REPORTING AFTER SUN ‘N FUN — Not as exciting as a perfect landing, insurance is nonetheless a vital component of flying. For the most part: no insurance/no flying. And, as we’ve seen play out on the national stage with AIG (though not the aviation division) insurance is anything but assured when it comes to even giant companies failing. When you pay thousands of dollars per year as one expense of your flying, you want to know your company will be around to cover any loss. *** Avemco says it is the largest direct insurer — meaning they deal insurance company to owner without a middleman. They also report receiving an A+ rating for 25 consecutive years from A.M. Best, the insurance rating agency. Yet it gets much better. *** At Sun ‘n Fun Avemco president, Jim Lauerman announced “favored rates” for selected Special Light-Sport Aircraft (see photo caption).
American Legend Aircraft Company Legend Cub
Phone: (903) 885-7000Sulphur Springs, TX 75483 - USA
Exhibitor Chris Regis of Paradise USA (representing the P-1) reported “good visitor traffic” and “excellent organization” from the people behind the Heart of Texas LSA Expo. The new event, held over March 8 & 9 is one of two planned shows following the strong 2009 performance at the pioneer of LSA Expos, the Sebring U.S. Sport Aviation Expo. *** Several reports reminded me of the 13-city Sport Pilot Tour held during 2005 and 2006. Each of those events drew 10-20 exhibiting LSA and attracted 300-700 people at locations across the USA. The numbers sound small to those enamored of the huge crowds at Oshkosh. But, in fact, the Sport Pilot Tour, with its focused marketing on LSA only, helped customers find the manufacturer they were seeking. Everyone who came was interested in LSA and a vendor could speak to nearly all of them.
Triplet LSA Cubs entering the market show the popularity of this venerable design. First approved as an SLSA was the Legend Cub which offers many features desired by those who love J-3 Cubs. Shortly after Legend came approval for the Savage Cub and the CubCrafters Sport Cub should follow soon. Watch for my review of all three in EAA’s October 2005 Sport Pilot and Light-Sport Aircraft magazine. One differentiating factor between the three are their choices of engine. Both Legend and CubCrafters use the 100-hp Continental O-200 while Legend plans to offer the 120-hp Jabiru 3300 as well. Savage offers the 100-hp Rotax 912S. All offer electric starting (not on an original Piper J-3) and each has significantly improved performance and comfort.
With one month to go (and it’s hard to imagine a big December), we have figures to report for this most extraordinary year. We’re all (painfully) aware of the economic predicament, but how has this impacted light-sport aviation? Here’s my observations. *** In 11 months, the industry has increased fleet size by 35% to 1,510 fixed wing airplanes from 1,118 on January 1st. Annualizing the numbers, all airplane LSA should register 427 airplanes, which equates to about 35 aircraft per month, which means sales were about 20% off the monthly pace recorded since early 2006. *** Flight Design held its top spot and again delivered the most, but just barely. Remos has been the rising star of 2008 with a 147% increase over their total on January 1st. Tecnam became only the third company to pass 100 units registered. Other solid gains were logged by Czech Aircraft Works (up 69% in the year); Jabiru (up 53%); FPNA (up 55%, though from a lower number, which makes larger percentage gains easier); Aeropro (up 52%).
Legend has good reason for celebration (and no, this has nothing to do with Obama’s election). In the lifespan of Light-Sport Aircraft — the first deliveries reach their fourth anniversary next April — Legend was an early success…a story that continues to unfold. The Sulfur Springs, Texas producer has come a long way while handily maintaining their status as, by far, the largest American-based producer of LSA. *** Recently, Legend celebrated the third anniversary of its first Legend Cub customer delivery. In August 2005, the builder handed over the keys to the company’s first newly manufactured Legend Cub to Rich Giannotti of Long Island, New York, launching the startup company. In the three years following, American Legend and their sibling kit company, Texas Sport Aircraft, report deliveries of more than 160 aircraft (not all SLSA). *** Along the way Legend has consistently added new features or options to the classic design.
Does FAA control aviation? They regulate it (sometimes well). True control may be in the hands of insurance companies. Just try to operate your airplane, your airport, your aviation business without insurance coverage. Insurance companies help keep airports open and protect our investment in airplanes when we occasionally land a bit hard. *** One company addresses market needs differently. Avemco sells directly to pilots, not through middlemen. This may explain why Avemco is one of the country’s largest airplane insurers. *** Their top man, Avemco President Jim Lauerman, has been out doing his homework on LSA. In our conversation at Sebring 2008, Jim told me about all the LSA leaders he spoke to at the event. Following Sebring he went quite a few extra miles and paid in-person visits to AMD, American Legend, and IndUS Aviation. *** Since Lauerman is personally willing to look carefully at LSA, industry players are likely to heed his advice out of respect for his interest and thoroughness.
With summer just around the corner, floatplane flying regains its special appeal. In about a month, I’ll have an announcement of a very exciting, ultramodern new seaplane that will make your jaw drop. But today, you can get an incentive at the opposite end of the LSA technology spectrum. *** Legend Cub, which offers a float option for its replica Cub, is offering $2,000 of free options with the purchase of a Legend FloatCub, base priced at $121,000. If you’ve investigated floatplane or seaplane prices you should recognize a fair value, now with a couple grand of added goodies to clinch the deal. *** FloatCub comes with Baumann 1500 Floats and experiences minimal performance reductions in this configuration. FloatCub still manages a 92 mph top speed, only 10 percent below a non-float Legend Cub. And climb remains a respectable 500 fpm. *** Unlike the other two Cub lookalikes in the LSA fleet (Sport Cub and Savage) — and unlike the original Piper Cub — Legend offers doors on both sides.
With the delivery of their 88th Legend Cub, the Sulphur Springs, Texas-based company handily confirmed its well-out-in-front leadership among American companies building SLSA. If fact, among the entire fleet, Legend is a solid number two behind Flight Design and its CT, a good margin ahead of next-best producers Fantasy Air, TL Ultralight, Evektor, Tecnam, and AMD (according to the best info I have). Other U.S. built LSA companies include IndUS, RANS, Jabiru USA, CubCrafters, Skykits, Just Aircraft, Luscombe, Prestige, Delta Jet (trike), and Infinity (PPC). Seventeen models — a shade over a third — of 48 currently approved are either “Made in the USA” or foreign designs built in the U.S. *** All-American Legend recently listed their many achievements in less than two years since the first SLSA approvals including: Jabiru (or Continental) power, floats, glass cockpit, special paint schemes…all in addition to many Piper J-3 improvements, such as a wider cockpit, doors on both sides, and fly from either seat capability.
RICH GIANNOTTI I may be the only person who attended Sun ‘n Fun and EAA AirVenture Oshkosh this year with my airplane without it leaving the ground. Why? Because my uncovered fuselage was on display at Sun ‘n Fun in American Legend Aircraft’s booth, and the whole airplane was at Oshkosh, but not ready to fly. That changed on August 21 when my friend, Rudy, and I traveled to Sulphur Springs, Texas, to pick up my new Legend Cub, serial number 1003, N77355, and Legend’s first customer airplane. We arrived at the American Legend’s facility on Sunday afternoon as several people were putting the finishing touches on it. Darin Hart, one of the principals of the company, was applying that cool “Legend Cub” decal on the tail. Several others were hovering here and there. Monday morning, August 22, brought the full Legend staff to bear on the airplane. The FAA was to arrive mid-morning to issue the certificate needed to allow a test flight.
|Empty weight||850 pounds|
|Gross weight||1,320 pounds|
|Wing area||178.5 square feet|
|Wing loading||7.4 pounds/square feet|
|Useful Load||470 pounds|
|Payload (with full fuel)||338 pounds|
|Fuel Capacity||23 gallons|
|Baggage area||40 pounds|
|Standard engine||Continental O-200|
|Power loading||13.2 pounds/hp|
|Time between overhauls||1,800 hours|
|Cruise speed||95 mph|
|Stall Speed||38 mph|
|Never exceed speed||129 mph|
|Rate of climb at gross||500 fpm|
|Takeoff distance at gross||350 feet|
|Landing distance at gross||350 feet|
|Range (powered)||315 miles (3.5 hours)|
|Fuel Consumption||5.7 gph|
Familiar…Yellow…Tandem…FUN! Many light-sport aircraft (LSA) aspire to a futuristic look, using exotic materials like carbon fiber with shapes that are sleek and finely contoured. Other designers chose another niche. American Legend Aircraft Company of Sulphur Springs, Texas, is one of three companies that have recreated the venerable Piper Cub, which has so captured the imagination of the general public that the words “Piper Cub” are used by the unknowing to describe almost any airplane without a jet engine. Pilots know better. Yet among the immense range of aircraft available, the Piper Cub maintains a favorable, nostalgic image. Doesn’t every pilot have a warm, fuzzy feeling for the little yellow tandem-seater? Three companies now target this interest under the new LSA category. (We’re featuring the Legend Cub but will describe the other two-the North American Sport Aviation Savage and Cub Crafters’ Sport Cub-in sidebars.) American Legend’s Cub was the first of the three to earn special light-sport aircraft (S-LSA) certification under the ASTM consensus standards.
As a new season of flying for fun starts the Legend Cub from Sulphur Springs, Texas made its first flight. Company founders Tim Elliott and Darin Hart say their new Cub lookalike (it isn’t identical, for example, it’s got a wider cockpit) is for “recreational flyers of all ages around the world.” That’s a big statement but the popular design shape is certain to find good appeal. The Legend Cub makes its public debut at Sun ‘n Fun 2005. Look for a pilot report in an upcoming EAA Sport Pilot magazine.
Legend Aircraft‘s Cub is one of the top selling SLSA, ranking up high with Flight Design’s CT, Fantasy Air’s Allegro, Evektor’s SportStar, and TL Ultralight’s StingSport. Both American-made Cub-like designs (Legend’s and CubCrafters‘) have been 100% Continental O-200 powered because that engine is close to what was used in the original Piper J-3 Cub, which has driven demand from customers attracted to the vintage aircraft. However, the Cubs have higher empty weights than many of their smaller metal or composite competitors — CT and StingSport, being primarily carbon fiber airframes, weigh in almost 200 pounds lighter, for example. So, when operating at higher elevations or on floats, reported Legend staffer Pat Bowers, some owners felt more power would be useful. For several weeks the Sulphur Springs, Texas factory worked to install the Jabiru 3300. The six cylinder engine is 35 pounds lighter and has 20 more horsepower, a combination said to provided spirited performance.