“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.
Aeropilot Ltd. Legend 600
Phone: (01142) 0-605-296-563Čáslav,, 286 01 - Czech Republic
U.S. Distributor is Aeropilot USA
Phone: (949) 283-9041Ft. Pierce, FL 34949 - USA
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.
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.
Aeropilot L600In the video below, you can join me as I take you around and inside the L600 from Aeropilot in the Czech Republic, represented here in America by Aeropilot USA. In the next few days, I'll give you a similar tour of the Evektor Harmony LSA and we'll talk with folks from Flight Design to hear how that well-known producer is doing as 2018 begins. These video pilot reports have largely replaced text-and-photo pilot reports although reporting in that form will continue as shorter articles here on the home page. Video pilot reports can provide actual views of an aircraft performing some of the evaluations I talk about in the narrative portion. In this way, a print article simply cannot compete with video. So, "lights, camera, action" — let the fun begin! Also, please remember all the hyperlinks embedded in articles take you all over this website with its 1,500 or so pages packed to the edges with all kinds of info about Light-Sport Aircraft, light kit-built aircraft, and ultralight aircraft …our singular focus in aviation. Aeropilot USA sells L600 starting below $100,000 at which price it makes a great value in a sleek yet familiar shape. You can check it out further if you attend Sebring 2018. https://youtu.be/ar12-jSMTdg
This website was born in 2004 after a few years of laboriously uploading a large number of written pilot reports that had appeared in aviation print magazines over the years before. It was tougher to do then than it is now. The project started in late 1999, barely four years after the World Wide Web was built on the Internet. Tools were crude then and it proved to be a multi-year project to convert from print to web. Today, such a task is vastly easier and we hope you are enjoying the refreshed ByDanJohnson.com that was launched in spring 2017. In this new millennium of intense change, print has slowly but steadily yielded to online (aviation magazines have actually faired reasonably well, but print in forms such as newspapers has badly eroded). We got lucky as we were early and we established a solid presence for this website that today reaches most of the owners of the 66,000+ LSA or LSA-like aircraft sold around the world, with the majority of those aircraft delivered since 2000.
Article updated… Stuck as I am in Florida preparing for the onslaught of Hurricane Irma… with great regret, I am missing for the first time the Midwest LSA Expo in Mount Vernon, Illinois (about an hour east of St. Louis). Yet the good news is that some airplanes for which I expected to do Video Pilot Reports will still be in attendance even if I am not. My ever-present videographer Dave Loveman is also onsite, coming all the way from Canada, so those cross country flying efforts will not be in vain. Traveling from Arizona is Ed Ricks and the Paradise. Flying even a bit further from California is the Aeropilot L600. Those of you able to attend Midwest LSA Expo 2017 this year can examine those aircraft and a ramp full of other top brands that have so faithfully attended this event (see the layout and exhibitors here).
L600 — known as Legend 540 or 600 in Europe — is a new arrival in America, although this high wing LSA is known in Europe for a few years. At Sun ‘n Fun 2017, we spoke with U.S. importer, Deon Lombard, who tells about this entry in the Light-Sport Aircraft field. If it looks familiar to you, it should. L600 was modeled after the Cessna 182 at approximately 80% scale. That’s probably smart as nearly every pilot on the planet has been in a Cessna 172 or 182 at one time or another and probably came to like it …except for their prices. In comparison L600 is very attractively priced. The aircraft is a try composite unlike the older model it resembles.
Doesn’t the newest SLSA resemble an aircraft you know? Can you place it? Welcome Aeropilot Legend 600 imported by U.S. representative Aeropilot USA, which received a Special LSA Airworthiness Certificate from FAA on September 21st, 2016. After a bit of delay, we’ve now added Legend 600 to our 143-aircraft-long SLSA List. Deon Lombard is the American rep. He comes from an aviation family following Anton Lombard, a World War II pilot who founded Safair Freighters in South Africa. They report this was the nation’s first air cargo service and is now the largest air cargo company in the country. An aviation engineer by training, Deon created a flight school in South Africa and now runs Fly Light Sport California in Fullerton. First introduced in Europe at the 2011 Aero Friedrichshafen show, the Czech-based manufacturer said, “Legend was designed as an 80%-scale version of the very successful Cessna 182, with two passenger seating for [European] Ultralight or LSA.” They added, “But [Legend 600] actually has more passenger room than the Cessna.” Aeropilot’s European model is called Legend 540.