As Sun ‘n Fun 2022 comes to a close, so does my daily reporting. This happens through long days and short nights. My sleep schedule can soon get back to normal. In an article already underway, I will make some forecasts for what we’ll see at AirVenture Oshkosh 2022 based on what was displayed at Sun ‘n Fun 2022. Watch for that in a couple days after I catch my breath. Meanwhile I’m expecting to go fly in the TL Sport Aircraft high wing TL-3000 Sirius and perhaps their retractable tandem Stream. I’m also scheduled to go fly the BOT SC07 Super Cruiser. I hope to have reports on these later in April. Meanwhile, here’s a final daily report from Sun ‘n Fun 2022… Savannah by ICP What is it about orange? Several people told Savannah rep’ Walter della Nebia that it attracted them. I felt similarly. I can’t explain it but the show airplane certainly looked great and drew plenty of visitors.
Jabiru USA (North America)
Phone: (800) 522-4781Shelbyville, TN 37160 - USA
Buyers Without RemorseJohn started, "Skyleader 600 looks like a great aircraft. I had actually just noticed this model a couple days ago because there is a used one listed for sale on the Web. As a potential first time buyer, I would be interested to have you address the question of service for these smaller manufacturers. "By way of example," John continued, "there are nearly 300 SportCruisers registered in the US, as well as nearly 350 Flight Design models, but only 3 Skyleaders. I’m not picking on Skyleader; there are many manufacturers with just two, five or 20 registrations in the database." Matter of fact, our N-number database is another useful reference we offer. You can use the ByDanJohnson.com Tableau Public link to find every single LSA in the U.S. registry (you'll have to drill down a bit, but here's an infographic on how to do that). John continued, "I imagine it’s easier to find a mechanic who is familiar with something that has hundreds of units in operation, rather than just a few. If I want to buy a less common aircraft, do I have to think about availability of qualified service ahead of time? Do I need to locate a mechanic first, even before settling on a particular model? I’ve never owned an airplane before, so this is a big unknown for me." John didn't ask about insurance but that's another large question, especially these days for pilots over 70 years old. I recently interviewed on video one of the leading insurance agents, A.I.R.'s Gregg Ellsworth to get the latest info on that important topic. Regarding mechanics — If a LSA uses all-metal construction, you can find capable mechanics almost anywhere. If your dream plane is largely composite, finding a mechanic can be much harder. The larger companies like Flight Design, building their CT series from almost all carbon fiber offer varying levels of training. If a dealer or mechanical shop obtains factory training — as does Airtime Aviation, the largest seller for Flight Design anywhere in the world — their people can fix anything and may be able and willing to work on other brands. In the LSA world, the manufacturer dictates who gets to work on their airplanes so it's best to go direct to the source to learn the availability of qualified mechanics. You can find nearly any LSA company using our SLSA List (loaded with links). If your dream LSA uses a Rotax engine, you will have little trouble getting service because the big Austrian powerplant manufacturer has trained hundreds of mechanics. Continental-powered LSA can also be maintained by many Airframe & Powerplant (A&P) mechanics, virtually anywhere in the world. Jabiru engines are maintained by Arion Aircraft (also producer of the Lightning-series of kit-built or fully-built SLSA aircraft). As Jabiru engines were designed to be simple to facilitate repair, any A&P can also work on them. Other engines may be more challenging but all have some service centers, though perhaps not close to you. Some LSA organizations have focused on providing service to many brands. One such is U.S. Sport Planes located in the north Dallas, Texas metropolitan area. Run by Scott Severen — the North American Jabiru importer — U.S. Sport Planes has a long history of working with numerous brands. Others offer similarly broad service, such as Aero Adventure, which can work on multiple seaplane brands. My best advice is to contact the manufacturer or the importer of the aircraft that interests you and ask who can assist you closer to home. Please remember, though, that LSA suppliers or mechanics aren't McDonalds restaurants you can find everywhere. They are all specialized service providers. You may need to travel to them but as they are experts, it may be worthwhile to engage them versus a general A&P who may not know your particular airplane. Even after 17 years, LSA are still the "new kids on the block" so some mechanics may not wish to service them.
What IS Affordable?Another reader, Dan E., made other comments I frequently hear. He wrote, "The definition of what people consider 'affordable' varies widely." Not only does it vary by every individual; it can change depending on many other circumstances. "For me," Dan wrote, "a used $35K Cessna 150 or a $45K Piper Cherokee 140 are affordable, but a new $150-200K two-seat SLSA is not, and I have neither the time nor the interest to build my own ELSA." In truth, an ELSA (Experimental LSA) typically will not save much but can bring some other advantages. To save a more significant amount of money, you'll need to build an Experimental Amateur Built ("51% rule") aircraft. This will take a bigger investment of your time, but with the coming MOSAIC regulation professional builder-assist centers are expected to expand notably. Dan finished, "I thought that making entry-level planes more affordable through mass production to get more pilots flying was the original purpose of the LSA movement? What we ended up is a bunch of boutique manufacturers, each offering SLSA that appeal to someone who might otherwise buy a sportscar in the same price range." The truth is lots of people had expectations about the Sport Pilot/Light-Sport Aircraft regulation introduced in September 2004. "Mass production" was never one of the goals. Likewise, some membership organizations expected a huge new wave of pilots that would join their organizations. That was not a realistic assumption, either. What we did get was a simpler pilot certificate with no medical exam required and a profusion of aircraft of many types. When the choices are many, the suppliers may be smaller. In fact, I have often used Dan E's term "boutique manufacturer" and I still think that is appropriate. Since Sport Pilot/Light-Sport Aircraft was introduced, we got 156 new models and we now have many good used LSA, often with just a few hundred hours on them. If you look long enough, I'm confident you can find something worthwhile, and you can find somebody to keep it maintained for you. A central goal of ByDanJohnson.com is to help you find them.
Can Anyone Help?The good news? — After 17 years of Light-Sport Aircraft, a nationwide — even a worldwide — network of aircraft sellers, maintenance centers, flight schools, and builder-assist centers are available. You can can look throughout this website by using our Advanced Search to find them. Keep in mind you may need to travel to find the right airplane or the right mechanic. I cannot personally address every inquiry but you can find most enterprises using the resources on this website. For many years, one of our most-used features is the SLSA List, which is filled with links. Using it will work better than most search engines. Finally, in the age of social media, many aircraft types have a Facebook group that caters to that brand. Pilots who own the aircraft of your dreams can be very helpful in finding good purchases or good mechanics. Of course just because you "read it on the Internet" doesn't mean a fact is true. Please seek out second (or more) opinions before buying and before engaging a mechanic. The better companies will get great reviews from their customers. Good luck and tail winds, everyone! Fly safely and often. Here are some vintage videos showing what may now be used Light-Sport Aircraft. Visit Dave Loveman's Light Sport and Ultralight Flyer YouTube channel for hundreds more. https://youtu.be/oAV2uTIQvbY https://youtu.be/F0-XqlBeYpY And, here's a whole playlist of very affordable Light-Sport Aircraft aircraft… (28 short videos). https://youtube.com/playlist?list=PLaVWZY8ydbtA_cId1itTWbgvdqpAZPy2P
The last airshow of 2021 is over. The Christmas holidays are beginning to dominate everyone’s calendar. Yet recreational pilots — being enthusiastic aviators — are thinking about flying in 2022. The Covid pandemic of 2020/2021 appears not to have slowed enjoyment of flying for fun… for most of us anyway. I sincerely regret anyone who suffered during this period but sport aviation has held up surprisingly well. In this article, I will tackle a couple reader questions, the sort I hear all the time. To answer several people with one response, I asked reader John Joyce if I could use his question and name. He consented, so here we go… Buyers Without Remorse John started, “Skyleader 600 looks like a great aircraft. I had actually just noticed this model a couple days ago because there is a used one listed for sale on the Web. As a potential first time buyer, I would be interested to have you address the question of service for these smaller manufacturers.
Let’s get this show underway…
Jabiru USAOne of the earliest Light-Sport Aircraft to be approved was the Australian Jabiru brand. Not only was Jabiru one of the first approved SLSA (#22) but also one of the most prolific with SLSA #22 J250-SP, #23 J170-SP, #40 Calypso SP, #67 J230-SP (redesignated as J230-D in 2013), and #142 J170-D. The "SP models came from an earlier U.S.-based manufacturing arrangement. The "D" denotes the manufacturing now conducted in Australia. When you are an early entrant you have time to get the details right and flesh out the operation. Now in the capable hands of Scott Severen, who runs US Sport Planes and took over from Jabiru USA founder Pete Krotje, Jabiru has matured to one of the leading LSA suppliers. It is the only Australian fixed wing aircraft brand to successfully enter the U.S. market. The company remains a member of a very select club that manufactures both airframe and engine. All Jabiru models appear compact but actually have spacious interiors; especially the latest J230-D has a cavernous aft area (where people sit when the same base airframe is used to make a four seater). A third door for this purpose serves U.S. pilots by making the loading of luggage (or your pet) easier. With its 4th Generation six-cylinder engine producing 120 horsepower, Jabiru J230-D will satisfy a lot of pilots. Stop by their space at AirVenture and perhaps you'll meet some of their owners that will attend another annual Jabiru Owners Group (JOG) gathering.
BeringerKnown far and wide for their distinctive orange-ish wheels, Beringer has built a premium brand serving aircraft from the lightest LSA to Cirrus' SR-series. The France-based company with a permanent U.S. operation has numerous products in support of airframes including the unique locking tailwheel and their wheel shocks. Now, they have something new. Beringer’s SensAIR™ system is connected to a mobile app on your smartphone (image) thanks to pressure and temperature sensors fitted to your Beringer rim. Sensors are normally switched off to save the battery (2 to 3 years lifetime) and are activated when the smartphone is detected within a 30-foot radius (10 m).
Low pressure and temperature levels are set by the user on his smartphone so he or she can receive a notification.
No need to crawl under your plane to check pressure anymore, thanks to SensAIR you can check your pressure before and during each flight! SensAir is available now for 4-, 5-, 6-, and 8-inch wheels.
SeamaxWith fabrication in Brazil, Seamax has been in the U.S. market for many years, earning FAA acceptance as #63 in our SLSA List. In the last few years Seamax has substantially upgraded their U.S. representation with full-time facilities adjacent to the prestigious campus of Embry Riddle Aeronautical University. From this ideal location they can cover the Eastern U.S. Now, Seamax is pleased to announce a new dealer based in Tulsa, Oklahoma. The seaplane maker now offers support, training, and sales for several Midwestern states. The new business is called Central Seaplanes and they become the official sales agent and brand representative for Oklahoma, Arkansas, Missouri, Kansas, Colorado, New Mexico, and Texas. Central Seaplanes will provide mechanical and maintenance service to Seamax aircraft in association with Johnson Aviation of Tulsa and plans to provide flight training in association with Destinations Executive Flight Club of Tulsa. The Oklahoma dealer recently acquired two fully-equipped Seamax M-22 aircraft to their fleet and. One M-22 is equipped with IFR gear, which allows a pilot in training to log instrument hours at competitive rates. Central Seaplanes, LLC is a father-daughter, veteran-owned business represented by Kira and Todd Lang. Todd is a former fighter pilot with 40 years of aviation experience and 11,000 logged hours with CFI, CFII, and MEI instructor credentials. Currently, he is an international Boeing 767 Captain for a major U.S. airline. Todd also holds a Master's degree in Business Administration from Embry Riddle. Kira has an Associate degree in aircrew safety systems technology, a Bachelor's degree in aviation management and a Master's degree in aviation and space science. She is currently finishing her doctorate. Kira received her Private Pilot certificate when she was 18 years old. Kira said she has always dreamed of starting her own business with her dad. She has a passion for aviation and has thrived in the industry. She intends to dedicate her time to the success of Central Seaplanes and their association with Seamax aircraft.
Dragon PPGWelcome to Dragon PPG (powered paraglider). This quad — a term describing the four wheeled carriage some powered paraglider enthusiasts prefer — “is a new concept,” said Erin Thorson about designer Dan Feldman's work. Dragon will make its official debut at AirVenture 2021. Thorson is a 30+ year A&P and former Air Force aviator. "Considerable research and thought have been put into producing a high quality seated powered paraglider that meets all FAR 103 requirements," wrote Erin. Dragon PPG is aimed at taller and heavier PPG pilots. The design features a roll cage for protection. Such a configuration is common in powered parachutes (different aircraft, if you aren't familiar) but quads have previously been very light weight construction that mainly aimed to provide some structure to accommodate wheels, and not much more. Based on Rotax 503 power, Erin described thrust of the engine as "incredible!" Dragon was weight tested at 4Gs assuming a 220-pound pilot. Commonly, powered paragliders prefer the lightweight, higher-revving Polini engine (see next news item). "Last week, Eric Dufour, a world-renowned paragliding pioneer and well respected paramotor instructor, personally flew the Dragon PPG and loved everything about it," wrote Erin. "I have witnessed the Dragon fly; it is a rocket!" Dragon PPG is made in the USA. "The challenge (and frustration) for many quad PPG pilots is a lack of power and thrust and overall structural integrity," continued Erin. "Dan set out to design a wheeled powered paraglider [carriage] using heavy-wall aluminum for the main structural components with aluminum clamp devices and U-channels clamps to secure the tubing. The reason is primarily to add strength to the tubing without drilling of holes which can weaken the structural integrity of the frame." He reported the Dragon frame and engine have been designed to meet FAR 103 requirements. The Dragon frame itself can also be purchased as a stand alone frame without engine if the customer desires.
E-Props and Polini EnginesIn early July 2021 flying enthusiasts participated in the second edition of a STOL competition for ultralights (with engines limited to 100 horsepower) in the south of France. The contest was organized by the French Federation, FFPLUM. “The propeller is a very important equipment to succeed in this kind of competition,” the company wrote. “E-Props is proud to have won the first three places.” Earlier, on the weekend of June 17, 18, and 19, the French Open Training Slalom 2021 at Sevins Le Lac, “the podium was monopolized by pilots using Polini Thor engines,” boasted the Italian engine maker. Champion Alexandre Mateos, an ace of this sport, dominated results winning in his debut with the new Thor 303. Commonly, E-Props have been paired successfully with Polini. In second position was Jeremy Penone using the super-tested Thor 250. In third, winning the bronze medal, was Marie Mateos also using the new Thor 303. Marie reached a new goal with Thor Polini engines. After previously winning the female category, in this recent competition she was the first woman to be on the winner's podium ranked equally with male pilots. In a similarly timed event called "Slalomania," in Bornos in the south of Spain, the Slalom Open Spanish Championship took place. “Once again the pilots powered by Thor 303 engines confirmed this engine is superior for powered Paragliders,” reported Polini. Of the 21 pilots that took part to the competitions, 16 chose Polini Thor engines.
…but, of course, all the above is merely the tip of a large iceberg. I hope to achieve sensory overload at Oshkosh '21 and I will do my best to transmit that excitement to you. Watch for the bright orange logo denoting coverage from the big show.
Off we go!
Well, FINALLY, AirVenture Oshkosh is barely a week away. It seems like forever, doesn’t it? It has been two years but feels like a decade. I hope you can attend, but if not, I plan to be on-site all week gathering the latest about Light-Sport Aircraft, Sport Pilot kits, and ultralights. In this edition of “LSA Update,” I’ll cover an update about… 1️⃣ Jabiru and their AirVenture activities; 2️⃣ Beringer’s new SensAir system that works with your smartphone; 3️⃣ an impressive father-and-daughter partnership forming a new dealer for Seamax; 4️⃣ a preview of the new Dragon powered paraglider single-place quad; and, 5️⃣ competition successes for E-Props and Polini engines. Let’s get this show underway… Jabiru USA One of the earliest Light-Sport Aircraft to be approved was the Australian Jabiru brand. Not only was Jabiru one of the first approved SLSA (#22) but also one of the most prolific with SLSA #22 J250-SP, #23 J170-SP, #40 Calypso SP, #67 J230-SP (redesignated as J230-D in 2013), and #142 J170-D.
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.
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).
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.
LSA and Sport Pilot Kits
- US Sport Planes — will feature not one, but two of their speedy high wing composite models powered by Jabiru
- Aeromarine LSA — entries including Merlin and Zigolo; both will be available with electrical propulsion
- Bristell USA — the sleek, luxurious low wing from BRM Aero enjoyed a strong year of sales in 2018
- Fly High — this newer company will display a surprise entry from TL Ultralights, maker of smooth carbon fiber LSA
- SWT Aviation — presenting the super-popular CarbonCub that has risen toward the top of the sales charts
- Dreams Come True — offering a closer look at the deluxe Evektor Harmony with a special price on the one displayed
- Pipistrel — see a long-winged, long-gliding Sinus and learn about the entire line available such as Virus SW
- Viking Aircraft Engines — see a Rans S-12 with the Viking 90 installed; their planes are always eye-catching
- Florida LSA — examine a CTsw (the "hot-rod" version of this popular model) and check out a good price point
- Sport Aero Services — representing a very clean Breezer, another attractively priced LSA available for immediate delivery
Light Aircraft EnginesRotax — maker of the new 915iS plus many other 9-series models widely used in LSA and Sport Pilot kits Continental Motors — the builder of the 180-horsepower Titan engines that have taken LSA and SP kit by storm Jabiru — maker of thousands of engines used around the world; see one of their several popular models. Viking Aircraft Engines — based on Honda's advanced components, Viking has a range of engines available at excellent prices AeroMomentum — based on Suzuki latest automobile engines, AeroMomentum offers wonderful value
Need a Free Ride?If you visit the core area of Sun 'n Fun, you know it is a fair walk to Paradise City. Yet it is a great draw as many see that Sun 'n Fun's "alternate airport" in Paradise City represents something of an airshow-within-an airshow. As with AirVenture, Sun 'n Fun is a sprawling affair and it takes a while to hoof it from one location to another. Thanks to Rotax Aircraft Engines, LAMA is again pleased to offer a free ride on one of two 6-seater golf carts. Operated by volunteers from Paradise City, you can catch a ride from the foot court area of Sun 'n Fun's main area to the Rotax exhibit at the main entry gate for the show and from that point to the LSA Mall. These golf cart shuttles run back and forth all day at no cost to rider. Look for the golf carts with the Rotax logo prominently displayed and stick your thumb out for a ride. I hope you are coming to Sun 'n Fun 2019. If you cannot, check back here for news as I find it.
This year celebrates 15 years of Light-Sport Aircraft and its companion pilot certificate, Sport Pilot. This year also celebrates the 12th year of LAMA providing the LSA Mall. What a fascinating ride it has been! For 2019, LAMA will again host its special location at the big spring celebration of flight that is Sun ‘n Fun. LAMA is able to mount this attraction thanks to longstanding support from Sun ‘n Fun management and many industry players. The purpose of the LSA Mall is twofold: (1) present aircraft to visitors in a convenient, enjoyable setting, and (2) showcase the light aircraft industry in one location. The LSA Mall is not limited to Special Light-Sport Aircraft but features Sport Pilot-eligible kit aircraft and ultralights plus specialty light aircraft that may be of interest to pilots. For 2019, the LSA Mall will add a few previously-owned LSA, as this part of the light aircraft market is developing.
"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.
Who Is Succeeding?In one day, we did not speak to every vendor and we did not get to the inside booths yet. However, those we did approach for news and updates provided feedback that was significantly on the positive side. Here is a partial recap (again cautioning that this is not inclusive): Icon Aircraft's production engine appears to be firing on all cylinders, according to Tampa Regional Sales Director Scott Rodenbeck. We heard about delivery numbers growing from five aircraft a month to 10 a month and a forecast for 15 shipments in December. These numbers will show up on our market share report based on N-number registrations. Increased production has reduced the delivery wait to only seven or eight months, down from literally years back when the California company was taking deposits left and right but not yet manufacturing. Bristell USA is having a banner year that should end close to 20 units sold for the deluxe and superbly equipped Bristell LSA, reported company leader Lou Mancuso and right hand man, John Rathmell. Beside delivering strong sales for Czech producer, Milan Bristela, Lou's growing enterprise is also establishing a flight academy at the Sebring airport to offer younger pilots a lower cost path to careers as pilots. We will have video on this development. Duc Hélices is another company choosing Sebring for their operation, reported Michael Dederian, the company's main face at airshows — after a few seasons nearly all producers know him. The popular French prop maker is opening a subsidiary in early 2019 to better serve U.S. customers. They plan to celebrate the American enterprise at the Sebring Sport Aviation Expo on January 25th. Van's Aircraft made a big change this year. After bringing in ready-to-fly manufacturing to the world's largest manufacturer of aircraft kits — the immensely popular RV line — Van's is backed up for nearly a year, reported Atlanta-based, Vic Syracuse. That wait may come down as the company ramps up its new in-house production, but it's clear RV-12 is a success story. We recorded an interview with Vic about the new model, now known as RV-12iS. Yes, it uses the Rotax engine but that's not all the changes in the renewed model. Paul Mather of M-Squared Aircraft is opening new doors. He continues to build his M-Squared models as he has for many years but now the longtime veteran of light aircraft manufacturing has diversified to provide builder assistance to owners wanting a Zenith CH-750 Cruzer powered by the Continental Motors O-200D engine. After a slow start activity has picked up and Paul is pleased with the aircraft he's added to his stable. We plan a Video Pilot Report using the model seen at DeLand Chip Erwin of Aeromarine-LSA also reported growing sales for his well-priced, fast-assembling Merlin PSA (Personal Sport Aircraft). Besides sales to customers, he is using the single place aircraft for some government duties and these activities are keeping the Florida businessman on the move, literally, and from a business evaluation. We shot a video with Jay Kurtz of South Lakeland Airport (which many Sun 'n Fun attendees know very well). After building 40 (yes, 40!) aircraft, his most recent project has been the Quick-Build Merlin. After just a single day, I'm excited to see what happens in two more days of the DeLand Showcase 2018. Look for another report tomorrow.
Day One of the third running of DeLand Showcase is complete. As Videoman Dave and I scoured the show grounds looking for good stories, we spoke to a few vendors reporting that 2018 has been a good year. Our video news gathering exercise brought a pleasant discovery. Many companies are reporting a solid year of sales. The light aviation industry is composed of many small companies. None are corporations the size of Cessna or Cirrus so they don’t require hundreds of unit sales to break even. A U.S. importer delivering 20 aircraft can experience a good year from sales and other services they offer. When several companies report noteworthy sales success it suggests the market is healthy and customers are buying airplanes they want to enjoy. In parallel, the used LSA market also appears active and a virtuous circle begins to take form. The show itself enjoyed the great organization we have come to expect from director Jana Filip.
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.
However, if you want an all-composite design with a digital panel, your choices of lower-cost models is, admittedly, more restricted. It costs money to make things with more exotic materials and with fancier equipment. The great news in late 2016 is customers are getting more choices in "reasonably" priced airplanes (shown in quotes as reasonable is a term that varies from person to person).
The new model in this article will be at the DeLand Sport Aviation Showcase coming up in just over two weeks. I hope you're planning to attend. I'll be present and the first-ever show is already enticing visitors with more exhibitors than most were expecting. Obviously, it pays to hire an experienced leader — Jana Filip — and have a highly supportive airport manager in John Eiff along with town leaders that are all-in for sport aviation at their municipal airport.Jabiru North America boss Pete Krotje announced, "The FAA was here recently and issued a fresh SLSA airworthiness certificate for our new J170-D aircraft." The new addition logs in as SLSA #142 on our SLSA List.
Pete explained, "Our J170-D is the latest iteration of Jabiru's popular two-place aircraft that is widely used as a trainer in Australia and other places around the world." He added, "It is even used in South Africa as a rhino spotter and for rhino poacher patrol (photo).
No stripped-down flight school model, a standard J170-D in the USA comes equipped with the deluxe Garmin G3X Touch EFIS, a Garmin communications radio, Garmin Mode S transponder, 2020 compliant ADS-B in and out including a certified WAAS GPS, night lighting, and leather seats. All this may be fairly common for higher end LSA, but not at this price: $99,900.
You might wonder why FAA had to make a visit for an airplane we've seen in the USA before. "What changed," I wondered?"J170-D has some major changes in the airframe from the [earlier] J170-SP," Pete clarified. "The SP was a bit prone to aft CG issues if too much baggage was stowed behind the seats and a bit less stable than the larger J230-SP. Jabiru in Australia set about to remedy those problems in 2012 and the result was a longer engine mount to put the engine four inches farther out front and the new swept, airfoil shaped vertical tail." A version of the new tail shape made the J230-D highly stable but was actually first developed on the J170. See Jabiru history for the full story but Pete confirmed the result is a much more stable J170 needing much less rudder input than previously.
"We had to go treat it as a new make and model since Jabiru Aircraft Pty, Ltd., is the manufacturer instead of Jabiru USA or Jabiru North America," Pete said. "Similar to the J230-D, we could no longer manufacturer the aircraft in the USA after an FAA rule change in 2012." Pete refers to internal FAA guidance that attempted to tighten the controls over what companies could declare themselves a manufacturer."Mr. Gib Shelpman from the Atlanta MIDO (Manufacturing Inspection District Office) did the inspection since it was a first article make and model." When I inquired about any need for a formal FAA factory audit as part of the first article inspection, Pete responded, "The audit was done by CASA in Australia for ASTM compliance." On the Airworthiness Certificate FAA issued, Jabiru Aircraft Pty is listed as manufacturer and the aircraft is built by the Australian company in their South African facility. "In the USA we only install the Garmin panel and assemble the airplane out of the shipping container," Pete explained.
Canadian readers will be interested to hear J170-D can also be configured as a Canadian advanced ultralight. In that vein, I should note that DeLand, Florida can be a nice change in early November perhaps encouraging our neighbors to the north to come for a warm-up visit. If they do, they can see J170-D along with all other DeLand attendees.
"We will be at the Deland Sport Aviation Showcase in booth #82, right inside the entry gate," noted Pete. He also assured, "Demo flights will be available." J170-D will be arrive at DeLand Friday, October 28th a few days before the show. I hope to get a flight in the updated model and will look to report on that in November. C'mon down and see us in Florida. Hurricane Matthew did not bring major damage and the show will go on as planned.
The lines are separating a bit. Once we had a flock of LSA priced closer to one another than today. While some are put off by splashy marketing from companies offering LSA priced north of $200,000, your choices do include fixed wing aircraft for $50-80,000 and alternative (weight shift, gyro, and powered parachutes) LSA for even less. However, if you want an all-composite design with a digital panel, your choices of lower-cost models is, admittedly, more restricted. It costs money to make things with more exotic materials and with fancier equipment. The great news in late 2016 is customers are getting more choices in “reasonably” priced airplanes (shown in quotes as reasonable is a term that varies from person to person). The new model in this article will be at the DeLand Sport Aviation Showcase coming up in just over two weeks. I hope you’re planning to attend.
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.
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.
You already know very well Rotax, Jabiru, Continental, and Lycoming plus a couple others including UL Power and Viking. Now, come have a look and listen to Doc Bailey telling us about the D-motor, a flat head engine. D Motor is a direct drive, horizontally opposed, gasoline engine with what Dac' said is only 35 moving parts. Here's 95 horsepower weighing only 124 pounds with a high torque, 250 newton meters' worth. Created by former race car drivers specifically for aircraft, D Motor has many of the features pilots want.
You already know very well Rotax, Jabiru, Continental, and Lycoming plus a couple others including UL Power and Viking. Now, come have a look and listen to Doc Bailey telling us about the D-motor, a flat head engine. D Motor is a direct drive, horizontally opposed, gasoline engine with what Dac’ said is only 35 moving parts. Here’s 95 horsepower weighing only 124 pounds with a high torque, 250 newton meters’ worth. Created by former race car drivers specifically for aircraft, D Motor has many of the features pilots want.
If you like Zenith Aircraft's CH-750 STOL -- widely regarded as a "Sky Jeep" - you've been able to buy and build for some years, but you had to purchase a kit after a related company, AMD, ceased operations. Now, Pete Krotje explains how he formed a new company, Tenn-Air, to fully build the CH-750. Powered by the energetic 120-hp Jabiru engine, this bird performs (I flew it earlier and can attest to its performance). Here about Pete's plans to offer interested pilot a buy-and-fly model.
If you like Zenith Aircraft’s CH-750 STOL — widely regarded as a “Sky Jeep” – you’ve been able to buy and build for some years, but you had to purchase a kit after a related company, AMD, ceased operations. Now, Pete Krotje explains how he formed a new company, Tenn-Air, to fully build the CH-750. Powered by the energetic 120-hp Jabiru engine, this bird performs (I flew it earlier and can attest to its performance). Here about Pete’s plans to offer interested pilot a buy-and-fly model.
Sensenich (pronounced Sensen-ICK) is one of the best-known prop manufacturers in the world, long supplying Lycoming and Continental aircraft engines, but also airboat makers. In 2012 Sensenich came out with a line of props specifically aimed at the Light-Sport Aircraft community and they can serve Rotax and Jabiru as well as Lycoming and Continental. Join us while we visit with company president Don Rowell at AirVenture Oshkosh.
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.
Lots of folks saw a vaguely familiar airplane at the Midwest LSA Expo 2010... but, like myself, we looked and looked again and couldn't quite place the airplane. It turns out what fooled all of us initially was the installation of a 120-hp Jabiru 3300 under a new more aggressive cowling. Flying this airplane at the event, I came away a believer. I've always loved the S-19 (like most Rans models) and with this smooth-running powerplant, I found even more to enjoy. Come hear more details in our video.
Lots of folks saw a vaguely familiar airplane at the Midwest LSA Expo 2010… but, like myself, we looked and looked again and couldn’t quite place the airplane. It turns out what fooled all of us initially was the installation of a 120-hp Jabiru 3300 under a new more aggressive cowling. Flying this airplane at the event, I came away a believer. I’ve always loved the S-19 (like most Rans models) and with this smooth-running powerplant, I found even more to enjoy. Come hear more details in our video.