LSA's new mission statement?

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LSA's new mission statement?

Postby BudgetFreePilot » Wed Jan 26, 2011 8:19 pm

This youtube clip and it's comments raises a couple of serious questions about the state of Light Sport aviation and the Sports Pilot's certificate.

Is light sport aviation's mission driven by manufacturers or end-users? What's better for the designation?

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Re: LSA's new mission statement?

Postby champguy » Thu Jan 27, 2011 1:00 pm

Any of the planes shown in the video can built today and registered as experimentals. The fact that few of them are is not the result of a conspiracy of special interests, but rather a direct result of the limited range, reliability, and capibility of the planes themselves.
After one has taken flight and experienced the joy of seeing the countryside from on high a few times, one either needs further challanges, or one tends to settle back and fly infrequently enough to make proficiency, maintenance, and the expense of storage a mounting problem.
For planes to endure they must be useful over time, which means they must be robust enough to survive the rough and tumble of use and hard landings. They must have the range and capacity to go cross country carrying at least an air mstrass and a tent, or a willing passenger and the credit cards to provide food and shelter.
The thrill and wonder of flight, ultimately must include the commitment both in time and resources to make it a safe and reasonable thing to do.
Short cuts have a way of landing short.
Remember, not all who wander, are lost.

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Re: LSA's new mission statement?

Postby JimP » Wed Mar 23, 2011 7:22 pm

Though the speaker appeared to consider himself an authority on the subject, I found it filled with misstatements and errors. Some of his assumptions are absurd. What killed the ultralight movement in the US was not the FAA and EAA, but the 20/20 report that painted the movement as a bunch of idiots flying machines that were dangerous to even look at. (Gee, I guess those people all moved over to USA Today?)

The only valid point the guy made was concerning the re-licensing of 2-place "ultralights" that operated under the training exemption. Many of those folks didn't bother to register their aircraft for reasons including liability, airworthiness (they weren't designed for long life), lack of new students (or any students) to make it viable, etc. If they failed to register because they thought someone was going to come out with a new LSA trainer for $20-25K, they were foolish... Product liability insurance pretty well doubles the cost of everything aviation-related.

On the other hand, there are some incredible bargains out there, for those who are willing to live with a slow, short range airplane. CGS has a sweet little LSA that is an amazing bargain, and could probably be flown/rented for well under $40/hr, including fuel. There are a couple of others on the market as well.

What's amazing to me is that the manufacturers almost all offer a "stripped-down" version (analog gauges, minimal radios, etc.), but they tell me that no one buys them. No, they all want the latest glass-cockpit gizmos, autopilots, etc. (Hey, I find that I fall into that camp as well... The Dynon / Garmin packages are pretty darn sexy!) The public has voted with their dollars, and the higher-end airplanes are absolutely the sales leaders (CT-series, SportCruiser, Remos, CubCrafters, Sport Cubs, etc. - all are well over $100K for even the base models). If there was a legitimate market for truly cheap airplanes, and if they could be sold profitably, manufacturers would fill that gap. Oh, wait - isn't that what BeLite is doing, right there in Wichita?

He can rant and rave at FAA and EAA all he wants, but nothings stopping him from building and flying his own ultralight airplane... He can vote with his dollars to support BeLite, CGS, and others who are still today supplying airplanes, kits, etc. for ultralights... Meanwhile, I'm thrilled to be able to consider purchasing a new light sport airplane for $100-150K, instead of having to spend 2-3X that much for a "standard" airplane. And yes, I do realize that I could also spend 1/3 of that $150K on a very nice 30-40 year-old airplane and pay for a lot of av-gas... And I'm still thinking about that as well. I'm just glad that I have the option, which I wouldn't have had without the LSA and Sport Pilot rules. So "Thank you, EAA and FAA."
Jim Parker
N5842N - 78 Commander 114 Hot Shot (Turbo Normalized)

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