Pilots heading to Sun ‘n Fun 2021 had no real idea what to expect. As evening approached on Sunday set-up day, a big black storm cloud rolled over Sun ‘n Fun’s Lakeland Airport campus, blowing guard shacks and plastic bathrooms around like pieces of paper. An omen? Hardly! The next morning… The good news is I saw no damage other than a couple cracked-up guard shacks. No airplane damage was obvious to me. The great news is final setup day was gloriously sunny and exhibit airplanes arrived steadily. By nightfall on Monday as exhibitors finished their preparations, Sun ‘n Fun was looking good and ready for pilots to descend on the Showgrounds. Several hands pitched in — thanks loudly to a great group from DeLand Showcase — to turn the LAMA LSA Mall into the regular attraction its become over the last 15 years. A fewer number of airplanes will be shown in the LSA Mall but at least one is a machine you’ve never seen before and others are head turners.
Phone: (931) 680-2800BUNDABERG WEST, QLD, -- 4670 - Australia
Now Available In America!Under former importer Pete Krotje, Jabiru grew to be one of our important LSA entries, with a fleet ranking of #7 in the USA and 118 models flying (more details on our Tableau Public website). Nothing will change that. Current importer US Sport Planes, under the direction of industry veteran, Scott Severen, reports doing well even in this challenging business environment. Scott's many years in this sector gives him insight others lack and he is using that knowledge to make a sea change for Jabiru aircraft in the USA. Now, you can buy a fully ready-to-fly, fully FAA-accepted Light-Sport Aircraft …or… you can order a kit and save tens of thousands. Even though Special LSA Jabirus enjoy relatively modest prices when compared to many rivals, those seeking a lower price point or looking for an activity many enjoy can try kit building — assembling your own aircraft, doing so your way, and ending with an intimate awareness of every bolt and rivet. If those choices aren't broad enough for your needs, Scott has a long history brokering previously-owned Jabirus and other LSA. Over many years of pursing this sector, he has become an expert on the best second-hand aircraft that may satisfy your interest.
A New Focus on Kit-BuiltWelcome to kit-built Jabiru aircraft models, from the training-oriented J170 to the fast, large cruiser J230-D, and right up to and including the four-seat J430. Let's put the fresh offering in perspective. "It's an interesting year for Jabiru," Scott declared! During the Coronavirus panic, Jabiru Australia designed and began 3D printing face shields, collaborating with other businesses in Australia using 3D printers to increase production volumes. This has been well received as it has kept employment up plus fulfilled a need in the country. Here in America, Scott enthused, "In the U.S., 2020 started out flying high and fast! While activity slowed a little with the pandemic, even with the major aviation shows cancelling, the market is returning to a vibrant pace." "We are now offering all three kits," Scott noted. He referred to the J170-D two door; the 230-D three door, and 430-D four place aircraft. "The kits are suitable for home assembly or with builder assistance in Tennessee," Scott added. To learn more, visit the webpage for Jabiru kits in the USA; lots of details are presented. He continued, "We also continue to have numerous inquiries for previously-owned J250-SP, J230-SP and particularly for J230-D aircraft." Trying to be helpful and flexible during these unusual economic times, Scott elaborated, "If you have been thinking of upgrading to a newer plane, of course, I'd like to visit with you!" Yet he said, "If life has changed and you want or need to sell your Jabiru, I'll be happy to review our resources with you." "In short, we provide as much or as little help as you like," Scott clarified. "This can be from a 'one stop shop,' where we bring your Jabiru to our US Sport Planes facility in Texas, go through all the paperwork including service bulletins and inspections to reduce liabilities to you as a seller, handling the entire process in a 'No Fuss, No Muss' transaction. Or, we can simply discuss what items are most important for you to take care of before you sell." Learn more about all things Jabiru in the USA by calling (940-597-6860) or sending an email. I close with the following video review of the configuration and flight qualities of the J170 powered by the 80-horsepower 2200 Jabiru engine. If you are interested in the J230 series, try this video. For an owner's perspective, watch this video interview. both productions of Dave Loveman's The Ultralight Flyer YouTube channel.
Although Special LSA plus Experimental LSA run neck-and-neck with Sport Pilot eligible kit-built aircraft in U.S. aircraft registrations, America remains more kit-oriented than most other countries. Most western nations have kit programs of some kind but since their regulations have longer allowed fully-built aircraft, the European brands tend to slightly lead in SLSA deliveries while American producers thoroughly dominate kit-built aircraft sales. Two other reasons also account for this situation. A kit-built aircraft can lower the total cost of acquisition in trade for you investing your time. Many find those hours highly enjoyable and educational so kits may always be popular. In addition, a kit-built aircraft builder can do his or her own maintenance although a ELSA can qualify for this advantage as well. Now Available In America! Under former importer Pete Krotje, Jabiru grew to be one of our important LSA entries, with a fleet ranking of #7 in the USA and 118 models flying (more details on our Tableau Public website).
Bristell 915iSThe successful model from the very active BRM Aero in the Czech Republic was always a favorite for its exquisite design with no detail overlooked, with some of the smoothest execution in the industry. It's wide cabin and luxurious appointments puts Bristell almost in a class of its own, with a price tag to match. Bristell with Rotax's uber-powerful, 141-horsepower 915iS fuel injected, turbocharged, and intercooler engine bumps the selling price beyond reach of many aviators while still being a fraction of its equivalent among legacy general aviation airplanes. You'll pay in the high $200,000 range for Bristell 915 but what a superlative airplane you'll receive for that money. While the price might discourage some, fear not, as main man Lou Mancuso also offers a shared ownership program that may be the best I've ever heard (details in this video). As we launched on our photo mission with Bristell going first, it was clear this machine can soar into the sky faster than almost any LSA I've seen short of much-slower-cruising STOL designs. Look for our video to follow with more information about the latest offered by Bristell USA. BRM Aero is definitely a moving target with new models in the works, but as with all the vendors featured in this virtual preview, you will have to learn about the new ideas at a later airshow. Stay tuned! ••• Get Lots More Info — Bristell USA (for North America) or BRM Aero (for other countries)
Jabiru J230DFor a very rare airframe company that also builds its own engines, welcome to the all-new Jabiru J230D with their latest Gen 4 (generation 4) Jabiru engine. The two seater LSA is also supplied as a four seater in its homeland of Australia, so this American model offers not only one of the most voluminous aft cabins in all of LSA-land but a separate, third door to access it. Representative U.S. Sport Planes, led by industry veteran Scott Severen, has demonstrated this baggage capacity with photos showing a large dog sitting comfortably aft of the pilots. Those who struggle to load a couple small bags in most airplanes may be envious of the ease of entry to the back cabin. Yet capacity is not the whole story behind J230D. This new model has refinements to make it fly even nicer. Since J230 models were already able to speed to the top of the category, improvements are focused on fit and finish and handling qualities. In addition to the updated airframe, Jabiru is now in full production on their Gen 4 engine offered in two configurations: a four-cylinder 2200 model producing 80 horsepower; and the six-cylinder 3300 model with 120 horsepower. Learn more about both Gen 4 engines. The J230D uses the later to scoot along at max LSA speed. ••• Get Lots More Info — U.S. Sport Planes
Flight Design F2Flight Design has been busy over the last year. Not only have they come out with their CTLS 2020 (fresh news) but they've put their all-new F2 through multiple tests. The German company is almost ready to begin deliveries. Since I first saw the F2 in mock up, Flight Design has redesigned the intake for two reasons: "to reduce drag as we confirmed the older version was very functional but draggy; and for aesthetic reasons," said the company. "Flight Design team designer and Head of Airworthiness, Christian Majunke, designed conceptually. He also designed a rather novel installation of the coolant and oil radiators," elaborated Flight Design USA representative, Tom Peghiny. Also new panel is an SLSA panel with twin G3X screens, a Garmin GTR 225 Com, Garmin GTX 345 ADSB in and out transponder, Garmin GMC 507 autopilot control head (with dual axis autopilot), and Garmin GMA 245 intercom. Pilot controls remain essentially as they were on the CT-series but note the combined single lever throttle and brake system. "Our F2 prototype number 002 arrived at port in Miami in preparation for display at Sun n Fun 2020," said Tom. Like most vendors, Flight Design USA hoped to go forward with the Lakeland show but will now unveil the new model at Oshkosh 2020 (assuming it remains on schedule). "After completing all SLSA required flight testing including the demanding ASTM 3180 anti-spin requirements, production has started on the first aircraft from production tooling in Germany, Ukraine and the Czech Republic," concluded Tom. ••• Get Lots More Info — Flight Design USA
Whisper X350You know the Czech Cessna-182 lookalike called L600 from AeroPilot USA. You also know the dashing FX1 from InnovAviation in Italy. Both of these interesting models are represented by Deon Lombard of AeroPilot USA, now based in Florida but with representation in California. At Sun 'n Fun 2020, Deon expected to introduce Whisper to American kit builders. Alas, as with the rest of this group, you probably won't see it until July in Wisconsin.
Whisper Aircraft in South Africa has created Whisper X350 Gen II, a two-seat, cross-country sport aircraft with a limit load factor of plus 6.0 and minus 4.0 Gs. Those are merely limit loads. This is a tough bird.
Whisper wings feature a carbon fiber structure tested to an ultimate load factor of 12.0 Gs. The Gen II’s wing tanks offer a total fuel capacity of 63 U.S. gallons, giving a range of 1,000 nautical miles and an endurance of over 6 hours.
"The aircraft also has one of the widest interiors on the market today, featuring optional leather interior and plenty of baggage room making the Gen II perfect for comfortable cross-country trips. This will make a good member of the AeroPilot USA family. A few more specs: Useful Load — 925 pounds; Speed — 175 knots; Range — 1,137 miles.••• Get Lots More Info — AeroPilot USA
Montaer MC-01It might have been one of the great flights to reach Sun 'n Fun 2020, had it occurred. That's because designer and company representative Bruno de Oliveira had planned to fly his new model all the way from Brazil to Lakeland. That alone would have been reason to examine the new Light-Sport Aircraft. Bruno will be aided in his approach to the U.S. market by longtimer, Ed Ricks, who once helped the Paradise Aircraft people with their P1NG (video). Unfortunately, that relationship faded but when Bruno, who once worked for Paradise, struck out on his own, Ed and partner were pleased to get back involved. MC-01's airframe is constructed with 4130 molybdenum steel tube providing a greater safety to the occupants. The exterior is all aeronautical aluminum fuselage and wings. A steerable nose wheel, dual toe brakes, and control yokes are just some of the features of this well built airplane. Learn more here; get more specs here. Had Ed been able to show MC-01 at Sun 'n Fun 2020 he was ready to make a special offer. While this handsome, approved, all-metal airplane normally sells for a reasonable $135,000, an introductory price of only $125,000 was to be the show special. If you're lucky, Ed may extend the offer to AirVenture Oshkosh 2020 (assuming it remains on its present schedule). ••• Get Lots More Info — Montaer USA
While I continue to worry about the cash crunch faced by two of my favorite shows, I am still driven to provide content as if those shows had occurred this year and not been postponed to 2021. Of course, I refer to Aero Friedrichshafen and Sun ‘n Fun, the latter my focus for this post. Here I will relate five aircraft you might have seen in Lakeland last week …before it was bumped to early May, but which is now off until April 2021. I admit I secretly hoped for good news in these sad cancellations that might allow me to attend both events in 2021. I had to pick one over the other in 2020 as they were exactly opposite one another. Unfortunately for my schedule, the year-long postponement didn’t change anything. Sun ‘n Fun 2021 will be 13-18 of April while Aero 2021 is planned for 14-17 April.
Psych' Up ⬆️A recent Facebook post showed a pilot flying solo, clearly enjoying himself with a caption something like: "I find many of my favorite hobbies involve social distancing." I grinned at his use of the new ubiquitous phrase but in the background of his image, the sky looked beautiful and his joy at being aloft was a welcome change of pace from the nonstop bummer news. Another great online comment was posted by Jabiru importer, Scott Severen, who reasoned that flying your Light-Sport Aircraft (or Sport Pilot kit or 103 ultralight) is a better way to have a look at the countryside. Same for traveling while the airlines are stuck between a rock and a hard place. Faster LSA are good for covering some distance and flying yourself sure beats waiting in TSA lines that have stretched to seven hours in some extreme cases, or getting on an airliner with hundreds of strangers (though seats are not all full now, by a wide margin). Scott's hopeful expressions included: "Industry might see an uptick as small aircraft are terrific for regional travel." He says they can be a time saver (think: no TSA). Further he notes, "Traveling by LSA is more 'point-to-point' with local airports generally closer the destination. Our smaller aircraft can access most every airport in the USA." Even in this tough period, when I called Scott for permission to use his words, he was completing a Jabiru sale. Finally, Scott observed, "Lower interest rates are opening the selection of aircraft for those looking at an acquisition… aircraft buyers [can help] stabilize the economy." I love the point of Scott's comments, which might be surmised as: When all you have are lemons, make lemonade. Follow Scott and Jabiru in America on Facebook for more.
What To Do, NOWYou can do aviation-oriented things after you've worn out self-quarantining, social distancing, incessantly washing your hands, searching in vain for masks and hand sanitizer (and toilet paper), and perusing infection rate charts. Since nearly every media outfit is publishing advice about how to stay healthy (that's good!), we want to encourage you to stay happy as well. Here are some ideas:
- Read more websites like this one, which we guarantee is 100% coronavirus-free.
- Watch more YouTube such as The Ultralight Flyer channel and the ByDanJohnson.com YouTube channel; no virus here either.
- Go fly! You'll be out-of-doors, which is good. You'll get aloft, which is even better. Skip taking anyone with you; flying solo is great fun and you can't be exposed.
- Now might be a great time to buy (as Scott hinted above); he's making sales this week!
- Go to your shop and work on your aircraft kit, or to your hangar to pull some maintenance.
- Be aeronautically active in ways that don't spread infection …good for the local, state, and national economy.
“This, too, shall pass…” said my neighbor, Bill Chernish, who flies for Southwest Airlines. His industry is unusually battered by the coronavirus pandemic. His calm and forward-looking view is refreshing amidst the fear seen, well… everywhere. For everyone around the globe, the word “coronavirus” or the clumsier “Covid-19” disease it causes, has been the major topic of conversations. Rarely have we seen one theme so dominate all the peoples of the planet. What comes afterward? I have no crystal ball but two recent posts online gave me a lift. Perhaps you can feel similarly. Psych’ Up ⬆️ A recent Facebook post showed a pilot flying solo, clearly enjoying himself with a caption something like: “I find many of my favorite hobbies involve social distancing.” I grinned at his use of the new ubiquitous phrase but in the background of his image, the sky looked beautiful and his joy at being aloft was a welcome change of pace from the nonstop bummer news.
Now Read This…We have an "Unbeatable Warranty," declared Scott Severen, the representative for Jabiru in the USA under the business name US Sport Planes! What does he mean? "Jabiru Aircraft will be offering an increased warranty at Oshkosh 2019, lasting the duration of the show," Scott explained, revealing great confidence in this roomiest of Light-Sport Aircraft. "The warranty offered will be five years or 1,000 hours, whichever occurs first, for the airframe and the engine." Having followed light aircraft for many years, I have never heard a warranty for an aircraft that extends this long. Also, almost no other aircraft companies can offer a warranty on both airframe and engine, both manufactured by Jabiru in Australia. * By way of explanation, it seems with the in March 2017 launch of Jabiru’s new Gen 4 engine — a 6-cylinder, 120-horsepower, direct-drive, air-cooled powerplant — the down under producer of the composite high wing aircraft with a well-evolved engine, is seeing great results. See this article challenging Jabiru engines and the satisfactory resolution that followed. "They are claiming reduced maintenance for the engine due to the improved manufacturing configuration," clarified Scott. "This 30-year-old company has historically been quite conservative in their business approach, always operating on their own capital without incurring debt." Apparently Jabiru's history with the engine and airframe has the Australian manufacturer very comfortable extending this type of offer and support, overcoming the earlier news. "J230-D comes with a 10-inch Garmin G3X Touch display with synthetic vision; flight director; auto pilot; Garmin ADS-B in/out transponder providing weather and traffic on screen; intercom; leather interior; tinted windshield; wheel pants; 120 horsepower, 6-cylinder Jabiru engine; three human-sized doors, composite ground-adjustable prop… all standard for $149,900. "This is looking to be a great value at the show this year," said Scott." Find the Jabiru LSA at US Sport Planes' exhibit in the main aircraft area: booths 354 and 363 (just SE of Boeing Plaza). In case the J230-D price tag sounds beyond your budget, remember Jabiru has other choices. "The 4-cylinder J170 is priced at $129,900," observed Scott. The smaller J170 pares down on some of the options but still comes set up for night VFR. It's equipped with the 7-inch Garmin G3X Touch Display with synthetic vision, flight director, ADS-B in and out offering weather and traffic on screen. The lower cost model does not have auto pilot, comes with a wood prop and no wheel pants plus the interior uses cloth rather than leather. However, despite the lower price, "the Unbeatable Warranty applies to J170 as well," noted Scott. At 2018's DeLand Showcase, Scott and I went up for a flight to make a Video Pilot Report. Look for that at Dave Loveman's Light Sport and Ultralight Flyer YouTube channel but here is a short view of the Australian LSA. https://youtu.be/M_Mvms8uJpw * In this article, readers learned that Jabiru engines are represented and maintained in the USA by Arion Aircraft.
Price matters. While pilots enjoy a huge range in aircraft types, capabilities, descriptions, and price points, the fact remains that some aircraft will always be too expensive for some buyers. A smaller number tilt the other way, thinking a too-cheap aircraft might be, well… cheap, as in cheaply built. Airplane buying is as subjective as any other purchase. It has to work for you! If, for purchase consideration, you examine any of the LSA industry’s leaders, odds are the price of a new aircraft may require partners, financing, or a thicker wallet. However, one other factor enters into the decision: warranty. Really? Have you considered this when seeking a new airplane? Perhaps not, at least not the same way you consider a new auto warranty. The latter usually have a longer timeframe (especially in the last couple decades) yet warranty can be significant if a major problem arises. Now Read This… We have an “Unbeatable Warranty,” declared Scott Severen, the representative for Jabiru in the USA under the business name US Sport Planes!
"New or Used?"That is a question pondered by vendors. Many businesses representing airframe manufacturers cater exclusively to the new aircraft sales. Many regard used aircraft, even their own brand, as competitors. Some, like Scott Severen of US Sport Planes, see used aircraft — especially for the Jabiru brand he represents for North America — as an alternate for his enterprise. He displayed two pristine Jabiru LSA with prices 50% under a new model. They are not the same as current new models but from my look, many buyers would find them highly desirable. Did I mention for half the price of new? Scott and other vendors have taken a more entrepreneurial approach to used aircraft, turning the sale of used LSA into a profit center to support their business rather than fighting futilely against the presence of a growing used fleet of LSA. "I earn more with a new plane but I can do fine with used," Scott said. "My reasoning best serves the customer, too, as a pilot looking for new isn't interested in used and a customer who wants to spend less is motivated by a lower price (photos)." Another veteran of the LSA business is John Hurst who represented a pair of Breezers that also look very good despite being used. Breezer Aircraft of Germany has not had a U.S. representative for several years but existing ones can certainly be given some tender loving care (home page image). "I went through the airplanes from nose to tail," said John, while noting the exceptionally good flying characteristics. If he doesn't move this pair of Breezer sooner, look for one in the LSA Mall at Sun 'n Fun in a couple months. Naturally, both Scott and John are also happy to supply brand new LSA with as many bells and whistles as you like. Scott has the whole Jabiru line for the entire USA and John represents Flight Design and its CT-series in the southeast U.S. on behalf of Flight Design USA.
New Is NiceA couple new airplanes that appeared to be drawing good attention were the Aeropilot L600 and the Magnus Fusion 212. L600 importer Deon Lombard said he expecting his first with the Rotax 912iS. "The injected engine installation has been all worked out and the manufacturer keeps making airframe improvements," said Deon. The two aircraft he exhibited have some hours on them criss-crossing the country from his base in Southern California, but these are two clean flying machines. See our Video Pilot Report here. Magnus is represented here at Sebring by Istvan Foldesi, who reports fully building the Fusion in the USA using parts fabricated in Hungary. The smooth composite — mostly carbon fiber construction with an elegant dual-taper wing — is making the rounds at airshows and attracting admiring looks, I have observed. At Sebring company pilots were giving demo flights to prospective customers. (Magnus also supplied a yummy native Hungarian dessert — they literally transported a suitcase-full — and the treat was enjoyed by all exhibitors at Sebring's exhibitor reception on Wednesday evening.) Other companies also told us about new models or upgrades coming in the near future, perhaps as soon as Sun 'n Fun 2019. It looks to be an exiting new year for Light-Sport Aircraft and Sport Pilot Kits.
Here's Our Race-Around-Sebring Videohttps://youtu.be/YYONP0o7ERA
“Duck and cover” was a phrase to describe the morning on Thursday, Day Two at Sebring. Rain that lasted until late morning dampened turnout and you can’t blame those who stayed home because tomorrow, Friday January 25th, looks much better. It will be cooler (by Florida standards, 60°F) but clear skies are forecast. Plus, it’s Friday, so come on out and enjoy! We took advantage of the wet weather to visit inside displays and will have videos coming on the Wingbug airdata WiFi device; about insurance for Light-Sport Aircraft, ELSA, Sport Pilot Kits from Aviation Insurance Resources; and on Whelens line of very bright LED strobes. Once they are edited and uploaded, find them on the YouTube channel of Light Sport and Ultralight Flyer. Please be patient for the videos. Soon after Sebring, Videoman Dave and I head out to Copperstate for the show now co-produced with Buckeye Air Fair at an all-new time of the calendar: February 8-9-10.
2018 Results Keep Adding UpYesterday's Day One post related several conpanies giving satisfactory results for their sales this year. Perhaps encouraged by a buoyant economy, pilots are choosing new LSA but in parallel more importers and manufacturers are helping to move used LSA. The fleet has grown enough to generate a good supply of low-time, desirable Light-Sport Aircraft. Any representing looking to sell new machines can boost their enterprise by also facilitating the sale of used aircraft. In either new or used transactions, pilots win as they can acquire aircraft that interest them. It's all good and 2018 is proving to be a respectable year. Seamax is another company pleased with their U.S. developments. We interviewed lead designer and business owner Miguel Rosario to find his lightest-of-the-LSA-seaplane-fleet Seamax is developing their business on the campus of Embry Riddle Aeronautical University. With care and long experience, Miguel has built an active enterprise that has supplied more than 150 aircraft around the globe with about 10% flying in the USA. That number is sure to grow with the Brazilian company's American operation, an excellent price point among LSA seaplanes, and sprightly performance SuperPetrel reports delivery of eight units in the last year after establishing their U.S. base. Global sales over many years are now approaching serial number 400 according to representatives from the Ormond Beach, Florida enterprise of Brazilian investors associated with Scoda Aeronautica. This seaplane maker is also growing its installed base in America for this long-established design that was thoroughly updated when Scoda (formerly Edra) Aeronautica took over Super Petrel. An FAA audit proved the quality of their work as they earned SLSA credentials. Inside the tent, we did an interview with Sensenich president Don Rowell. The very popular maker of wood, metal, and composite props reported strong business that is challenging the company to keep propellers in stock. To address the demand, Sensenich is expanding and bringing new CNC equipment. We will be visiting the factory just before Sun 'n Fun 2019 to give viewers a tour of their new facility and equipment. As with yesterday's report, this is not an exhaustive review of each exhibiting company. Yet the sum of reports from company after company reinforces the view that 2018 qualifyies as a solid year. I see the happy smiles of new pilot owners on the field.
At a reception ending Day Two, DeLand Showcase Director Jana Filip reported that front gate receipts were greater on Thursday than either Thursday of the two prior years of the Showcase. Then she announced Friday’s gate was greater than the two previous Fridays. DeLand Showcase 2018 is the third running of the event. Showers rolled in threatening Showcase’s perfect weather record although the rain didn’t start until exhibitors and sponsors had gathered in the main show center tent. Under shelter, live music was presented by the Flying Musicians Association, lead by professional music man, Gary Filip. A catered dinner fed the group and as the evening concluded, the rain died off as if on cue. A couple tents were damaged by strong winds including one in the Dreams Come True booth of Steve and Debbie Minnich and an EAA Chapter food tent. No airplane damage was reported.
Dogs in the Cockpit? A few years ago, various stories began to pop in mainstream media discussing the car industry’s newest focus …no, not only on how many cup holders they could install in your new ride — but instead on accommodations for pets, mainly dogs. Why? Easy. Some high percentage of all auto trips include bringing the family pet along for the ride. Design to that and you sell more cars. Does this apply to airplanes? Think what you will of this, it’s a fact of modern life in America. Surveys reveal that 44% of American household have a dog, some 78 million critters. More than half of all dog-owning households take their pets when they travel by car. That’s a big market. Cars that can readily allow the family pup to come along — preferably not riding in the driver’s lap with its nose out the window — will find many interested buyers.
Why Buy LSA?You have many opportunities for flying these days and the different methods to become airborne — to move through the sky — are increasing even as you are reading this. Experience shows two reasons to fly: (1) for transportation, where the flying device is a tool and, (2) as a recreational pursuit. Often, the two are blended as the complexity, discipline and logistics of the ownership, and operation of a magic carpet can be half the fun. The successful mastery of the systems integration into the airspace system, yielding quick trips across the land can be very satisfying. For many, just getting from point A to point B in the quickest fashion is the objective. For others, the ability to acquire an aerial perspective is the objective …flying 1,500 feet over fields and rivers, catching the smell of a planted crop in the air, or freshly plowed ground, the salt air near the ocean… As the owner of an LSA MRO (Maintenance, Repair, and Overhaul) operation, I interact with many Light-Sport users. One of my customers was eloquent, saying, “There is a profound simplicity to Sport Plane ownership. There is really no need for often complex and expensive maintenance programs as maintenance is straight-forward due to fewer and less complex systems — and I can do much of the maintenance myself, if I choose! Insurance policies are simple and [can be] inexpensive. The planes don’t take up much room in a hangar, and many don’t need a tug to move them around on the ground as they are easily maneuvered by hand. Recurrent simulator training that can take a week of your time each year? Not applicable to LSA. With 2,000 hour TBOs — the standard for LSA — there is a lot of enjoyment to be had before thinking of serious maintenance.” Is it smart to keep current, always learning about your craft and honing flying knowledge and skills? Of course it is! This is just like on the golf course or in any sport. Is maintenance really required? Of course, and the engine and airframe manufacturers have specific maintenance schedules you should follow. A fascinating provision here is that many repair and maintenance items can be performed on their Special LSA by the owner. These vary by manufacturer and are specifically authorized in the aircraft manufacturers’ maintenance manuals. The better — safer — we do something, the more we enjoy it. Added to the simpler maintenance, Light-Sport Aircraft require a Condition Inspection every year instead of an Annual Inspection so that an A&P can perform this task rather than requiring someone with IA, or Inspection Authorization. If you want to be hands-on, you can take a 120-hour course that allows you to perform all of the maintenance and inspections on your LSA, along with other privileges as well. What is one of the simplest things about LSA? If you have a private pilot certificate, you can simply exercise Sport Pilot privileges without doing anything else! What a simple option: just fly! Some may not realize how advanced are the instrument panels on LSA. Full glass panels seamlessly integrate moving maps, GPS, communication, transponder with 2020 compliance and EFB transfer. Everything you can get in a Citation? Practically, yes. How about IFR capability? Yes, the technology allows it, though flying into IMC (Instrument Meteorological Conditions) is not part of the LSA parameters. However, LSA can be an excellent IFR training platform. Is it all needed for this kind of flying? No, but it sure can add to the fun, and, for those complex, twin and/or turbine operators, having a similar environment can make the transition to flying for fun quicker, easier, and safer. From tail dragging cub clones to Italian styling to German engineering …from sleek, racy, arobatic-looking to having enough cargo space for your wife and to bring your pet along, there is truly the ability to achieve whatever kind of recreational flying mission you have. The FAA has taken LSA seriously, auditing the aircraft manufacturers to ensure they correctly implement quality assurance systems through production, and that they utilize continued operational safety programs to ensure reliability and safety in the field. LSA is still the only place to get brand new, factory built aircraft with the most advanced avionics and technology integration for under $200,000. Some are much less, even below $100,000. To reach 120 knots of cruise speed burning only five gallons an hour is marvelous You can do much for so little! Are LSA practical for flying from coast to coast? In terms of reliability, absolutely! Enjoing fun and adventure, of seeing the United Sates from 1,500 or 4,500 feet, or FL10, well… it doesn’t get any better! You can use small municipal airports, or go to big FBOs you may used to, getting the same service and amenities. You may have some landing fees at places like major airline, Class B airports — and you may need additional training to enter Class B airspace — but that is available and only takes a logbook entry, Many pilots prefer to stay clear of Class Bravo airspace, but qualified pilots can use the system just like a Jet A turbine-powered aircraft. If your thoughts include how to enjoy flying even more, expanding your knowledge of flying, and increasing your adventure… Light-Sport may be a great prescription!
— This article will also appear on the LAMA website.
Scott Severen is an old friend and a longtime veteran of the light aircraft business. In addition to a long career with wide experience, Scott is a board member of the Light Aircraft Manufacturers Association (LAMA). Most recently, as US Sport Planes, he took over American sales of Jabiru LSA when former importer Pete Krotje reached his planned retirement date. Scott is a great choice to represent this popular set of airplanes. As part of his role for LAMA, Scott stepped and wrote an article I think makes several good points. It follows below. —DJ Why Buy LSA? You have many opportunities for flying these days and the different methods to become airborne — to move through the sky — are increasing even as you are reading this. Experience shows two reasons to fly: (1) for transportation, where the flying device is a tool and, (2) as a recreational pursuit.
Aircraft of InterestWe saw a rare sighting of an Icon A5 on display with another on a lake doing demo flights. The California company has in several recent years limited its airshow appearance to a splashy big tent at Oshkosh. It was good to see the team from the factory's flight school and operation in Tampa, Florida make a showing. Scott Severen as US Sport Planes made his first appearance as the new man handling sales nationally for Jabiru, focused on their J230-D and J170-D models. Scott has played many important roles in light aviation and he's a veteran choice to take over from Pete Krotje and his Shelbyville, Tennessee team as Pete slides gracefully into a well-deserved retirement, as he has planned for a couple years. Aeropilot USA boss, Deon Lombard, reported a solid first year with six sales of the L600. He also added a dealer in the east while he handles the west from his California base. From what I could see, interest is growing for this handsome 80%-scale 182 lookalike done in composite. We looked over the HKS-powered Merlin Chip Erwin brought on behalf of his Aeromarine-LSA company based in the Tampa area. Videoman Dave and I are charging around scooping up videos and knocked out seven or eight on Day One. Look for plenty of fresh video in the weeks ahead to follow Dave's deluge of videos in advance of Sebring. Tomorrow's forecast: another fine day (or two or three) ahead, weatherwise with airplane noise first thing and all day! C'mon down if you can…
For all who could not attend, our title forms a common question. On day one of the fourteenth running of the U.S. Sport Aviation Expo, even many onsite asked how the first day went; I’ll bet I heard the question a dozen times. Short answer: A great start! The airport that hosts the annual event lucked out with a day of gorgeous weather, in the high 70s (25° C). Clear blue skies and modest breezes made for a beautiful beginning. They booked a full display of more than 100 vendors and plenty of shiny aircraft to examine. Morning hours looked to have reasonably good attendance; the parking lot was on its way to a good fill at 8:30 AM. These shows rarely seem crowded — and that’s not a bad thing if you want to talk to an aircraft designer or take a demo flight — but at times various aircraft were surrounded by visitors.
More About Scott SeverenThe son of a career Air Force fighter pilot, Scott learned early about aviation as a lifestyle. He began building and flying hang gliders in 1973 and joined USHGA, United States Hang Gliding Association. In the early 1980s, he founded and operated Lone Star Airpark to provide facilities, services and flight instruction for ultralights, and eventually became a USUA, United States Ultralight Association AFI, Advanced Flight Instructor, AFI Examiner, and AFI Seminar Presenter. Scott also volunteered as a director and interim president of USUA, United States Ultralight Association. In the early 1990s, he and his family moved to Tennessee where he served as president of TEAM Aircraft. Always willing to help the industry Scott assisted the AOOA, Airpark Owners and Operators Association as its first president. In the mid-nineties he served as president of LAMA, Light Aircraft Manufacturers Association and in 2017 he rejoined LAMA to serve on the board of directors. Scott also participated as a charter member of the Part 103 FAA ARAC, Aviation Rule-making Advisory Committee that eventually created the Light-Sport Aircraft and Sport Pilot regulations.
For many years the brand name Jabiru — both airframes and engines — has been associated with Pete Krotje and his family and other team members, doing business as Jabiru North America. Pete began in the business near Oshkosh, Wisconsin before seeing the appeal of milder weather in Shelbyville, Tennessee. Now, the familiar brand from down-under Australia is headed further south in the USA. The brand with the funny-sounding name will end up being represented by another light aircraft industry veteran, Scott Severen. The official news release on this change declared, “In a move initiated by Jabiru North America, LLC, US Sport Planes of Denton, Texas has been appointed as the North American importer and distributor for Jabiru Light Sport Airplanes for North America.” The two businessmen reported US Sport Planes (USSP) will be the exclusive importer and market the full line of LSA airplanes manufactured by Jabiru Aircraft Pty, Ltd.
Here’s a flight review of the latest version of the J-230, the D model. This aircraft has been around for years but the Australian manufacturer upgrades the machine periodically. In this case the changes had to do with the shape of the tail and other subtleties but minor changes over enough time add up to a much better aircraft. Join Dan Johnson as you get exterior and interior views of the newest J230D at the Midwest LSA Expo in Mt. Vernon, Illinois in fall of 2016. (Run time is 9 minutes.)
For Videoman Dave and I this is a no-brainer. Gotta go! Why? Because events like Sebring just finished or DeLand's end-of-the-season show or the Mid-West LSA Expo early in September in Mt. Vernon Illinois (about an hour's drive east of St. Louis) are perfect for us to collect video footage and flying experiences that we can relate to viewers on Dave's widely-watched YouTube channel (to the tune of a million and a half minutes every month!) or here on our LSA Video page.These smaller-venue shows are more relaxed, have smaller crowds, and access to the runways to go flying are the best of any airshows.
The great news about these shows is... well, a few reasons. Perhaps number one is the possibility for those attending to be able to spend more time with aircraft vendors to ask all the questions you want. At major shows, crowds can be so dense that you must compete with other attendees to get face time with a supplier. No so at Midwest, Sebring, or DeLand.
Visitors can also get demo flights more easily and achieving those flights will consume far less time, meaning you can do more of them if you wish. Perhaps your chosen aircraft representative can fly with you for a longer time because he or she does not have fourteen other people waiting for their turn. Finally, once you and the seller agree, you can hop in the airplane and in literally minutes you are launching into yonder blue skies.
For the many who cannot attend, we bring you videos like the one below about the Jabiru North America J-230, now in the newest "D" model. Frequent feedback tells us that most pilots seem to truly enjoy these videos and we are happy to keep making more.
Thanks very much for visiting this website and for watching the videos Dave and I produce. We plan to keep up the pace well into the future. Enjoy!
Why do we go to all the little airshows? Good question. Everyone knows that a professional journalist or true-blue aircraft enthusiast almost has to trek to the big events like AirVenture or Sun ‘n Fun — with the latter coming up soon April 4-9, 2017. Fine. Yet are the smaller events worth the travel expense and time? For Videoman Dave and I this is a no-brainer. Gotta go! Why? Because events like Sebring just finished or DeLand‘s end-of-the-season show or the Mid-West LSA Expo early in September in Mt. Vernon Illinois (about an hour’s drive east of St. Louis) are perfect for us to collect video footage and flying experiences that we can relate to viewers on Dave’s widely-watched YouTube channel (to the tune of a million and a half minutes every month!) or here on our LSA Video page.
When people visit the Midwest LSA Expo, a popular LSA-oriented show in early September, those visitors will likely run into an expert airplane broker, Eric Evans. As you'll hear in this video, Eric knows his way around a wide variety of airplanes, including many used aircraft. Eric tells us his view of the LSA market as we speak about a beautiful 2009 Jabiru that most viewers would think is brand new. He also tells about his concept to offer LSA training where he goes to the customer's airport, a terrific idea.
When people visit the Midwest LSA Expo, a popular LSA-oriented show in early September, those visitors will likely run into an expert airplane broker, Eric Evans. As you’ll hear in this video, Eric knows his way around a wide variety of airplanes, including many used aircraft. Eric tells us his view of the LSA market as we speak about a beautiful 2009 Jabiru that most viewers would think is brand new. He also tells about his concept to offer LSA training where he goes to the customer’s airport, a terrific idea.
At the Midwest LSA Expo in 2014, we spoke with Jabiru USA owner Pete Krotje about some significant changes made to one of the popular powerplants in the light aircraft space. Used on Jabiru airplanes, the engines are also offered for many other airframes where Jabiru USA provides what is called a "firewall forward kit" offering a home builder everything needed to do an installation. Here the new features from this company, now celebrating 15 years serving the American market.
At the Midwest LSA Expo in 2014, we spoke with Jabiru USA owner Pete Krotje about some significant changes made to one of the popular powerplants in the light aircraft space. Used on Jabiru airplanes, the engines are also offered for many other airframes where Jabiru USA provides what is called a “firewall forward kit” offering a home builder everything needed to do an installation. Here the new features from this company, now celebrating 15 years serving the American market.
Jabiru Aircraft has long done well with their line of affordable, speedy, and U.S.-assembled aircraft. Yet following the difficult recession years, owner Peter Krotje thought he could do even better, but lowering the price. How is that possible ... especially a $25,000 cut of retail price? See the video for more detail but basically the Australian manufacturer sells a kit to a South African company that is highly effective at building these kits. Afterward, Jabiru USA imports and finishes their work. Despite a lot of freight, you pay less. Buyers will enjoy big savings.
Jabiru Aircraft has long done well with their line of affordable, speedy, and U.S.-assembled aircraft. Yet following the difficult recession years, owner Peter Krotje thought he could do even better, but lowering the price. How is that possible … especially a $25,000 cut of retail price? See the video for more detail but basically the Australian manufacturer sells a kit to a South African company that is highly effective at building these kits. Afterward, Jabiru USA imports and finishes their work. Despite a lot of freight, you pay less. Buyers will enjoy big savings.
In Shelbyville, Tennessee, two LSA companies are located side-by-side. The two are Jabiru USA and Arion. The former builds a line of high wing composite LSA lead by the J-230. The latter created and builds the sleek Lightning LS-1. In our review shot in 2011, we cover both companies and the Jabiru engine that powers both plus some other brands. Watch (rather than listen) for the correct web address for all companies, or click the link above the thumbnail photo on the LSA Videos page.
In Shelbyville, Tennessee, two LSA companies are located side-by-side. The two are Jabiru USA and Arion. The former builds a line of high wing composite LSA lead by the J-230. The latter created and builds the sleek Lightning LS-1. In our review shot in 2011, we cover both companies and the Jabiru engine that powers both plus some other brands. Watch (rather than listen) for the correct web address for all companies, or click the link above the thumbnail photo on the LSA Videos page.
At the Midwest LSA Expo 2010, we started something new using multiple aircraft and offering their differences and similarities. Here we look at five composite high wing LSA: Sirius TL-3000; Jabiru J-230; CTLS; FK-9 Mark IV; and Navigator 600. If you're in the market for a high wing, this video may help show your choices and help you make a purchase decision.
At the Midwest LSA Expo 2010, we started something new using multiple aircraft and offering their differences and similarities. Here we look at five composite high wing LSA: Sirius TL-3000; Jabiru J-230; CTLS; FK-9 Mark IV; and Navigator 600. If you’re in the market for a high wing, this video may help show your choices and help you make a purchase decision.
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.
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.
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.