The folks at the CT Flier Forum kick off their 4th Annual CT Fly-in this coming Oct. 14-17 and it sounds like a blast…unless the sight of the Grand Canyon, Monument Valley, Lake Powell, Bryce Canyon and Zion Canyon aren’t enough eye candy to get your mojo working. *** Rooms are available at a $49 rate and around 40 aircraft have already signed up so don’t delay, scenic flight fans. *** My understanding is any LSA is welcome, but mostly Flight Design CTLS and CTSW owners will be there since it’s a CT forum. *** There will also be ground excursions to various places like Hoover Dam and Antelope Canyon, cookouts and such: should be a lot of fun. *** If you go, bring your own tie-downs just in case, and call now to get lodging and let them know you’re coming. *** Page Airport — KPGA — is the jumping off place.
Flight Design GmbH
Phone: +49 36920 7530-11Hoerselberg-Hainich, -- 99820 - Germany
Flight Design has maintained their substantial lead in market share partly through a strategy of steady innovation. The German company and its U.S. partners regularly develop new products and introduce them with pizzazz. The company’s press conference and exhibit space at Oshkosh 2010 revealed this methodology. *** AirVenture visitors got to examine the CTLS Lite on amphibious floats. CTLS Lite — unveiled at a significantly-reduced price and dramatically-reduced empty weight — was introduced only three months earlier at Sun ‘n Fun. By Oshkosh 2010, that new model sat atop amphib floats that have already recorded a number of flights from water and land. *** The floats are from Clamar and were developed in concert with Flight Design distributor Airtime Aviation of Tulsa, Oklahoma, arguably the nation’s largest dealer of LSA. “The Clamar floats match the structure and the feel of the Flight Design planes,” said Tom Peghiny, president of importer Flight Design USA.
Here’s a hot item that should shake the dust off the notion that LSA are little toy airplanes. (Sorry, couldn’t resist.) *** With all the concern recently over ash cloud emissions from Iceland’s Eyjafajallawhatever volcano that disrupted global air transportation (and also revealed how precarious airline business models must if, as reported, they were in drastic financial jeopardy after only a few days of lost revenues), comes this fun and good news: *** A specially equipped Flight Design CT Supralite has been called into duty to measure atmospheric volcanic dust levels. *** The Supralite is a version of the European CT line that is popular here as the CTLS. *** Duesseldorf Technical University’s Department of Volcanology set up the ongoing study, including rigging the cabin with an oxygen system for higher altitude measurements. *** The program includes monitoring sulfur and particulate concentration in levels from 1,000 to 14,000 feet.
I had some fun today talking with Jim Sweeney, guest host of Roy Beisswenger’s Ultraflight Radio Show. *** Our first topic was the state of the LSA industry. I first picked my pal Dan Johnson’s satellite-view brain of the LSA Big Picture to glean we’re looking at an industry that is weathering the economic storm and ready for an upswing. *** Once the economy really ramps up, many observers feel LSA, which remain an incredible bargain compared to new GA airplanes, should pick up smartly. Let’s toast that happy day! *** Meanwhile, Tom Peghiny of Flight Design USA tells me sales are picking up, particularly from his dealer network who are selling their inventory aircraft and ordering replacements. *** We’ll post fresh market stats from Jan Fridrich after Oshkosh AirVenture on FAA registrations through mid-year but in general it’s good to remember that companies are doing whatever it takes to survive in this prevailing market psychology of uncertainty.
Two Swiss pilots embarked on a round-the-world flight on April 30 and 51 days later they are back home in Switzerland. Yannick Bovier, 37, and Francisco Agullo, 41, created an expedition they call “Azimut 270” to celebrate 100 years of aviation in Switzerland, a country known for its natural beauty and for being bankers to the world. *** The dynamic duo returned safely on Saturday, June 19 after crossing two oceans, confronting suspicious government officials for country overflight permission, paying high landing and permit fees, battling fatigue and loneliness, performing routine maintenance that comes with so many hours logged, plus having to watch what foods they consumed during flight legs that several times started before dawn and ended after dark. (On-board bathrooms have yet to be installed in the first Light-Sport Aircraft making such biological necessities a real challenge). *** Starting on the last day of April, the duo leaped the Atlantic to Brazil by May 8 and then crossed the Caribbean to Miami, Florida, USA by May 13.
As they connect the dots of their plan to circumnavigate the world in celebration of 100 years of aviation in Switzerland, Yannick Bovier and Francisco Agullo have now spanned one immense body of water. The pair of twin Flight Design CTLS “Ecolight” aircraft cleared a big hurdle with the jump across the Atlantic from Africa to Brazil (map photo). Bigger bodies of water await the dynamic duo, two young European airline pilots. But before setting out across the Pacific, they will cruise across the USA to receptions like that which greeted the pair in Maimi. *** Flight Design USA’s John Gilmore says, “These kind of very long distance flight show pilots that Light-Sport Aircraft like CTLS can fly long distances reliably and efficiently.” All round-the-world flights so far in LSA have used the Rotax 912; this engine recently increased its Time Between Overhaul (TBO) to 2,000 hours, a comparable value to long-proven engines like Continental and Lycoming.
Way back near the dawn of Light-Sport Aircraft… in 2007, two Indian military pilots flew a CT around the world to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the Indian Air Force. (CT later became one of the first LSA used in an Indian flight school.) *** On April 30th, two Swiss airline pilots took off on another round the globe flight to honor the 100th anniversary of the first flight in their country back in 1910. But this is a different effort than the 2007 Indian circumnavigation. The Swiss pilots — Yannick Bovier, 37, and Francisco Agullo, 41 — are using Flight Design’s newest model, the CTLS… and they’re using two of them! Yep, each qualified pilot will fly his own CTLS, and to keep things straight, they’ve named their aircraft Celine and Dreamcatcher. They’ll emulate South Africans Mike Blythe and James Pitman’s globe-girdling flight by going east-to-west.
After a tough winter in most parts of the USA, spring evidently arrived early with 80-degree temperatures as far north as Minnesota… all before Sun ‘n Fun. More good news: After its coldest winter since the early 1980s Florida is extremely pleasant now, warm with low humidity. *** Indications are the economy continues bearing down on Light-Sport aviation. Confronted with cautious customers, some aircraft producers have tightened their costs and are offering sharply lower prices in time for Sun ‘n Fun. *** Flight Design announced its CTLS Lite, which makes two impressive accomplishments. By slightly trimming the equipment list and making other adjustments, the market leader was able to slice $20,000 off the price, coming in at $119,800. They also cut a most impressive 50 pounds from the empty weight. *** Jabiru USA offers two models discounted for a short time. Taking $11,000 off the price of their J-170 brings the base to $85,900.
I was lucky enough to get Matthias Betsch, Flight Design’s CEO, all to myself for a few minutes and here’s what he had to say: *** General update: “A hard year but better than we expected. In the last two to three months, we’ve had quite a pickup. Here in the States dealers sold their stock so they have to buy more airplanes…they have to buy more so I think that is good!” *** The year ahead: “I don’t think we’ll get back to 2007-2008 this year, but I do think it will be a 30% recovery. The rest we will do in 2011.” *** On the new Flight Design MC: “It’s a different character. The LS is more sporty, speedy, responsive. The airplane feels much heavier than it is. That’s what we wanted: an airplane for flight schools which is very forgiving, easy to land, to fly. It’s also ideal for older pilots who are used to very stable airplanes.” *** MC vs.
Much has been written about Cessna’s Skycatcher incidents, those spin investigations that caused the loss of one airplane and a parachute deployment from another. Of course, the giant producer knows well the design of light aircraft so it was only a matter of time before all problems were solved. In doing these spin tests, Cessna said they went beyond the ASTM standards, which also call for spin evaluation. (That’s fine. ASTM specifications are intended to be minimum standards; going beyond them is the decision of each company.) *** A new video from Flight Design does a professional job of showing viewers around the aircraft and its test equipment. Check out the YouTube version. Produced by Flight Design test pilot Tim-Peter Voss and his brother Ben, the videographer, we learn that the process no longer depends on a test pilot manually recording results because electronic devices measure more accurately and in real time.
I was out in L.A. last week and had the distinct pleasure to hop a flight out of Santa Monica Airport, an old haunt of mine, with Flight Design USA‘s California sales rep, Karine Noel. *** Karine was a perfect hostess. She’s just set up shop to demo the company’s top-o’-market line of LSA. *** But she’s more than just another pretty face. *** Her GA chops include a stint flying for JetDirect Aviation and CFI/CFII, IFR and Commercial Multi ratings. *** That pedigree should prove a real asset when showing and translating the virtues and nuances of Light Sport flight to GA pilots, who often underestimate the sophisticated handling and performance of LSA. *** We launched in Karine’s CTLS demonstrator on a clear, cool morning, flew out over famed Malibu colony, then climbed to 5,000 ft over the wonderful Santa Monica Mts. to boat around at 120 knots for awhile.
If you study FAA’s registration database as I do, you’ll quickly discover that Flight Design and its various CT models have a strong presence in the USA (the world for that matter, with 1,500 flying, according to the company). Since CT was first certified in April 2005 — the second LSA to win Special LSA certification, after Evektor’s SportStar — the German brand has steadily planted CTs across America. You can see a CT at more airfields than any other brand by more than double; the next closest is the American Legend Cub. *** The accompanying graphic was created by Flight Design USA to show the locations of more than 300 CT aircraft in the United States. The distribution is surprisingly even with obvious concentrations in big aviation states such as Florida, California, and Texas/Oklahoma with another area of strength in New England, home base of the U.S.
Word of a few interesting developments arrived in my inbox, bringing with them new questions. *** Point One — EAA announced it will cease publishing Sport Pilot and Light-Sport Aircraft magazine. LSA content will be merged into their flagship Sport Aviation title, bolstered by a new eNewsletter called “Light Plane World” that will focus on LSA and ultralights. *** Point Two — An Australian company, Foxcon, alerted me about their SLSA, the Terrier 200. It’s not presently for sale in the U.S. But they say it has government approval just like the other 104 aircraft on our SLSA List. To assure our list remains up-to-date, a key feature of the SLSA List, do we add the Terrier 200? Is ByDanJohnson.com is an American product for Americans or a world citizen? *** Point Three — China is hosting an international GA conference and is featuring Cirrus, Diamond, and Cessna, and, not least, Flight Design in promoting CIGAC.
|Empty weight||770 pounds|
|Gross weight||1,320 pounds|
|Wingspan||28 feet, 2 inches|
|Wing area||107 square feet|
|Wing loading||12.3 pounds/square foot|
|Useful Load||550 pounds|
|Length||21 feet, 8 inches|
|Cabin Interior||49 inches|
|Height||7 feet, 8 inches|
|Fuel Capacity||34 gallons|
|Baggage area||70 pounds|
|Standard engine||Rotax 912 ULS2|
|Prop Diameter||Ground-adjustable, composite|
|Power loading||13.2 pounds/hp|
|Cruise speed||115 knots|
|Stall Speed||39 knots|
|Never exceed speed||145 knots|
|Rate of climb at gross||805 fpm|
|Takeoff distance at gross||800 feet|
|Range (powered)||5.1 hours, 610 miles|
|Fuel Consumption||4.5 gph|
All photos by EAA Chief Photographer, Jim Koepnick This article appears on ByDanJohnson.com thanks to permission granted by EAA and the willingness of author, Ed Downs. I’ve had the pleasure to fly with many expert pilots but the very best aircraft checkout I’ve ever received came from Ed. He’s a good pilot, that’s a given. But he is also very adept at giving you a solid expectation of what to expect. I think you’ll agree after you read this article. –Dan Johnson *** Note this article is presented without charge. Are LSA Growing Up? New special light-sport aircraft (SLSA) enter the market on an almost weekly basis. Many of the early SLSA entrants were makeovers of existing European advanced ultralight designs or adapted versions of post-World War II training airplanes. Flight Design USA has now introduced the CTLS, defined as a second-generation S-LSA from the German-based Flight Design GmbH. Is this new S-LSA better than the first CTs sold?
Most folks have probably never heard of ASTM International document F2295, Continued Operational Safety Monitoring of a Light-Sport Aircraft. But Tom Peghiny, president of Flight Designs USA, is intimately familiar with it. As the former chairman of the ASTM Airplane Committee, Tom was a driving force behind requiring SLSA manufacturers to face up to service after the sale and airworthiness monitoring. According to Tom, “The SLSA industry will not survive unless we take our after-sale commitments seriously. SLSA Service After the Sale Flight Design USA has a dedicated safety and compliance manager plus a number of procedures in place to make sure customers get the service they need.” Flight Design USA initiates its after-sale quality control by starting in the beginning. Any individual involved in the assembly of CT airplanes imported into the United States must undergo assembly compliance training through Lockwood Aviation’s Aero Technical Institute. Thus customers are assured that their CTSW or CTLS meets all original manufacturer quality standards.
Viewed from the LSA Mall, AirVenture 2009 was much more than the summer’s big celebration of flight. Several important events tell a story of growing acceptance of LSA. Here’s a short list: LAMA hosted a meeting of G10 (the 10 largest LSA producers) and another of G5, while paying visits to every LAMA member in attendance. *** At the G10 meeting and again at LAMA’s press conference, Avemco president Jim Lauerman detailed his company’s support (in writing) for LAMA’s audit activities. His expressions were corroborated by Falcon Insurance VP Bob Mackey. *** Earl Lawrence, VP of government relations for EAA, brought brand new FAA administrator Randy Babbitt to the LSA Mall, where he met with presidents of LSA companies: Flight Design, Tecnam, Remos, and IndUS. *** At AOPA’s invitation, LAMA arranged a meeting for several LSA industry leaders with new AOPA president Craig Fuller.
Sales are subdued all over aviation but it isn’t stopping the top performers in the Light-Sport Aircraft marketplace. As our last market share update illustrated, Remos, Tecnam, SportCruiser, and Jabiru have all done reasonably (or very) well in the last 18 months. Always among those contenders is longtime market share leader, Flight Design. *** Just a couple days ago (photo), eastern distributor Flight Design Mid-Atlantic delivered CT#300 to owner Kenneth D. Griffin of Southampton, New Jersey complete with his personalized tail number (N74KG)… interestingly, CT#200 also got a call sign identifying its owner. *** In the Something-for-Nothing Department: Flight Design will be giving away the first MC at AirVenture when EAA completes its 2009 Sweepstakes and awards some lucky person a brand-new design as well as a brand-new airplane. Big flight school and mail order house, Sporty’s, is giving away a 2010 Cessna Skycatcher.
We continue to see the effects of the last year of economic turmoil in Light-Sport Aircraft market shares. The chart accompanying this SPLOG tells the numbers as always presented, with total market share since the first deliveries in 2005 based on carefully-reviewed FAA registration data. The top twenty (of 70 total) producers still represent almost 90% of total SLSA registrations. For the record… registrations on FAA’s database are not the same as sales. Aircraft can be registered and not sold. Aircraft can be identified as sold yet no longer registered, for example, if removed from service due to a non-repairable crash. To get some idea of the work my associate Jan Fridrich does to collect this information, go look for yourself at FAA’s database. *** Remos continues its solid 2008 performance despite the troubled economy. In the 16-month period since January 1, 2008 the German brand is the leader with 73 units registered, followed by familiar names, in order: Flight Design 62; Tecnam 49; Czech Aircraft Works (see below) 44; Jabiru 32; American Legend 27; AMD 23; CubCrafters 22; Aeropro 14, plus Evektor and TL Ultralight at 12 each.
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.
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%).