Light-Sport Aircraft may only be used commercially in two ways: for paid flight instruction and aircraft rentals. However, if a LSA is bought by a municipality, the U.S. government, or the military, it may be called a “Public Use Aircraft,” and is then exempt from FAA’s prohibition of other commercial use. The Tecnam in this video is fitted with a reasonably low cost, quickly attached camera system that might be used by law enforcement officials. Watch too see how the gear works.
We have almost exclusively two place entries in the Light-Sport Aircraft space. And indeed, the SD-1 Minisport is not presently (in 2013) a LSA officially. For now it’s sold as an Experimental Amateur Built aircraft. What sets this cute little apart from dozens of others is that this is a single place aircraft. On this video we spoke with Tyler Ives, the U.S. importer of this Czech airplane and he tells us what you want to know.
We have looked at the Revo trike before and I’ve come to love this handsome hotrod weight shift LSA. Yet developer Larry Mednick keeps on changing this aircraft, so much so that we have to keep taking another look. At Sebring 2013, we spoke with Larry to hear about the newest refinements to this deluxe rig that may be the most evolved trike in the world (not to say some others aren’t great, but few update and upgrade as often as Evolution).
Paul Mather is one of the most experienced proprietors in the light aircraft space. At Sebring 2013, we had a look at his impressive turbo-HKS-powered Breese II aircraft that is presently completing its Special LSA approval. We heard more about Paul’s business which branches off in several directions of service to light plane enthusiasts. Gaining SLSA approval in 2013 and beyond is more involved than ever and Paul briefly tells us some of the tasks he’s undertaken while fitting the Japanese engine.
Not many people can be called the “father” of anything. That unofficial title has to be limited in its use. Nonetheless, John Moody is widely ascribed to be the Father of Ultralight Flying and I have to agree. I saw John fly a bi-wing hang glider to which he’d added a tiny engine way back in 1975. Even hang gliders were fairly new then and it was years before FAA created the ultralight vehicles we know today. Hear his story in this video and see a couple vintage ultralights he flies.
James Weibe has become well known for his accomplishments with his very light — Belite — aircraft. However, this energetic businessman, who cut his teeth in the high tech industry, has also applied himself to aircraft instruments. However, these aren’t your usual round dials nor digital instruments. These unique instruments are incredibly durable and light. Hear about all of them in this video.
Everybody loves the P-51 Mustang and not just pilots, but seemingly anyone who likes airplanes. However, affording one or being qualified to fly one limits any interactive fun with a Mustang to a very limited number of people. Titan Aircraft owner John Williams was another Mustang lover but he did something about it, creating the T-51, a very realistic kit that many can afford. We spoke at length with John about his favorite creation. We think you might enjoy it as well.
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. Short spans of an all-metal wing and a racy fighter-aircraft look to the cabin area add to the appeal of the four Tornado models. We speak with developer and longtime company boss John Williams who tells about construction and much more.
The amazing, incredible AirCam … one aircraft you fly in ways you’d never fly in another airplane. How that? AirCam is an open cockpit twin engine airplane that can even take off with only one engine (though don’t do this!). AirCam developer Lockwood Aircraft tested the new fuel-injected Rotax iS engine on one side with a carburetor 912 ULS on the other. How did that work? Watch this video while light aircraft expert John Hurst explains his experience flying this aircraft from Florida to Oshkosh.
Meet the boss … of the season-opening Sun ‘n Fun airshow, John “Lites” Leehouts along with longtime Paradise City chairman, Dave Piper. These two men made the “new and improved” Paradise City area — formerly the Ultralight Area and subsequently the Light Plane Area — a major hit at the 2013 Sun ‘n Fun airshow. Lites took a flight in a ultralight-like Light-Sport Aircraft and describes his enthusiasm for the new area. Hear it all on this video
Zenith Aircraft CH-650 is the follow-on to the popular CH-601 with hundreds flying. Company pilot Roger Dubbert tells us about some of the differences between the predecessor and the ‘650 and he answers our questions on your behalf regarding flight controls, comfort, baggage and more. Come hear the details for this “sedan” of the line complementing the “Sky Jeep” CH-750.
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. In this video we give you a preview of some 30 videos we created while attending the four day event. Check this one out and keep clicking back until you’ve seen them all.
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. It uses a special version of the Rotax 912 and we spoke to Fabio Russo, the designer of the aircraft. He is also now the chief R&D engineer for Tecnam, so the company benefits from the designer and his design. It will be sold in the USA by SportairUSA.
The FlyEco “smart diesel” engine from Europe attracted plenty of attention at Aero Friedrichshafen in Germany. We visited with the designer of the engine as asked him numerous questions we though you might ask. Please bear with the audio amid the chatter of many visitors and keep in mind that English is not his native language. We helped by repeating and translating some metric to U.S. measurements.
FK Lightplanes longtime designer Peter Funk once again grabbed the attention of many attendees of Aero Friedrichshafen 2013. His all-composite 70%-scale replica created a sensation with its exquisite attention to “fake” detail. Though built entirely of carbon fiber, FK 51 Mustang has more than 100,000 simulated rivets or screwheads. FK manufacturer Rolland Hallam tells us how it was done.
You might see the Flightstar ultralight in this aircraft and you’d be correct. Now owned by Yuneec International, the design has evolved into the eSpyder, a solely electric-powered aircraft and we believe it is the very first to win certification as an electric airplane (by the German-sanctioned authority called DULV). We speak with Flightstar designer Tom Peghiny about his creation and its systems.
Some of the very lightest aircraft at the huge Aero Friedrichshafen 2013 event were those for hang gliding or light trike flying. They were also electric powered, proving again the idea that lightweight flying machines can employ electric power today. In this video we look at several variations on the theme and hear about special features to make electric power work.
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. It can be customized in dozens of ways … much like a “Bobber” motorcycle thereby explaining the choice of names. U.S. importer Bill Canino helps us understand the thinking behind Bobber.
ICP gained brand name awareness primarily with their Savannah model, a short take off and landing airplane that sells for a modest price. We’ve seen it several times but always in tricycle gear. Now at Aero, everyone saw for the first time the new taildragger model from Italy’s ICP. We spoke with company leader Loredana Arisio. We also take a look at their new light aircraft engine with questions answered by engine Andrea Caglio.
BOT Aircraft is the producer of the Speed Cruiser LSA, which we reviewed earlier. In this video shot at Aero Friedrichshafen, we explore the company’s work with the D-Motor aircraft engine. As the launch customer for the powerplant, B.O.T. boss Reiner Tauern reviews with us why he chose the new engine and what buyers might expect of it. In addition, B.O.T. also supports hand controls for pilots who have special needs.
Milan Bristela is the man behind BRS Aero and his the company is recognized in America thanks to his new generation Bristell aircraft. However, at Aero 2013 we saw a new version, a taildragger model. In our video we speak with the designer and ask him about his family-run company and the newest model he is bringing to the market.
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). At Aero 2013 we had a chance to visit with Martin Stepanek about Phoenix Air’s pure-electric aircraft called the ePhoenix. Martin helps us understand the details of electric power in a modern, efficient Light-Sport Aircraft.
We reviewed the folding wing Groppo Trail at Sebring where it stood on conventional or taildragger gear. At Aero, we again spoke with the designer Nando Groppo and his associate who helps with language translation regarding the company’s new tricycle gear version. For many pilots trained on tri-gear, this may be a better choice. Nando once again shows us how easily the wing can fold by a single person.
At Aero 2013, Tecnam mounted a very large display with nearly every one of their many current aircraft. At center stage was the brand new Astore, their first new low wing Light-Sport Aircraft in many years, named to commemorate the company’s 65th anniversary. In this video we interview Paolo Pascale, Tecnam’s managing director. He doesn’t often do media interviews, we’re told, so enjoy his view of the new aircraft.
Just Aircraft’s SuperSTOL was a major hit on the Paradise City runway at Sun ‘n Fun 2013. In this video we continue our review of this amazing aircraft as we interview principal designer Troy Woodland. We go fly the aircraft; with cameras on the wing and even the tailwheel, you can verify its unusual performance that allows you to land with the joystick full aft. Watch the video to hear some of its secrets.
Like many of you, we began admiring this handsome motorglider at AirVenture 2012 where it made a first appearance. How could you not like these lines? After realizing this was another in Randall Fishman’s line of electric-powered aircraft, interest grew even more intense. You can watch our earlier video but in this version we find out more about flying the ULS and we see scenes of Randall flying in the new Paradise City at Sun ‘n Fun.
Rotax Aircraft Engines power more Light-Sport Aircraft than any other engine by a wide margin. Around the world, light aircraft of all types depend on the Rotax brand. Any new engine has a warranty but Kodiak, the distributor of Rotax brand to the Americas, has now extended the warranty for all their customers. RFSC rep’ William Burgher also helps Rotax users contact Rotax Maintenance Technicans.
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. The company earned approval under Canadian rules (slightly different than U.S. LSA rules). In this video he tells us some facts and thoughts about flying the new aircraft. Hear directly from the designer who finally flew his own creation; he quotes a few facts and figures.
Evektor has adhered closely to a principle called CANI… Continuous and Never Ending Improvement. The Czech company’s aircraft have seen exactly that, a series of continuous changes. In this video, AB Flight’s Art Tarola tells us about some changes that might please aircraft buyers. Art and Steve Minnich of Dreams Come True are the key representatives of all Evektor aircraft. Check it all out in this video.
One of the toughest things to do in aviation is bring a new engine to market. Pilots/buyers take time to gain confidence in new powerplants even moreso than with new airframes. We spoke to UL Power representative Robert Helms last year at the Midwest LSA Expo and this year he updates us on new engine options all the way up to 196 horsepower. All engines have FADEC (Full Authority Digital Engine Control), just like far more expensive FAA-certified engines.
Icon’s A5 has been so shrewdly promoted that the Southern California company has gathered nearly 1,000 delivery position orders. Some folks wonder if it will make it to market. In this summer 2012 video, we speak with CEO Kirk Hawkins and ask him about a new development — involving spin resistant airframe — that may have delayed production but produced some very interesting results that those waiting owners should love. Enjoy many flying photos while we talk.
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. Our preferred message: Is it not better to work together as aviators to share the joy we find in flight?
Most aviators already know the name Patty Wagstaff from her many aerobatic performances at major airshows while flying her powerful Extra 300. The three-time National Aerobatic Champion performed at Sebring 2013, which gave us the chance to conduct an interview with her. Come watch and see if Patty will consider doing a routine in a Light-Sport Aircaft.
In 2012, Rotax brought out their new fuel-injected 912 iS engine. The leading supplier of Light-Sport Aircraft engines worked hard on this computer-controlled engine as they prepared a replacement for the venerable carburetor 912 (which remains in production). We spoke with LSA guru John Hurst who flew a twin-engine AirCam from Sebring Florida to Oshkosh and he tells about flying one of each 912 engine versions.
One of the most unusual Light-Sport Aircraft in the fleet is also the most powerful, with its new 190-hp engine. ITEC’s Maverick is both powered parachute and up to a four-seater car. More than just a sedan, Maverick is a hot rod that can truly dash around on the ground. Hear from factory representatives to hear what has changed and how novel this machine appears to be.
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. We asked specifically about the upgraded Paradise City area (formerly known as the Ultralight Area and then the Light Plane Area). In the interview “Lites” assures vendors and attendees that they can fly demo flights from Paradise City all day long, even when the main airshow is occurring. Come meet “Lites” and hear his year ’round plans for Sun ‘n Fun.