Aerotrek is the new name for a pair of Special Light-Sport Aircraft, the tricycle gear A240 and the taildragger A220. These reasonably priced aircraft (mid-$60,000 range) offer a good cruise in a lightweight, quick handling aircraft. The wings fold easily so you can make a trailer your hangar.
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. This may look like a replica Cub but is actually a thoroughly modern version as evidenced by significant use of carbon fiber to stay with the LSA empty weight limit.
The American Legend Cub is… well, a legend in Special Light-Sport Aircraft. The iconic Cub look is well captured by this Texas company that has owned the #2 sales spot (#1 among American companies) since the first LSA flew in 2005. Legend has developed engine choices, offers floats, and even has a kit program.
An all-American design, the Just Aircraft Highlander is more than “just” an aircraft. Here’s a rugged taildragger that can carry quite a load and can land on unimproved airstrips… or perhaps alongside that trout stream you always wanted to fish. Beyond its utility, Highlander is roomy to let you sleep in it. (Note: Contrary to my memory test on camera, I do have a pilot report on Highlander.)
The Jabiru J170 is the “little brother” to the larger J230 and J250 series also from Jabiru USA. While the larger models evolved from the four seater Jabiru (Australia) kit — without the two extra seats, of course — the J170 evolved from the original two seater kit. But it still has plenty of room inside and is easily pulled through the air by the four cylinder, 85-hp Jabiru 2200 engine.
RANS is one of America’s largest light aircraft producers, and has been so since 1983. Among their many designs are no less than three Special Light-Sport Aircraft and the S-7LS is one them. Also available as a kit, the ready-to-fly S-7 is a joy to fly. A tandem seater with huge wide doors on both sides, S-7 works well as a floatplane. Other RANS SLSAs include the S-19 low wing and the S-6 high wing side-by-side.
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. The result is their Luxury Sport Aircraft. Every pilot I’ve asked seemed to love flying the all-metal G700S.
SeaMax is a Brazilian design that has sold well in Europe. After U.S. partner SeaMax USA helped earn SLSA approval, Americans became aware of this lovely little seaplane. It seems little and looks small, but holds two occupants in comfort and flies with great enthusiasm.
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. The interior was redone as was the wing construction making a nice upgrade from the G-3 that flew in Europe for many years. Pop its gull wing doors and see for yourself.
If you are a conventional general aviation pilot used to Cessna aircraft, you’ll probably love the Paradise P1. It looks somewhat similar, has room to carry bulky items and flies like most pilots expect. Paradise’s P1 is one of only a few Light-Sport Aircraft that use a yoke for primary control, but that will be familiar to legions of GA-trained pilots.
Storm Rally is offered by Air Elite Aviation, who also recently certified the all-metal, low-wing Century from Europe’s Storm Aircraft. The high wing Rally is a composite construction, showing the versatility of this Italian-design aircraft. Gull wing doors make for easy entrance to the comfortable interior.
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. A leading seller, Sting comes with more standard features than most LSA, including safety-oriented airframe parachute and seat belt airbags. Sting is an all-carbon fiber construction.
SeaRey from Progressive Aerodyne is an all-American amphibian in the Light-Sport Aircraft segment. The U.S.-manufactured entry may follow several foreign designs, but is no newcomer. More than 400 flying aircraft worldwide have been created by home builders in a tight-knit community. SeaRey will be available as a fully-built SLSA soon.
Made in the USA, the IndUS Thorpedo is a storied American design (hint: the 1950s version was the predecessor to the Piper Cherokee). Now the Texas company builds it with the potent 120-hp Jabiru 3300 to make it a performer designer John Thorp never envisioned. This all-metal design has the mmost interesting wing structure among SLSA.
FPNA stands for Floatplanes and Amphibians and they’re into water flying, as the name implies. However, they also build an increasingly popular landplane called the Valor. Put that on their own straight or amphibious float system and you have the Cape Town. Land or sea, the A-22 model is a fun flying machine with terrific visibility.
Storm of Italy (represented in the USA by Air Elite Aviation) has designed and produces three very different aircraft. In addition to the high wing composite Rally, the company makes this all metal low wing Century. Storm also makes an amphibious Sea Storm though it is not being imported to the USA at this time.
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. CTsw is one of the fastest and longest flying LSA in the U.S. fleet.
The FK Lightplanes company has released its new Fk9 ELA that more closely meets U.S. LSA regulations but its Mark IV version of the Fk9 is one of Germany’s most popular light aircraft. See it in this video atop straight Baumann floats made in Minnesota.
Jabiru is the one company I know of that produces both the airframe and the engine under one brand. Jabiru US purchases a basic kit from Australia (along with the engine) and assembles the package in Shelbyville Tennessee. The company has enjoyed consider success at this venture.
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. General aviation pilots will like some of the new features of this second version.
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.
One of the newest SLSA is an all-American design, from Arion Aircraft and it’s called the Lightning LS-1. Winning its approval just before Sun ‘n Fun 2009, LS-1 was preceded by some 80 kit Lightnings the company has sold in the last three years; more than 40 are already flying. I found the Lightning great fun. You might, too. CORRECTION: In this video, I refer to a “retractable” version of the Lightning in kit-built aircraft form, however, that is an error. The model was never designed with such equipment
Here’s another SLSA that looks so small, you’d think it might be cramped inside. But it isn’t and it flies very comfortably as well. The brand comes from Poland but is sold in the USA from Niagra Falls, New York. The composite airplane was well received at the Sun ‘n Fun 2009 LSA Mall.