What would become of Light Sport Aviation if GAPPA passes?

dpbetts
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What would become of Light Sport Aviation if GAPPA passes?

Postby dpbetts » Thu Feb 06, 2014 1:57 pm

I was hoping that this topic might come up while the boys were down at Sebring, but I haven't heard anyone discuss this yet so I thought I'd throw out the question:

What would happen to the LSA industry (particularly the manufacturers) if the General Aviation Pilot Protection Act (GAPPA) actually passes?

A little background... I'm a private pilot, no instrument rating, 55 years old with a few minor medical issues, but nothing that a letter from the internist to the FAA medical examiner doesn't fix along with a few extra things like a copy of the EKG, some bloodwork, etc. I've never had a medical denied and could easily keep it going for the foreseeable future, but it is somewhat of a pain in the backside to jump through the hoops for every other year.

Another fact is that I am VERY pro LSA, for the reduced hours requirement in getting a ticket for the purely sunny-day-around-the-patch flyer as well as those who give up because of the hassle of keeping a medical active.

But when I heard about GAPPA (combined with the fact that we have such a pro-GA aviation caucus in DC these days) I had two immediate thoughts:

1) The no-medical requirements as proposed under GAPPA are fantastic - the best thing to happen to G.A. in a LONG time and would be a great boost to helping keep private aviation alive. I don't have hard figures, but I do feel that a good number pilots give up flying because the medical side of it is such a hassle. I also believe that medical-related accidents are quite acceptably low as to not present a significant increase in risk.

2) My second thought (almost immediately) was that this would effectively kill LSA manufacturing. With the great availability of used aircraft on the market and the ability to fly anything up to 6,000 pounds gross weight, why would anyone buy an LSA at a price usually well north of $100,000?

What do you think??

Doug

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champguy
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Re: What would become of Light Sport Aviation if GAPPA passe

Postby champguy » Thu Feb 06, 2014 11:18 pm

The new LSA "Fast Glass" planes are awesome machines and will make their own way in the market. Younger pilots will be less enthused with fifty year old "Spam Cans".
Anything that roles back the dead hand of bureaucracy, particularly the Aeromedical Division is all for the good, but will mostly help only a few ageing pilots not ready to let go the dreams of their younger days.
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Laminar
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Re: What would become of Light Sport Aviation if GAPPA passe

Postby Laminar » Fri Feb 07, 2014 11:34 am

The topic of LSA/Sport Pilot has fascinated me ever since it was new, mostly because I don't understand it.

I have a medical, and I fly a J-3 Cub for fun. (I need the medical because I am a towpilot in my glider club; otherwise I would let it lapse.)

When it became clear to me that modern LSAs would always be expensive, I predicted that the market for them would remain tiny, and that the demand for "legacy LSAs" would increase dramatically. I was wrong on both counts.

Pilots of above-average wealth are ordering modern LSAs, and those of lesser means are sticking with their 150s and 172s and holding on to their medicals for dear life. It is the latter group (by far the majority) that is pushing for passage of the GAPPA.

Most of us cannot afford a modern LSA for recreational use. The passage of GAPPA will not suddenly make us rich, and it will not siphon potential customers away from the modern LSA market.

The manufacturers of LSAs know their market. They are targeting people who want high performance and a high-tech instrument panel. People who can afford it. People with or without medicals. Such people exist in sufficient numbers to justify the industry. More power to them.

The new $219K Tecnam P2008 TC sure is attractive. But why would you buy one when you could have a Cub or a Champ and a nice private hangar for the same price? I haven't got a clue. If I ever get to make that choice, I'll let you know if my position changes.

-Rick

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jackhodgson
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Re: What would become of Light Sport Aviation if GAPPA passe

Postby jackhodgson » Sun Feb 09, 2014 11:19 am

As I've said on the podcast, I support the modified medical requirements. But I do think that it will hurt the LSA market.

It seems to me that a lot of the customers for LSA planes are "aging private pilots" who can no longer fly their 172/cherokee/bonanza/etc. If they can continue to fly those, they will not buy or rent an LSA. That's gotta hurt LSA sales. I don't think it will "kill" the market. But it will thin it out for sure.

// Jack

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champguy
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Re: What would become of Light Sport Aviation if GAPPA passe

Postby champguy » Fri Mar 14, 2014 9:44 pm

My feeling is that if GAPPA passes, a big if, the only real effect will be that a modest number of ageing pilots will fly the planes they already own for a few more years until they decide it is time to quit all on their own.
As a wishful thinker, it would be nice if the FAA got shocked into into recovering its lost mission to promote GA in all its forms.
Signed "Blue in the Face" on that one.
The podcast that Jack did on Around the Field with Amy Laboda http://aroundthefield.net/ was very good, thanks. Adult conversation seems in short supply in my life and is always appreciated.
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jackhodgson
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Re: What would become of Light Sport Aviation if GAPPA passe

Postby jackhodgson » Wed Mar 19, 2014 3:04 pm

Thanks for your kind comment about the Around the Field podcast ep. I'm slowly getting that one up to speed. I hope to do a lot more of those 1-1 interviews.

// Jack


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