SEBRING 2008 UPDATE — OK, two hardly makes an invasion, but after 32 months, we had no Brazilian Special Light-Sport Aircraft; now we have two since Christmas. On January 10th, the American importer of Paradise P-1 won approval to become our newest SLSA model. Like nearly every player in the LSA industry, Paradise will display at Sebring, except this company calls Sebring home so they won’t even get airborne to attend. *** The metal P-1 is a beautifully finished, all-leather interior, spacious airplane in the Cessna 150 tradition…except P-1 offers much better performance to go with the larger cabin. Built of welded 4130 steel tube covered with aluminum, P-1 qualifies for a 1,650-pound gross in Brazil. At 42 inches wide and using panel mounted yokes, Paradise enjoys unhindered floor space with lots of legroom. More than 30 cubic feet of space in the aft cabin (enough for a golf bag) can hold 70 pounds of baggage.
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We’re barely two weeks away from the season-launching Sebring LSA Expo. As 2007 ends and companies prepare for 2008, new models will be on display at Sebring and upgraded versions will further entice consumers. Among the latter are two refreshed models from Texas-based IndUS Aviation. *** Marketing man Scott Severen sent a long list of alterations made to the all-metal Thorpedo LP120 and LP85. They incorporate IndUS-completed aerodynamic refinements (new engine cowl, wing tips, and gear leg fairing) plus canopy styling and wear improvements, new boarding steps, new lowered seats for taller occupants, electrical system upgrades plus several interior or ergonomic refinements. Other updates focus on comfort and safety. It shows IndUS has been listening to customers and acting on that knowledge. *** Severen says IndUS will be at Sebring with no less than 8 aircraft. And bringing this fleet allows IndUS to make an unusual offer: Upon completion of signed purchase order and a $5,000 deposit, the aircraft of customer’s selection at the show will be flown free of charge to the customer’s home airfield by one of Severen’s sales team.
Flight Design leads the LSA flock maintaining a market share of more than 20% since the start of SLSA certifications almost three years ago. Their first American export was CT2K, fine tuned in 2006 for U.S. pilots as the CTSW. Now sport pilots around the world can welcome the CTLS, the third generation of this successful design. *** Longer and sleeker, LS was lengthened 14 inches and has a list of new features. Although you can add a few options (leather seats and autopilot, for example) the base model has everything a Sport Pilot could want including Garmin radio, transponder, and GPS with XM, dual Dynon glass displays, and BRS parachute…all standard. *** The company says every mold on the all-carbon fiber aircraft was changed. You can see this in its larger cabin with aft windows, the wingtip treatment, and in a more “adult” look to the design.
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In 2009, ByDanJohnson.com added three new features — PlaneFinder 2.0…LSA Videos…and LSA Market Info.
PlaneFinder 2.0 is our automated, interactive system that asks your preference to 24 very simple (this-or-that type) categories, for example, “High wing or low wing?” As you answer, the Matching SLSA list will swiftly narrow your search to those with your preferred qualities. It’s a fast, fun, helpful feature and you will find nothing else like it on the Internet.
Two weight shift aircraft from England carried the list of Special Light-Sport Aircraft past the 60 mark. Welcome to the P&M Aviation Quik and Quik GT450, our two newest SLSA models and the 7th and 8th weight shift aircraft (adding to 5 powered parachute models and 48 fixed wing airplanes, 2 of which fall into the Glider category). P&M Aviation was formed from a merger of Pegasus Aviation and Mainair Sports, the two leading UK trike builders. *** The P&M Quik models are modestly priced compared to other trikes from Europe. You can buy a Rotax 912-powered Quik for just over $50,000, which is substantially lower than other 912 trikes. The price tag also qualifies as one of the least costly SLSA. *** P&M Aviation USA is the American importer of the British brand. They’ll be at Sebring 2008 where you can see the Quik models with a larger control panel to allow for more instruments.
Bostik Industries is known to some LSA buyers as “the other supplier” of emergency ballistic parachute systems (Magnum). Indeed, that activity appears to be thriving as major producer BRS Parachutes intensifies its focus on larger GA airplanes and light jet projects. *** An affable Joe Bostik (airline captain and champion hang glider pilot) is also the U.S. agent for the shapely Lambada motorglider. Though soaring pilots will be instantly drawn to this reasonably priced motorglider (less than $100,000; other choices can cost much more), the airplane also works as a cross country cruiser, able to fly 800 nautical miles at speeds of 100 mph. Though Rotax 9-series engines offer great reliability, should the powerplant go quiet, a Lambada pilot can glide up to six miles from only 1,000 feet off the ground. Bostik now has his Lamabada website well populated with info, specs, and photos.
With events like Sebring and Sun ‘n Fun, AirVenture Oshkosh is a grand venue to introduce something new…or something coming soon. The mockup of the Cessna Sport won’t be the only new model. SportairUSA has represented the low-wing, all-carbon-fiber StingSport since LSA arrived on the scene and it has earned a spot in the top five list of best sellers. *** At Oshkosh 2007, SportairUSA will preview a “cabin model” of the TL 3000 Sirius. The company says, “Flight testing is expected to be completed in the fall, with aircraft ready for USA delivery in 2008.” They elaborate on the sleek high wing saying, “Sirius will be constructed of the same carbon fiber composite materials as the StingSport and powered by the Rotax 912 engine series with a generous, 48-inch-wide cabin and room for golf clubs in the back. Folks who saw the full size mockup at Germany’s Aero show were impressed.
How to extract more performance from a 60-year-old design? How about a nose job? Pilots understand a smoother shape lends more speed to a design, but you may not sense the total gain possible without adding horsepower or burning more fuel. General aviation companies like Mooney, Cessna, and Piper hired LoPresti Speed Merchants to help boost speed. *** At the 2007 Sebring LSA Expo IndUS Aviation revealed a new LoPresti nose cowl for their Thorpedo LP; plus reshaped wing tips which enclose nav and landing lights plus strobes, and new landing gear fairings…which, being Texans, they called “cowboy boots.” LoPresti engineers say the streamlined improvements will boost Thorpedo’s speed near the LSA limit of 120 knots. A 75% power cruise gain of 20% is forecast. The new components modernize the lines of this venerable John Thorp design from the 1940s, though it may seem hard to improve on a airplane that never required a single Airworthiness Directive!
Perhaps it’s a little ironic that Freedom wins its freedom. When I spoke with importer Don Langford at the Sebring LSA Expo he sounded somewhat unsure about the future for his Spanish amphibian. He’d submitted information for an exemption but had no reply. Yet shortly after Expo ended FAA granted LSA Aero‘s request for the Colyaer Freedom S100. The exclusive club now includes Czech Aircraft Works’ Mermaid and the Freedom. *** Each person exercising Sport Pilot privileges is required to obtain additional ground and flight instruction — on landing gear inspection, operation, and emergency procedures to include six takeoffs and landings and three in-flight gear movements. After a logbook endorsement and with appropriate placards on the aircraft, a Sport Pilot is allowed to move the gear as designed. Congratulations to Don and LSA Aero. This may help crack the door open wider for other amphibious LSA.
At the Sebring LSA Expo, visitors saw two airplanes they’d seen before, but these were actually revised models that are now ready for waiting pilots. The Mermaid charmed the LSA world when it was first introduced, since collecting more than 200 order deposits. The boat hull LSA also earned the first of two exemptions regarding the “repositionable” gear detail that has so befuddled FAA lawyers. The agency says it will fix this part of the SP/LSA rule by May 2007 but Mermaid is one of only two amphibs that allow Sport Pilots to reposition the gear. [UPDATE: LSA Aero’s Freedom S100 also recently won an exemption.] Mermaid’s engine now sits up on struts. Not only does this look great, the change has solved prior challenges of the Jabiru 3300 engine installation. It is also said to decrease noise. *** SportCruiser may look the same to you but the “third generation” model is said to fly better and it certainly looks sleeker with its beautifully shaped canopy.