that they drove if from Florida to Oshkosh.
Video review: Women in Aviation — Amy Saunders
Videoman Dave and I decided we need to do several videos in support of increasing the number of women involved with flying.
Video review: Duc Hélices — Carbon Props, Hubs, & more
Duc Hélices, a French company, has specialized in the creation of all-carbon fiber propellers in various configurations, to fit engines of different sizes and airplanes of differing performance.
Video review: TruTrak with Levil — ECO Autopilot & AEP
You’ve probably heard of TruTrak, the leading autopilot maker for light aircraft of many descriptions.
Building a kit is part of the American aviation dream but it isn’t for everyone.
Video review: David Clark — Headset Line Review
Easily one of the most recognized headset brands in all of aviation is David Clark.
Video review: Evolution Trikes — Revo VPR (Part 1 – in flight)
Come on along as we fly the most deluxe trike you can buy.
Video review: Evolution Trikes — Revo VPR (Part 2 – details)
In this somewhat shorter video, Part 2 of 2 for our Evolution Trikes Revo Video Pilot Report (VPR), Dan shows you many of the well-considered details for their most deluxe trike.
This video continues from our full-length video pilot report on the TL Ultralights TL-3000 Sirius.
Video review: Tapanee Aviation — Pagazair (2013)
We don’t often talk to pilots of plans-built aircraft but here’s a winner.
Video review: SkyCraft Airplanes — SD1 Minisport
The SkyCraft Airplanes SD1 Minisport grabbed plenty of attention at Oshkosh 2012 but really took off the next year when the company announced a fully-built version that will later qualify as a Special LSA.
Video review: Quicksilver Aeronautics — Sport 2S as SLSA (2013)
Quicksilver has now completed all the flight testing for the most popular kit to qualify it for Special Light-Sport Aircraft acceptance by FAA.
Video review: Belite Aircraft — SeaLite Floatplane (2013)
Belite Aircraft has maintained a singular focus on single seat aircraft, many of which can meet Part 103 (meaning no license, medical, or N-numbers needed).
Video review: Solar Flight — Sunseeker Duo
Electric power rivets the attention of many pilots even while the development of this power to propel airplanes continues to progress.
Video review: AutoGyro VPR — Calidus tandem gyro (2014)
In our first VPR (Video Pilot Report) on a gyroplane, we go aloft with Robert Snyder in the biggest selling brand, AutoGyro, flying their two place tandem Calidus.
Video review: Rans — S-20 Raven (01/14)
Rans designer and leader Randy Schlitter brought his complete and flying S-20 Raven to Sebring and we spoke with him updating our earlier video from last summer when the airplane was in “bare bones” mode.
Video review: ITEC-Maverick (2014)
Not many people have gotten to fly the ITEC Maverick, the flying car candidate that has arrived on the market.
Video review: Bede Corp — BD-17 kit aircraft (2014)
Doesn’t everyone know about the miniature BD-5 airplane including the jet-powered version many have seen at airshows?
Video review: Continental Motors — O-200D LSA engine (2014)
Continental is one of the most familiar brand names in all of aviation.
Video review: B.O.T. Hand-Controlled LSA — Wounded Warrior Project
Soldiers in our country’s service too often sustain combat injuries that cost them the use of their limbs.
Video review: TruTrak — Autopilots & more for LSA
Many Light-Sport Aircraft use autopilots these days because such controllers have dropped rather fantastically in cost from the days when only turbines and larger had such equipment.
Video review: D Motor — LF39 LSA engine
You already know very well Rotax, Jabiru, Continental, and Lycoming plus a couple others including UL Power and Viking.
Video review: Nando Groppo — Trail (2014)
We’ve looked at Nando Groppo’s Trail aircraft earlier, both in the USA and over at Aero in Germany.
Video review: FK Lightplanes — Fk9 ELA
Germany’s popular Fk9 from FK lightplanes is one of that country’s most popular models, often flown in flight schools and by hundreds of recreational pilots.
Video review: MVP.aero — MVP (Most Versatile Plane)
One of the biggest splashes at EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2014 came with the debut of the MVP.aero’s new offering, their MVP that stands for Most Versatile Plane.
Video review: Adventure Aircraft — Electric Motor Glider
Adventure Aircraft may be a new name but you may know the man behind it.
Video review: Aerotrek — A240 & trailer (0414)
Aerotrek supplies a popular and well-priced everything but, you know, having a nice airplane isn’t enough.
Video review: Garmin — G3X Touch EFIS (0414)
Garmin is one of the most familiar brand names in Light-Sport Aircraft.
Video review: Ekolot — Topax (0414)
Kris Siuba has represented the handsome Light-Sport Aircraft Topaz from Ekolot for several years but he wasn’t a solo pilot until just before his 9-hour flight to Sun ‘n Fun 2014.
Video review: Flight Design — CTLS (Illinois dealer-0414)
At the Midwest LSA Expo, we had a chance to speak with one of market leader Flight Design’s midwestern dealer, Tom Baker.
Video review: Jabiru — J230 (dealer Eric Evans)
When people visit the Midwest LSA Expo, a popular LSA-oriented show in early September, those visitors will likely run into an expert airplane broker, Eric Evans.
Video review: Levil Tech — Tablet Avionics & AeroGlass (0714)
Our video with Levil’s Joe Marszal starts out with something absolutely new at AirVenture 2014.
Video review: Jabiru Engine — 3300 Upgrade (0914)
At the Midwest LSA Expo in 2014, we spoke with Jabiru USA owner Pete Krotje about some significant changes made to one of the popular powerplants in the light aircraft space.
Video review: Jabiru Aircraft — Lower Prices! (0714)
Jabiru Aircraft has long done well with their line of affordable, speedy, and U.S.-assembled aircraft.
Video review: Larry Burke Interview — LAMA Founder (0414)
Larry Burke founded the Light Aircraft Manufacturers Association back in the early 1980s when ultralight aircraft were zooming around the skies of shows like Sun ‘n Fun.
Video review: Zenith Aircraft — One Week Wonder (CH-750)
At AirVenture 2014, EAA hosted Zenith Aircraft in a major project in which 2,500 people gave some assistance to a central team that built an entire CH-750 from shipping container to FAA sign-off and test fly during the seven days of the show in Oshkosh.
Vertical Power makes some of the useful products about which most of us don’t know enough.
Video review: Zlin — Savage Cub-S (2014)
Cub-S, as it is known in 2014, is a very powerful Cub-like airplane.
Video review: Aviad — Zigolo MG12 (electric motoglider 2014)
How about an electric airplane you can buy for less than $20,000?
Video review: Rans — Raven S-20 PILOT REPORT (2014)
In our continuing series of Video Pilot Reports (VPRs), we review the latest Rans, designer Randy Schlitter’s S-20 Raven.
Video review: Zenith Aircraft — CH-750 Cruzer PILOT REPORT (0914)
Zenith has found a very ripe market with lots of buyers of their kit-only CH-701 or CH-750 models that some refer to as a “Sky Jeep.” These are STOL models with short takeoff and landing.
Video review: Czech Sport Aircraft — SportCruiser PILOT REPORT (0913)
Here we go again with another of our series of Video Pilot Reports or VPRs, this time in the Czech Sport Aircraft SportCruiser.
Video review: DJI Quadcopter — Our first look at drones
Lately the loud buzz in aviation is drones. Called UAVs, UASs, RPVs or other names, we’ll just use “drone.” Not our usual fare of reports on man-flown aircraft, we are just as intrigued as tens of thousands of others with this camera-carrying airplanes.
Video review: Aeromomentum — Suzuki Auto Engine Conversion
Most pilots seem to love engines. Well, no surprise as (except for gliders) it is a powerplant that allows us to go aloft and see the world from our unique perspective.
Video review: Renegade LSA — Lil’ Rascal project
As we spoke with Doc’ Bailey at Sun ‘n Fun 2013, we first hear about his new 71,000 square foot hangar at Fort Pierce airport.
Video review: Midwest LSA Expo — 2013 preview & dates
Sebring kicks off the year with the granddaddy of LSA Expo events.
Video review: The Airplane Factory — Sling
You should already know the Sling. The South African design set a new benchmark by coming off design and initial development to take an east-to-west trip around the globe.
Video review: U-Fly-It — Aerolite 103 (2013)
For years Aerolite 103 has been a charmer of the Part 103 class of aircaft.
Video review: Aero 2013 — Quick Tour Part 1
Do you wish you could have gone to Aero like we did?
Video review: Edra Aeronautica — Super Petrel LS (2013)
The Petrel is back now as the Super Petrel LS. A Brazilian-manufactured seaplane, the LSA candidate is represented by Florida Light Sport Aviation.
Video review: SkyReach (formerly Rainbow) — Bush Cat (2013)
If you’re looking for a Light-Sport Aircraft that doesn’t cost an arm and a leg, you need look no further than the SkyReach Bush Cat.
Video review: CubCrafters SportCub with Mead Amphib Floats
If you’ve ever tried float flying, you probably love it. If you haven’t tried it, do so … soon!
Video review: Belite Aircraft — Amphibious Float System
Jim Weibe is the brains behind the Belite aircraft, some of which meet Part 103 parameters.
Video review: Mosquito Ultralight Helicopter
We don’t have a lot of ultralight helicopter coverage here on ByDanJohnson.com because not many exist.
Video review: Fisher Flying Products — Whole Line Review (04/13)
If you’re looking for an airplane that carries a modest cost, you search can be challenging.
Video review: Golden Avio — F30 (04/13)
Get an update on the very handsome F30 from Golden Avio, the very last design from aviation design legend Stelio Frati.
Video review: Nando Groppo — Trail SLSA (04/13)
We first looked at the Nando Groppo Trail from Italy at Sebring 2013.
Video review: Aerotrek — A220 and A240 (04/13)
Aerotrek and their dual models — the A220 taildragger and the A240 trigear — have been an impressive performer in the market share race, steadily moving up our chart.
Video review: Kolb Aircraft — Firefly Ready-to-Fly (0413)
When you want the final word, it’s often best to go right to the top, to the boss.
Video review: Pipistrel — Interview with boss Ivo Boscarol
Describing the Pipistrel is interesting in three ways: the company name (a story by itself), the LSA industry’s broadest line of composite airplanes; and Pipistrel’s success winning three NASA efficiency contests.
Video review: FlyCool Air Conditioning — in Flight Design CTLS
We’ve seen AMT’s FlyCool light weight, low power draw air conditioning system before in other Light-Sport Aircraft but it had not yet been done in the CTLS.
Video review: FlyCool Air Conditioning — in SportCruiser
Air Management Technology makes the FlyCool, a lightweight, low power draw, surprisingly effective air conditioning system for Light-Sport Aircraft or light kit aircraft.
Quicksilver is an iconic brand, having sold more than 15,000 aircraft in its history.
Video review: Valley Engineering — Backyard Flyer with 110-hp
All-too regularly I hear people lament the high cost of Light-Sport Aircraft.
Video review: Zenith Aircraft — CH-750 Cruzer
When you think a company has wrung all it could from a design, think again and then once more.
Video review: Belite Aircraft — UltraCub 4-Stroke (2013)
Belite Aircraft rarely sits still. This company,. operated by a man former in the computer industry, knows that constant development of an idea stimulates interest.
Video review: Beringer — Brakes and Wheels
Beringer is a family company that has been deeply involved with wheels and brakes in the automotive and motorcycle world.
Video review: Aviation Access Project — Fractional Ownership
We all like the idea of owning an airplane, one we call our own and one we are used to flying.
Video review: Sportair USA — Line of TL Ultralight LSA
At Aero 2013 in Germany, we ran into American Bill Canino owner of Sportair USA, the U.S.
Video review: CGS Aviation — Hawk with HKS Power
One of the more successful “ultralights” is the CGS Aviation Hawk.
Video review: Sport Performance Aviation — Panther (aerobatic)
At Oshkosh 2013, we discovered the Panther, a single place aerobatic-capable LSA candidate.
Video review: SkyLeader (Jihlavan) — SkyLeader 600
Do you feel like you never heard of SkyLeader? Well, actually you have but you probably know it better as the Kappa KP-5.
Video review: Flight Design — CTLS in Flight School Use
At Sebring 2013, we made the rounds speaking to sellers of various Light-Sport Aircraft.
Video review: Evektor — EPOS Electric SportStar (2013)
Evektor’s SportStar was the very first to win Special LSA approval and the company since established a long tradition of constantly updating the design (see all our coverage to follow this).
Video review: Arion Aircraft — Lightning Kit with 160-hp (7/13)
Arion Aircraft is well known for its very smooth and handsome LS1 that qualifies as a SLSA, ELSA, or Experimental Amateur Built kit.
Video review: Tecnam — SeaSky amphibian (7/13)
Tecnam has likely built more variations on their Light-Sport Aircraft theme than any other company.
Video review: Rans — S-20 Raven (07/13)
The 20th design from Rans, one of the light aircraft industry’s most prolific innovators, is basically a side-by-side version of the company’s very popular S-7 Courier.
Video review: Van’s Aircraft — RV-12 SLSA (07/13)
Van’s Aircraft needs no introduction to most aviators. The company has more than 8,000 aircraft flying.
Another in our series of full-length video pilot reports focuses on the TL Ultralights TL-3000 Sirius, represented in America by Sportair USA.
Video review: Lycoming — Aerobatic O-233
In the works for many months, the Sebring 2013 event saw the finished installation of the Lycoming AEIO-233 aerobatic-capable powerplant installed on the nose of the FK12 Comet (which itself can handle up to 9 Gs of positive loading).
Video review: Powrachute — AirWolf 912 SLSA
How about a deluxe, ready-to-fly Special Light-Sport Aircraft that can carry more than 700 pounds of payload, climb at 700-1,200 feet per minute, yet sell for less than $40,000?
Video review: A Top-20+ LSA Review (2013)
We cover the Top-20 LSA in the USA and more in this video adaptation of Jim Lawrence’s article appearing in the LSA-friendly Plane & Pilot magazine.
Video review: Light Sport America — Rally (Storm)
You may think you know the Rally but what you probably don’t know is the ambitious plans of Phil McCoy who “bought the company” he says.
Video review: Viking’s 110-hp Engine
One of the difficult things to do in aviation is to introduce a new engine.
Video review: Kitfox — 912 iS engine & durable airframe
We spoke with John McBean of Kitfox Aircraft to hear first about his new installation of the Rotax 912 iS engine on a Kitfox flown from Idaho to Florida.
Video review: Aero Adventure — New owners of Aventura amphibians
We all know the Aventura line of formerly ultralight-based amphibious light aircraft, dating back 20 years.
Video review: Planet PPG — Paragliders & Pargliding
Some of the most intriguing aircraft that fly at major airshows like Sun ‘n Fun are paragliders.
Video review: World Aircraft — Vision LT (2013)
World Aircraft continues its pace of rapid development in concert with Columbian designer Max Tedesco.
Video review: American Legend — Legends in Flight Schools (2013)
On our mission to debunk the idea that Light-Sport Aircraft will not hold up to flight instructional use, we spoke with Darin Hart of American Legend.
Video review: Bristell & Fractional Ownership (2013)
Inside the Bristell Light-Sport Aircraft tent at Sebring 2013, we speak with officials from the Aviation Access Project.
Video review: Arrow Copter — ArrowCopter AC20
Do you think this is one handsome-looking aircraft? Many folks at AirVenture sure did and so did we.
Video review: AirVenture Airshow Volunteers — Lee Crevier
Anybody who organizes an airshow knows one irrefutable fact: you cannot offer these shows with a veritable army of volunteers.
Video review: TL Ultralights — Sting S4 (2013)
Bill Canino has imported the TL Ultralights line of Light-Sport Aircraft for many years.
Video review: Tecnam Eaglet — Law Enforcement Gear
Light-Sport Aircraft may only be used commercially in two ways: for paid flight instruction and aircraft rentals.
Video review: SD Planes — SD-1 Minisport
We have almost exclusively two place entries in the Light-Sport Aircraft space.
Video review: Evolution Trikes — Revo (2013)
We have looked at the Revo trike before and I’ve come to love this handsome hotrod weight shift LSA.
Video review: M-Squared Aircraft — HKS turbo power (2013)
Paul Mather is one of the most experienced proprietors in the light aircraft space.
Video review: John Moody — Father of Ultralights
Not many people can be called the “father” of anything. That unofficial title has to be limited in its use.
Video review: Belite Electronics — Tiny, Light Instruments
James Weibe has become well known for his accomplishments with his very light — Belite — aircraft.
Video review: Titan Aircraft — T-51 Mustang
Everybody loves the P-51 Mustang and not just pilots, but seemingly anyone who likes airplanes.
Video review: Titan Aircraft — Tornado
The Tornado is one of a line of small-looking, hot-handling, tandem-seated light aircraft including one model that can still meet Part 103 for ultralight vehicles.
Video review: Lockwood Aircraft — AirCam
The amazing, incredible AirCam … one aircraft you fly in ways you’d never fly in another airplane.
Video review: Sun ‘n Fun Paradise City a Success! (2013)
Meet the boss … of the season-opening Sun ‘n Fun airshow, John “Lites” Leehouts along with longtime Paradise City chairman, Dave Piper.
Video review: Zenith Aircraft — CH-650 (2012)
Zenith Aircraft CH-650 is the follow-on to the popular CH-601 with hundreds flying.
Video review: Aero Friedrichshafen 2013 — Preview of 30 videos
Your friendly Light-Sport and light kitbuilt aircraft video crew trekked to Europe for the 2013 running of Aero Friedrichshafen, arguably the most important aircraft show in the European Union.
Video review: Tecnam — Snap (aerobatic LSA 2013)
In early 2013 Tecnam acquired the design rights and tooling to produce Snap, the first aircraft in the LSA space aimed specifically at aerobatic flying.
Video review: FlyEco “Smart” Diesel Turbo
The FlyEco “smart diesel” engine from Europe attracted plenty of attention at Aero Friedrichshafen in Germany.
Video review: FK Lightplanes — FK 51 70% Mustang
FK Lightplanes longtime designer Peter Funk once again grabbed the attention of many attendees of Aero Friedrichshafen 2013.
Video review: Yunec International — eSpyder electric airplane (2013)
You might see the Flightstar ultralight in this aircraft and you’d be correct.
Video review: es-Electric Sports — eLift electric propulsion
Some of the very lightest aircraft at the huge Aero Friedrichshafen 2013 event were those for hang gliding or light trike flying.
Video review: Zlin Aviation — iCub Bobber (2013)
We’ve reported on the Zlin Savage iCub in the past. At Aero Friedrichshafen 2013 we captured a video on the Bobber, a sort of custom version of iCub that deliberately lacks an exterior finish but has other special finishing touches.
Video review: ICP — Savannah taildragger (Aero 2013)
ICP gained brand name awareness primarily with their Savannah model, a short take off and landing airplane that sells for a modest price.
Video review: BOT Aircraft — Speed Cruiser & D-Motor
BOT Aircraft is the producer of the Speed Cruiser LSA, which we reviewed earlier.
Video review: BRM Aero — Bristell Taildragger (2013)
Milan Bristela is the man behind BRS Aero and his the company is recognized in America thanks to his new generation Bristell aircraft.
Video review: Phoenix Air — electric ePhoenix (2013)
We know the elegant Phoenix, a sleek motorglider that also enjoys flying powered cross country flights (more on an especially long flight in another video).
Video review: Nando Groppo — Trail on tricycle gear
We reviewed the folding wing Groppo Trail at Sebring where it stood on conventional or taildragger gear.
Video review: Tecnam — Astore
At Aero 2013, Tecnam mounted a very large display with nearly every one of their many current aircraft.
Video review: Just Aircraft — Highlander SUPERSTOL (2013)
Just Aircraft’s SuperSTOL was a major hit on the Paradise City runway at Sun ‘n Fun 2013.
Video review: Electric Aircraft — ULS electric motorglider (2013)
Like many of you, we began admiring this handsome motorglider at AirVenture 2012 where it made a first appearance.
Video review: Rotax Aircraft Engines — Kodiak Warranty Info
Rotax Aircraft Engines power more Light-Sport Aircraft than any other engine by a wide margin.
Video review: Sam Aircraft — Sam LS (now flying)
We looked at the handsome Sam LS at Sebring earlier in 2013 but the update at Sun ‘n Fun was that the Sam LS is now flying.
Video review: Aerotrek — A220 & A240 (0912)
MIDWEST LSA EXPO 2012 — One of our series of many short videos from the fall show, this one on the Aerotrek A240.
Video review: Flaeming Air — Peregrine FP-04 (0912)
MIDWEST LSA EXPO 2012 — One of our series of many short videos from the fall show, this one on the Flaeming Peregrine.
Video review: SAB — Vulcan 100
MIDWEST LSA EXPO 2012 — One of our series of many short videos from the fall show, this one on the new SAB Vulcan 100.
Video review: Van’s Aircraft — RV-12 (0912)
MIDWEST LSA EXPO 2012 — One of our series of many short videos from the fall show, this one on the Van’s Aircraft RV-12.
Video review: CubCrafters — Carbon Cub SS (Pilot Report-2012)
Come along with us as we check out the potent CubCrafters Carbon Cub SS with its 180-horsepower engine.
Video review: Evektor — Harmony and Sportstar (2012)
Evektor is, was, and always will be the very first Special LSA to earn an FAA airworthiness certificate in the United States.
Video review: Dynon Avionics — D1 Pocket Panel EFIS
Having shipped their first product in 2003, Dynon has to some extent come first circle with the introduction of their D1 Pocket Panel.
Video review: Pipistrel — Alpha Trainer (0712)
At AirVenture 2012, we got the chance to speak with Tine Tomascik, one of the expert design team from Pipistrel.
Video review: Airdrome Aeroplanes — WWI Replicas (Nieuport 17)
Plenty of aviators are fascinated with nostalic aircraft and World War I airplanes hark back to the very earliest days of flying.
Video review: North Wing — Heated Clothing
North Wing is widely known for its line of weight shift aircraft, or trikes, and for wings for trikes of many producers.
Video review: BOT Aircraft — SC 07 Super Cruiser
The BOT Aircraft, represented by in the USA by Doc’ Bailey’s Renegade Light Sport Aircraft, is new to Americans but it may be embraced by Yankee flyers.
Video review: Sebring LSA Expo Preview for 2013
The Sebring U.S. Sport Aviation Expo, or the affectionate short hand “Sebring LSA Expo,” or even more simply “Sebring,” is THE show for Light-Sport Aircraft.
Video review: Evektor — Harmony LSA News (2012)
Evektor has adhered closely to a principle called CANI… Continuous and Never Ending Improvement.
Video review: Magni Gyro — Two models
We speak with Greg Gremminger, the longtime importer of the Magni line out of Italy.
Video review: Tenn-Air — Jabiru-Powered CH-750
If you like Zenith Aircraft’s CH-750 STOL — widely regarded as a “Sky Jeep” – you’ve been able to buy and build for some years, but you had to purchase a kit after a related company, AMD, ceased operations.
Video review: Quicksilver Aeronautics — GT500
Quicksilver is one of light aviation’s strongest brands, and also one of the biggest with more than 15,000 delivered since the early 1970s.
Video review: Sonex — AeroVee engine and airframe models
Sonex is one the world’s most successful kit aircraft producers and they do it all.
Video review: Lisa Aircraft — Akoya seaplane
One of the most attention-getting aircraft at AirVenture 2012 was the Lisa Akoya, and no wonder.
Video review: Just Aircraft — Highlander SUPERSTOL
An aircraft that grabbed everyone’s attention at AirVenture 2012 was the new Highlander Superstol from the South Carolina company.
Video review: Quicksilver — MX Sprint (customized)
Here’s a bright Quicksilver Sprint you may want to tour with us.
Video review: Arion Aircraft — Lightning, Improved (2012)
Many of us have long admired the supersleek Lightning LS-1 and now it’s better than ever.
Video review: UL Power Engines — 2012 Update
One of the toughest things to do in aviation is bring a new engine to market.
Video review: Icon Aircraft — A5 Seaplane (2012)
Icon’s A5 has been so shrewdly promoted that the Southern California company has gathered nearly 1,000 delivery position orders.
Video review: Golden Avio — F30
Sebring 2013 Video – Italian designs are usually pleasing to view, from shoes to airplanes.
Video review: Wipaire — LSA Floats
Wipaire is one of the country’s or world’s best known float manufacturers.
Video review: Quicksilver Aeronautics — New owners and aircraft
In this video we meet the new owners of Quicksilver, now called Quicksilver Aeronautics.
Video review: Colyaer — Freedom S100
Americans have formerly seen the Colyaer Freedom S100 amphibian Light-Sport Aircraft.
Video review: Edra Aeronautica — Super Petrel LS
The Petrel isn’t new but to Americans the Super Petrel LS is brand new.
Video review: Nando Groppo — Trail
Nando Groppo is a European company in business for several years with more than one model flying.
Video review: Sam Aircraft — Sam LS
Looks like a Yak; flies like a Light-Sport. In this video we speak to Thierry Zibi of Canada who has been working on this design for more than five years.
Video review: Ion Aircraft — Ion
At AirVenture 2012, we had a look at an aircraft that’s managed to stay under the radar through its development.
Video review: 1 Is LSA dead?! — Our Reply: NO!
Recently some aviation industry leaders — people who reach pilots through magazines, websites, and videos — have suggested the LSA industry is “in critical condition.” We could not disagree more and have assembled this video to confront these unworthy negative messages.
Video review: Interview with Patty Wagstaff
Most aviators already know the name Patty Wagstaff from her many aerobatic performances at major airshows while flying her powerful Extra 300.
Video review: Progressive Aerodyne — SeaRey SLSA (2013)
We’ve known the SeaRey for more than 20 years (the design began in 1991) but now it is available as a fully manufactured SLSA.
Video review: Rotax 912 iS (injected) Engine on AirCam
In 2012, Rotax brought out their new fuel-injected 912 iS engine.
Video review: ITEC — Updated Maverick (2013)
One of the most unusual Light-Sport Aircraft in the fleet is also the most powerful, with its new 190-hp engine.
Video review: Sun ‘n Fun Paradise City Upgrade (2012)
We speak with “Lites” Leenhouts, the new head of the Sun ‘n Fun event and campus while we all worked the EAA AirVenture Oshkosh airshow.
Video review: AutoGyro — MTO Gyro Amphibian
At Sebring 2013, we found something that we haven’t seen before.
Video review: AirMax — SeaMax (2012)
We’ve seen SeaMax before from Brazilian designer Miguel Rosario. The lovely little amphibious seaplane is the only one presently (early 2012) that can boast full Special Light-Sport Aircraft approval.
Video review: SportairUSA — Broad line of LSA
We spoke with SportairUSA founder, Bill Canino, who represents a broad and varied line of Light-Sport Aircraft… all of which just happen to begin with the letter “S.” We wanted to inform you about all these quality airplanes but we also wanted to ask Bill about all SportUSA’s activities including their Arkansas FBO and a flock of interesting accessories items, some of which are available for other brands.
Video review: Aero — AT (formerly Gobosh 700E)
You already know this airplane with the handsome interior, clean lines, and the sexy wingtips.
Video review: Flight Design — CTLE (Law Enforcement)
Perhaps it’s to be expected that the leading seller of Light-Sport Aircraft in the USA has now entered the public service aviation market with their CTLE, the “LE” standing for Law Enforcement.
Video review: Sebring LSA Expo — Fast Tour 2010 (2 of 2)
(Part 2 of 2) – At Sebring 2010, UltralightNews and Dan Johnson take you on a golf cart Fast Tour of the airplanes on display at the show.
Video review: Sebring LSA Expo — Fast Tour 2010 (1 of 2)
(Part 1 of 2) – At Sebring 2010, UltralightNews and Dan Johnson take you on a golf cart Fast Tour of the airplanes on display at the show.
Video review: Lycoming — O-233 LSA Engine
Lycoming is the storied aircraft engine brand name that even predates aircraft as you’ll hear in this interview with the company’s Mike Kraft.
Video review: Cessna — Skycatcher (2012)
Cessna had a great 2011 with more LSA registrations than any other brand, by a wide margin and for the first time.
Video review: BRS Parachutes — Boris Popov
BRS Parachutes is the leading developer of emergency parachutes intended to save the entire airplane including all occupants.
Video review: North Wing — Solairus (2012)
Here’s the sharp new Solairus (yes, that’s the right spelling) from North Wing, the premiere American producer of weight-shift trike ultralights and Light-Sport Aircraft.
Video review: North Wing — Maverick (2012)
North Wing makes more trikes than you might think. We also have a video on the sweet little Solairus, a soaring trike.
Video review: BRS Parachute — An actual save!
This video is a bit longer (21 min.) than our usual fare and it’s a bit different in that we are not reviewing an aircraft.
Video review: Evektor — Harmony LSA
Evektor, the first ever Light-Sport Aircraft has been busy updating their Sportstar for years.
Video review: LSA America — Allegro 2007 (Full Length Pilot Report)
Here is the second installment of our full-length pilot reports, by which we mean we give much more than a quick glance at an aircraft.
Video review: Green Sky Adventures — Micro Mong
We speak with Jerry Olenick of Green Sky Adventures about his Micro Mong, a sweet little biplane that can meet Part 103.
Video review: Belite Aircraft — Belite Wonder Bread
One sweet little Part 103 candidate at Sun ‘n Fun 2012 that turned lots of heads what what folks dubbed the “Wonder Bread Airplane” for obvious reasons (at least if you saw TV commercials before 1975).
Video review: Tecnam — Tail Dragger (2012)
Tecnam has many fetching models, no less than five of which have earned Special LSA approval.
Video review: Raceair — Ed Fisher Designs (2012)
Ed Fisher, proprietor and principal designer of Raceair, has created several intriguing yet highly affordable designs.
Video review: FlyCool Air Conditioning — by AMT
Some said it could never be done. How could you add air conditioning to Light-Sport Aircraft?
Video review: AutoGyro — Calidus (gyroplane)
“Wind is your friend” in a gyro. That means take off is faster when the wind blows down the runway.
Video review: North Wing — Scout XC (2012)
North Wing builds, well… wings, as you might expect from their name.
Video review: Fly Hard Trikes — Skycycle (2012)
Chattanooga, Tennessee-based Fly Hard Trikes makes a line of lightweight trikes, one of which is the Skycycle that can qualify as a Part 103 ultralight vehicle.
Video review: World Aircraft — Sentinel (Law Enforcement NEOS)
Law Enforcement and Light-Sport Aircraft. Sound dull? Sound like somebody else may be interested but not you?
Video review: Wasp Wing — Powered Hang Glider
OK, think you’ve seen everything? How about a twin-engine powered hang glider that uses a wing designed more than 20 years ago.
Video review: Cessna — Skycatcher Discover Flying (0812)
Meet the eight youthful-faced Cessna “kids” that served as ambassadors for Cessna as they flew eight distinctively-painted and numbered Skycatcher LSA around the USA promoting Sport Pilot, Light-Sport Aircraft… and, of course, Skycatcher.
Video review: Jan Fridrich — LAMA Presidents Award (2012)
Jan Fridrich is known to all ByDanJohnson.com readers as the man behind the LSA market share statistics that have proven so popular.
Video review: SkyReach — Bush Cat (2012)
SkyReach is a new company that took over from Rainbow Aircraft that became known for their low-priced Cheetah.
Video review: Electric Aircraft Corp — Electraflyer ULS
Randall Fishman is widely considered the pioneer of electric aircraft, having demonstrated — and regularly flying — his Electraflyer trike at Oshkosh 2007.
Video review: Midwest LSA Expo 2012 — ALL Aircraft Tour
And now for something completely different — For the first time in our 200+ videos we take you on a tour of the 2012 Midwest LSA Expo and cover every single aircraft on display… not just a few highlights, but every airplane.
Video review: North Wing — Solairus (Mini Pilot Report)
Here’s another in our growing series of mini pilot reports where you get some of the benefits of a full-length pilot report in a video format.
Video review: Quicksilver — MX Sprint (homebuilt)
MIDWEST LSA EXPO 2012 — One of our series of many short videos from the fall show, this one on the MX Sprint.
Video review: Magni Gyro — M24 Orion
MIDWEST LSA EXPO 2012 — One of our series of many short videos from the fall show, this one on the Magni Gyro M-24 Orion.
Video review: Magnaghi Aeronautica — Sky Arrow (0912)
MIDWEST LSA EXPO 2012 — One of our series of many short videos from the fall show, this one is the Sky Arrow.
Video review: Pipistrel — Alpha Trainer (0912)
MIDWEST LSA EXPO 2012 — One of our series of many short videos from the fall show, this one is one of the newest in the LSA fleet.
Video review: Sensenich — Props for LSA & Homebuilts
Sensenich (pronounced Sensen-ICK) is one of the best-known prop manufacturers in the world, long supplying Lycoming and Continental aircraft engines, but also airboat makers.
Video review: Sennheiser Aviation — S1 Digital Headsets
As one who is lucky to fly lots of airplanes, questions about which aircraft I recommend are common (hint: try PlaneFinder 2.0 under the Plane Research tab).
Video review: Vertical Power — Electronic Circuit Breaker (and more!)
Vertical Power makes electronic circuit breakers. Unsure what that means? Don’t feel alone, but join us with this video and learn what we learned.
Video review: Magnaghi Aeronautica — Sky Arrow (0712)
Sky Arrow, now available in blue and white (you hear the humor about “Any color you like…” on the video) from Magnaghi Aeronautica, the large Italian aerospace company that took over the Sky Arrow design and manufacturing after the previous company failed.
Video review: Heart of America — LSA and light aviation event
The first-ever Heart of America LSA and light aviation event plans to “end the season” for recreational aircraft shows, said principal organizer Doc’ Bailey (who is known for being the man behind the Renegade LSA and the installation of Lycoming engines on his and other brands of LSA).
Video review: Quad City Ultralights — Challenger (0912)
MIDWEST LSA EXPO 2012 — One of our series of many short videos from the fall show, this one on the Challenger.
Video review: Kolb Aircraft — Firefly (0912)
MIDWEST LSA EXPO 2012 — One of our series of many short videos from the fall show, this one on the Kolb Firefly.
Video review: Quad City — Challenger II Light-Sport Special
Quad City Ultralights of Iowa is one of the oldest suppliers of light aircraft, having celebrated their 25th anniversary in 2008.
Video review: Tecnam — Sierra P2002
As a company Tecnam has several distinctions: they are one of the oldest light airplane producers, dating to 1948; they have more models of SLSA than any other company; and the Italian company has one of the broadest lines.
Video review: Terrafugia — Transition (09/11)
Terrafugia — a name that means escape from Earth — is the creator of the “roadable airplane” called Transition.
Video review: AIR Aviation Insurance — Coverage for LSA
Nearly everyone who owns an airplane seeks insurance. Financing to buy a new aircraft makes insurance mandatory.
Video review: S-Wing VSLZ — S-Wing
Another entry from the Czech Republic is the S-Wing from a company of a similar name.
In Shelbyville, Tennessee, two LSA companies are located side-by-side. The two are Jabiru USA and Arion.
Video review: Zenith Aircraft Line — CH-701, CH-750, CH-650
We talked with Roger Dubbert about the whole line of Zenith aircraft, including the CH-701 STOL in kit form, the larger CH-750 in SLSA or kit, and the low wing CH-650.
Video review: Van’s Aircraft — RV-12 (0711)
The biggest kit-aircraft builder of them all – Van’s Aircraft and their incredibly line of RV airplanes – entered the Light-Sport Aircraft arena with their RV-12.
Video review: Kolb Aircraft — Firefly 103
Kolb’s Firefly, developed several years ago, is a true-blue entry to the Part 103 ultralight rule.
Video review: Quicksilver — MX II (wire braced)
Quicksilver has a simple enough product line composed of single seaters and two seaters for an MX line and GT line.
Video review: Rainbow Aircraft — Cheetah (taildragger)
Rainbow Aviation hails from South Africa, a long ways away. But in Wisconsin, Midwest Sport Aviation represents the far-off brand with local service.
Video review: Pipistrel — Virus SW (2010)
Pipistrel, headquartered in Slovenia with U.S.-bound manufacturing done in nearby Italy, has a line of interesting models.
Video review: CSA — SportCruiser Classic (2012)
In this update to the SportCruiser, for a time known as the PiperSport, U.S.
Video review: US Aviation — Denton Texas LSA-friendly FBO
In this video shot at the Sebring U.S. Sport Aviation Expo 2012, we speak with Scott Severen of US Aviation.
Video review: M-Squared — Breese with HKS power (2012)
We literally shoot the Breese in this video as we examine a very special single seater from M-Squared.
Video review: BRM Aero — Bristell
Bristell is a new Light-Sport Aircraft name and a handsome bird it is.
Video review: American Legend — Super Legend
American Legend is, well… already a legend in the world of Light-Sport Aircraft.
Video review: Valley Engineering — Backyard Flyer
Valley Engineering does it all. They fabricate and build one and two seat airplanes, they carve their own props (under the well-known Culver brand), and they fashion their own four stroke engine (based on the Generac generator engine).
Video review: U-Fly-It — Aerolite 103 (2011)
Terry Raber has returned with his charming Aerolite 103. He left the business for a time and another man tried to replicate the creation.
Video review: Wicks Aircraft — Kits & Supplies
Wicks Aircraft is one of the legacy catalog mail order companies in aviation.
Video review: LSA Maintenance — Basic & Overview
When the Sport Pilot / Light-Sport Aircraft rule (SP/LSA) was released in summer 2004, it contained a provision for pilots (Sport Pilot certificate), for aircraft (LSA definition and ASTM standards), but also for mechanics (Light-Sport Repairman-Inspection or -Maintenance).
Video review: UL Power Engine — 350is (and others)
New engines come along rarely and even more rarely are accepted by the marketplace.
Video review: Evektor — Harmony LSA (Full Length Pilot Report)
FULL-LENGTH VIDEO PILOT REPORT — After well over 100 shorter-length video reports on Light-Sport Aircraft and other Sport Pilot-eligible flying machines, Dan Johnson and the Light Sport and Ultralight Flyer are pleased to offer our first full-length pilot report.
Video review: Pipistrel — Sinus (motorglider LSA – 04/11)
Pipistrel has a wide variety of Light-Sport Aircraft from trikes (where they started long ago) to powered sailplanes to motorgliders to more conventional fixed wing aircraft.
Video review: Quicksilver — MX IIS 04/11
Quicksilver is arguably THE most successful light plane manufacturer of all time.
Video review: Flight Design — MC (2011)
Flight Design has lead the Light-Sport Aircraft market since Day One, selling variations of its all-carbon fiber CT series including the present-day CTLS.
Video review: AirBorne — XT 912 (2011)
AirBorne is one of the world’s most established and successful light aircraft producers.
Video review: Comco Ikarus — C42 (2011)
Comco Ikarus has a long history in Europe dating to the early 1990s.
Video review: Hirth Engines — All Models
In the world of two stroke engines, Hirth Engines of Germany remain as one long-term supplier.
Video review: FK Lightplanes — Fk12 Comet (mini review 09/11)
MINI REVIEW — In what we expect to be the first of many more, we offer our first mini review of an aircraft.
Video review: Earthstar — eGull (electric power)
Mark Bierle is one of the most talented designers I have ever met.
Video review: Kolb Aircraft Line (04/11)
Kolb Aircraft is one of the most successful of light aircraft or ultralights among all companies.
Video review: Fisher Flying Products Line
Fisher Flying Products is one of the most prolific kit manufacturers in the industry, certainly as measured by the sheer number of models available.
Video review: LSA America — Allegro 2007 (2011)
LSA America is now the builder of the #3 Light-Sport Aircraft to win approval as a Special Light-Sport Aircraft.
Video review: Itec — Maverick
The Maverick is… well, a maverick among Light-Sport Aircraft. This unique flying car is one of the most unusual entries in a chock-full LSA field yet it stands out in numerous ways.
Video review: Phoenix Air — Phoenix (motorglider)
If you love long, shapely wings, here’s an airplane to warm your heart.
Video review: Ibis — Magic (04/11)
The Ibis Magic is one we looked at earlier, when it had just come into the USA for the first time.
Video review: Renegade — Renegade Lycoming (04/11)
Renegade Aircraft has been working hard, in conjunction with Lycoming engines, to prepare the Renegade (formerly known as the Falcon) for the first-ever installation of the lightened O-233 Lycoming powerplant.
Video review: Aeroprakt — A22 (2011)
From Aeroprakt in Kiev, Ukraine comes this Light-Sport Aircraft with the hugest visibility you’ll find… large clear areas allow you to see almost any direction.
Video review: LSA Tour 2011 (Dallas Texas)
The LSA Tour is an idea to bring the airshow to the visitor, rather than asking them to trek across the country to visit one of the major airshows.
Video review: 5 LSA Taildraggers
Video viewers like collections of LSA where we look at several different models and review their differences.
Video review: FlyCool Air Conditioning — in DirectFly Alto 100 (Corbi)
The Direct Fly Alto 100 sold by Corbi Air has something different and very cool installed.
Video review: Kolb — Mark III Nose Wheel
Kolb is one of the most familiar brands to anyone involved with ultralight or light kit aircraft.
Video review: LAMA — LSA Certification (09/11)
In this video shot in September 2011, LAMA president Dan Johnson discusses the ASTM certification used to certify Light-Sport Aircraft.
Video review: Huh? — “SLSA, ELSA, & EAB” Demystified
In the Light-Sport Aircraft space, buyers are faced with several options… and not panel or engine options.
Video review: Sebring LSA Expo (2011)
The Sebring U. S. Sport Aviation Expo — or simply Sebring LSA Expo, as many call it — is the main event for Light-Sport Aircraft in the United States.
Video review: Electric Power — eLazair at AirVenture 2011
A vintage ultralight from the 1980s, the Lazair, returns in the hands of original designer, Dale Kramer, who has now removed the two small gasoline engines and replaced them with electric motors and batteries.
Video review: World Aircraft Co — Spirit
A new SLSA debuted at AirVenture 2011. Welcome to the World Aircraft Company Spirit, a product from a collaboration between Skykits manufacturer Eric Giles and longtime designer Max Tedesco.
Video review: FK Lightplanes — FK12 Comet (08/11)
FK Lightplanes is known to Americans for its foldable high wing, the FK9.
Video review: Kitfox Aircraft — Kitfox LSA
One of light aviation’s standard-bearers is the Kitfox. With more than 3,000 flying worldwide, this kit success story is now available as a ready-to-fly Special Light-Sport Aircraft than can be and is used in taildragger flight schools.
Video review: Flight Design — CTLS Floatplane
If you’ve tried flying with floats (or in a boat-hulled aircraft) you already know the appeal.
Video review: 4 LSA Brands — Low Wing All-Metal
At the 2010 Midwest LSA Expo we did something new. We picked several aircraft of a similar description and pointed out their similarities and differences.
Video review: Ekolot — Topaz
The Topaz from Ekolot was viewed for the first time by Americans at the 2010 Midwest LSA Expo in Mt.
Video review: 2 LSA Brands — Very Low Cost
Price is important; no surprise. But you also want an aircraft that will deliver the enjoyment of flight.
Video review: Pipistrel — Virus (motorglider)
Pipistrel is a European producer of a family of airplanes with very smooth lines and handsome shapes.
Video review: DirectFly (Corbi Air) — Alto 100 (2011)
Some years ago, an all metal Light-Sport Aircraft made its American public debut at the Sebring LSA Expo; this is the DirectFly Alto 100 represented in the USA by Corbi Air.
Video review: Fk Lightplanes — Fk12 Comet (01/11)
Germany’s Fk Lightplanes is an unusually versatile supplier of Light-Sport Aircraft.
Video review: Criquet — Storch
Criquet Storch is an unusual Special Light-Sport Aircraft… in many ways.
Video review: Zenith — STOL CH 750
Some have called this design the Jeep of the sky and one flight demonstration will tell you why.
Video review: Aveko — Gobosh 800 XP
The Gobosh company, which recently acquired new ownership based out of Denver, Colorado, established itself as an importer of two fine low wing designs.
Video review: Rans — S-19 with Jabiru power
Lots of folks saw a vaguely familiar airplane at the Midwest LSA Expo 2010… but, like myself, we looked and looked again and couldn’t quite place the airplane.
Video review: Tomark Aero — Viper SD-4
Tomark Aero’s Viper SD-4 is a handsome all-metal low wing with a wide, distinctively-appointed cockpit.
Video review: Ibis Aircraft — Magic GS 700
The energetic folks behind the ApolloFox and the extraordinary Evolution Revo (weight shift trike) are now representing the Columbian-designed Ibis Magic.
Video review: Arion — Lightning ELSA (2010)
At AirVenture 2010, we took a close look at Light-Sport Aircraft builder Dave Jilanti’s Lightning LS-1, an early example of a sleek low-wing built as an Experimental LSA.
Video review: Evolution Trikes — Revo
Among many of the world’s deluxe trikes, Evolution Trikes’ Revo rises to the top of the stack.
Video review: Zlin — iCub (Savage)
You may know the Zlin Savage, now distributed in America by SportairUSA (the same folks that bring you the Sting, Sirius, and other cool light airplane gear).
Video review: Icon Aircraft — A5 Seaplane (2011)
One of the biggest splashes – literally and figuratively – in the Light-Sport Aircraft industry was the entry of California’s Icon A5.
Video review: Skykits — Rampage
Skykits – formerly of Canada, now of Paris… Tennessee, that is – has offered a series of Italian STOL designs, which they assembled north of the border.
Video review: Paradise — P1 (2011)
Paradise has found success from buyers to rise into the top 20 of LSA manufacturers.
Video review: LAMA — Activities to Help Industry (04/11)
In this April 2011 video, LAMA president Dan Johnson reviews some of the key activities of the association that shows how it assists the fast-growing industry of Light-Sport Aircraft.
Video review: Breezer — ELSA Kit (2011)
Breezer Aircraft now offers a kit version of their all-metal Light-Sport Aircraft.
Video review: AirBorne Trikes & TrikeFest
AirBorne has emerged as the leader of the weight shift control (“trike”) manufacturers serving the U.S.
Video review: Best Off — Nynja
You may not know the Nynja, but you probably have heard of the Sky Ranger.
Video review: LAMA — What Is LAMA? (2009)
This video is not about a single aircraft but about the entire fleet of Light-Sport Aircraft … and the business organization that supports the producers of such aircraft.
Video review: Flight Design — CTLS
The leading seller of Light-Sport Aircraft is Flight Design and CTLS is their third-generation of the popular CT series.
Video review: Cessna — Skycatcher
With Special Light-Sport Aircraft #1 from the biggest general aviation producer, Cessna showed off Rose Pelton’s very own aircraft that she flew to Sebring from Wichita.
Video review: CSA — PiperSport (01/10)
An exciting announcement at Sebring 2010 brought legacy brand Piper Aircraft into the Light-Sport Aircraft fold.
Video review: Belite — Carbon & Trike
Belite Aircraft bought the design rights for the single place, Part 103 design formerly known as the Kitfox Lite.
Video review: Aeroalcool — Quasar Lite
All the way from Brazil comes a sharp little airplane called the Quasar, which will remind some visitors of an earlier American design of a similar name.
Video review: MySky — MS One (MS-1)
Our first “performance tandem” joins a fleet of seven other tandems in the LSA space, but this One is meant to get up and be gone… in a hurry.
Video review: Breezer Aircraft — Breezer II (2010)
The first airplane to sell at Sebring 2010 was this Breezer II.
Video review: Opus Aircraft — Super 2
Super 2 was first seen as a British aircraft and indeed, that’s where I first flew it.
Video review: Skykits — Savannah
The Italian design from ICP is the Savannah, one of the best performing STOL (Short Take Off and Landing) Light-Sport Aircraft.
Video review: Dynon Avionics — SkyView 10-inch
Dynon Avionics has arguably become the largest supplier of LSA avionics in the form of computer screen displays of engine monitoring and flight instruments.
Video review: CSA — PiperSport (2009)
As evidence of how fast things move in the world of Light-Sport, as recently as the Midwest LSA Expo, Piper was not affiliated with the Czech Sport Aircraft Sport Cruiser (formerly built by Czech Aircraft Works).
Video review: Tecnam — Bravo
Tecnam has no less than five SLSA models, the most of any producer, now that they added their handsome P2008 to the fleet.
Video review: CGS Aviation — Hawk
The Hawk series from CGS Aviation is one of our light aviation stalwarts.
Video review: Infinity Powered Parachutes
Infinity was the first company in the Powered Parachute field to win Special Light-Sport Aircraft approval.
Video review: IndUS Aviation — Thorpedo (2010)
One the most proven airframe designs in all of Light-Sport Aviation is the T-211 series from Dallas, Texas-based IndUS Avation.
Video review: Tecnam — P2008
The latest from top producer, Tecnam of Italy, is this super handsome P2008.
Video review: CSA — PiperSport (04/10)
At the end of 2009, only a select few knew Piper was entering the LSA sector.
Video review: Powrachute — Powered Parachutes
Powrachute is one of the largest producers of powered parachutes, with more than 1,500 aircraft flying.
Video review: Evektor — Sportstar Max
Without changing the model designation — it’s always been the Sportstar — Evektor has steadily evolved their all-metal low-wing aircraft.
Video review: Rans — S-6LS (2010)
The S-6 is one of the best-proven and most familiar airplanes among all SLSA and it comes from one of the very top American kit producers, Rans, Inc.
Video review: American Legend — Amphib Cub
The Legend Cub series — the best-selling SLSA since day one — is available in a variety of formats: regular land version, straight float version, amphib float version, and in kit-built form.
Video review: Aerospool — Dynamic
The sleek Dynamic… it turns heads where ever it shows up and Sebring 2010 was no exception.
Video review: M-Squared — Breese 103
M-Squared continues a tradition of simple but well-built open cockpit “ultralight” aircraft.
Video review: TL Ultralight — Sirius TL-3000
From the one company with both low and high wing all-composite Light-Sport Aircraft comes the new high wing Sirius from American importer SportairUSA.
Video review: 5 LSA Brands — High Wing Composite
At the Midwest LSA Expo 2010, we started something new using multiple aircraft and offering their differences and similarities.
Video review: Rans — S-19 Venterra
One of the sweetest flying Light-Sport Aircraft is the S-19 Venterra, the third ASTM-standards-meeting LSA from longtime kit producer, Rans.
Video review: Allegro USA — Allegro (2009)
Allegro was the third aircraft certified under new SLSA rules back in April 2005.
Video review: Rainbow — Cheetah
One of the simpler yet distinctive airplanes in the LSA category is the Rainbow Aircraft Cheetah XLS, which won SLSA approval in September 2009.
Video review: Flaeming — Peregrine FP-04
Hansen Air Group has long been a supplier of interesting light aircraft.
Video review: Magnaghi Aeronautica — Sky Arrow (2009)
Sky Arrow was one of the early entrants to the Light-Sport Aircraft world.
Video review: Sadler — Vampire
The Sadler Vampire is a new-old design. It’s new to those attending airshows today, but we saw this design as a single seater many years ago.
Video review: Apollo — Apollo Fox
A Hungarian design from a company called Apollo built this familiar looking aircraft.
Video review: M-Squared — Breese 2 (2009)
M-Squared earns top honors two ways. First, this is THE lowest-cost, fully-built, ASTM-certified Special Light-Sport Aircraft in the fleet.
Video review: Tecnam — Eaglet
Tecnam, one of the most successful manufacturers in the LSA industry, makes several models of which one of the newest is the Eaglet.
Video review: Evektor — SportStar Plus
Evektor is the No. 1 brand in the LSA fleet, and it earns that title by being number one to earn SLSA approval back in April 2005.
Video review: Aerotrek — A240 & A220
Aerotrek is the new name for a pair of Special Light-Sport Aircraft, the tricycle gear A240 and the taildragger A220.
Video review: CubCrafters — SportCub
CubCrafters is a well-established company that retores vintage Cubs, makes the FAA Type Certificated Top Cub, and is one of our LSA market leaders with their SportCub.
Video review: American Legend — Cub
The American Legend Cub is… well, a legend in Special Light-Sport Aircraft.
Video review: Just Aircraft — Highlander
An all-American design, the Just Aircraft Highlander is more than “just” an aircraft.
Video review: Jabiru USA — J170
The Jabiru J170 is the “little brother” to the larger J230 and J250 series also from Jabiru USA.
Video review: RANS — S-7LS Courier
RANS is one of America’s largest light aircraft producers, and has been so since 1983.
Video review: Aero — Gobosh G700S
Gobosh is an all-American company that imports European aircraft but U.S.-based managers have carefully reconfigured the G700S and G800 to better fine tune them for American buyers.
Video review: AirMax — SeaMax
SeaMax is a Brazilian design that has sold well in Europe.
Video review: Remos — GX
Remos is an up and coming company that has taken the lead in FAA registrations and one reason is the new GX model that looks great and flies well.
Video review: Paradise — P1 (2009)
If you are a conventional general aviation pilot used to Cessna aircraft, you’ll probably love the Paradise P1.
Video review: Storm — Rally
Storm Rally is offered by Air Elite Aviation, who also recently certified the all-metal, low-wing Century from Europe’s Storm Aircraft.
Video review: TL Ultralight — Sting S3
In its next generation model, the Sting S3 brings new sophistication to a Light-Sport Aircraft that was already one of the sleekest and best equipped models available.
Video review: Progressive Aerodyne — SeaRey
SeaRey from Progressive Aerodyne is an all-American amphibian in the Light-Sport Aircraft segment.
Video review: IndUS — Thorpedo
Made in the USA, the IndUS Thorpedo is a storied American design (hint: the 1950s version was the predecessor to the Piper Cherokee).
Video review: FPNA — Valor A-22
FPNA stands for Floatplanes and Amphibians and they’re into water flying, as the name implies.
Video review: Storm — Century
Storm of Italy (represented in the USA by Air Elite Aviation) has designed and produces three very different aircraft.
Video review: Flight Design — CTsw
While Flight Design has released two newer models (the CTLS and all-metal MC), it was the CTsw that helped the German Flight Design company continue to be the market leader, even after four years and nearly 100 new models followed the CT series into the American market.
Video review: FK Lightplanes — Fk9
The FK Lightplanes company has released its new Fk9 ELA that more closely meets U.S.
Video review: Jabiru US — J-230SP
Jabiru is the one company I know of that produces both the airframe and the engine under one brand.
Video review: Breezer Aircraft — Breezer II (2009)
See the German-made Breezer sold by Sportsplanes.com. This all-metal Light-Sport Aircraft has already evolved into the Breezer II and is one pleasant flying machine you might like.
Video review: T and T Aviation — Falcon LS
Of all the bright, colorful airplanes in the LSA Mall at Sun ‘n Fun 2009, the Falcon had a distinction that sets it apart from all other models and endears it to experience general aviation pilots: Falcon LS is powered by a Lycoming O-235, a brand familiar to many.
Video review: Arion — Lightning LS-1 (2009)
One of the newest SLSA is an all-American design, from Arion Aircraft and it’s called the Lightning LS-1.
Video review: 3Xtrim — Navigator 600
Here’s another SLSA that looks so small, you’d think it might be cramped inside.
In a show as vast at EAA’s AirVenture Oshkosh, it is presumptuous to attempt covering everything of interest.
Media people (like me) flock to airshows looking for the new stories, new airplanes, new avionics, new company developments… whatever is new.
Oshkosh is on! OK, not today. The big show starts tomorrow, but you wouldn’t know it as airplanes are already arriving in droves and the grounds are rapidly filling.
Once upon a time… gyrocopters were an American invention. Igor Benson was such an important pioneer that many fixed wing pilots refer to all such flying machines as “Bensen gyros.” Starting in the 1950s, he hit on a good combination of ideas that made the new sector flourish… for a time.
HYPOTHETICAL SCENARIO — You crash landed your airplane at an airport.
Perhaps like many of you, I read the newspaper most mornings.
Maybe you haven’t heard enough about electric-powered aircraft, flying cars, and automobiles on autopilot (presuming you’re aware of Tesla’s fatal accident in May).
It’s summer. It’s hot. The water beckons. Yet, you’re a pilot.
If my title confuses you, regrets. The two are related in my mind but not in present-day fact.
This month, I had an email exchange with a leader in aviation.
Please again welcome Powered Sport Flying publisher, Roy Beisswenger, who sent the following story on the exciting new powered parachute from SkyRunner.
Probably you’ve seen an act like this before. A crazy-acting farmer or a supposed drunk hops into a Piper Cub or similar aircraft after the regular pilot leaves it unattended for a few minutes.
Given that the Sport Pilot / Light-Sport Aircraft sector is only a dozen years old (announced July 2004 with the first Special LSA approval in April 2005), Jabiru North America seems almost an old timer with 17 years of business in their corporate logbook.
On a conference call with aviation media, Icon Aircraft sought to mitigate blowback from the 40-page contract announced just before Sun ‘n Fun 2016.
In my many years in aviation, I’ve learned this about light aviation pilots: If 80-horsepower is good, then 100-horsepower is better, and even more is best of all.
Think back far enough in the still-fairly-new LSA sector and you should recall a time when one brand made some major impact on all of personal aviation.
Here’s a fitting story for the weekend. I have more airplane news for next week, but this… well… what a time to be standing somewhere with your camera at the ready.
When they introduced Light-Sport Aircraft FAA prohibited use of a jet engine.
What’s in a name for an airshow? Quick, what’s the official name of the big July show north of Chicago?
They may not be as sleek and speedy looking as fiberglass floats and lack the familiarity of metal versions but Full Lotus floats have long been revered for their super tough exterior finish and their high functionality.
You may not be thinking about it now while the snow swirls and piles up in mountainous white drifts, but in a few months, Canada will again be a very scenic place to fly.
Even very familiar companies like Zenith Aircraft company, part of a family light aviation empire including Zenair in Canada•, has to prepare well when FAA comes to visit.
I always love traveling to Aero Friedrichshafen because of the new aircraft I will see.
Article Updated 8/8/16 — The second chart appearing below for Calendar 2015 results had errors in the spreadsheet formula.
The great show of Europe called Aero Friedrichshafen is about to begin.
The super-short summary of Sun ‘n Fun 2016: weather was beautiful; even the one night of rain gave way to a sunny day and all other days were as good as it gets.
Welcome to a guest editorial by Roy Beisswenger, publisher of Powered Sport Flying magazine and a close follower of the gyroplane scene.
Unless you’ve had your mind on other pursuits — oh, for example, preparing to head to Sun ‘n Fun 2016 next week (the show runs April 5-10) — you could hardly miss the growing buzz surrounding Icon.
Splog: Two More SLSA Makes 140!
Predictions of a great thinning of the herd… of a consolidation of LSA producers to a handful of leaders never came to pass.
Every year before the big shows, I often hear from journalist friends working for other publications.
Among all the engines that lift Light-Sport Aircraft and light kit aircraft into the air, a few names dominate the field.
In the beginning … the light aviation world was void and without form.
It’s springtime and all across America as the weather enters an inviting phase, pilots are getting out their ultralights, light kit aircraft, and the Light-Sport Aircraft.
Older readers may remember, “The Russians are Coming,” a silly movie about a supposed Russian invasion from 1966.
In my years as a hang glider pilot — and for many friends who enjoy unpowered paragliders — the idea of what’s called a “top landing” is something of the holy grail.
Article updated March 9, 2016 — Skybound Aviation in Cape Girardeau, Missouri has been appointed the “exclusive resource” for Remos G3 and GX parts in the USA.
Breaking News … Recently Flight Design in Germany sent a letter to their dealers including this statement, “We have applied for a planned receivership which allows for reorganization of the company.” What does this mean?
Article updated 2/16/16 — In a freshly-edited video (see at end), Just Aircraft key fellows Gary Schmidt and Troy Townsend provide extra comments and we add additional footage of SuperSTOL climbing strongly with the Titan.
One of the fast paced developments I’ve observed has been Aeromarine LSA’s new Merlin PSA.
The world of Light-Sport Aircraft has matured in the sense that we no longer have an airplane or two or three every month being added to the SLSA List.
Flying is serious. You can … well, perish, perish the thought.
A well-worn line is often repeated by those trying to gain approval for an aircraft.
SEBRING EXPO 2016 — Opening day Wednesday started out unseasonably cool … but true to form — Florida is called the Sunshine State for good reason — the sun warmed the day nicely.
SEBRING 2016 PREVIEW — Why do pilots and friends flock to Sebring?
Zenith and Zenair are closely-linked enterprises with different leaders in different countries.
SEBRING 2016 PREVIEW — Folks are headed to Sebring. I’m already here, residing about three hours north in Daytona Beach, and it is sunny and pleasant outside.
For my weekend posts, I often like to check out something out of the ordinary.
Back in early 2014, Flying magazine online wrote, “There’s an old saying among pilots that ‘airspeed equals life.’ In other words, keep your speed up, and you’ll avoid stalling the wing during critical phases of flight, such as the base-to-final turn.
Your choices in the affordable aircraft range of options are composed of one of three segments that this website tracks closely: Light-Sport Aircraft (SLSA or ELSA), light kit-built aircraft, or Part 103 ultralights.
As techies know the giant Consumer Electronics Show (CES) has been in the news over the last week and we’ve seen articles about cool stuff at the event.
Sometimes I am pretty darn sure I may have the best job in the world, or at least one of the best jobs.
If you ever read newspapers or watch network news, you can hardly avoid hearing about the meltdown in Venezuela following the early 2013 death of Hugo Chavez.
Question: What do space suits and headsets have in common? I bet that few of you can answer that question but the answer is “David Clark.” Yep, this 80-year-old company, which began business in 1935, started not with the ubiquitous green ear cup headsets but with flight suits worn by pilots of some very cutting-edge aircraft and spacecraft.
As we near Christmas time and as children around the globe await the arrival that busy flyer, Santa Claus, did you ever wonder how the big man in the red flight suit manages the effort, specifically how he preflights the sleigh and controls his “engines?”
So far as we know, he only flies the reindeer-powered sleigh once a year.
Are you intrigued by an affordable yet well-performing single-seat Personal Sport Aircraft?
EAA’s top e-Hotline story last week was, “The Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation on Wednesday passed S.
After more than a decade of LSA, one airframe manufacturer stands head and shoulders above all other in what I call the “light aircraft space.” That term gets stretched far and wide with this update on Costruzioni Aeronautiche Tecnam … simply “Tecnam” to most folks.
If you’ve read a newspaper or watched TV in the last couple decades, you might think America only imports stuff, mostly from China.
Here’s something you simply never hear about … lightplanes in North Korea and flying one above the country.
What’s in a name? I like Glowfly, as a sort of double entendre.
This website focuses on the affordable end of aviation. However, “affordable” is a relative term.
In 2004, when the SP/LSA regulation was announced, who would have forecast that on light aircraft, autopilots would be a common feature.
I realize that for some readers I may be swimming upstream when I write about drones (or UAVs or RPVs, or whatever).
As I’ve indicated many times in the last couple years, this website seeks to deliver news and video about Light-Sport Aircraft, light kit aircraft, ultralights, and light GA aircraft.
Aerolite 103 from U-Fly-It has been on a tear for the last couple years, producing at capacity and stretching to produce even more for 2016.
American readers of ByDanJohnson.com may be surprised to hear that more than a third of all visitors are from outside the United States.
Our title was the headline for a news article in the my hometown Daytona Beach News-Journal newspaper recently.
With my good friends over at General Aviation News, I recently published an article about Light-Sport Aircraft available for less than $96,000.
After many years in aviation and being a regular on the (trade) airshow circuit, I know one thing: it is darn hard to start a new event.
Among the critiques some old school pilots employ when trying to marginalize Light-Sport Aircraft is that these aircraft are not suited to flying long distances.
In this Copperstate Part 2 article we resume the list of aircraft Videoman Dave and I reviewed at the show south of Phoenix, Arizona in Casa Grande.
Updated 11/5/15 with video at end …
We went. We flew (and flew).
I have a confession to make. I … have a drone (with a nod to Dr.
Aviation news outlets and social media are buzzing with the news that Quicksilver Aeronautics is closing its factory.
At the recently concluded Palm Springs Expo, a keynote address was provided by George Bye, the man behind the Sun Flyer project that aims to put electric two seaters into flight schools.
Light-Sport Aircraft comprise an diverse gaggle of some beautiful airplanes. Choices are available in a dizzying array of configurations and variations.
It’s already tomorrow (Saturday, October 10th) somewhere. Here in the USA, I write this on Friday the 9th, and tomorrow in America is going to be big, big day for small aircraft owners.
Big power is not just for LSA taildraggers anymore. A few years back, CubCrafters surprised the LSA world with its installation of the most powerful engine in the LSA space.
Yes, they call it “Ping” among themselves but it is actually P1 NG, as in Next Generation.
The Video Pilot Report below may be one of the most anticipated VPRs my video partner Dave and I have produced.
I know you like reading about aircraft. I like writing about them (and doing videos about them … more on that soon with a very special one in final editing right now).
We see and hear a continuing focus on electric airplanes including here at one of your (I hope) favorite websites.
At Summit 2011, EAA and AOPA jointly announced they will pursue driver’s license medical privileges for pilots wishing to operate GA airplanes with less than 180 horsepower with only two persons on board in day VFR.
When this website went live a few months before the Sport Pilot & Light-Sport Aircraft rule was announced at Oshkosh 2004, it began life as an archive of several hundred pilot reports I had written for a number of print magazines in aviation.
The U.S. market for Special Light-Sport Aircraft continues to grow at steady pace, modestly better than the trend for single engine piston certified aircraft as reported by the General Aviation Manufacturers Association for the first half of 2015.
In addition to what you can read on ByDanJohnson.com, we have a growing library of videos.
(Images updated 9/2/15)
Are you intrigued by airplanes that spin their wings?
I’ve enjoyed a front row seat for all eleven years that Light-Sport Aircraft have been part of the aviation firmament.
As I write this, an intrepid gyro pilot is “out on the course” as we used to say when I flew in hang gliding competitions.
Update 8/17/15 AM — Even with almost two months to go, WUFI is growing.
Updated 8/21/15 — This article has been updated with a reader comment seen at the bottom.
I’m always impressed with good turns of phrase and cleverly-worded presentations.
Icon recently won FAA acceptance as the California company demonstrated meeting ASTM standards for their A5 seaplane and made a big show out of delivering the first airplane to EAA Young Eagles … the same move, by the way, as Cessna did with their Skycatcher.
To many eyes, Icon stole the show at EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2015.
Some ideas appear irrepressible. One is LSA seaplanes. An entire flock of these are coming including a couple new ones I just discovered (and I’m one of those people constantly sniffing about for new light aircraft).
The big summer celebration of flight has ended. I have more info from AirVenture 2015 and next I plan a summary article.
Here is more news from AirVenture 2015, coming from Tuesday, Day Two.
The “Big Show” is just days away, so of course, journalists and readers are asking what will be present?
I promised to tell you what was under the blue wrap disguising the powerplant on the unnamed taildragger in my earlier article.
It’s almost time! — The tents are in place. Most of the displays are built.
We and many other journalists have arrived in EAAworld and are gearing up for another big event.
If you’ve been following exciting developments like the Airbus/Pipistrel/Cri-Cri English Channel crossing, or for that matter any of the electric airplane developments, you should know that the ideal electric-powered aircraft today are the very lightest weight machines.
When discussing big versus small, you cannot go much further than comparing a Light-Sport Aircraft company to Airbus.
Aircraft engine giant, Rotax BRP has reached an anniversary: forty years of making powerplants used around the world by airframe makers of ultralights to Very Light Aircraft.
I hope you enjoyed a great July 4th holiday weekend. It was a beautiful time for flying in Florida and I had a special treat I’d like to share with you.
The big dogs have been fed. It will soon be time for we smaller critters to get our chance.
As I’ve written a few times, I see a dichotomy in LSA designs.
Whoa, big boy! When you have huge power available, you need to … well, go have fun!
With our friends at the prestigious Flying magazine putting Airbus’ E-Fan on their July 2015 cover, flanked by a major story inside, it seems everyone is following electric propulsion ever more closely.
When you deliver an airplane to an accomplished video producer you are bound to get some great photos out of the deal.
Let the production begin! This, um … iconic company in the LSA space has been brewing for a long time, long enough that some aviators have been grumbling, wondering if Icon is “for real.” Today, the company announced that a week ago on June 11th, they successfully completed their FAA audit.
Some people, myself included, love soaring flight. As the following article from Dave Unwin explains, to use his words, “Soaring flight exercises a fascination that is both difficult to explain and hard to resist, sometimes called ‘three-dimensional sailing.’ Flying a heavier-than-air machine for several hours and hundreds of miles by using the atmosphere as the fuel possesses an undeniable attraction.” As he further explained in a longer article, the downside is getting airborne for soaring flight.
Splog: PSA: An Affordable Aircraft?
The following article is a guest editorial by Chip Erwin, a name many rightfully associate with the highly successful SportCruiser LSA.
Let’s move right to an important point. BushCat is most interesting aircraft with unique features of interest to many and you are much more likely to afford the South African airplane with its 2015 U.S.
Let’s set the way-back machine to two dates and examine the actions of our good friends at FAA.
Revised Article UPDATED: 6/5/15 / New total LSA and LSA-like chart (at bottom) — At best statistics can be fluid and hard to state precisely.
To say anticipation is high regarding the development of a China general aviation market might be the understatement of the century.
Update Notice — The following article has been updated to reflect additional information.
Splog: MVP.aero’s “Omniplane” Tour
You have to love the English language (or maybe hate it for the same reason): New words keep arriving in conversations.
WEEKEND UPDATE — Next week I leave for my first visit to China, specifically to Anyang City, by train a couple hours south of Beijing where the seventh running of an annual airshow is planned.
I’ve been writing about very affordable aircraft•, specifically about Part 103 ultralight vehicles.
You could say 15,000 aircraft buyers can’t be wrong and you’d be right.
UPDATE 5/10/15 – Rev Videos — Shortly after the following article was written, we posted two videos about Evolution’s new Rev.
“So, it looks like Rotax has finally got some worthy competition,” was a comment I received as I walked into the Sun ‘n Fun press headquarters work room.
Update 4/30/15 — On the unlikely chance that you don’t get enough of watching me on YouTube, Florida Aviation Network uploaded an interview from Sun ‘n Fun 2015.
Part 103 ultralight activity was not the news I expected to report from Sun ‘n Fun 2015, certainly not as my first report.
Update 4/29/15 — See our just-posted video interview with Bulldog Autogyro developer Barry Jones for even more information about this airplane that has captured so much attention.
Aero is such an interesting event for many reasons.
Aero 2015 is open! The halls are full of shiny airplanes displayed with the usual European sense of style and panache.
The great halls of Aero are beginning to be populated with aircraft, even as most of the gymnasium-sized spaces remain significantly empty.
“This was my best birthday present. All went well with no surprises,” reported an excited Anssi Rekual, sales manager and front man for the Finland-based builder of the LSA seaplane called Atol.
If you love Light-Sport Aircraft or light kit aircraft, odds are you love Dynon Avionics.
We are heading into a weekend with a couple wonderful airshows immediately ahead.
What an amazing day! I heard of — count ’em — no less than three first flights.
With Aero mere days away now, excitement is growing for the electric aircraft event-within-the-event.
Be honest with yourself. You always wanted to fly a jet, didn’t you?
A new season of airshows is about to erupt now that April has arrived.
In the first decade of Light-Sport Aircraft we saw a new model emerge nearly every month; some months brought more than one model.
Tecnam had a strong year last year with reasonable sales of Light-Sport Aircraft plus larger, certified airplanes into the U.S.
Boeing does it. Why not Just Aircraft? Of course, a stretched Boeing only transports more people somewhere.
This article was updated on March 24, 2015 after communication with the company.
OK, it’s the weekend so indulge my sense of playfulness with the somewhat inexplicable headline above.
Does the LSA and light kit aircraft world seem somewhat obsessed with seaplanes?
While some beautiful looking LSA seaplanes have captured lots of attention — here I am thinking of Icon’s vigorously promoted A5, the unusually capable MVP, the highly innovative Wave, and Finland’s ATOL … all of which have some fascinating features — all but one of these share one feature: you can’t get one yet.
Splog: LSA Mall at Sun ‘n Fun 2015
We are less than two months away from Sun ‘n Fun 2015 where once again the LSA Mall will be a central part of the fascinating area called Paradise City.
Sun ‘n Fun is coming in less than two months.
Across aviation segments of all types, noise is becoming shrill over FAA’s demand that you install Automatic Dependent Surveillance – Broadcast equipment which not only receives but sends information.
The good news is that most pilots I’ve interviewed — with a few outspoken exceptions — think drones are fine.
All over the world, electric airplanes are getting remarkable amounts of attention, deservedly so as an exciting development to match work in cars and other vehicles.
One year ago Rotax announced a contest to award a brand-new 912 engine to the flight school that achieved the first time between overhaul (TBO) of 2,000 hours on a Rotax 912 iS model that the engine builder had just released.
If you are not an iPad user — like I am along with millions of others including a significant number of pilots — perhaps you just don’t care about iPads in the cockpit.
Recently I had a visit from my longtime friend and fellow aviation journalist, James Lawrence (photo).
As the new year dawned my good friends at General Aviation News published my article on the light aircraft industry using Rotax deliveries (and estimates of other engine brands) to estimate worldwide sales of recreational or sport aircraft.
Splog: Four Days of Sebring 2015
Sebring is history, which says the aviation year is now underway.
We’re off to the races … OK, the race track … OK, we’re off to Sebring, which happens to be alongside the Sebring International Raceway.
When a multibillion-dollar company makes an event out of your retirement … well, that’s quite something but more importantly it shows how much that enterprise valued your years.
At first, it all seemed rather unlikely to me. I refer to the concept of racing LSA.
Some people have long believed that Part 103-legal weight shift trikes or single place powered parachutes may be possible but I’ve often heard the pronouncement, “You cannot make a legal three axis Part 103 airplane.” I wonder if those folks are ready to admit their error?• Those attending the 2015 Sebring Expo will want to examine the new Aerolite 103 with a Briggs and Stratton four stoke, all freshly mounted and looking better than ever.
On this website, we zoom around the world following Light-Sport Aircraft, from near the Arctic Circle — you know, where Santa and the wee elves are pulling some heavy overtime about now — to the warm balminess of Southern California.
What would you like for a Christmas present, perhaps if you won big in a lottery?
Ah, the Christmas season is soon upon us (or already is judging by familiar music playing on every speaker you hear).
BRM Aero‘s Bristell got off to a good start in the USA two years ago.
Wait! “…Exports?” I realize that might look like a typo. Did I intend to write LSA imports?
In two industry meetings held during 2014, Light-Sport Aircraft manufacturers, organization leaders, FAA personnel, and other interested parties reviewed a list of changes that would improve the 10-year-old SP/LSA regulation.
Thanks to powerful Cubalike airplanes — those vintage yellow taildraggers types with huge engines up front to make them perform more energetically — 2014 saw increased attention to the Savage Cub S.
Back a decade, soon to mark eleven years of operation the Sebring U.S.
Italian company Tecnam has been a leading producer of Light-Sport Aircraft since the beginning of this newest aviation sector.
He had one of the longest runs as president of an airplane manufacturer and guided his company to produce an impressive 4,000 aircraft.
It was interesting to visit Palm Springs for the Flying Aviation Expo‘s first-ever event at the location AOPA once said was their single best venue for the series of annual events known most recently as Summit.
I have reported on Aeromobil before and we’ve tried to keep up with those MIT geniuses at Terrafugia and their Transition that basically reinvigorated the flying car or (as Terrafugia prefers) roadable airplane.
Taildraggers may be among the least understood and most feared aircraft available in the LSA space … or for that matter throughout general aviation.
Two western U.S. shows are filling the aviation calendar at the end of October.
In Light-Sport aviation, we have many international suppliers … of aircraft, engines, instruments, and much more to include propellers.
Splog: Ownership Changes at Remos
This is one of those bad news—good news stories. The bad news for Remos Aircraft is being forced to file for what Germany calls “creditor protection” and what Americans might regard as bankruptcy.
Continental Motors is known to generations of pilots and not just in the USA.
I’ve been on a couple AirCam outings and I have two points about them: (1) Owners of this unusual airplane are often fairly well-off people and see a golden opportunity when invited by the good planners at Lockwood Aircraft; and, (2) These pilots know how to have fun with their airplanes, flying to some delicious locations.
P1NG is not a sound nor golf equipment. The clever name (that’s a “1” not an “i”) is similar to a plane you know as the Paradise P1.
Zenith Aircraft has shipped thousands of airplane kits and have examples of Chris Heintz designs flying all over the country and around the world.
(This article has been updated in June 2018 to reflect a new manufacturer.)
At Aero 2013, I covered one of the most interesting replica airplanes I have ever seen in many years of scouring airshows for light aircraft of interest.
What do Airbus, Google, Facebook, Amazon, DHL Logistics, and Domino’s Pizza have in common and why should you care?
One of the most-watched Light-Sport Aircraft is Icon’s A5 seaplane.
Engine suppliers must love Zenith Aircraft, perhaps as much as their many airframe owners.
Much of what we hear and know about airplane populations is centered on America.
A couple days ago I wrote about the Sling 4-4-40 Challenge.
Last weekend Zenith Aircraft held another of their open house events.
In the Light-Sport Aircraft industry, many companies are celebrating fairly young birthdays, at least compared to 80-year-old legacy companies in the GA space.
Evidently, a magic number exists to authorities in various civil aviation agencies around the developed world.
It wasn’t supposed to work out this way, but three people in two aircraft were saved when a European ultralight used an airframe parachute to save everyone.
The sixth annual Midwest LSA Expo just concluded. These LSA-only events offer a more intimate setting where you can speak at length with an aircraft or other product representative.
We just passed September 1st and that date is significant in the LSA universe.
Traffic to this website grew significantly in the last few years, starting a steep upward path in 2012 and in May this year hitting a peak of almost 75,000 Unique Visitors.
Hey, buddy, wanna buy an airplane company? Thierry Zibi, proprietor of SAM Aircraft, has put his company up for sale.
Many Americans know that other countries can adopt ASTM standards to gain approval for Light-Sport Aircraft.
A lot of attention is focused on the largest companies yet innovation and new price points are often led by smaller enterprises.
Using the line “Your Passport to the Planet” MVP.aero (yes, that’s the company name … well, with an “Inc.” on the end), this Minnesota company made a great big splash at AirVenture 2014.
As we scoured the sprawling acreage of AirVenture 2014 for aircraft we had not seen before, one flying machine confused my eye.
Are you lusting after a Cub lookalike but can’t afford the steep price tags these popular flying machines carry?
Van’s Aircraft has been creating highly successful designs for decades; more than 8,750 RV kits have been completed and are flying.
Two key members of AKIA stopped by the LSA Mall at the new & improved Paradise City last week.
At the big show EAA likes to call the Summer Celebration of Flight, we rove the grounds seeking new airplanes, new engines or propulsion systems, new panel gear, updated models and more.
Garmin has a new smaller version of their very impressive G3X Touch.
Forty years and more than 8,000 airplanes flying easily makes Van’s Aircraft the most prolific kit aircraft supplier in the history of aviation.
Splog: RV-12s, Hot Off The Griddle!
Put on them bibs, pardners, if you’ve got an appetite for one of the tastiest SLSA out there.
For more than 100 years, cars have had accidents and if they were severe enough, the results were poor (photo).
Something of a stealth invasion is beginning. I refer to an emerging flock of four seat Light-Sport Aircraft.
For your weekend enjoyment — and because I am a soaring enthusiast … plus I was sent some interesting photos — consider this slick Part 103 glider, or motorglider (photo).
Summer’s big show is over and most aviation business folks are back home having that love/hate affair with email that piled up while we worked the event.
Update 8/8/14 — See our video interview about EMG at the end.
Although not previously known for any involvement in the Light-Sport space, longtime kit aircraft producer Glasair Aviation is jumping in assertively for 2014.
A standing room only crowd just walked out of the pre-opening Sunday press conference held by the MVP.aero folks.
It’s summertime and the flying is easy … especially when it’s on the water.
I didn’t see this one coming. Maybe you didn’t either? In the new millennia gold rush represented by companies either being bought by Chinese businesses or gaining investment from wealthy Chinese business people or by setting up shop to sell in China (or even Cessna’s ill-fated effort to have their Skycatcher manufactured in China), one element I’ve never heard of is Part 103 in China.
The very first aircraft ever to receive approval in the USA as a Light-Sport Aircraft is Evektor-Aerotechnik’s SportStar.
As we all get packing for Oshkosh where we’ll see all manner of aircraft, one of the biggest manufacturers revealed one of the smallest airplanes at another airshow: Farnborough in England, an event dominated by military and airline producers.
An entirely new Light-Sport seaplane will make its “global debut” at EAA AirVenture 2014 and this is one you’ll want to see up close and in detail.
The list of aviation companies involved in one way or another with China is getting so long I won’t try to show them all here.
While so many continue to say you can’t buy a Light-Sport Aircraft for less than — pick a number … $100,000 … $150,000 — the truth is something else.
Airplane-brand-specific fly-in events can be fun and informative. If the folks at Just Aircraft are involved and if they show off their amazing SuperSTOL, a company fly-in takes on a new level of excitement.
Plenty of longtime light aircraft enthusiasts have wondered when Quicksilver would enter the SLSA sweepstakes.
Some may find it hard to believe that ten years have passed since FAA made its grand announcement introducing the Sport Pilot / Light-Sport Aircraft regulation.
On Saturday, June 21 with a good crowd watching, an electric-powered trike took off and climbed into the FAI record book, or will after the organization’s normal process is followed.
Company fly-ins are surprisingly rare despite offering a useful tool to propel new sales, to stimulate interest and camaraderie among existing owners, and to invigorate enjoyment of flying machines.
Update August 10, 2014 — At AirVenture 2014, I was informed that Aero-East-Europe’s Sila 450 is significantly based on a Max Tedesco design.
A majority of pilots express a preference for four-stroke engines due to their lower noise signature, reduced fuel consumption, ease of fueling and other reasons.
I am writing from Europe, from two neighboring towns in what’s called Upper Austria: Wels and Gunskirchen.
For 18 months, we haven’t seen much of a sleek low-wing airplane called the Falcon LS.
Pilot report: Strutted Quicksilver on Full Lotus Floats
“It’s still the best,” is a phrase I could use referring to Quicksilver’s most-popular-of-all ultralights in general, the Sport 2S.
“After a long winter and spring dodging the Utah weather,” SkyCraft Airplanes announced that their SD-1 Minisport, “has completed flight testing successfully, meeting all the performance requirements needed for SLSA Certification.” The Orem, Utah company reported, “The plane was found to have good longitudinal and latitudinal stability and exhibited no issues with flutter, vibrations, or dangerous stall/spin tendencies.” SkyCraft representatives said they were able to verify the performance specifications for the SD-1 achieved by its Czech designers (see video below for a performance hint using a European aircraft).
Twenty five years ago the world celebrated a major event in human history: the tearing down of the hated Berlin wall.
Rotax BRP is offering a new warranty extension program but it plans more.
Zenith Aircraft is one of the country or world’s most successful providers of kit aircraft.
UPDATE: May 27, 2014 — “A vigorous debate ensued …” might be one way to refer to a four-way discussion from around the globe.
I have been following Icon Aircraft closely since I first met top gun Kirk Hawkins on the EAA Sport Pilot Tour back in 2005.
We all have favorites … foods, websites, movies, and of course, airplanes.
Life has settled down a little after the rush that began at the end of March.
China, China, China … Americans hear a lot about this fast growing country although financial news outlets say growth is slowing as its economy matures.
Once upon a time, a couple years before the SP/LSA was announced at AirVenture 2004, I thought the odds were high that Quicksilver would be the very first Special LSA to hit the market.
Winter has finally released its icy grip on the northern states that were so punished over the past few months.
One of the most celebrated of the Light-Sport Aircraft fleet is Icon Aircraft‘s A5 seaplane.
The developer refers to this long sleek flying maching as, “the first solar powered airplane with a passenger seat.” After his many years of development — longer than other projects that have captured more media attention — Eric Raymond’s Sunseeker Duo may be the most advanced solar powered airplane in the world and … he adds, “the first that might be suited to production.” True, with its 71.5-foot span, this may not be your ideal cross country machine for a family of four.
Aero 2014 is history now but sorting through all the discoveries and reviewing hundreds of photos I shot will consume more time.
For most of the years I have been flying, we (in the USA) had NOAA aviation charts and Jeppesen Sanderson charts.
It depended on whom you asked. As in the United States some were skeptical at Aero.
From the outdoor event at Sun ‘n Fun we jetted across the Atlantic to go indoors for Europe’s amazing air “fair” (as they prefer in Europe versus “airshow”).
The weather, big crowds, safe flying and airshow speed, action, and thunder combined to make Sun ‘n Fun 2014 one to remember.
At Sun ‘n Fun 2014, Rotax Aircraft Engine manager Christian Mundigler noted the occasion of the 25th anniversary of the four cylinder 9-series engine family including 80-horsepower 912 UL, 100-horsepower 912 ULS, 115-horsepower turbocharged 914, and fuel injected 912 iS.
By their reported numbers Tecnam lays claim to be the largest producer of very light aircraft.
For a billion-dollar, publicly-listed company Garmin (stock symbol: GRMN) has repeatedly displayed the nimbleness of a start-up enterprise.
I view Rans’ newest aircraft as a benchmark design for the airplane company based in Hays, Kansas, more than 100 miles northwest of another aviation hub known as Wichita.
“I am an Iraqi inventor,” wrote Mahmood H. Hussain, “I have patent number 7396208 about a new blade that can be used to make propellers or turbines.” Take a look at the Divided Blade Rotor from, of all places, Baghdad, Iraq.
Less than two weeks from now, the season of recreational flying is officially set in motion with the opening of Sun ‘n Fun … the 40th year of the nation’s first major airshow.
The Great Recession was the pits … for nearly all industries and most employees or small business owners.
Should the expression be “You can keep a good thing up?” It is more positive than “You can’t keep a good man down.” Up, in this case, is CubCrafters and their climb in market share rank.
At Aero 2013 in Friedrichshafen, Germany, I was caught by the smooth, lean lines of an airplane called Prime by designer/producer Blackshape.
For many of us, the principal reason we fly is for fun.
In aviation, one of our most noteworthy events is the Reno Air Races.
This last weekend I did something I’ve never done before. It worked much better than I expected and I want to pass along the idea for others to consider.
In my previous post I made a passing mention of a coming flock of four seat aircraft loosely based on the two seat LSA that five manufacturers are presently building.
People are starting to arrive in Florida. Today, we had a pleasant lunch conversation with Dynon’s president Robert Hamilton.
In talks I give at airshows, I’ve begun to focus on what I term the “real” LSA market.
After making a big splash at AirVenture Oshkosh 2013, the young team from SkyCraft Airplanes went home, rolled up their sleeves, and have been burning the midnight oil preparing the affordably priced single seater to meet ASTM standards and gain FAA’s nod for production.
The big company bills the now-iconic Rotax 9-series engines as “The Engine that Changed Light Aviation.” Today, few would dispute the claim that the 912 altered light aviation with its low weight and modern design, although Continental Motors, Lycoming, and others have long supplied powerplants for the light aircraft of earlier periods.
Among Light-Sport Aircraft enthusiasts, certain qualities of our wonderful airplanes are compelling.
In the last few days, I was informed about a most unusual negotiation.
Years ago when we were just getting started in our flying careers, one fellow I paid attention to was Eric Raymond.
Folks at Sebring 2014 noted some unoccupied exhibit spaces. As always, a few thought exhibit sales were down but another explanation are no-shows.
On the Fourth Bahamas Fly Out in January 2014, a group of four Light-Sport Aircraft and one Cessna 172 made the short hop to Bimini Island of the Bahamas from Fort Lauderdale, Florida.
Special thanks to Roy Beisswenger for this first-impressions report on the I-TEC Maverick.
Wings that go around in circles enjoy their own special niche in American Light-Sport aviation.
It was cool but abundant sunshine provided good conditions for an excellent event at the tenth Sebring.
In the beginning … OK, a few years ago, FAA went around to a couple dozen LSA producers to evaluate the state of the then-new LSA industry.
Zenith Aircraft based in Mexico … Missouri, to be clear, is one of the most solid and impressive kit producers in the light aircraft world.
In the LSA space, we presently have five engine suppliers that either have ASTM approval or FAA certification approval that grants them the chance to power Light-Sport Aircraft.
Plenty of aviation companies, certainly in the light end of the industry, are happy to welcome a new dealer.
We’ve seen “legacy” general aviation builders depart the Light-Sport Aircraft scene.
For 18 years I worked with a great team at BRS Parachutes (as it was then called; they since renamed it to BRS Aerospace as they ventured into defense contracting).
Someone remarked to me recently that LSA seaplanes seem to be the topic of the week or month (or however often you check in to see).
At least aviation is not bowling! Recent articles say the number of American bowlers has plummeted from nine million to two million, a drop of 78%.
“We thank Cessna for getting people all excited about a high-wing, all-metal, Continental O-200-powered LSA,” exclaimed John Degonia, sales director for AMD, seller of the Zodiac CH-601.
A Russian business aviation website released early news of Cessna making their first Skycatcher flight in Wichita, Kansas.
For those who missed the announcement back in 2007 when the Cessna C-162 Skycatcher was first announced, the planned delivery of the very first production airplane will stay in the Cessna family, as the happy owner is none other than Rose Pelton of Wichita, Kan.
Here’s a spot of welcome news for all those who’ve been waiting to get their hands on a Cessna 162 Skycatcher: Kansas Aviation, Inc.
I was mighty busy last week, talking about my blog regarding IFR-IMC on LSA.
Splog: Cessna Ships 50th Skycatcher
Here’s an item we’ve all waited for: Cessna exercising it’s production mojo by shipping its 50th production Skycatcher S-LSA.
Aviator opinion is widespread about CH 701 and CH 750 being ugly ducklings.
Splog: The Year of Cub Love
In case you hadn’t heard, this is the Year of the Cub…the 75th anniversary celebration of that wonderful proto-LSA, the *** Piper J3 Cub.
Welcome to summertime … in December, just after Christmas?!? True, down under in Australia or partway around the southern hemisphere in South Africa, weather patterns are roughly opposite of those in the northern half the globe.
You may have missed it. If so, this article provides another look at a LSA provider that I consider something of a “sleeper” … and if you do not know that term, it’s meant to be positive yet refer in this case to a company that does its thing well if somewhat quietly.
(Article udated) One of the most recognized aircraft in the LSA space is the SportCruiser, which ranks high on our LSA Market Share ranking (2012 figures).
It seems like we discuss seaplanes (the boat hull variety of airplanes) more than floatplanes (land planes with floats added).
The Special Light-Sport Aircraft version of Quicksilver Aeronautics‘ popular Sport 2 model is completing efforts to gain FAA acceptance.
Top selling aircraft models in the LSA space over the last couple years are manufactured by CubCrafters.
The city of Tavares, Florida ought to be feeling good about their effort to become their adopted name: America’s Seaplane City (FA1).
The rush is on — hardly a surprise to anyone these days — regarding China’s emergence into general or recreational aviation.
Festivals of Speed is not your “everyman” show tour. Aimed at wealthy folks, Joe Sabatini’s FoS extravaganza is quite different than the usual airshow fare.
The flying car powerfully captures the imagination of many, pilots and general public alike, despite the fact that none (yet) have ever achieved market success.
As winter arrives in much of the USA, it is worth asking: “Are Light-Sport Aircraft solely fair weather flyers or can they serve greater purposes?” When trying to answer let’s avoid the error of generalizing.
It’s premature if not off the point to say this exotic, beautiful prototype will be the death of the helicopter.
How do you take a laid-back approach to create a super exciting airplane?
“It is a truth universally acknowledged that a pilot not in possession of a good fortune will be in want of a VW-powered aircraft.” Well, I’m not entirely sure Jane Austen would’ve put it quite like that but one thing is irrefutable: If you want to fly an affordable aeroplane then it may well have a Beetle engine!
One of the several reasons I like living in Florida (besides no snow this time of year) is the close proximity of all kinds of aviation businesses.
Earlier this year, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) announced in Abu Dhabi a regulation for Light-Sport Aircraft by the director-general of the General Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA), Saif Mohammed Al Suwaidi.
Cool It! — Scott Severen of US Aviation — the central Texas general aviation dynamo — is a man on a mission.
I wrote about Free Bird two years ago, to the surprise of many readers who thought, well … different things about Iran, most of them not very positive.
In just-completed October, ByDanJohnson.com repeated a remarkable number: 70,000+ Unique Visitors, defined as a separate computer [IP] address, came to the website in the two fall months of September and October — after the main airshow season concluded.
In the last days of October, another fascinating UK light aircraft took to the air after several years in development.
The Heart of America Sport Aviation Classic is history. Weather and first year challenges conspired to keep the event from achieving its true potential, which illustrates the task of creating a “new Sebring” LSA Expo.
Following our initial unveil of a new amphibian called “Wave” by Vickers Aircraft Company, more details were offered in their programmed slow-motion rollout of a new amphibian LSA candidate.
Recently I became of aware of one of those “Oh, wow!” airplanes, one that can generate much the same response as Just Aircraft‘s attention-riveting SuperSTOL.
Once upon a time, way back at the dawn of LSA — 10 years ago come next Oshkosh — I consulted to EAA about the then-new emergence of Sport Pilot / Light-Sport Aircraft.
To some it’s a new entry in the LSA race (Sam LS is presently selling kits while pursuing SLSA acceptance).
A number of you have asked about an updated sales report for 2013.
An amazing thing happened as we all prepared to go to AOPA last-ever annual show in the sprawling Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex.
I’ve written a number of articles about LSA seaplanes … about the several we already have in the fleet (Aventura news), and about new designs to come (quick tour of many new LSA and Ultralight seaplanes).
Most of our attention is paid to either Light-Sport Aircraft, both SLSA and ELSA, or to light kit aircraft that Sport Pilots may fly.
Icon Aircraft receives a high percentage of the attention paid to LSA seaplanes.
Rans designer Randy Schlitter is one of those restlessly creative types.
Like many deeply involved with aviation I have long marveled that all the best airshows in America seem to be in the Eastern half of the country.
Aviation bargain hunters … mark your calendar for Saturday, October 5th.
If you traveled to Oshkosh for AirVenture 2013, you got to see a lot of airplanes and other aviation gear.
After losing the trim tab on the elevator of his Rans S-6, John Pederson of Lombard, Illinois grappled with a violent shaking and executed an emergency landing on Chicago’s Lake Shore Drive.
Although Rotax Aircraft Engines successfully power approximately four out of five Light-Sport Aircraft, some in legacy general aviation companies still derisively refer to the liquid-cooled, high-revving, smaller-displacement engines as “just one of those snow mobile engines.” I believe they are woefully under informed but old habits can be hard to break.
At the Midwest LSA Expo that concluded a few days back, I delivered a presentation called “20+ Reasons to Buy an LSA.” However, to handle the subject a little bit differently, I turned it into an audience participation exercise.
After Germany’s Aero 2013 event, we traveled to Pipistrel.
We paid two memorable visits after Aero ended and I’ll tell you a little about each one … but first … While I was at Pipistrel in the office of boss Ivo Boscarol, he received word that Matevz Lenarcic had reached the North Pole on his flight reported earlier.
In this post I’m going to do something potentially risky. I am going to make some statements about the politics of aircraft certification.
I reported earlier that it might have been the best AirVenture ever (thanks to the most pleasant weather I can recall in many years).
Elements are basic components of nature. As in our first two parts, I see Oshkosh Elements as worthy ideas other than airframes or engines.
We looked at this airplane at AirVenture Oshkosh 2012 (video).
We interrupt our series on Oshkosh Elements to highlight the upcoming Zenith Open Hangar Day.
Elements are basic components of nature. As in our first part, I see Oshkosh Elements as fascinating ideas other than airframes or engines.
Elements are basic components of nature. I intend Oshkosh Elements to be great ideas that are not airframes or engines.
Whew! AirVenture Oshkosh is history once again and I have plenty to report, plus we shot many new videos that will begin appearing.
Yes, Airventure fans, it’s been fair, mild, low humidity, refreshing, beautiful weather…all descriptors none of us is used to using in the same sentence with the words Oshkosh and summer.
Splog: The Big O Photo Jam
In the wee and foot-throbbing hours after wandering the highways and byways of the vast Oshkosh Airventure showgrounds all day, here’s a taste of some of the cool things encountered so far from my abbreviated visit – my 32nd year in attendance since 1981…and every year brings new wonders and old friends: threads of gold and silver.
Opening day at AirVenture Oshkosh 2013 and the very first announcement before exhibit spaces even opened was a press conference from Icon Aircraft.
Dynon gathers little moss it appears. The SkyView builder has been upgrading software, releasing new products and now, the Woodinville, Washington company has acquired Advanced Flight Systems (AFS).
Recently, our good friends over at General Aviation News reported on the Bearhawk LSA.
The go-up-faster competition in Light-Sport aviation just got more boisterous. SportairUSA loves their S-planes and they just announced a new one: Cub-S.
Fact #1: EAA ArVenture Oshkosh is coming in mere days. Fact #2: In the world of politics (and for that matter in corporate communications), you announce good news to big crowds or at the beginning of the week and you bury bad news on a Friday afternoon when maybe no one is listening hoping they’ll forget before a new week begins.
I was a little nervous, I admit. Oh, I wasn’t worried about flying the eSpyder as an airplane.
Snap! Crackle! Pop! It’s not just for breakfast anymore. Among the vast array of light aircraft I am only aware of a few other single seat models … Here’s a U.S.
You might not be in the market for a super slow flying aircraft like Dragonfly that stalls at less than 20 mph.
“Isn’t it just a niche market?,” asked a reader in a recent email.
Once upon a time the light aircraft industry announced new manufacturers and models at the rate of two, three, or even more every month …for several years.
“How ya gonna keep ‘em down on the farm … after they’ve seen Paree?” That’s a timely reprise of an old show tune to bring our attention to the Paris Air Show, which is sending out some ripples in the “What’s New” Dept.
First Icon Aircraft wowed aviation enthusiasts with its sleek and uniquely featured amphibious A5 LSA seaplane.
Aviation has embraced tablet computers like iPad to an extent no one would have imagined only three years ago.
On a visit to Rotax near Wels, Austria in April this year, I was privileged to examine the immense Rotax engine factory and test facilities with executive Christian Mundigler.
I recently flew with a friend who has some interest in learning to fly.
I just wrote about Van’s Aircraft, a 41-year-old company that just came out with their first ready-to-fly airplane.
Single Seat Darling — Perhaps it’s because we haven’t had so many new SLSA offerings lately (though don’t look away too long as more are definitely on the way!).
Several aviation sources recently carried news about Icon Aircraft and their A5 LSA seaplane development.
Across the northern U.S. states and across much of Europe it was a lousy, cold, snowy winter.
Several Florida airports have been active during the recession in their efforts to pull new clients.
Here are two aircraft from sources thousands of miles apart. Likewise, the aircraft could hardly be more different yet each has something special about it.
We were busy at Aero Friedrichshafen 2013, knocking out more than 30 videos for your viewing information and entertainment.
Airplane Overload — Imagine a gymnasium, the full court kind where basketball is played.
Excitement Amid the Chaos — If you’ve been to any show the day before it opens, you know what I mean by “chaos.” With mere hours to go before the doors open to the public, it appears no hope exists to be ready in time.
Matevz Lenarcic is in the air again. Lenarcic is the daring pilot who has already flown around the world … twice!
By all accounts — and none to the contrary (that I personally heard) — the “new and improved” Paradise City was an out-of-the-ballpark home run hit.
Splog: Live From Sun ‘n Fun 2013
SuperStol: Able to leap tall RVs at a single bound. Drawing lots of attention is the Just Aircraft SuperStol LSA kitplane (soon to be an SLSA) that has self-deploying leading edge slats, oleo main gear shock-absorbing struts (with humongous tires), even a shock absorber for the tailwheel.
At Sun ‘n Fun 2013, big kit manufacturer Zenith Aircraft debuted their new CH 750 Cruzer.
CORRECTION 4/10/13 — Due to a misinterpretation of Just Aircraft’s recent news release I must update an earlier report.
Thanks to a credible survey effort at Sebring 2013, we have some demographic information that is difficult to obtain.
An “engine” is a machine distinguished from an electric, spring-driven, or hydraulic motor by its use of a fuel, by which most mean gasoline or diesel fuel.
Pilot Workshops of Nashua, NH is getting with the program to help ease pilot anxiety about the transition.
Pilot report: UltraCub (Belite)
[UPDATE — fall 2009: This article about the Kitfox Lite refers to a company now several years out of business.
Pilot report: Part 103 Carbon 254
[UPDATE — fall 2009: This article about the Kitfox Lite refers to a company now several years out of business.
Next month, in April 2013, the Light-Sport Aircraft industry celebrates an anniversary.
I once saw Boeing employees racing around furiously to build an entire 747 in just seven minutes.
Technology and radios seem to be obvious partners, don’t they? In the old days of a few round dials to help a pilot operate his flying machine, the comm radio was perhaps the highest technology to enter the cockpit.
Splog: Towering Inferno
Update 3/22/13 … CHICAGO / Associated Press announced that the FAA put the final list of air traffic control tower closures at 149.
Tecnam announced that it will reveal their “Astore” next generation Light Sport Aircraft at Aero Friedrichshafen 2013 in Germany on April 24th.
Splog: March 2013 LSA News Wrap
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.
My flyin’ pal, industry leader, and co-blogger Dan Johnson suggested recently that I throw some tips your way about how I put together and do air2air photography.
It’s enough to be proud of flying a “real” airplane for 50 years without accident, incident, or citation for 50 years.
Once upon a time, in the early days of Light-Sport Aircraft, way back in 2006 and 2007, new LSA models were being introduced at the torrid pace of two, three, even four per month.
In a recent article from Flying Magazine, an editor volunteered his opinion that the Light Sport industry is on life support.
I think Phoenix is one the loveliest aircraft in the LSA fleet.
We recorded very strong interest in our recent market share article.
Our annual review of LSA Market Share brings our updated fleet chart and a second chart showing prior-year registrations.
Splog: Keeping it Neutral
Ken Godin, an endlessly enthusiastic, high-energy entrepreneur and 30 year ultralight, LSA and GA pilot, created his own company, Composiclean, a few years back, to market a line of pH-neutral and other cleaning products that are finding their way to air shows, car shows, dealer ramps and at docksides around the world.If you’ve scanned the Aircraft Spruce catalog recently you may have seen Ken’s goods.
Who doesn’t like to ride around in a clean machine? If it’s your car, you have thousands of products to choose from…and no big problem if you use the wrong stuff.
ByDanJohnson.com is dedicated to light-sport aviation and keeps a laser focus on the aircraft of this sector.
It is true that a pilot of one type aircraft may not know much about nor (therefore) care much about another type aircraft.
Preparing for Sebring, four days of the show, and a LSA flight over the ocean can fill your days to the brim … and all of that is truly excellent.
More airplanes made it through the winter weather blanketing much of the midwest and east.
Splog: Sebring Expo Day One
Sebring is off and running! The day in pix and captions… *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** ***
Splog: LSA Fun Foreign and Domestic
Back from a busy, weather-challenging (for photography) trip to the Bahamas, I stopped by to visit Dan Johnson and his soul mate Randee at their Spruce Creek air park digs near Daytona Beach, Florida.
More airplanes made it through the winter weather blanketing much of the midwest and east.
More airplanes made it through the winter weather blanketing much of the midwest and east.
Splog: Sebring Expo Day One
Sebring is off and running! The day in pix and captions…
Splog: Sebring Expo Day One
Sebring is off and running! The day in pix and captions…
Splog: Adieu Sebring 2013
Sebring’s final day ended at 2 p.m. with lighter attendance typical of a Sunday and gathering clouds.
Splog: Sebring Day Three Evening
The big Saturday came and went, bookended by winds, overcast and raindrops of the intermittent kind.
Splog: Sebring Day Three morning
Just after I posted in the wee hours last night I got this late email from Greg Lawrence about his work with deaf flight students.
Patty Wagstaff and LSA? This week brings the start of the Sebring U.S.
Splog: Sebring LSA Expo Next Week!
This year’s LSA bash in Sebring which starts next Thursday, 17 January and runs through the weekend looks to be far and away the best ever.
Sebring starts next week … yes, next week! A new year is here and for nine years now that means it is time for the Sebring U.S.
Splog: Happy New Year LSA News Wrap
CubCrafters Set Records In a second year of modest recovery for the LSA sector, most companies were happy to sell the same as the year before.
Sometimes you’re in the right place at the right time. Well, OK, I’m biased but I think pretty much any time at Wallaby Ranch — the iconic hang gliding facility south of Disney Orlando — is a good time.
With all the bright minds drilling down for electric flight gold worldwide these days, including extensive research into battery storage technology and electric motor development, you’d think it’s only a matter of time before a major aircraft company comes out with an off-the-shelf aircraft to officially “launch” electric flight for the masses.
Known for their several lucrative wins at the NASA Challenge events, Pipistrel also logged market successes in the USA and around the world during 2012.
Last month the southern China city of Zhuhai hosted a large collection of aircraft at Airshow China.
Our group was overwhelmingly instrument-rated pilots, not a flock of fresh students taking basic flight classes.
After flying more than 350 different aircraft models, I became rather adept at what some pilots call “stick wiggling.” The reference is for all the actions you take to physically fly the plane.
From the land of sky-blue waters comes … no, not a beverage but Canada’s first electric ultralight.
Splog: CTLSi, as in *sigh*
Yes, as the pics show, I did indeed take advantage of a rare, calm, beautiful, warm (for winter) day in New England to drive over to Tom Peghiny‘s Flight Design USA and take my first hop in a fuel-injected Rotax-powered LSA: the new CTLSi.
The first iLSA are flying in the USA. Springboarding from Apple’s famous iDevices, why not iLSA?
Congratulations to Air Creation USA for winning Special Light-Sport Aircraft approval for their newest weight-shift control aircraft called the Skypper.
This article follows up on an earlier one about Guy Reynolds.
On a lovely day recently at my home airflield — Spruce Creek Fly-in — local Cub afficianado Ron Bishop assembled quite a few of American Legend’s handsome yellow Cub lookalikes.
On November 30th, Guy Reynolds will celebrate his 100th birthday by taking a flight in Light-Sport Aircraft.
Good to Go in China Things are happening in China. “So, what’s new,” you say?
Splog: The Longest Flight
Tecnam North America’s CEO Phil Solomon dropped me a line yesterday to make sure I heard the news that there’s a new, all-metal, budget-priced Tecnam LSA, just released, that should generate some enthusiasm among the “LSA: too expensive!” crowd.
Consider this an entry to the “They-said-it-couldn’t-be-done” department. As regular readers know, FAA has been conducting audits with LSA producers… tough, top-to-bottom reviews of every detail in the voluminous ASTM standard set.
Last Spring I had the pleasure of photographing the several aircraft that make up the stable of the re-emergent Quicksilver Aeronautics company.
Pilot report: Super Drifter 912 Is Back Home
Things can change and yet stay the same. You can comprehend this paradox by considering the tandem 2-seat Drifter.
CESSNA’S DISCOVER FLYING
I met new business leader for the Skycatcher LSA, Tracy Leopold, at Sun ‘n Fun 2012 where she confirmed the Wichita giant’s support for their lightest aircraft, now being assembled in Independence alongside other Cessna models.
Major Italian producer Tecnam today announced the launch of the P92 Classic Light microlight.
What a Month! October was a busy month starting with the first-year LSA event Heart of America Sport Aviation Classic outside of Kansas City.
Strolling around 1,073 exhibitors at the National Business Aircraft Association’s show in the Orlando Convention Center is something like walking on another planet, at least for a recreational / Light-Sport Aircraft enthusiast.
There’s been a hue and cry from the seaplane community over New Mexico’s proposed ban of all seaplane operations in the entire state!
News from Russian sport aircraft producers is rare. Though the old USSR had a vast military aircraft complex that hasn’t translated to recreation aircraft the way it did in the formerly Soviet Czech Republic, where many of our LSA originate.
A most remarkable thing happened recently. No, I don’t mean the sudden resignation of EAA president Rod Hightower.
Splog: Wheels-DOWN Water Landing!
I posted this in a comment to my *** SeaMax story yesterday after finding it on an Aussie website.
Again, I heard a common refrain. This time was at the recently concluded AOPA Summit 2012 in Palm Springs, California.
Splog: Raising Kids Propper-Like
While looking for images for my RV-12 post the other day, I came across the smile-worthy video below.
LSA America builds the Czech-designed Allegro in America as one of the first companies (but not the last, I suspect) to cross the Atlantic.
We’ve been wondering when/if the highly popular *** Van’s RV-12 E-LSA kit airplane would ever be produced as an SLSA.
Splog: Flying Club Initiative
AOPA during its annual Summit convention that ended October 13th announced during the event a program that makes a lot of sense: a national network of flying clubs with the aim to grow general aviation at all levels.
Honestly, I didn’t expect much LSA news at AOPA’s Summit in Palm Springs, California this week.
Do you support the idea of “energy independence” by using ethanol blended into your fuel?
Splog: Calling All Sport Pilots
For my next column for Plane & Pilot magazine, and to grow a dialogue here on the blog (diablogue?), I’m putting out a call to all Light-Sport pilots across the country (and around the world!) for your input on some topics we all think about and kick around with our flying pals.
What’s going on out in the marketplace? More than any time since the launch of Light-Sport Aircraft in 2004, I have not observed such a frenzy of activity for a particular niche, this time for LSA seaplanes.
Splog: Leaf Peeper Round Up
As fall colors begin to pop their chromatic yumminess on New England, it’s time to do some shotgun Light Sport factoid gathering.
My European associate and friend, Jan Fridrich, coined a phrase a few years ago: “Global LSA,” he said, meaning the ASTM standards set could be used in any country and thereby create a worldwide market for recreational aircraft.
After my post about ups and downs with government and recreational aviation, it’s wise to keep perspective on the sheer joy that flying can deliver.
In light of recent developments, perhaps some ups and downs of FAA’s involvement with Light-Sport aviation can offer perspective.
A fun thing happened this weekend. Such pleasures occur regularly across the USA where we enjoy so much aviation freedom.
One of the most storied companies in the entire light airplane space is Quicksilver.
Our roving British journalist, the always-entertaining Dave Unwin, reports on the UK’s LAA Rally event, giving ByDanJohnson.com readers a taste of light aviation in England.
One of the longest suffering participants on the ASTM committee that writes certification standards for Light-Sport Aircraft is Greg Gremminger, the remarkably mild-mannered chair of the gyroplane subcommittee.
SAB’s Vulcan isn’t entirely new. The design has existed in Europe and arrived in the USA more than two years ago but stealthily avoided our radar as a Special Light-Sport Aircraft until the 2012 Midwest LSA Expo at the Mt.
We’ve been getting requests for market share information and I am happy to provide an update, thanks to my European associate Jan Fridrich who does the hard work of sifting through FAA’s database.
Randall Fishman virtually invented the electric aircraft. That’s a rather big statement yet I stand behind it.
We try not to overdo this, but we have a new benchmark to share with you.
Another busy week finished a very active August that has seen high readership… for which we sincerely thank you.
Some say LSA are too expensive. With some topping $200,000 (or even more), that rings true… in some cases.
You cannot simply make good and safe airplanes, engines, or gear for Light-Sport Aircraft.
Splog: Financing The Long Haul
This has been a tough semi-decade for people in the Light Sport industry with big ideas.
Does the idea of electronic circuit breakers (ECB) make you yawn and look around for something more interesting?
In the near future, we’ll present fuller stories of some of the following short bits from Oshkosh 2012.
Vertical Power has a cool line of electronic circuit breakers that make it easy to monitor the status of your electrical system. *** With so many LSA going to glass cockpits, having general and specific information about the state of your electrics displayed right on your EFIS screen is crucial to safe flight.
I have several targets on my radar for follow-up at the big show that starts July 23rd.
Since AirVenture 2012, I’ve been part of several discussions about the way — and reasons why — aircraft become certified.
Edit: There was some confusion after I first posted this a few days before Oshkosh, so I hope this addendum clears things up: *** First Piper, now Cessna…wow, didn’t see this coming.
Splog: Oshkosh Saturday
Pipistrel in particular seems to be riding the crest of ever-growing reputation.
Splog: Oshkosh Refreshed
Just put in my first day at the show, only doing 3 days this year, plus a layover day to pick up any after-show-convenient flight reports.
First Piper, now Cessna…wow, didn’t see this coming. *** Even though I’m not arriving in Oshkosh until Friday, this newsflash hot off the wire can’t wait.
Splog: New HUD for LSA
“Situational Awareness” is one of those phrases you hear a lot when aviation safety is the topic… and when isn’t aviation safety the topic in a cockpit?
I just wrote up a piece for the Tech Talk Dept.
For all you smartphone and iPad users, here’s a great guide to Oshkosh from *** Sporty’s Pilot Shop.
In a valid but failed attempt, LSA pilot Michael Combs tried to set a Coast-to-Coast record and came up just 91 miles short (out of 1,954) when thunderstorms blocked his route.
Catching up from the road after 3 weeks (1 day to go) in Hamburg, Germany on family business and a laptop double-meltdown (don’t ask).
Splog: Three LSA now EASA-legal
* REVISED June 21: Missing text at end replaced. * *** Some big news developing recently regarding the European Aviation Safety Agency’s (EASA) certification of the first three light sport aircraft in its new category designed to legitimize ASTM-certified LSA.
Splog: Flynano Makes First Flight!
This is pretty cool, I have to say: a flying…what, waterbike?
Splog: Dump The Flight Medical?
Although we Sport Pilots only have to self-certify (and have a driver’s license) to legally fly Light Sport Aircraft, *** the success of the self-certification “medical” has no doubt factored into AOPA and EAA’s joint proposal to FAA to expand the concept to include Private Pilots.
I’ve been a (budget) international jet setter the last couple months so figured it was time to update through an e-chat with *** Chris “Doc” Bailey, who’s heading up a hydra-like push at Renegade Light Sport to get the Lycoming IO-233-LSA engine in as many birds as possible.
The *** Federal Aviation Administration just released a document about its assessment regarding the performance of the LSA industry, specifically in regard to LSA producer’s, shall we say, sub-par performance toward compliance with the ASTM airworthiness standard set out in the very definition of the Light Sport category.
Ben Sclair, who publishes General Aviation News, wrote a nicely thought out piece on the nuances of the high cost of flying, with a focus on LSA in particular.
Kent Misegades is a regular writer for GA News and has helped here at ByDanJohnson.com.
Splog: My Blog Has Moved!
Hi All who didn’t know that the magazine wanted to create a new blog presence on the main website (there’s a BLOGS tab at the top of the main screen).If you’ve been wondering whether I’d moved on to bluer sky pastures, nope, just changed my blog landing strip.
Today, FAA issued its anticipated notice of policy that clarifies who can qualify as a manufacturer.
OK, even to me it seems rather early to be writing about Sebring 2013.
Anyone who has tried to borrow money in the last five years knows how tough it has become.
With five models currently meeting ASTM standards for SLSA, Tecnam has established itself as the leader in prolific design of Light-Sport Aircraft (they also have a Twin and are working on a four seater plus an eleven seater).
Pilot report: PiperSport… A Return to Basics
Legacy Brand Enters the LSA Market
The U.S. Sport Aviation Expo held in Sebring, Florida, every January has become the place where new flying machines and other aviation products for the light aviation crowd are unveiled to the public.
Roving reporter Dave wraps up coverage of the Rocky Mountain LSA Expo event.
Our roving reporter offers coverage of the 2012 Rocky Mountain LSA Expo event.
Flight schools —- like many private buyers — are hyperfocused on, “What does an aircraft cost to operate?” Busy flight schools operating at high volume simply must track how all the pennies add up.
The company I’ve been writing a lot about lately keeps finding more things for me to talk about.
Engineers at Pipistrel must not sleep in too often.
The rush is on in Europe… well, at least for the best-prepared of LSA producers.
Normally I don’t write about record attempts or exceptional flights until they are completed and even then only if they are significant.
On Memorial Day I had a chance to visit Icon Aircraft and spend some time with CEO Kirk Hawkins.
Recently, an AvWeb video stirred controversy among many LSA fans; I heard from several and that usually means more feel similarly.
Just a few short months ago I posted an announcement from Pipistrel about its upcoming, mid-$80K ALPHA Trainer, targeted for flight schools and already bought in significant quantities by the Indian Air Force as a military primary trainer.
Splog: Two From The Road
In the midst of a couple weeks away from home to marry off my firstborn daughter, I remain nonetheless able and willing to mine the LSA infoverse for newsworthy veins.
Have you been thinking that it’s been some time since a new Special LSA was announced?
Since Sebring in January, the airshow season has rushed by at warp speed and now we return to more aircraft flown at the event that kicks off the aviation year.
Somebody at the L.A. Times has got a sweet tooth for the flying car, specifically the Terrafugia Transition SLSA-legal “roadable” airplane.
Splog: Aero 2012 — One More Thing…
Aero 2012 is one of those shows that has interesting aircraft in more nooks and crannies than even a crack reporter like Dave Unwin can find.
Aero 2012 is history and here’s the wrap up view from our roving reporter.
Aero 2012 concluded and we present a final round of aircraft news to be followed by a wrap up view.
We begin coverage of the Aero 2012 event, brought to you each day that Dave’s Internet connection permits.
As Aero 2012 moves toward a conclusion our wandering reporter updates you on several more attractive aircraft.
Dave Unwin continues daily coverage of the Aero event… wandering through the gymnasium-sized exhibit halls of Aero.
On Day 1 of Aero 2012, Dave Unwin reported hearing many comments about EASA’s halting move toward acceptance of the concept of SP/LSA, which was invented in the USA.
This article has been updated; see at end.
According to a French dealer for Cessna, 80 Skycatcher orders have been cancelled.
*** While at Sun ‘n Fun I heard the good news that the long-in-development Terrafugia Transition® Street-Legal Airplane (that’s it’s latest name) hit the road, then the skies on its first production prototype flight.
In this retro installment, Dave Unwin reviews an 85% WWI fighter.
Whew! It’s over. Man, Sun ‘n Fun can be the busiest six days of one’s life… well, at least until the next one.
Photo Wrap Up: Some other stories that will get fleshed out down the road here and in the magazine.
Splog: Sun ‘n Fun 2012: Day Four
I caught up with a fellow hang glider pioneer from the 70s’, Scott Severen of U.S.
Here’s an aerial shot from my Courier flight of Paradise City, the Light Aircraft runway at the southeast end of the field that will soon be used year round.
Ran into my old pal Dave “Higs” Higdon who’s been an aviation journalist/photo Iron Man for decades.
Tecnam North America is banking on what CEO Phil Solomon believes is a strong market interest in taildragger LSA.
Splog: Sun ‘n Fun 2012 Day One
Sun ‘n Fun got off to a great start with weather in the low 80’s, a helpful breeze and lots of new buildings and of course massive traffic jams coming in to the show because some things should never change no matter how many improvements are made.
Remember when you were 17? For a pair of Sport Pilots that age, Wednesday at Sun ‘n Fun 2012 will be a day they remember, possibly for the rest of their lives.
The Searey from Kerry and Wayne Richter’s Progressive Aerodyne — guided by new principal, Adam Yang — just sent out word that the popular design celebrates its 20th anniversary this year by “making a big splash at Sun N Fun!”The Searey, perhaps the most successful kit amphibian ever (and which is still on the trail of certifying its latest LSX model to the LSA ASTM standard — they thought they’d have it done by end of 2011) will be at the show in demonstrable abundance.
Splog: Pushing the Envelope
Supersonic flight pioneer and WWII ace Chuck Yeager is famous for using, if not coining, the term “pushing the envelope,” which has entered the popular lexicon for just about anything to do with growth and meeting challenges.
FAA issued its 20-year forecast for aviation showing growth prospects for business jets and Light-Sport Aircraft.
Splog: Skycatcher Crash #2
No details yet from Cessna on the crash of its second Skycatcher (AKA Cessna 162).
Watch the video. Open your mind. Put yourself in this cockpit.
Flight Design of Germany — in cooperation with U.S importer Flight Design USA — just signed an agreement with emergency parachute maker, BRS, to provide the 1350 LSA ballistic system on all CT aircraft sold in the USA.
Before I go forward with this story, let me tell you that for 18 years, I was a VP at BRS Parachutes.
“Things are really popping with autogas,” said Kent Misegades, one member of a group trying to assure more LSA-friendly fuels (like zero ethanol or E0).
Rotax Aircraft Engines just raised the bar with its new Rotax 912 iS, fuel-injected, 100-hp engine, based on the truly ubiquitous core 912 mill we all know so well.
In a product launch somewhat comparable to an Apple Inc., product event, BRP Rotax drew a large group of attendees to their facility in Gunskirchen, Austria.
Time to wrap up this week’s discussion with John Lampson, CFII and veteran Flight Design CTLS instructor.
Splog: Lessons From The Field
My good pal John Lampson, the 6,000 hour CFII who took me through my Sport Pilot training a few years back now, continues the good fight to put well-trained, safe Light Sport Aircraft pilots in the air.John’s a CFII, so he teaches for all the GA ratings, but he’s getting a lot of students putting in LSA time on the Flight Design CTLS that’s on leaseback out of Premier Flight Center in Hartford, CT.
Splog: Lites On for Sun ‘n Fun 2012
As many prepare for the opening of Sun ‘n Fun in only three weeks, I attended a meeting relative to the area known as Paradise City or the Light Plane Area, though some simply call it the Ultralight Area.
Among all aircraft producers in the world, a very limited number have exceeded the daunting barrier of delivering more than 10,000 airplanes.
Barely had we published the announcement of Dave Unwin as a new ByDanJohnson.com contributor but what two visitors wrote asking for a review of Dave’s affordable VP-1.
Aerotrek may be one of those “sleepers.” You know, the kind of company that does well, has few problems, and doesn’t need to make a lot of noise to be successful.
Splog: Corrections to Falcon Post
Here’s correx on a couple mistakes in the last post on the Renegade Falcon and FK 12 Comet LSA biplane: *** The gentleman who bought the Falcon at Sebring is from Switzerland, not Sweden.
Splog: Falcons On The Hunt
Just heard from “Doc” Bailey of the Renegade Light-Sport gang, who have taken over U.S.
The Aviator Airbag System was introduced to America at the Evolution Trikes booth at the Sebring LSA Expo 2012 courtesy of Laurent Thevenot.
Light-Sport Aircraft are the newest category of aircraft as defined by FAA, the government regulatory agency for aviation.
Pilot report: Rans S-7 Courier LS
Available Fully Assembled or as a Kit
Unlike the flock of internationally
designed Special Light-Sport Aircraft,
RANS is a familiar name to Americans.
The much-anticipated LSA Market Share numbers as compiled by LAMA Europe’s head dude Jan Fridrich are up on Dan Johnson’s blog this week.
The splash heard ’round the LSA world continues to send out ripples, though it’s been years now since startup LSA maker Icon Aircraft first announced, with considerable marketing fanfare, its amphibious light sport amphibious project, the A5.
I find it remarkable. Many of you do not. I’m writing about the arrival of video reports on ByDanJohnson.com and how that addition has been received.
After a whole week of low clouds and drizzly rain, the weather cleared as if a curtain was lifted across the stage of the sky.
Splog: Post-Sebring Ketchup
After an arduous shooting/flying schedule at Sebring and several more days in country shooting and flying around Florida, I wung my way home to bang out some stories and pix for the mag.
The LSA Market Share numbers are complete for 2011 and we offer them below.
While Sebring 2012 crowds were the best ever and plentiful aircraft made for good shopping resulting in a flurry of sales, one of the best aspects of Sebring 2012 was ideal weather.
Pilot report: Winning the LEAP and Berblinger Prize
Winning the LEAP and Berblinger Prize
Writing for Plane & Pilot magazine,
Jim Lawrence opined,
“As an industry, electric
flight is still in toddler mode.
Pilot report: Composite Fuselage as “Battteries?”
Composite Fuselage as “Batteries?”
A June 6, 2011, article in the New York Times reported that researchers
at Imperial College London, the Swedish Institute of Composites, and
Volvo are looking to build auto bodies with carbon composites that
can serve as capacitors (devices that hold an electrical charge) that could store
more electrical energy than batteries.
Pilot report: Energy Density Primer
Energy Density Primer
Perhaps it is helpful to understand the significant
technical challenge electric flight still faces by comparing
the energy densities of gasoline and batteries.
Flying with Juice
As an airplane approaches, a whirring sound accompanied by a
barely discernible whine and a mild propeller buzz exhibit a
Doppler effect as the plane passes overhead.
Pilot report: Icon’s Mission of Outreach
Icon’s Mission of Outreach
ICON Aircraft calls itself “a consumer
sport plane manufacturer.”
Kirk Hawkins, an
accomplished engineer, former