Splog: Jabiru Engines Approaching 8,000 Engines Produced — Plus, Our List Reporting Every LSA Engine
When I was a kid, I was a New York Yankees baseball fan.
Pilots love airplanes (duh!). Pilots also love engines, especially when they are truly powerful.
A Message of Thanks
on a Day of Thanksgiving
Does a “simple aircraft” seem a contradiction in modern aviation?
Rotax’s 9-series engines have propelled several aircraft in round-the-world flights. One major user of the Austrian powerplants is The Airplane Factory in South Africa.
American and European pilots can plan a trip across the continent with surprising ease and with great support from air traffic controllers, airport operators, and businesses that serve aviation.
The following story is one that moved me and might affect you similarly.
At airshows throughout 2022, I repeatedly spoke to pilots interested in ultralights, the true Part 103 variety.
As I departed DeLand airport on Saturday at the close of Aero Showcase 2022, I recalled multiple conversations with attendees regarding the airplanes on display.
I have long recognized that one of the toughest things a group can do is decide to launch and operate a new event.
When I asked “Mosaic LSA?” in the lead image of this article, was I simply being provocative?
One of the longest-awaited Light-Sport development projects has been Vickers Aircraft’s Wave, a sophisticated amphibious LSA seaplane.
Shortly after the Midwest LSA Expo each year, a nearby company hosts a homecoming for its builders.
UPDATE Note (10/15/22): I urge all readers to take special note of two comments below that greatly add to the respect I intended to show John Ballantyne and Chuck Slusarczyk.
Splog: WUFI… A Different Sort of Aviation Event — On October 8 & 9, Thousands of Ultralight Enthusiasts Take to the Sky
While those of us in Florida hangared our aircraft and hunkered down for Hurricane Ian, elsewhere in the world, many pilots were preparing their airplanes and gearing up for one of the biggest aviation events you’ll never see.
Sun ‘n Fun does it. EAA AirVenture Oshkosh did it. Why not the smaller, sector-specific shows?
Splog: Midwest LSA Expo 2022 Presentation — What We Know about FAA’s Mosaic Regulation, with Q&A Session
I am honored that the room was full to standing room only capacity but even that gratifying turn-out at the Midwest LSA Expo 2022 represents a fraction of pilots keen to learn more about Mosaic.
Problem: The fleet of aircraft trainers in the USA is getting old.
Some kind of remarkable thing happened here in Mt. Vernon, Illinois where the Midwest LSA Expo is taking place.
While I have been familiar with AVI’s Swan for several years, having earlier seen it at the German Aero show, this was a first appearance for Swan in the United States.
A common question from affordable aviation enthusiasts asks about four stroke engines, either for genuine Part 103 ultralights (available but somewhat more challenging) or for very light aircraft.
As Labor Day approaches each year, pilots in the Midwest U.S.
Capitalism and competition are one thing. Government policies and actions are quite another.
Is it an LSA or is it not an LSA? Is that the question?
We leave the grounds of Oshkosh ghosted with images of planes that attracted major interest.
Splog: FAA’s Mosaic Rule — Delayed (a Year or More); Further Information about the New LSA Regulation
Somewhere, it seems like a group of light plane developers must have held a meeting and decided that low wing manufacturers needed to broaden their line to include high wings.
EAA has reported that the Warbird displays (ground and flight) are the single biggest draw at EAA AirVenture Oshkosh.
A year ago at Oshkosh, I became intrigued by the way Composite FX had developed the older Mosquito into their XE line; multiple models running from a legitimate Part 103 helicopter, their XEL model, to the turbine XET model.
Many of you have been asking about FAA and their Mosaic regulation.
Splog: Oshkosh 2022 – Day 0… T-Bird is Back; Two-Seat Aerolite; and More As the Show Prepares to Open
I write this on the eve of Oshkosh 2022. The big summer celebration of flight opens officially on Monday, July 25 running through next Sunday, July 31st.
Get ready for summer’s big celebration of flight. It starts Monday, July 25th for the week.
“Time to spare? Go by air!” is a familiar humor line, speaking to weather uncertainties, mechanical delays, or relaxed cruise speeds that can slow or stall a cross-country flight in our fun, recreational aircraft.
Talk about being ahead of its time, Junkers’ A50 Junior was designed to 600 kilograms / 1,320 pounds …93 years ago!
Fifty three years ago this month, Neil Armstrong made history when he declared first, “The Eagle has landed.” His words described a momentous occasion: humans about to set foot on the moon.
Considering the company has always been a western U.S. manufacturer, a name that sounds like “six shooter” conjures a cowboy image, horse-riding westerners packing a pistol on their hip.
This year, 2022, saw a return to all the great airshows we have come to know and love.
Airspace from ground level to 400 feet is about to get really crowded.
The title of this article contains a lot of information. If you are a close observer of light aircraft, you may recognize B.O.T.’s Speed Cruiser but you didn’t get the rest right away, did you?
In a time of great spectator enthusiasm for STOL competitions, wouldn’t a VTOL be even better?
For years, one company has led the fleet of light aircraft.
Let’s return to affordable aviation after two wonderful shows full of shiny new aircraft.
Our concluding report from Europe’s most interesting airshow (certainly for those interested in affordable aviation) speaks to the challenges for big event organizers in the restrictive atmosphere of Covid mandates.
Sun ‘n Fun started the recreational flying season as it always does, taking place this year in the beginning of April.
“Now, wait a minute,” I hear some object! “You can’t do aerobatics in a Light-Sport Aircraft.
Over many years as an affordable aviation journalist I have learned two things.
How about this? Among the loudest “buzz” at Aero Friedrichshafen 2022 was the introduction of turbine engines on Light-Sport Aircraft.
My moment of truth is fast approaching. Will I succeed or fail to predict the future?
As Sun ‘n Fun 2022 comes to a close, so does my daily reporting.
I have been working in this industry since, well… before it was an industry, so a long time.
At Sun ‘n Fun, as with AirVenture Oshkosh, recent years have created a new attraction using the Lightplane airstrip at both the nation’s two largest airshows.
A year ago at Sun ‘n Fun 2021, I reported on a Rotax 503 replacement built in Russia.
When Sun ‘n Fun 2022 starts, a signal can be heard ’round the world.
Long in development to incorporate a raft of distinctive ideas, Vickers Wave took its first flight last month, mere weeks before the launch of Sun ‘n Fun 2022, which kicks off a new flying season.
Welcome to the newest Special Light-Sport Aircraft in the fleet: Savage Norden.
Did you read “Jet Access” and think this article was not for you?
I can remember firsthand when one of aviation’s true characters — Chuck Slusaczyk, of Chuck’s Glider Supplies or CGS — brought his first Hawk to Sun ‘n Fun.
Pilot, builder, owner Roger Jennings is singular in an uncommon way.
I am longtime enthusiast of single place aircraft. Clearly, I am not alone.
Two wildly divergent events occurred in the last few days. They are completely unrelated yet they show the global interplay in modern light aviation.
Article Update — Photos of the designer’s own project… see at bottom.
Americans know Zigolo thanks to U.S. importer, Chip Erwin.
I promise I will not keep reporting futuristic eVTOLS or multicopters.
By my study and reports from several other organizations, the world has somewhere north of 1,000,000 pilots.
It’s always exciting to welcome a new entry into recreational aviation.
For years — no, make that decades — numerous pilots of light aircraft have told me the Rotax 503 was their favorite two-stroke engine.
In the early days of Light-Sport Aircraft, a veritable tsunami of flying machines crossed the Atlantic or Pacific to land on American shores.
Barely after we rang in the new year, here’s a review of 2021 market shares and info regarding the state of the light, recreational aircraft industry.
To welcome a brand new year in affordable aviation, I am pleased to announce the launch of our Part 103 List.
You can hardly follow any media without finding some article about the latest whizzbang electric propulsion multicopter project that “will transform urban transportation!” Or so they breathlessly exclaim.
Now that 2021 is historical and following two years of Covid uncertainty and business interruptions, many readers can breathe a sigh of relief for an better 2022.
Over the years, curious pilots have asked me what aircraft I fly.
Rather loudly and persistently I beat the drum about “affordable aircraft,” but readers also enjoy learning about other aircraft.
The last airshow of 2021 is over. The Christmas holidays are beginning to dominate everyone’s calendar.
This website regularly promotes affordable aviation. Can you genuinely find an aircraft you like that is affordable?
You’ve seen this airplane before but recreational flying enthusiasts with a good memory may ask, “Hmm, that looks a lot like an older LSA …what is it?”
Those LSA veterans may be recalling Kappa KP5, one of the earliest entries on our SLSA List (#9).
UPDATE 11/28/21 — Vickers Aircraft sent fresh images and additional comments.
With the DeLand Showcase 2021 ended, we have officially wrapped up the airshow season for 2021.
At the season-ending DeLand Showcase 2021, I gave a keynote address on Saturday attended by airplane owners and sellers.
A few years back at EAA AirVenture Oshkosh, I discovered a good-looking design but I did not see it each year.
Two decades into the new millennia, few aviation companies can claim impressive growth.
Over many years, many people have done solid work to accommodate people who are physically challenged in one way or another.
Video review: Composite FX Light Helicopters
A company based in Trenton, Florida has taken the Mosquito helicopter designed by Canadian John Uptigrove and brought it into the modern age.
North American’s World War II-era P-51 Mustang has consistently won polls of pilots asking to identify their favorite aircraft.
Video Updated 10/25/21 — See at bottom for a video recorded at Sun ‘n Fun 2021… —DJ
Ever in search of recreational aircraft pilots can afford, I had a closer look at Excalibur’s display at Sun ‘n Fun 2021.
Probably like a lot of you, I enjoy different kinds of flying but if asked to state one favorite, it’s an easy question to answer.
Since Chuck Slusarczyk’s first Hawk won Best New Design at Sun ‘n Fun in the spring of 1982 — the same year Part 103 was released — this affordable series of models has continued to increase its flock of smiling owners.
Let’s keep a focus on aircraft affordability. Look, we love recreational aircraft.
Numerous reports involve rising inflation in the last year. What’s driving this?
I consistently promote that this website focuses on “affordable” aircraft. I used quotes because affordable literally means something different to every single individual.
On the final day of the Midwest LSA Expo 2021, winds came up as predicted and energy levels began to come down to Earth, but it was a fitting conclusion to what appeared to be a very successful show.
Splog: Midwest 2021 Day 2: Update about FAA’s MOSAIC Regulation, then Flying the Fusion & Chasing the Fox
Midwest LSA Expo‘s forum organizers called it a “record crowd” that turned out to hear my talk about coming changes in FAA’s latest regulation.
One area of light aircraft flight — LSA, kits, or ultralights — that gets less attention is aerobatics.
Many readers know I love this event, the Midwest LSA Expo at Mt.
Sun ‘n Fun kicked off the 2021 season but also restarted the idea of returning to airshows.
For 18 months, the world has been under assault from a bug so small you can’t see it without a big microscope.
For a week last month, the center of the aviation universe was headquartered in Oshkosh, Wisconsin — population around 50,000 until AirVenture brings in five times that many on the biggest days.
Splog: AirVenture Aftermath: Light Aircraft Sales Are Strong — FAA Listens but Major Problems Persist
EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2021 is one for the history books. Initial reporting from the big member organization suggests 2021 was a return to normal attendance and exhibitors were not far behind.
As EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2021 winds down to a conclusion, a chance conversation brought the handsome aircraft below into clearer focus.
A mid-week demonstration featured Europe’s Volocopter and America’s Opener BlackFly. The two (three actually, a pair of BlackFlys flew) demonstrated their eVTOL flying capability.
As you readers must know, I prefer to focus mainly on the airplanes, on light aircraft.
Day 2 AirVenture began with “rain that went sideways,” according to one vendor.
WOW! It’s great to be back at a major airshow. I imagine every single person on that immense stretch of show grounds (way past a mile north to south!) felt largely the same way I did.
As AirVenture Oshkosh 2021 starts, we have arrived at a long-awaited beginning to the world’s biggest airshow.
Well, FINALLY, AirVenture Oshkosh is barely a week away. It seems like forever, doesn’t it?
The age of Light Personal Aircraft is not far off in the future but is that where “fast-glass” LSA are headed?
Taking a welcome break from FAA news, let’s check out our favorite topic: cool new airplanes.
UPDATE 7/8/21 — BREAKING NEWS:
EAA issued a report today saying FAA took some steps to resolve this matter, but it is far from an elegant solution and does not fully address the problem.
Normally, this website focuses tightly on airplanes and the equipment and services needed to keep them flying.
“WE DID IT!” boasted the team from down under!
“We are thrilled to announce that this afternoon we achieved a World Endurance Record for an electric aircraft, breaking the previous mark set in Germany last year.” (Note: Official recognition always takes more time.)
Pipistrel distributor Michael Coates, wrote, “South Australian-based Eyre to There Aviation … Flying a Pipistrel Alpha Electro plane, arrived in Port Augusta late yesterday (Friday June 25) after breaking the previous mark of 750 kilometers on the leg between Shoalwater Point Station and Whyalla.”
Lead by Eyre to There Aviation Managing Director, Barrie Rogers, the team will continue to Adelaide aiming to fly 1,350 kilometers by the end of the journey.
Most of us would be mighty pleased to sit comfortably and gaze upon our pace-setting aircraft.
Splog: Going the Distance on Battery Power — Record Attempt Reveals the State of Art in Electric Propulsion
Does Alpha have the tiny little motor that could?
Article updated 6/22/21 —DJ
That sounds like an old childhood story (“The Little Engine that Could…”) but here we are in the new millennia with electric cars, huge wind farms, vast solar collector projects, biofuels, and more.
How does modern-day Rotax relate to the Wright Brothers? Here’s a trivia test for light aviation enthusiasts.
“Winds are going to be rather sporty,” observed AirCam developer, Phil Lockwood, as he and Robert Meyer and the AirCam team finalized arrangements for another fly-out, this one to Jekyll Island (09J).
Splog: LSA Update — Finland’s ATOL Avion… Ekolot Topaz Wins Another… Fresh SW-51 Video… New FAA Reg Update Video
Summer is fast approaching and for much of the northern hemisphere, that means seaplane flying.
Recently I interacted with a reader, someone considering a light aircraft for purchase.
This flying dream has been years in the making. Admittedly, it’s a big project, but so authentic is this 70%-scale P-51 Mustang lookalike that I think I see you already starting to drool.
The appeal is obvious. What pilot doesn’t like the idea of flying faster?
Splog: Wave Theory — After Years of Thoughtful, Thorough Development, First Flight Is Getting Closer
Down under, heads are down and wrenches are wrenching. A team in New Zealand has been working for years on what might be the most sophisticated new aircraft to emerge …well, anywhere among Light-Sport Aircraft but certainly in LSA seaplanes.
In about one year, FAA may announce their new regulation for Light-Sport Aircraft.
I don’t believe the line about young people ignoring aviation. Maybe we older pilots don’t see enough action at flight schools, but not all flying happens at major flight centers.
We continue with further coverage from the first major airshow in almost two years… THANKS to Sun ‘n Fun 2021 for helping present these interesting aircraft and more.
Continuing news from Sun ‘n Fun 2021 is rolling in from across the country.
Everyone has returned home from the first major airshow in too long (other than the wonderful sector-specific event called Midwest LSA Expo).
Splog: Sun ‘n Fun 2021 / Day 4 — Still Great 30 Years Later: Titan Aircraft’s Tornado Comes in Four Flavors
Usually, aviation journalists attending airshows seek the latest and greatest in aircraft.
Perhaps you knew years ago that Brazil was an aviation beehive of activity.
Think about this: A Rotax-powered aircraft capable of high-speed cruising at 185 miles an hour?
Splog: Sun ‘n Fun 2021 / Day 1 — Charged with Excitement …Battery Electric Aerolite 103 Is Flying Now!
For years I’ve said that of all aircraft to succeed with battery electric flight, the first truly usable, enjoyable aircraft would be a Part 103 ultralight.
Pilots heading to Sun ‘n Fun 2021 had no real idea what to expect.
Can aviation lead us back toward normal? Globally, governments have ordered their citizens to stay at home and all the rest, as you’ve heard ad naseum.
Americans have seen Comco Ikarus‘ C42 before. At least three different importers have represented C42 versions to the U.S.
Affordable is a word I often hear as I explore the ever-expanding world of light aircraft.
Bulgarian designer Tony Ilieff is on a mission to find new representatives for his handsome light aircraft after concluding earlier representation in Canada.
“Nynja lifts off after a ridiculously short ground roll and soars skyward at a precipitously steep angle.
You’ve heard some pilot say: “That airplane is so sleek it looks fast even when sitting parked on the ramp.” This is one of those airplanes.
Recently I wrote about an American classic, Luscombe’s Model 8 LSA.
Welcome our newest entry to the Special LSA fleet: Montaer’s MC01.
Of all the airplanes earning rave reviews over the years, one model stands out above most others in the distinction of handling quality.
Splog: New or Old? … Deluxe or Simple? … Quicksilver or Smithsilver? — Here Is Tri-State’s Falcon 503
One of the most successful airplane designs of all time is the Quicksilver.
Aviation preaches safety long and loud. This dedication within the aviation community has made flying safer than driving despite what landlubbers believe is a risky way to travel.
This website promotes a focus on affordable aviation, but the word “affordable” means different things to different people at different times.
Everyone knows 2020 was arguably the most unusual year in anyone’s recollection.
After nearly a year of precious few such events, trying to plan for airshows you wish to attend in 2021 remains complicated by a variety of factors.
In the early 1930s, Sensenich began making propellers …from wood.
Excitement surrounding Part 103 Ultralights continues. Considering what a nightmare of a year the entire world has experienced, many find it incredible that 103s are not only surviving, but thriving.
UPDATE 1/14/21 — Regretfully, I must announce that DeLand has cancelled its Flyway to Highway event “due to Covid-19.” —DJ
After a year of great uncertainty, the earliest airshows of 2021 are feeling the pressure.
As work on my Part 103 List continues, I have reached out to producers of the lightest, most affordable airplanes you can buy.
Welcome to a New Year! …and to a new airplane, a new Part 103 entry to be specific.
Back when Light-Sport Aircraft were still youngsters in aviation (LSA are teenagers now), Ron Corbi imported the Direct Fly Alto 100.
When I first reported about — and did videos about — Just Aircraft’s Part 103 entry back in 2017 and 2018, lots of readers got excited.
Priced between an RV-7 and RV-14, Whisper is clearly a very similar aircraft but sleekly built of all carbon fiber composites.
On an overcast day with mild temperatures, my wife Randee and I hopped in an RV-12 and zipped from Daytona to Lakeland, Florida, home of the famous Sun ‘n Fun campus situated on the south side of the municipal airport.
UPDATED (again!) 12/11/20: Still refining the list. —DJ
A great many of you read the article about the new Part 103 List.
As regular readers know, I promote ByDanJohnson.com as the home of “affordable aviation.” I even own the domain name AffordableAviation.com.
In the 1990s, a pair of Canadian aircraft dominated the light aviation market in America’s neighbor to the north.
As 2020 nears its end, I have news about the first airshow of the new year.
In the earliest Light-Sport Aircraft days, nearly 70% of available models came from Europe.
Pilots around the world are aware of Part 103 Ultralights but many have a blurry view of the industry that produces these aircraft.
➡️ Update 11/3/20 — A new video interview with Flight Design USA importer Tom Peghiny appears at the bottom of this article.
The most popular article of this crazy year — when people have been visiting in record numbers — was about Aeromarine-LSA‘s Merlin Lite.
Splog: SilverLight Shines Brightly Among Modern Gyroplanes — All American, Available, and Modestly Priced
After thousands of articles, I’ve have heard over and over about two common ingredients sought by pilots who visit this website: Affordability and Availability.
By any measure 2020 has been an unusual year. While millions were thrown out of work by lockdowns to prevent the virus from spreading, we all read or hear that plenty of other workers can work from home or have businesses that cannot be restricted by government decrees.
Thank goodness for the Midwest LSA Expo. As the one and only airshow (other than some small local gatherings) since Copperstate/Buckeye back in February, Midwest 2020 was a breath of fresh air… literally for those of us who attended (quite a few did).
Lots of doubters expressed their opinions in the weeks and days before Mt.
On the last day of the last airshow of the year — unbelievable as that sounds — I examined a superbly-finished gyroplane that Powered Sport Flying‘s Vickie Betts saw at the Mentone PRA fly-in earlier this year.
If you know light, recreational aviation, you simply must know the Quicksilver brand.
I saw a lot of smiles at Midwest LSA Expo 2020.
Are you looking for an affordably-priced airplane? On this website, you can find many choices of aircraft that qualify, with something to fit the budget of almost any pilot.
I hope you can attend 2020’s Midwest LSA Expo — the last airshow in 2020.
OK, let me admit right up front that I am something of an “airshow junkie.” I just gotta go.
I always enjoy when a new airplane company arrives on the market and sets plans in motion to expand and improve their flying machine.
Splog: Staring At Goat — Wild Sky’s Brutus Off-Field, Outback Weight Shift Trike Light-Sport Aircraft
If you flew better than 9,000 hours solely to give trike instruction, you would tend to develop ideas about how an aircraft can better fit the type of flying lessons you want to give.
Well, now we know what 2020 holds for airshows. I count three that did or will happen this year, but one of them — the much-anticipated November event, DeLand Sport Aviation Showcase, or DSAS — has now officially been delayed by action of the city leadership, which controls the DeLand airport.
Many years ago — back in February 2020 — I attended my last airshow.
What a weird season, or non-season, if we think about all the airshows we should be attending …but are not!
Although a mirror reflection of the greater global economy, many pilots are stunned that airshow after airshow has fallen to the virus.
The end is near! Or, is it?
The reference is to the long-running effort to revise the FAA regulation affecting Light-Sport Aircraft.
➡️ This article was UPDATED on July 31, 2020 with additional information — see after video…
Some pilots love to whirl their wings over their heads.
Most ultralight aircraft (officially: “ultralight vehicles”) are rather simple constructions. They must be to stay within the tight constraints of a 254-pound maximum empty weight.*
That’s not a negative comment about them.
Some pilots are wary of taildraggers. This is hardly surprising since only tricycle-gear aircraft have been used in primary flight instruction dating back into the 1970s.
We live in an age of sophisticated two seaters, a large flock of wonderful aircraft of every description.
Perhaps it’s too bad the airplane sellers can’t do something similar, but avionics developers have found a way to be Almost-at-Oshkosh and they invite you to join them.
Garmin is going to Oshkosh 2020! No, wait, that can’t be.
Splog: Vintage Light Kit Aircraft Heaven — Checking out ScaleBirds’ Curtis P-36 with 5-Cylinder Engine
ScaleBirds is not your run-of-the-mill kit aircraft company. In truth, all kit builders are amazing to me.
Our fastest-with-the-mostest partner tracks the health and performance of the light aircraft industry and is once again punctual.
Splog: Back to the Future… Let’s Go to Oshkosh (OK, from last year) for a Full Tour of Light Aircraft
It’s almost July and any active pilot knows what that means: Oshkosh!
You can call modern gyroplanes “wanna-be” helicopters if you want but that might miss a few important points.
If you pay any attention to LSA seaplanes, you should already know about Aventura.
What on Earth is the world coming to…?! A Cub with a nose wheel?
In April, lots of readers were clearly pleased with the “Vintage Ultralights” series.
In our strongest month ever, April 2020, our biggest story was about the Swedish Blackwing “Speed Monster.” Pilots almost universally admire a beautiful and fast aircraft.
Let me be honest. I’ve built one aircraft in my life.
In the last couple months as we’ve all been struggling under the lockdowns happening across the country (and around the world), some of our best-read articles have been about going fast using the most powerful engines.
Although airframes may present the look and offer the performance that stimulates an aircraft purchase, engines have long driven development of new airframes.
After a number of years with relatively modest rates for aircraft insurance — at least for the more easily insured aircraft and operations — rates have increased, even for experienced pilots with good records.
This website stresses affordable aviation and that sometimes generates questions or complaints about the cost of modern Light-Sport Aircraft.
Welcome to the newest Special Light-Sport Aircraft …except that it isn’t so new(1).
Special LSA seaplane maker, Seamax Aircraft, announced, “This week [we] delivered the first Seamax M-22 aircraft designed with IFR (Instrument Flying Rules) capability.
Although Special LSA plus Experimental LSA run neck-and-neck with Sport Pilot eligible kit-built aircraft in U.S.
Don’t hate me… I know this short article is not about Light-Sport Aircraft.
American are very gracious with their donations to good causes. Charitable giving in the USA exceeded $400 billion in 2018 alone.
Can you believe it? No, I am not writing about Oshkosh cancelling their big summer celebration of flight.
The need for speed is hard wired into humans, it seems.
Our most-read story of 2020 was this breaking report on Blackwing’s assault on the world speed record for the Microlight category.
Having celebrated the inventiveness of ultralight designer Wayne Ison in the last post, it seems quite appropriate to recognize another, Ernie Carlson.
The grand finale to this series on Vintage Ultralights during the month of April 2020 focuses on an airplane that can be very inexpensive if bought used.
Five years back at my favorite airshow in Europe — Aero Friedrichshafen — I could not pass the supersleek blue and black low wing from Sweden, my father’s ancestral home.
This first year I ever saw Randy Schlitter fly one his models at an airshow seems a hundred years ago.
Ah, the Quicksilver! Where to start with this veritable icon of the ultralight sector?
The Coronavirus madness is far from being a U.S. problem. Naturally, we tend to focus on our own part of the world …as we must.
When the Phantom was introduced to the ultralight market at Sun ‘n Fun in 1982, it won the Best New Design award, not only for good looks and strong performance but for its structural integrity!
The first time I ever saw Lazair fly — a fly-in at the Tullahoma Airport, as I recall — a then-young Peter Corley flew the lightweight aircraft as though he was the pilot of a military fighter of the day.
While I continue to worry about the cash crunch faced by two of my favorite shows, I am still driven to provide content as if those shows had occurred this year and not been postponed to 2021.
Amazingly enough, here in 2020, we have noticeably returned to our roots in very light aircraft.
As we continue with this fourth in a series of ten about very affordable light aircraft from earlier times, we stress again that all the aircraft presented in this series still have some essential qualities that warranted their inclusion.
As everyone on the planet knows by now, aviation has nary an airshow in sight.
When Fisher was still located where it began, in North Dakota, I paid a visit to the factory.
Way back when, long before the birth of the Light-Sport Aircraft segment (in 2004), lots of us flew ultralights.
In recent months many light aviation enthusiasts have been asking about progress on FAA’s proposed rewrite of the Light-Sport Aircraft regulations.
A frequent comment I hear is that the price of recreational aircraft are too high.
Coronavirus or not, departures from the Golden State of California continue unabated.
“This, too, shall pass…” said my neighbor, Bill Chernish, who flies for Southwest Airlines.
Delay, postpone, or cancel — that seems to be the question organizers of events faced in the current pandemic scare.
Update: April 2020 — Faced with a difficult decision and under enormous pressure, Sun ‘n Fun organizers changed plans and have now rescheduled the event for April 13-18, 2021.
That was several hours of my life I will never get back — booking airline, rental car, and a series of hotel rooms… and then cancelling all of them!
How does one LSA brand rise and stay above others?
Many reasons can be introduced; all possibly valid.
If you like airplane statistics and facts, this article may interest you.
Update 2/17/20 — From a commenter whose handle is “Concerned Citizen” on Videoman Dave’s YouTube channel comes this update on Mike’s flight home: “Mike left Copperstate Sunday morning and made three legs, stopping in Blythe, Bermuda Dunes, then Banning due to severe winds and rain.
One of the reasons why Videoman Dave and I attend smaller events is because we can do a particular kind of work while visiting: Video Pilot Reports.
Copperstate is officially the show that starts off the new aviation year these days.
It started with a seemingly simple product. Since long before recreational aircraft arrived, the invention that launched the Rotax brand was a “rotary axle,” a freewheeling hub that advanced the then-state-of-the-art in bicycles.
Welcome to the two-seat Sherwood Scout. We previously presented Sherwood’s single-place Kub.
We have a new year upon us. With our new reporting capabilities for LSA and SP kit market shares, we can now quickly report results from 2019.
How about this for a great way to start off the new year — a brand-new airplane?
As we kick off a new year and a new decade, it feels like the starter’s timer has just been clicked into action.
The last airshow (DeLand) is over. Recreational aircraft across the snow belt are secured in their hangars.
In case I don’t get another post up before (gosh, this is a busy time of year, isn’t it?)… let me wish all visitors and viewers a very warm and wonderful holiday.
As we rush toward the Christmas holiday period and get excited about a new season of flying (after a few more weeks of snow and ice), we have some news to report.
When your product fits a small space in the instrument panel, how do you show off such a small product in a more visible way at airshows.
“The DeLand Sport Aviation Showcase (DSAS), conducted from November 14-16, 2019 at the DeLand Municipal Airport in Florida, has completed a careful look at ticket sales, gate receipts, exhibitor numbers and other data… and is happy to report that the 2019 Showcase eclipsed the 2018 attendance by over 20%,” reported lead organizer, Jana Filip.
Saturday was the final day of the last airshow of 2019.
Splog: DeLand Day 2 — Safety First, Right? Here Are Two Ideas that Can Make Light-Sport Aircraft Safer
As readers of ByDanJohnson.com know, we enjoy keeping a tight (though not exclusive) focus on the aircraft we love to fly.
Splog: DeLand Day One — SunDancer Motorglider from Distar; Cruise Cross Country or Power Down and Soar
Opening day at DeLand Showcase 2019 got off to a solid start.
As snow swirls in the air and piles up on the ground in the northern latitudes, perhaps it’s a good time to think of Florida… specifically, DeLand, Florida.
In about one week, it all ends. Before then, DeLand Showcase 2019 is set to begin!
You know Aircraft Spruce. So do all your flying buddies.
For years, more than a decade, the U.S. gyroplane producer community tried to persuade FAA to allow fully built Special Light-Sport Aircraft gyroplanes into the USA.
In mid-October, FAA provided another update to the Light Aircraft Manufacturers Association.
This website seeks to offer a reliable source of market information for Light-Sport Aircraft and Sport Pilot kit aircraft as a service to the light aircraft sector.
Sustained interest in Cub-types has long amazed many of us. About the only airplane that routinely seems to inspire even more passion may be the North American P-51 Mustang.
Welcome to the newest Special Light-Sport Aircraft, the recently unveiled (at Oshkosh 2019) Texas Aircraft Manufacturing Colt 100.
It’s big. It’s bold. It’s beautiful. It’s loaded with snazzy custom features.
Video review: Texas Aircraft Colt 100 (0919)
Colt 100 from Texas Aircraft Manufacturing based in Hondo, Texas is a Brazilian Light-Sport Aircraft design.
You know you have a great job when… you get to fly a brand new Light-Sport Aircraft on a bright, beautiful, blue sky day at a Sport Pilot-friendly airport.
What a great day to start off the Midwest LSA Expo!
Evolution Trikes celebrated their 10th anniversary at Sun ‘n Fun 2019.
While occupied on some travel, I am pleased to provide a pilot report on a Part 103-type from across the Atlantic in the United Kingdom.
One of our most popular articles of 2019 involves FAA’s plans for refreshed regulation.
If you are an ultralight enthusiast (as I certainly am!), then you are probably celebrating with me as FX1 joins the Special LSA fleet — which it does as Number 150 on our popular SLSA List.
The weeklong celebration of flight known around the planet as “Oshkosh” is now history.
For more than 15 years one class of Light-Sport Aircraft has been held down in America even while it has been burgeoning in other parts of the world.
Splog: Newest Special Light-Sport Aircraft: Sunward Aurora …First Chinese Aircraft to Win FAA Approval
Welcome to the newest Special Light-Sport Aircraft, entering our popular SLSA List at number 149.
Once we had Avid Flyer. It begat Kitfox, which begat many models before returning to the starting point by creating a Part 103 ultralight vehicle* called Kitfox Lite …what else?
After impressing European pilots at the big German show called Aero Friedrichshafen, producer InnovAviation brought their sleek and sexy FX1 for Americans to see at Oshkosh 2019.
Cruising the grounds at Oshkosh, looking for aircraft to report, I looked around the all-new Homebuilt Area.
Sometimes a new Light-Sport Aircraft producer bursts on the scene in dramatic ways.
Many have asked about progress on FAA’s proposed rewrite of the Light-Sport Aircraft regulations.
Splog: Flying Into Oshkosh — An Eye-Opener, but What If You Were Really Young, and in an Ultralight Aircraft?
Happening right now as this is written …a young pilot, with impressive support from his father and sister, is flying to Oshkosh.
Price matters. While pilots enjoy a huge range in aircraft types, capabilities, descriptions, and price points, the fact remains that some aircraft will always be too expensive for some buyers.
Splog: Everybody Loves a Hero — How about One from Sector Aircraft …the Brazilian Invasion Continues
From Brazil comes a new Hero, an aircraft most Americans have never seen.
Splog: Look Out, Legacies! Light-Sport Aircraft in Flight Schools Operated by the Aircraft Representative
For years, I have been interviewing suppliers of Light-Sport Aircraft about how functional and durable their SLSA are for flight training.
Every year, the Light Aircraft Manufacturers Association asks industry professionals to nominate a deserving person to receive the LAMA President’s Award.
Splog: Super Affordability: U-Fly-It’s Aerolite 103 Ultralight Aircraft Will Be a One-Week Super Wonder
Super affordability. Super Wonder. “Super?“ — surely, I exaggerate, right? Hmmm, I don’t think so.
Splog: Charging Back into the Lead — Flight Design ga’s F2 and F2e Light-Sport Aircraft (Gasoline or Electric)
Once upon a time in the then-new world of Light-Sport Aircraft Flight Design lead the pack for airplanes delivered and registered.
A funny thing happened on our way to quarterly reporting of LSA and Sport Pilot kit market shares.
Most pilots love a fast-looking aircraft that looks as good on the ramp as it does in the air?
News about Sebring Expo’s shutdown captivated readers of this website. Other media outlets also picked up on the news.
“It’s a wrap” as the iconic LSA show called Sebring Expo (full name Sebring U.S.
I regularly attend Aero Friedrichshafen every April certain I will see aircraft I’ve never seen before — but also because I will see upgrades to existing popular models.
One of the controversies surrounding Light-Sport Aircraft has to do with that first word: “light.” Early on, one aircraft importer lobbied to remove the word as it was negatively viewed, he believed.
Could 2020 bring a new description of aircraft under the LSA banner?
Splog: Celebrating 15 Years of Reporting Light-Sport Aircraft, Sport Pilot Kits, and Ultralight Aircraft
Splog: Aero Friedrichshafen Day 4…Wrap — BlackWing 600, JMB Aircraft, FlySynthesis Synchro, ScaleWings P-51 Replica
Aero Friedrichshafen is over. At the beginning, show organizers said it was their biggest yet, measured by the number of exhibitors.
Splog: Aero Friedrichshafen Day 3: ELECTRIC, Hybrid on Tecnam and Comco – Battery on Horten and Bristell
More from Aero as Day 3 closes. Because of the number on display — and because several readers asked — this post will focus on electric propulsion in two distinct forms.
Splog: Aero Friedrichshafen Day 2: Tecnam Mk II, SkyArrow, Corsair Delivering, Delta Cruiser Floatplane
Aero Friedrichshafen continues, delivering a broad preview of new aircraft projects plus a glimpse into light aviation in Europe.
Splog: Aero Friedrichshafen Day 1 Aircraft Highlights: Zlin Ultra 915, Flight Design F-Series, Belmont
Jetting straight from Sun ‘n Fun, we were able to arrive at Aero Friedrichshafen by noon on opening day.
Splog: Sun ‘n Fun Day 5 …Wrap Up — Cub and Mother; Sopwith Camel Replica, Father of Ultralight Aircraft
Sun ‘n Fun is over. While staff, tent vendors and more have plenty of work to do, customers and vendors have all vacated the area, scattering off across the USA as they return to base.
Sun ‘n Fun streaks on with Blue Angels and Stearmans cracking the air.
You wanna go fast? Of course you do. What pilot doesn’t want to go fast?
Seaplane flying is a specialty within aviation but it is one that has steady appeal and develops passionate aviators.
Splog: Sun ‘n Fun Day 1 — Affordable Aircraft: CGS Hawk Ultra, Evolution RevX, Kolb Trifly, Thatcher CX5
Videoman Dave and I never left Paradise City’s exhibits in our first day of video interviews.
What’s new at Sun ‘n Fun 2019? Again, as I’ve observed for previous airshows, it appears impossible for all exhibitors to be ready by gates-open tomorrow, Tuesday April 2nd, 2019.
Most Americans know the childhood story about the “Little Engine that Could,” a tale of determination, working against long odds and succeeding despite them.
This Just In!
Follow the Sling TSi LIVE tomorrow, Sunday March 31st, 2019, as the new model flies this route: KTOA – KLAL (Coast to Coast) • Torrance, California to Lakeland, Florida, a distance of 1,900 nautical miles
Intended Departure: Sunday at 4 AM Pacific • Landing Florida before 7 PM Eastern in a flight forecast to take “under 12 hours” at a predicted speed of 160 knots (184 mph), at altitude.
Let me admit right up front: I am a big fan of AirCam.
A few years ago, I visited Continental Motors in Mobile Alabama on the Gulf coast of the southern U.S.
This year celebrates 15 years of Light-Sport Aircraft and its companion pilot certificate, Sport Pilot.
In late February, Texas Aircraft invited me to an unveiling ceremony.
Something old. Something new. Hang glider pilots I know are very familiar with Horten designs, a form of validation for modern hang gliders …flying wings, aircraft with no tail or fuselage structures.
“You just saved my life!” It’s not often anyone, even a medical doctor, hears those words.
Light-Sport Aircraft have accomplished much in the 15 years this new class of aircraft have existed: • Lower purchase cost — with choices spread over a wide variety of aircraft.
We again have the pleasure of a flight review from British aviation journalist, Dave Unwin.
“We are Arizona’s newest aircraft manufacturer,” said Garrett Komm when we finally located him and his bright blue and silver aircraft.
At a major show in China called Zhuhai visitors saw something: a new 6-axis LSA flight simulator.
I have to admit my pleasant surprise. This tie-up of Copperstate and Buckeye Air Fair might be exactly what is needed to generate a major show in the Southwestern USA.
The Copperstate airshow is on in Arizona! Put on by a new combination of Copperstate leadership in cooperation with the town of Buckeye Arizona — which has been hosting its own Buckeye Air Fair — the new event is off and running in its new time slot of early February.
“I knew we had all the pictures we needed but I was having a blast and just wanted to keep flying Minifox,” wrote British aviation writer, Dave Unwin.
At the recently concluded Sebring Sport Aviation Expo, I heard from a number of pilots and vendors about this website publishing fresh market share data.
Video review: Insurance for Light-Sport Aircraft and Kits
Aircraft Insurance is one of those things pilots need. You want to protect yourself, your aircraft investment, and anyone who may be affected by the operation of your aircraft.
Video review: Aviation Insurance Resources’ Gregg Ellsworth
You own an airplane — or you are considering buying one.
The final day of the Sebring U.S. Sport Aviation Expo brought good flying conditions until mid-afternoon when light precipitation returned.
As Day Three arrived, blue skies returned to Sebring after a damp start on Day Two and with them came the best crowds of pilots and companions of any day so far …by far.
“Duck and cover” was a phrase to describe the morning on Thursday, Day Two at Sebring.
Sebring Day One was true to form for the 15th running of this grandaddy of Light-Sport and Sport Pilot Kit shows.
Splog: Setting Up Sebring 2019 — Heaven for Light-Sport Aircraft and Sport Pilot-Eligible Kit Aircraft
Sebring Sport Aviation Expo 2019 — I’m here. Where are you?
As a new season of flying is upon us (even while northern pilots may still be still shoveling snow), one company continues their vigorous comeback.
Update 1/15/19: Thanks to reader feedback — a resource we value very highly — we have updated our statistics to correct another naming challenging.
If you like Light-Sport Aircraft and if you like statistics, you are going to love this article.* Our wholly refreshed look at aircraft registrations marks the return of our popular market share rankings and now includes much more information.
Throughout the 115 years since the Wrights took their Flyer into the skies for the first time, aviation has enjoyed remarkable progress.
As pilots clear the skies so Santa and his flying reindeer can go about their mission, it seems fitting to offer a word of thanks to all of you who have frequently visited this website.
UPDATE 30 Dec 2018 — Sad news about a crash of one of the Handiflight aircraft with the loss of one of the pilots.
UPDATE 12/20/18 — Video added regarding the second book below. See at bottom of post…
Unlike most aviation outlets, I’ve refrained from putting out a Christmas gift guide for pilots.
When Rotax debuted their new 915iS engine at an Oshkosh press conference, Sling designer Mike Blyth raced forward at the end of the conference to closely examine the new power plant.
One year ago, I was touring around China thanks to my good friends at AeroJones, the China-based manufacturer of the popular CTLS for the Asia-Pacific region.
Continental Motors, part of China’s Avic International Holding, announced recently that they have entered a strategic partnership with Liaoning Cub Aircraft Corp to be the engine provider for the Top Cub, which the company said is the first kit aircraft built in China, for the Chinese market.
Imagine you are in charge of marketing for French propeller manufacturer, Duc Hélices.
Since shortly after ByDanJohnson.com went live (on April Fool’s Day 2004, just a few months before the LSA rule was released), one regular website feature has earned positive reviews.
At the season ending DeLand Showcase show, Flight Design was ably represented by John Hurst.
DeLand Showcase 2018 is over, which signals the airshow season is over for this calendar year.
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.
Day One of the third running of DeLand Showcase is complete.
The end of the year is approaching. We just wrapped Halloween and now begin the headlong rush into the holiday season.
In mere days now, DeLand Showcase starts. The new event closes out the year’s shows.
A popular American childhood story called “The Little Engine that Could” relates to this article.
This week kicks off the truly gigantic trade show known by its sponsoring organization’s abbreviation: NBAA, or in common lingo, “Enn, Bee, Double A.” While not taking up the extensive terra firms of Oshkosh, NBAA actually has more paying exhibitors.
An article from last weekend’s news about a massive jump in LSA weight propelled this website to an all-time record as light aviation enthusiasts from around the nation and the globe signed on to make comments and shared the article with their friends.
This weekend a firestorm erupted out of the blue. A wave of questions is ringing my phone, piling up text messages, and populating my social media accounts.
Have you noticed how much LSA seaplanes pop up on this website and all over the web and print world?
So far, at least three entries* in the multicopter sweepstakes qualify themselves as Part 103 ultralight vehicles.
FAA’s Light-Sport Aircraft category involves quite the intriguing mixture of aircraft.
Updated September 26, 2018 — This article has been updated to include more producers.
This article has been updated with a new image; a minor correction was made.
While weather starts to cool in the northern USA, in the sub-tropical south, it is still warm enough to enjoy float flying.
This article was updated with additional photos; see at bottom.
Midwest LSA Expo held a special ceremony to honor two men in their donation of a beautiful LSA-like aircraft now permanently displayed on an striking pedestal near the airport entrance.
Many pilots expect the first appearance of a new model at the biggest airshows, but here’s one of those times when the sector-specific shows win.
Building kits for homebuilders and assembling fully built aircraft are two very distinct business models.
Perhaps not every pilot needs for aircraft to be affordable but a great many do.
One essential visit at AirVenture Oshkosh 2018 was to the Quad City booth in the Fun Fly Zone.
Things are looking up for Light-Sport Aircraft, rather fantastically so in my admittedly biased opinion.
One aircraft at EAA AirVenture Oshkosh really caught my eye. OK, truth be told, dozens of aircraft caught my eye but this shiny example seemed to be looking back at me.
The LSA seaplane sector is one of the most intriguing areas of the diverse Light-Sport space.
UPDATE: Video on Ranger at bottom…
Often at EAA AirVenture Oshkosh we see improved models among vast displays of showplanes.
For your enjoyment, here is arguably the most unique airplane I found on the grounds of EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2018 …and with around 3,000 show planes, that is truly saying something.
You have more privileges than you may know with your Light-Sport Aircraft.
Maybe you never flew a floatplane or seaplane (the latter implying a hull).
A new-to-Americans Light-Sport Aircraft made its debut showing at AirVenture 2018.
CGS Hawk is one of our most storied brands of ultralight and light aircraft.
On my first day on Wittman Field here in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, we took the privilege to drive around the grounds and capture video scenes as hundreds of exhibitors arrive and set up their displays.
This article has been updated…
Technology company TQ Group established a reputation for high quality engineering and precision products.
This article again delves into the changing face of aviation and in this case within the Part 103 Ultralight Vehicle sector.
In the fascinating LSA seaplane sector-within-a-sector, we find both good news and bad news today, though the latter can be overcome.
In the world of Light-Sport Aircraft, we have more than 90 manufacturers and 145 Special LSA (see our whole list) accepted* by FAA.
After Aero 2016, we enthusiastically reported on the Zlin Shock Outback (as it is known to Americans; Shock Cub to other countries).
Many pilots who first set eyes on the SW51, a precisely faithful 70%-scale imitation of the famous North American Aviation P-51 Mustang managed to utter a single word: “WOW!”
Can you blame them?
Years ago, back in the late 1990s, I flew an aircraft called JetFox 97.
Early in June, John Monnett spoke about stepping down from Sonex Aircraft, the kit manufacturer he founded and has lead for decades.
The big Italian company that LSA enthusiasts know very well through models such as P92, Sierra, and P2008 has a large and growing presence in global aviation.
BRM Aero boss and chief design, Milan Bristela, has convincingly proven his visionary credentials.
UPDATE (5/28/18): Since this article was published, we’ve added our video interview from Aero 2018.
Video review: Updated Lightning Bug — Affordable Homebuilt (2018)
Brian Austein did it again! He drew big crowds and head-shakes of amazement at what he has created for — get this — a mere $3,000.
For the second year in a row, I was blown away with Lightning Bug.
For three years at Aero Friedrichshafen, the wonderful April show in the south of Germany, I have admired one genuine ultralight called Swan.
Dogs in the Cockpit? A few years ago, various stories began to pop in mainstream media discussing the car industry’s newest focus …no, not only on how many cup holders they could install in your new ride — but instead on accommodations for pets, mainly dogs.
Sun ‘n Fun 2018 ended a great event on Sunday.
What on Earth is going on in Airplane DesignerLand? Are we headed for a bifurcation, a parting of the ways among those engineering the next generation of aircraft?
Video review: Searey Equipped with Single Lever Control
Yes, yes, I know — in-flight adjustable props are not permitted on U.S.
Immediately following Sun ‘n Fun 2018 is Aero 2018.
Sun ‘n Fun 2018 is done. The show actually closed early at about 1 PM due to forecasts of severe weather.
When most pilots think of imports, they assume a foreign manufacturer builds an aircraft in another country, finds a U.S.
After a damp opening day, the sun returned on day #2 at Sun ‘n Fun 2018.
Day One of Sun ‘n Fun got off to a solid start even if a number of light aircraft arrivals are still pending.
After earlier news about the change of representation for Jabiru aircraft, a fresh announcement was made as Sun ‘n Fun 2018 was about to start.
One bone of contention among LSA sellers is that legacy flight schools — the sort that typically uses Cessna or Piper trainers — sometimes disregard LSA as trainer aircraft.
Let me be clear. I have no issue with sharks in the sea.
Besides LSA seaplanes, one area of furious development (and sales) is gyroplanes, the term modern industry prefers to “gyrocopter,” which was actually a branded name used since the days of Igor Benson.
After you finish Easter Sunday dinner with the family, how about going out for a spin on your new Scorpion 3 Hoverbike?
Today I got a good look at the new Aventura S-17 built in DeLand, Florida — also home of the Aerolite 103 and the DeLand Showcase …plus a large volume of sky diving.
Scott Severen is an old friend and a longtime veteran of the light aircraft business.
Recently I had an exchange with Australian Flying magazine editor, Steve Hitchen.
Since I saw what had to be Randy Schlitter’s first appearance at Sun ‘n Fun, and since he is celebrating the 35th anniversary of the first flight of his S3 single-place Coyote I …well, we’ve been in this game for a good amount of time.
For most years of Light-Sport Aircraft one aircraft model convincingly lead the parade.
The aviation industry — led by a flock of alphabet member organizations — is clinking champagne glasses over the “defeat” of ATC Privatization.
Because we promote this website as focused on “affordable aviation,” one of our favorite companies is Sonex.
As the 2018 flying season launches, a long-awaited powerplant from Rotax Aircraft Engines is beginning to arrive in the USA and to be shipped on to customers for installation.
From Washington State arrives a fresh, new airplane created from scratch to enter the Special LSA space.
Forever, Evektor will remain the very first Special Light-Sport Aircraft approved by the FAA, beating Flight Design’s CT series by a small margin.
The great spring airshow everyone knows as Sun ‘n Fun starts in about six weeks.
While I doubt airliner behemoths Boeing or Airbus are aiming to create aircraft you might buy, their work along with other developers, may nonetheless lead to something new in the future for recreational aircraft pilots and buyers.
One word can make a huge difference. This unassailable logic was recently put forth by Michael Coates of Australia regarding the LSA regulation.
We started a few shows back doing a drive-by shooting (except in a good way).
Let’s be clear. Boeing, Airbus, Google, Amazon, and other immensely deep pockets are not seeking to build fun flying machines for you and me.
Special deals are unusual in aviation, an industry of hand-built flying machines sold in modest quantities.
Sebastien Heintz of Zenith Aircraft in Mexico, Missouri is one of the more vigorous promoters in light aviation.
Is your aviation horizon is getting confused by quadcopters, electric aircraft, and airliners?
After a busy week at Sebring — a show that exceeded my expectations …and probably also for several vendors who logged sales to kick off the year in a great way — I have a couple alternative messages for readers.
The fourteenth running of the U.S. Sport Aviation Expo is history and if this is how the rest of the year goes, I predict a stronger year for LSA sales.
Day two of the year’s first show, Sebring was a bit cooler and windier but still a fine day as the photos show.
For all who could not attend, our title forms a common question.
Along with many others, I’m sure, I’m presently en route from Daytona Beach to Sebring, Florida as the 2018 or 14th running of the U.S.
Two years ago, Flight Design was the number one producer of Light-Sport Aircraft in the USA backed by strong sales in other countries.
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.
As the world appears to shift into overdrive about electric cars, planes, and drones, what is happening in this dynamic, unfolding sector in aviation?
In December 2017, South Korea’s Vessel Co. won what was described as “safety certification” from the Transport Ministry for their new two-seat light aircraft called KLA-100.
Amazingly, “Holy Batcopter!” was not one of the 368 different “Holy…” exclamations uttered by the Robin character in the 1960s TV series.
Here in Florida, home to ByDanJohnson.com, we take hurricanes very seriously.
I don’t really know when the Leon family sleeps. They must, of course, but their steady output of high-quality, reasonably-priced products that pilots need must make for many long workdays.
My guess is most readers do not care particularly about recreational aviation or sport flying in China.
What a great Christmas present for the Rotax Aircraft Engine team members (lower photo).
Continental Motors powerplants are manufactured in Mobile, Alabama, which is now also home to an assembly plant for Airbus airlines.
For many years the brand name Jabiru — both airframes and engines — has been associated with Pete Krotje and his family and other team members, doing business as Jabiru North America.
Recently, a couple major benchmarks were reached by some of our important brand names.
Sometimes I am told I have the best job in the world.
Years ago, back in the early days of the Light-Sport Aircraft sector exploding into the world of aviation, of affordable aviation, one of the early entries was SeaMax, from a Brazilian-based company called AirMax.
When Rotax moved their 912 iS Sport project from engineering to production, the big Austrian engine manufacturer elevated their already-immensely-popular 9-series engines to a higher level.
If you did not get to DeLand Showcase 2017, the second running of this new LSA, light kit aircraft, and ultralight show, we’ve given coverage with more to follow, but you might really like the quick view of most aircraft on exhibit at the event just concluded.
The second year of the DeLand Showcase is over.
[from a talk given at DeLand Showcase 2017…]
After more than 13 years of LSA, I believe the industry can stand tall and proud…
Even with more than 140 attractive, innovative, and roomy LSA of every description, much of what makes LSA a strong and worthy addition to aviation is less obvious to many.
We spent the first day of the second year of this event zooming around DeLand Showcase 2017 shooting several videos for you and I have a sample MiniVideo for you to view.
My video partner must be working around the clock as he prepared a blizzard of videos for release starting November 1st.
In the world of kit aircraft a few companies stand out for having delivered many kits that have launched into the air.
Every pilot I know… every aviation organization… every aviation government official… all acknowledge the same requirement for the future of aviation.
Are you a YouTube fan? I don’t mean the company or its owner Google/Alphabet (which has removed videos for reasons only a YouTube censor could comprehend).
Given a successful Midwest LSA Expo, you could say the “LSA show season” is underway.
A good friend in aviation journalism and Editor-in-Chief of Plane & Pilot magazine is Robert Goyer.
It’s over …yet it’s just begun. I refer to the Midwest LSA Expo, which, you might say, kicks off the LSA show season including light kits and ultralights in addition to LSA.
America’s neighbor to the north is USA’s largest trading partner …yes, bigger than China, or any other single country.
When I started this website back in 2004, even before Light-Sport Aircraft officially arrived on the aviation scene, I began by uploading hundreds of pilot reports that had appeared in various aviation magazines.
Article Updated: 9/18/17 (see below)
Electric airplanes continue to catch the headlines… but don’t impact the market much (yet).
“Oshkosh is all about airplanes, right?” asked The Airplane Factory USA‘s Jean d’Assonville.
In a eNewsletter to what they call “Breezerians,” the German company with the same name as their model reported a festive debut to their newest model called Breezer Sport.
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.
Belite entrepreneur James Weibe has successfully used his tech industry background to raise interest for his latest project, this time his first two seater called Chipper.
Video review: Lightning Bug — Fun One-Off Design (2017)
“What on Earth is that?” asked plenty of people at Sun ‘n Fun 2017.
As we work on PlaneFinder 2.0, our one-of-a-kind method to help pilots find the best Light-Sport Aircraft — watch for it in a few more days — we have another list-in-waiting.
I believe you should applaud Milan Bristela. Now a veteran of the Light-Sport Aircraft sector, he has steadily built a successful aircraft manufacturing enterprise — BRM Aero — that recently rolled out Bristell #300.
Video review: Aeropilot USA — L600
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.
We reported on FX1 shortly after it began flight trials in the hands of American light aviation expert John Hunter.
Before America becomes completely consumed with Eclipse Viewing Fever, you might want to pull your (solar filter-protected) eyes away from the soon-to-darken sky to catch a few glimpses of intriguing aircraft from EAA’s summer celebration of flight.
“Coming to America” is a common refrain from light aircraft producers in some countries.
Update 8/17/17: See our video interview at EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2017 on this aircraft (at bottom).
Icon Aircraft CEO Kirk Hawkins shared a computer depiction of events leading to the crash of an A5 flown by factory chief pilot, Jon Karkow.
If you know the Part 103 category of the FAA regulations, you know these are the lightest aircraft in aviation (that is, man-carrying aircraft; drones excepted).* After years of disappearing, Part 103 entries have come back more recently and at AirVenture Oshkosh 2017, we saw another.
After more than a year, a resolution was reached for the airplane that topped the charts in the LSA space since Day One.
Now that we are in the middle of winter, activity is brisk.
If you seek affordable aircraft (like most readers), then you already know Sonex Aircraft.
Video review: Sonex Aircraft — Video Tour of Factory (2016)
Join Dan Johnson as he takes a factory tour of Sonex Aircraft with General Manager Mark Schaible.
One of the stalwarts of the light aircraft sector is Kitfox, a brand known widely around the globe.
You may not know this Dragonfly airplane but I do. Very well.
I readily admit I find Arion’s Lightning LS-1 (the Special LSA model designation) one of the most handsome in the Light-Sport fleet …which is saying something as we enjoy dozens and dozens of quite beautiful aircraft in this sector.
When summer rolls around and the sweat rolls off, it’s a perfect time to think about float flying.
A key phrase for this website is “Affordable Aviation” (in fact, we bought AffordableAviation.com for future use).
Seamax will join Embry-Riddle Research Park’s Customized Business Acceleration Program, the aeronautical university based in Daytona Beach announced on July 3rd, 2017.
In a familiar theme, a Chinese company has acquired an American aircraft company.
Let’s say you are flying on a wonderful cross country trip.
Let’s make an important point right up front. Seaplanes cost more than land planes.
Video review: Aircraft Spruce — Wires Your Panel for You
For many homebuilders, the process goes like this: You get and assemble the airframe and its control surfaces.
Beringer Aero USA announced an expansion of the French company’s U.S.
Update: Unknown at the time this article was posted, Viking Aircraft Engines reports it provides the powerplant for SureFly.
If you live in France or are traveling to the country (soon!), you might want to join the party… the DUC Propellers party, that is.
SeaMax from Brazil has been somewhat absent in recent years.
One of the big hopes of the global aviation community — besides the shared wish for more young people to take up flying — is that Chinese interest in aviation grows.
Sonex made a splash earlier when they announced their “B Models” for the Sonex and Waiex.
Adam Yang, the CEO of Progressive Aerodyne, resigned from the CEO position on May 18, 2017 and is handing the position to his successor, Geoff Nicholson.
Flying light aircraft to Cuba seems to be a kind of new normal.
This article has been modified since originally posted. —DJ
These days you can go to Cuba.
CubCrafters now leads the field for Special LSA (see this report to learn more) thanks significantly to their early installation of the 180 horsepower Titan engine.
Video review: Just Aircraft — SuperSTOL with 180-hp Titan (2016)
Just Aircraft turns heads everywhere when they first introduced the SuperSTOL (STOL stands for short takeoff and landing).
Wind blows across the dunes here in Nags Head in a way that first drew the Wright Brothers 114 years ago.
Normally we elect not to delve into accidents on ByDanJohnson.com but where it can be instructive and when readers are keen to learn more — and when we have direct information — discussing such matters can be useful.
Does any aviator in the country not know the name Aircraft Spruce?
The Marana Regional Airport, in Marana Arizona was the site of the first annual U.S.
In the late ’90s, an earlier iteration of Remos Aircraft delivered their first aircraft, a G-3 Mirage, originally designed by the very talented Lorenz Kreitmeyer.
Surely all readers know that Rotax-brand engines dominate the light aircraft landscape.
A dozen years after FAA created aviation’s newest sector, we have a new leader among manufacturers of fully built Light-Sport Aircraft.
Mainstream media outfits exploded with news of Google’s flying car. Although such news outlets rarely seem to notice recreational aviation other than when an accident occurs, the reports I read did a respectable job of covering flying car projects we already knew about (reported here and here earlier; some projects have advanced, some have dropped out, and others have arrived).
On April 13, 2017, only briefly after the Aero Friedrichshafen show ended, LSA manufacturer Remos has a major announcement.
In my views of Swan at previous Aero Friedrichshafen shows, the design caught my eye as it was (a) a single seater, (b) light enough to qualify as a Part 103 ultralight or its European equivalents, and (c) as it was an all-composite, nicely designed aircraft.
In the late 1990s, the Italian JetFox 97 flew as an evolved ultralight.
Electric aircraft may still have minuscule market share but innovations could change that in the near future.
Could Light-Sport Aircraft, light kit aircraft, and even ultralights benefit from in-flight adjustable propellers?
The German aviation trade fair or show is Aero Friedrichshafen.
John “Lites” Leenhouts announced to a largest-ever gathering of volunteers that the event had set all-time records for attendance at the 2017.
Sun ‘n Fun is not even over; a final day remains (Sunday, April 9th).
Videoman Dave first pulled me aside to look at an unusual ultralight aircraft nestled in the homebuilt area hidden behind a row of porta-potties.
Here’s another quick update from new friend, Mike Friend, who is covering Aero along with Roy Beisswenger.
People here at Sun ‘n Fun have been asking questions about Flight Design as the company has no exhibitor presence.
The grand show called Aero in Friedrichshafen, Germany (that I’m not at… darn!) is happening at the same time as Sun ‘n Fun.
Here at the Sun ‘n Fun 2017 airshow LAMA’s LSA Mall is full and strong with 13 aircraft gathered from some of the leading brands.
The big show at Lakeland, Florida is open and happening. Today (Tuesday April 4th) is opening day; the event runs through Sunday, April 9th.
You could call it thirteen years in the making. More pragmatically, ByDanJohnson.com has now caught up with the mobile revolution.
How is it that Rotax so dominates the supply of engines to light aircraft?
Video review: BRM Aero — Bristell IFR (0117)
“You cannot fly IFR in a Light-Sport Aircraft!” Is that what you think?
“It cannot be done,” is the quick dismissal from many in aviation, referring to instrument flying in a LSA.
We lost one of the good ones recently. You may not have met or even know this man, but you certainly know — and may absolutely love — the airplanes he created.
DAN JOHNSON has been called “the leading reviewer of recreational aircraft” after writing hundreds of pilot reports.
Video review: Quicksilver — Bever Borne of Air-Tech (04/16)
If you want to know any and everything about Quicksilver, one man knows it all.
One of the major stumbles in the light aircraft world was the closure of Quicksilver Aeronautic’s southern California factory in Temecula.
We are fast approaching an important time of year… only this year I am a bit conflicted.
For thirteen years, ByDanJohnson.com has served the light aircraft community, covering Light-Sport Aircraft, light kit-built aircraft, and ultralight aircraft.
Video review: Zlin Aviation — Outback Shock (Sportair USA)
Here’s an airplane almost certain to grab your attention. It has huge power (180 horse Titan X340); a “hyper”STOL wing; double Fowler flaps; tremendous shock absorption, including on the tailwheel; and enormous tires.
Once upon a time, the producer of a yellow LSA taildragger installed the industry’s most powerful engine resulting in a performance leader.
Two forms of flying are racing at us at increasing speed.
At Sebring 2017, another long-awaited aircraft emerged… or re-emerged. After wandering for a few years since original Hawk developer Chuck Slusarczyk retired and sold his company, the once-popular design has a new home in central Florida.
Are Light-Sport Aircraft too expensive? With yellow taildraggers from some companies exceeding $200,000, it certainly sounds so.
Video review: SkyReach (Aerosport) — BushCat
If you’ve been saying that Light-Sport Aircraft are too expensive, here is an airplane that may force you to readjust your thinking.
Video review: Jabiru — J-230D (9/16)
Here’s a flight review of the latest version of the J-230, the D model.
At last November’s DeLand Showcase, I tried something new.
Video review: Race Around Sebring 2017
Following the good reception to the earlier “Race Around DeLand 2016” video, I repeated for the Sebring U.S.
Once upon a time, the world was without Internet, static and boring.
Video review: Vickers Aircraft — Wave LSA seaplane
Among all Light-Sport Aircraft, some of the most intriguing new design qualities are emerging from LSA seaplanes.
Video review: American Legend — on Legend Floats (Video Pilot Report)
American Legend is one of the first entries in the Special Light-Sport Aircraft space and it remains and industry leader with a full line of models and variations including multiple power plants.
Video review: Dynon Avionics — SkyView HDX
Dynon Avionics has become the leading seller of glass screen instruments in Lihgt-Sport Aircraft and light kit-built airplanes.
Video review: Triton America — Skytrek (pilot report) 2016
SkyTrek is a new design from Thomas Hsueh, a longtime aeronautical engineer with impressive credentials (he is also now the owner of the Adam Aircraft twin engine, six-seater).
Video review: Murphy Aircraft — Radical (07/16)
You know the name Murphy Aircraft, from models such as their biplane Renegade or their all-metal Rebel.
Video review: AirCam — Twin Engine Kit Aircraft
This unusual looking aircraft is a twin engine taildragger. While fascinating, those two characteristics might make you wonder if you can handle it.
Video review: Evektor — Harmony LSA
First on the market way back in 2005 was the Evektor SportStar.
Video review: Guardian Avionics — iPads mounts & more
Guardian Avionics made a name for themselves with carbon monoxide (CO) detectors to.
News from Sebring Expo 2017…
The thirteenth annual running of the Sebring Expo is history concluding on Saturday, January 28th.
At last fall’s inaugural DeLand Showcase event, I got a chance to fly Legend Cub on their own Legend Floats.
Pilots not closely following Light-Sport aviation can be excused for thinking only one LSA seaplane is available.
In my experience, pilot love learning about engines. Yet without a prop, that engine may run fine, but nothing happens to the airplane other than converting a tank of fuel into noise.
If you own an iPad, iPhone, or its Android equivalents — wait a minute, have we any pilots who don’t own one or more of these handy gizmos?
Rotax Maintenance Classes — If you are a professional or wanna-be pro in the maintenance or overhaul of Rotax engines, you must take factory-approved training.
Are excited general aviation pilots kidding themselves about BasicMed? At least one prominent light aviation expert thinks so and judging from comments I’ve received, I am inclined to say this is much more common than some want to believe.
Have you ever flown the ultralight area pattern at EAA AirVenture Oshkosh?
Update 12/6/16 — According to AOPA Online, “The Federal Aviation Administration has reviewed the AOPA Air Safety Institute’s aeromedical online course and confirmed that it meets the third class medical reform requirements that Congress created last summer.
Almost every year at AirVenture Oshkosh, some pilot or team of pilots performs some sky writing, that is, trailing smoke while flying precisely enough that you can read what they are writing from the ground.
Continental Motors is known worldwide for its aircraft engines.
Pardon a little fun in the title. I recalled the line long ago attributed to Henry Ford, “You can have any color [Model T] you want as long as it’s black.”
Sonex Aircraft had so regularly brought bright yellow airplanes to airshows, folks could be excused for thinking that was the only color available.
Fourteen years ago, light aviation leader Tecnam brought their only low wing, the Sierra, to market.
When you look at the photos of this new-to-Americans aircraft, you might have a vague recollection of one or more aircraft that looked something like Shark.
This last week, I trekked to FAA headquarters in Washington DC, an action that consumed three days of my time.
Every quarter, like clockwork, the General Aviation Manufacturers Association (GAMA), issues its delivery report.
The first-ever DeLand Sport Aviation Showcase finished on a high note with a sold-out flock of vendors giving kudos to event director Jana Filip and her team.
One company making a splash at the brand-new DeLand Sport Aviation Showcase event that opened today was AeroJones, occupying the first two spaces inside the entrance.
I guess I’m still old fashioned. I still call those things in front of the pilot “instruments,” although the preferred term for a panelful of them shifted to “avionics.” At least most people and I have stopped using “gauges.” Choose the term that works for you, but mail order giant Aircraft Spruce just sent offerings to builders, whether at home or in a factory.
The stories we hear about North Korea are usually bad. OK, I’ve rarely heard anything good so I guess the news is just about all bad.
First a personal tale and then something completely different…
In the last week, I encountered something brand new to me, although old as the ocean.
The newest owner of a SLSA Special Airworthiness certificate is Triton AeroMarine for their Skytrek.
Article Updated 9/7/15 — See new information at the bottom of this article.
Most pilots never probably have witnessed the testing a wing endures before designers and regulators will sign off on it, signaling that it has been adequately stressed so that pilots can depend on it.
Video review: Dual Electronics — XGPS190 (GPS, weather, traffic)
Dual Electronics has been a leader in the panel-top devices that supply valuable information to iPads and other tablets that have become so popular in cockpits.
Video review: Airsport (Melody Aircraft) — Song motorglider 2014
We’ve seen the Song but as the ULS, a pure-electric version of the same airplane as substantially modified by Randall Fishman’s Electric Aircraft Corporation.
Video review: Glasair Aviation — Merlin LSA (2014)
Glasair is the well-known company behind models of a similar name but now they have something very news.
Video Pilot Reports are some of the most popular of our hundreds of videos.
Here’s Part 2 of our Video Pilot Report on Van’s Aircraft’s very poplar RV-12 is presented in two parts.
Video review: Bulldog — Autogyro
One of the most eye-catching aircraft I saw in the immense halls of Aero was the Bulldog Autogyro, a superbly finished prototype almost too good to fly.
Video review: Superior Air Parts — Gemini Diesel Engine (0415)
The first major introduction of a diesel engine that will enter production, perhaps in 2015, came from Superior Air Parts at Sun ‘n Fun 2015.
Video review: Quicksilver Aeronautics — Sprint / Max 103 (2015)
Quicksilver’s Sprint has long been a great little airplane. Versions of it have sold many, many thousands of units and they consistently deliver good flying qualities with an excellent safety record.
Video review: Evolution Trikes — Rev 1 of 2 (2015)
The people behind the very impressive two seat deluxe trike called Revo introduced their first single seater called Rev.
Video review: Evolution Trikes — Rev 2 of 2 (2015)
If you saw Part 1 on the Evolution Trikes Rev, you saw it assembled from trailer form to flight form in a few minutes.
Video review: SkyReach — BushCat with higher gross (2015)
BushCat has long be both a very interesting design with features you will not find on other aircraft and it has a price point that most can consider.
Video review: Electric Power — Chip Erwin’s new development (4/15)
Electric aircraft are a major buzz with even aviation gian Airbus working on their eFan.
Light-Sport Aircraft are awesome. Many pilots want one but not all can afford one.
Video review: Rotax Aircraft Engines — Award at Aero 2015
Convincingly the most prolific and successful aircraft engine producer for the light, recreational aircraft segment, Rotax wins awards from readers of magazines that vote on the best powerplant.
Video review: Flying Aviation Expo — Interview with Robert Goyer
For the second year, Flying magazine is the main sponsor of the Flying Aviation Expo.
Video review: Rotax Aircraft Engines — New 915 Engine (135 hp!)
At AirVenture Oshkosh 2015, Rotax Aircraft Engines made a special announcement … that of their new 135 horsepower 915 engine.
Video review: DirectFly (Corbi Air) — Alto 100 with air conditioning
The very first Light-Sport Aircraft to adopt air conditioning was the Corbi Air Alto 100 from DirectFly.
Video review: DirectFly (Corbi Air) — Alto 100 (2014)
Some folks believe Light-Sport Aircraft cannot function well in a flight school environment.
Video review: Sea-Avio — Risen (high performing Swiss microlight)
One of the most eye-catching microlights at Aero 2015 was the Sea-Avio Risen.
Video review: Pipistrel — Sinus
Many of us who enjoy soaring flight love the Pipistrel Sinus as it offers some wonderful gliding capability.
Video review: Superior Air Parts — Gemini Diesel on Legend (0715)
Only a few months earlier, at Sun ‘n Fun 2015, we got our first glimpse of the Superior Gemini Diesel engines aimed at the Light-Sport Aircraft space.
Video review: Icon Aircraft — A5 (Video Pilot Report)
Finally! I got to fly Icon’s long-awaited A5 LSA seaplane. In a word: superb.
Video review: Paradise Aircraft — P1NG (01/15)
Welcome back to Paradise, that is, welcome to Brazilian producer Paradise Aircraft to the tropical paradise of Florida where the southern hemisphere builder has set up a remote manufacturing operation.
Video review: Continental (ECi) — Titan engine
CubCrafters made the Titan engine well known to Light-Sport Aircraft enthusiasts when it added the 180-horsepower engine to their line of Cub-like airplanes.
Video review: Pipistrel — Elektro (04/15)
We first knew of this project as WATTsUP. That name was fun but as the project came to production, it was renamed Electro … basically their Alpha but with electric propulsion.
Video review: Pipistrel — Electro (04/15)
We first knew of this project as WATTsUP. That name was fun but as the project came to production, it was renamed Electro … basically their Alpha but with electric propulsion.
Video review: Quicksilver Aeronautics — GT 500 Restore (0715)
In this video, we think you will see something unusual. This is a 1991 Quicksilver GT500 that looks as though it just rolled off the assembly line.
A few years back the folks at I-TEC introduced their Maverick, a powered parachute but with such a substantial carriage that they drove if from Florida to Oshkosh.
Video review: Women in Aviation — Amy Saunders
Videoman Dave and I decided we need to do several videos in support of increasing the number of women involved with flying.
Video review: Duc Hélices — Carbon Props, Hubs, & more
Duc Hélices, a French company, has specialized in the creation of all-carbon fiber propellers in various configurations, to fit engines of different sizes and airplanes of differing performance.
Video review: TruTrak with Levil — ECO Autopilot & AEP
You’ve probably heard of TruTrak, the leading autopilot maker for light aircraft of many descriptions.
Building a kit is part of the American aviation dream but it isn’t for everyone.
Video review: David Clark — Headset Line Review
Easily one of the most recognized headset brands in all of aviation is David Clark.
Video review: Evolution Trikes — Revo VPR (Part 1 – in flight)
Come on along as we fly the most deluxe trike you can buy.
Video review: Evolution Trikes — Revo VPR (Part 2 – details)
In this somewhat shorter video, Part 2 of 2 for our Evolution Trikes Revo Video Pilot Report (VPR), Dan shows you many of the well-considered details for their most deluxe trike.
This video continues from our full-length video pilot report on the TL Ultralights TL-3000 Sirius.
Video review: Tapanee Aviation — Pagazair (2013)
We don’t often talk to pilots of plans-built aircraft but here’s a winner.
Video review: SkyCraft Airplanes — SD1 Minisport
The SkyCraft Airplanes SD1 Minisport grabbed plenty of attention at Oshkosh 2012 but really took off the next year when the company announced a fully-built version that will later qualify as a Special LSA.
Video review: Quicksilver Aeronautics — Sport 2S as SLSA (2013)
Quicksilver has now completed all the flight testing for the most popular kit to qualify it for Special Light-Sport Aircraft acceptance by FAA.
Video review: Belite Aircraft — SeaLite Floatplane (2013)
Belite Aircraft has maintained a singular focus on single seat aircraft, many of which can meet Part 103 (meaning no license, medical, or N-numbers needed).
Video review: Solar Flight — Sunseeker Duo
Electric power rivets the attention of many pilots even while the development of this power to propel airplanes continues to progress.
Video review: AutoGyro VPR — Calidus tandem gyro (2014)
In our first VPR (Video Pilot Report) on a gyroplane, we go aloft with Robert Snyder in the biggest selling brand, AutoGyro, flying their two place tandem Calidus.
Video review: Rans — S-20 Raven (01/14)
Rans designer and leader Randy Schlitter brought his complete and flying S-20 Raven to Sebring and we spoke with him updating our earlier video from last summer when the airplane was in “bare bones” mode.
Video review: ITEC-Maverick (2014)
Not many people have gotten to fly the ITEC Maverick, the flying car candidate that has arrived on the market.
Video review: Bede Corp — BD-17 kit aircraft (2014)
Doesn’t everyone know about the miniature BD-5 airplane including the jet-powered version many have seen at airshows?
Video review: Continental Motors — O-200D LSA engine (2014)
Continental is one of the most familiar brand names in all of aviation.
Video review: B.O.T. Hand-Controlled LSA — Wounded Warrior Project
Soldiers in our country’s service too often sustain combat injuries that cost them the use of their limbs.
Video review: TruTrak — Autopilots & more for LSA
Many Light-Sport Aircraft use autopilots these days because such controllers have dropped rather fantastically in cost from the days when only turbines and larger had such equipment.
Video review: D Motor — LF39 LSA engine
You already know very well Rotax, Jabiru, Continental, and Lycoming plus a couple others including UL Power and Viking.
Video review: Nando Groppo — Trail (2014)
We’ve looked at Nando Groppo’s Trail aircraft earlier, both in the USA and over at Aero in Germany.
Video review: FK Lightplanes — Fk9 ELA
Germany’s popular Fk9 from FK lightplanes is one of that country’s most popular models, often flown in flight schools and by hundreds of recreational pilots.
Video review: MVP.aero — MVP (Most Versatile Plane)
One of the biggest splashes at EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2014 came with the debut of the MVP.aero’s new offering, their MVP that stands for Most Versatile Plane.
Video review: Adventure Aircraft — Electric Motor Glider
Adventure Aircraft may be a new name but you may know the man behind it.
Video review: Aerotrek — A240 & trailer (0414)
Aerotrek supplies a popular and well-priced everything but, you know, having a nice airplane isn’t enough.
Video review: Garmin — G3X Touch EFIS (0414)
Garmin is one of the most familiar brand names in Light-Sport Aircraft.
Video review: Ekolot — Topax (0414)
Kris Siuba has represented the handsome Light-Sport Aircraft Topaz from Ekolot for several years but he wasn’t a solo pilot until just before his 9-hour flight to Sun ‘n Fun 2014.
Video review: Flight Design — CTLS (Illinois dealer-0414)
At the Midwest LSA Expo, we had a chance to speak with one of market leader Flight Design’s midwestern dealer, Tom Baker.
Video review: Jabiru — J230 (dealer Eric Evans)
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.
Video review: Levil Tech — Tablet Avionics & AeroGlass (0714)
Our video with Levil’s Joe Marszal starts out with something absolutely new at AirVenture 2014.
Video review: Jabiru Engine — 3300 Upgrade (0914)
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.
Video review: Jabiru Aircraft — Lower Prices! (0714)
Jabiru Aircraft has long done well with their line of affordable, speedy, and U.S.-assembled aircraft.
Video review: Larry Burke Interview — LAMA Founder (0414)
Larry Burke founded the Light Aircraft Manufacturers Association back in the early 1980s when ultralight aircraft were zooming around the skies of shows like Sun ‘n Fun.
Video review: Zenith Aircraft — One Week Wonder (CH-750)
At AirVenture 2014, EAA hosted Zenith Aircraft in a major project in which 2,500 people gave some assistance to a central team that built an entire CH-750 from shipping container to FAA sign-off and test fly during the seven days of the show in Oshkosh.
Vertical Power makes some of the useful products about which most of us don’t know enough.
Video review: Zlin — Savage Cub-S (2014)
Cub-S, as it is known in 2014, is a very powerful Cub-like airplane.
Video review: Aviad — Zigolo MG12 (electric motoglider 2014)
How about an electric airplane you can buy for less than $20,000?
Video review: Rans — Raven S-20 PILOT REPORT (2014)
In our continuing series of Video Pilot Reports (VPRs), we review the latest Rans, designer Randy Schlitter’s S-20 Raven.
Video review: Zenith Aircraft — CH-750 Cruzer PILOT REPORT (0914)
Zenith has found a very ripe market with lots of buyers of their kit-only CH-701 or CH-750 models that some refer to as a “Sky Jeep.” These are STOL models with short takeoff and landing.
Video review: Czech Sport Aircraft — SportCruiser PILOT REPORT (0913)
Here we go again with another of our series of Video Pilot Reports or VPRs, this time in the Czech Sport Aircraft SportCruiser.
Video review: DJI Quadcopter — Our first look at drones
Lately the loud buzz in aviation is drones. Called UAVs, UASs, RPVs or other names, we’ll just use “drone.” Not our usual fare of reports on man-flown aircraft, we are just as intrigued as tens of thousands of others with this camera-carrying airplanes.
Video review: Aeromomentum — Suzuki Auto Engine Conversion
Most pilots seem to love engines. Well, no surprise as (except for gliders) it is a powerplant that allows us to go aloft and see the world from our unique perspective.
Video review: Renegade LSA — Lil’ Rascal project
As we spoke with Doc’ Bailey at Sun ‘n Fun 2013, we first hear about his new 71,000 square foot hangar at Fort Pierce airport.
Video review: Midwest LSA Expo — 2013 preview & dates
Sebring kicks off the year with the granddaddy of LSA Expo events.
Video review: The Airplane Factory — Sling
You should already know the Sling. The South African design set a new benchmark by coming off design and initial development to take an east-to-west trip around the globe.
Video review: U-Fly-It — Aerolite 103 (2013)
For years Aerolite 103 has been a charmer of the Part 103 class of aircaft.
Video review: Aero 2013 — Quick Tour Part 1
Do you wish you could have gone to Aero like we did?
Video review: Edra Aeronautica — Super Petrel LS (2013)
The Petrel is back now as the Super Petrel LS. A Brazilian-manufactured seaplane, the LSA candidate is represented by Florida Light Sport Aviation.
Video review: SkyReach (formerly Rainbow) — Bush Cat (2013)
If you’re looking for a Light-Sport Aircraft that doesn’t cost an arm and a leg, you need look no further than the SkyReach Bush Cat.
Video review: CubCrafters SportCub with Mead Amphib Floats
If you’ve ever tried float flying, you probably love it. If you haven’t tried it, do so … soon!
Video review: Belite Aircraft — Amphibious Float System
Jim Weibe is the brains behind the Belite aircraft, some of which meet Part 103 parameters.
Video review: Mosquito Ultralight Helicopter
We don’t have a lot of ultralight helicopter coverage here on ByDanJohnson.com because not many exist.
Video review: Fisher Flying Products — Whole Line Review (04/13)
If you’re looking for an airplane that carries a modest cost, you search can be challenging.
Video review: Golden Avio — F30 (04/13)
Get an update on the very handsome F30 from Golden Avio, the very last design from aviation design legend Stelio Frati.
Video review: Nando Groppo — Trail SLSA (04/13)
We first looked at the Nando Groppo Trail from Italy at Sebring 2013.
Video review: Aerotrek — A220 and A240 (04/13)
Aerotrek and their dual models — the A220 taildragger and the A240 trigear — have been an impressive performer in the market share race, steadily moving up our chart.
Video review: Kolb Aircraft — Firefly Ready-to-Fly (0413)
When you want the final word, it’s often best to go right to the top, to the boss.
Video review: Pipistrel — Interview with boss Ivo Boscarol
Describing the Pipistrel is interesting in three ways: the company name (a story by itself), the LSA industry’s broadest line of composite airplanes; and Pipistrel’s success winning three NASA efficiency contests.
Video review: FlyCool Air Conditioning — in Flight Design CTLS
We’ve seen AMT’s FlyCool light weight, low power draw air conditioning system before in other Light-Sport Aircraft but it had not yet been done in the CTLS.
Video review: FlyCool Air Conditioning — in SportCruiser
Air Management Technology makes the FlyCool, a lightweight, low power draw, surprisingly effective air conditioning system for Light-Sport Aircraft or light kit aircraft.
Quicksilver is an iconic brand, having sold more than 15,000 aircraft in its history.
Video review: Valley Engineering — Backyard Flyer with 110-hp
All-too regularly I hear people lament the high cost of Light-Sport Aircraft.
Video review: Zenith Aircraft — CH-750 Cruzer
When you think a company has wrung all it could from a design, think again and then once more.
Video review: Belite Aircraft — UltraCub 4-Stroke (2013)
Belite Aircraft rarely sits still. This company,. operated by a man former in the computer industry, knows that constant development of an idea stimulates interest.
Video review: Beringer — Brakes and Wheels
Beringer is a family company that has been deeply involved with wheels and brakes in the automotive and motorcycle world.
Video review: Aviation Access Project — Fractional Ownership
We all like the idea of owning an airplane, one we call our own and one we are used to flying.
Video review: Sportair USA — Line of TL Ultralight LSA
At Aero 2013 in Germany, we ran into American Bill Canino owner of Sportair USA, the U.S.
Video review: CGS Aviation — Hawk with HKS Power
One of the more successful “ultralights” is the CGS Aviation Hawk.
Video review: Sport Performance Aviation — Panther (aerobatic)
At Oshkosh 2013, we discovered the Panther, a single place aerobatic-capable LSA candidate.
Video review: SkyLeader (Jihlavan) — SkyLeader 600
Do you feel like you never heard of SkyLeader? Well, actually you have but you probably know it better as the Kappa KP-5.
Video review: Flight Design — CTLS in Flight School Use
At Sebring 2013, we made the rounds speaking to sellers of various Light-Sport Aircraft.
Video review: Evektor — EPOS Electric SportStar (2013)
Evektor’s SportStar was the very first to win Special LSA approval and the company since established a long tradition of constantly updating the design (see all our coverage to follow this).
Video review: Arion Aircraft — Lightning Kit with 160-hp (7/13)
Arion Aircraft is well known for its very smooth and handsome LS1 that qualifies as a SLSA, ELSA, or Experimental Amateur Built kit.
Video review: Tecnam — SeaSky amphibian (7/13)
Tecnam has likely built more variations on their Light-Sport Aircraft theme than any other company.
Video review: Rans — S-20 Raven (07/13)
The 20th design from Rans, one of the light aircraft industry’s most prolific innovators, is basically a side-by-side version of the company’s very popular S-7 Courier.
Video review: Van’s Aircraft — RV-12 SLSA (07/13)
Van’s Aircraft needs no introduction to most aviators. The company has more than 8,000 aircraft flying.
Another in our series of full-length video pilot reports focuses on the TL Ultralights TL-3000 Sirius, represented in America by Sportair USA.
Video review: Lycoming — Aerobatic O-233
In the works for many months, the Sebring 2013 event saw the finished installation of the Lycoming AEIO-233 aerobatic-capable powerplant installed on the nose of the FK12 Comet (which itself can handle up to 9 Gs of positive loading).
Video review: Powrachute — AirWolf 912 SLSA
How about a deluxe, ready-to-fly Special Light-Sport Aircraft that can carry more than 700 pounds of payload, climb at 700-1,200 feet per minute, yet sell for less than $40,000?
Video review: A Top-20+ LSA Review (2013)
We cover the Top-20 LSA in the USA and more in this video adaptation of Jim Lawrence’s article appearing in the LSA-friendly Plane & Pilot magazine.
Video review: Light Sport America — Rally (Storm)
You may think you know the Rally but what you probably don’t know is the ambitious plans of Phil McCoy who “bought the company” he says.
Video review: Viking’s 110-hp Engine
One of the difficult things to do in aviation is to introduce a new engine.
Video review: Kitfox — 912 iS engine & durable airframe
We spoke with John McBean of Kitfox Aircraft to hear first about his new installation of the Rotax 912 iS engine on a Kitfox flown from Idaho to Florida.
Video review: Aero Adventure — New owners of Aventura amphibians
We all know the Aventura line of formerly ultralight-based amphibious light aircraft, dating back 20 years.
Video review: Planet PPG — Paragliders & Pargliding
Some of the most intriguing aircraft that fly at major airshows like Sun ‘n Fun are paragliders.
Video review: World Aircraft — Vision LT (2013)
World Aircraft continues its pace of rapid development in concert with Columbian designer Max Tedesco.
Video review: American Legend — Legends in Flight Schools (2013)
On our mission to debunk the idea that Light-Sport Aircraft will not hold up to flight instructional use, we spoke with Darin Hart of American Legend.
Video review: Bristell & Fractional Ownership (2013)
Inside the Bristell Light-Sport Aircraft tent at Sebring 2013, we speak with officials from the Aviation Access Project.
Video review: Arrow Copter — ArrowCopter AC20
Do you think this is one handsome-looking aircraft? Many folks at AirVenture sure did and so did we.
Video review: AirVenture Airshow Volunteers — Lee Crevier
Anybody who organizes an airshow knows one irrefutable fact: you cannot offer these shows with a veritable army of volunteers.
Video review: TL Ultralights — Sting S4 (2013)
Bill Canino has imported the TL Ultralights line of Light-Sport Aircraft for many years.
Video review: Tecnam Eaglet — Law Enforcement Gear
Light-Sport Aircraft may only be used commercially in two ways: for paid flight instruction and aircraft rentals.
Video review: SD Planes — SD-1 Minisport
We have almost exclusively two place entries in the Light-Sport Aircraft space.
Video review: Evolution Trikes — Revo (2013)
We have looked at the Revo trike before and I’ve come to love this handsome hotrod weight shift LSA.
Video review: M-Squared Aircraft — HKS turbo power (2013)
Paul Mather is one of the most experienced proprietors in the light aircraft space.
Video review: John Moody — Father of Ultralights
Not many people can be called the “father” of anything. That unofficial title has to be limited in its use.
Video review: Belite Electronics — Tiny, Light Instruments
James Weibe has become well known for his accomplishments with his very light — Belite — aircraft.
Video review: Titan Aircraft — T-51 Mustang
Everybody loves the P-51 Mustang and not just pilots, but seemingly anyone who likes airplanes.
Video review: Titan Aircraft — Tornado
The Tornado is one of a line of small-looking, hot-handling, tandem-seated light aircraft including one model that can still meet Part 103 for ultralight vehicles.
Video review: Lockwood Aircraft — AirCam
The amazing, incredible AirCam … one aircraft you fly in ways you’d never fly in another airplane.
Video review: Sun ‘n Fun Paradise City a Success! (2013)
Meet the boss … of the season-opening Sun ‘n Fun airshow, John “Lites” Leehouts along with longtime Paradise City chairman, Dave Piper.
Video review: Zenith Aircraft — CH-650 (2012)
Zenith Aircraft CH-650 is the follow-on to the popular CH-601 with hundreds flying.
Video review: Aero Friedrichshafen 2013 — Preview of 30 videos
Your friendly Light-Sport and light kitbuilt aircraft video crew trekked to Europe for the 2013 running of Aero Friedrichshafen, arguably the most important aircraft show in the European Union.
Video review: Tecnam — Snap (aerobatic LSA 2013)
In early 2013 Tecnam acquired the design rights and tooling to produce Snap, the first aircraft in the LSA space aimed specifically at aerobatic flying.
Video review: FlyEco “Smart” Diesel Turbo
The FlyEco “smart diesel” engine from Europe attracted plenty of attention at Aero Friedrichshafen in Germany.
Video review: FK Lightplanes — FK 51 70% Mustang
FK Lightplanes longtime designer Peter Funk once again grabbed the attention of many attendees of Aero Friedrichshafen 2013.
Video review: Yunec International — eSpyder electric airplane (2013)
You might see the Flightstar ultralight in this aircraft and you’d be correct.
Video review: es-Electric Sports — eLift electric propulsion
Some of the very lightest aircraft at the huge Aero Friedrichshafen 2013 event were those for hang gliding or light trike flying.
Video review: Zlin Aviation — iCub Bobber (2013)
We’ve reported on the Zlin Savage iCub in the past. At Aero Friedrichshafen 2013 we captured a video on the Bobber, a sort of custom version of iCub that deliberately lacks an exterior finish but has other special finishing touches.
Video review: ICP — Savannah taildragger (Aero 2013)
ICP gained brand name awareness primarily with their Savannah model, a short take off and landing airplane that sells for a modest price.
Video review: BOT Aircraft — Speed Cruiser & D-Motor
BOT Aircraft is the producer of the Speed Cruiser LSA, which we reviewed earlier.
Video review: BRM Aero — Bristell Taildragger (2013)
Milan Bristela is the man behind BRS Aero and his the company is recognized in America thanks to his new generation Bristell aircraft.
Video review: Phoenix Air — electric ePhoenix (2013)
We know the elegant Phoenix, a sleek motorglider that also enjoys flying powered cross country flights (more on an especially long flight in another video).
Video review: Nando Groppo — Trail on tricycle gear
We reviewed the folding wing Groppo Trail at Sebring where it stood on conventional or taildragger gear.
Video review: Tecnam — Astore
At Aero 2013, Tecnam mounted a very large display with nearly every one of their many current aircraft.
Video review: Just Aircraft — Highlander SUPERSTOL (2013)
Just Aircraft’s SuperSTOL was a major hit on the Paradise City runway at Sun ‘n Fun 2013.
Video review: Electric Aircraft — ULS electric motorglider (2013)
Like many of you, we began admiring this handsome motorglider at AirVenture 2012 where it made a first appearance.
Video review: Rotax Aircraft Engines — Kodiak Warranty Info
Rotax Aircraft Engines power more Light-Sport Aircraft than any other engine by a wide margin.
Video review: Sam Aircraft — Sam LS (now flying)
We looked at the handsome Sam LS at Sebring earlier in 2013 but the update at Sun ‘n Fun was that the Sam LS is now flying.
Video review: Aerotrek — A220 & A240 (0912)
MIDWEST LSA EXPO 2012 — One of our series of many short videos from the fall show, this one on the Aerotrek A240.
Video review: Flaeming Air — Peregrine FP-04 (0912)
MIDWEST LSA EXPO 2012 — One of our series of many short videos from the fall show, this one on the Flaeming Peregrine.
Video review: SAB — Vulcan 100
MIDWEST LSA EXPO 2012 — One of our series of many short videos from the fall show, this one on the new SAB Vulcan 100.
Video review: Van’s Aircraft — RV-12 (0912)
MIDWEST LSA EXPO 2012 — One of our series of many short videos from the fall show, this one on the Van’s Aircraft RV-12.
Video review: CubCrafters — Carbon Cub SS (Pilot Report-2012)
Come along with us as we check out the potent CubCrafters Carbon Cub SS with its 180-horsepower engine.
Video review: Evektor — Harmony and Sportstar (2012)
Evektor is, was, and always will be the very first Special LSA to earn an FAA airworthiness certificate in the United States.
Video review: Dynon Avionics — D1 Pocket Panel EFIS
Having shipped their first product in 2003, Dynon has to some extent come first circle with the introduction of their D1 Pocket Panel.
Video review: Pipistrel — Alpha Trainer (0712)
At AirVenture 2012, we got the chance to speak with Tine Tomascik, one of the expert design team from Pipistrel.
Video review: Airdrome Aeroplanes — WWI Replicas (Nieuport 17)
Plenty of aviators are fascinated with nostalic aircraft and World War I airplanes hark back to the very earliest days of flying.
Video review: North Wing — Heated Clothing
North Wing is widely known for its line of weight shift aircraft, or trikes, and for wings for trikes of many producers.
Video review: BOT Aircraft — SC 07 Super Cruiser
The BOT Aircraft, represented by in the USA by Doc’ Bailey’s Renegade Light Sport Aircraft, is new to Americans but it may be embraced by Yankee flyers.
Video review: Sebring LSA Expo Preview for 2013
The Sebring U.S. Sport Aviation Expo, or the affectionate short hand “Sebring LSA Expo,” or even more simply “Sebring,” is THE show for Light-Sport Aircraft.
Video review: Evektor — Harmony LSA News (2012)
Evektor has adhered closely to a principle called CANI… Continuous and Never Ending Improvement.
Video review: Magni Gyro — Two models
We speak with Greg Gremminger, the longtime importer of the Magni line out of Italy.
Video review: Tenn-Air — Jabiru-Powered CH-750
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.
Video review: Quicksilver Aeronautics — GT500
Quicksilver is one of light aviation’s strongest brands, and also one of the biggest with more than 15,000 delivered since the early 1970s.
Video review: Sonex — AeroVee engine and airframe models
Sonex is one the world’s most successful kit aircraft producers and they do it all.
Video review: Lisa Aircraft — Akoya seaplane
One of the most attention-getting aircraft at AirVenture 2012 was the Lisa Akoya, and no wonder.