Are Light-Sport Aircraft too expensive? With yellow taildraggers from some companies exceeding $200,000, it certainly sounds so. Gorgeous and modern carbon fiber LSA run $125,000 to $180,000. So, yeah, if your budget is leaner or if you merely want to keep the price tag down for a recreational aircraft, it’s tougher than imagined before the SP/LSA regulation was announced in 2004.
Tougher, but not impossible. In fact, I’ve long maintained that we do have more reasonably priced LSA for sale but some folks want the more expensive, every-bell-and-whistle aircraft even while they resist the prices such gear costs. Our PlaneFinder 2.0 feature tries to address this with a price above-or-below $100,000. Even determining that can be difficult as some aircraft offer most optional equipment as standard while others prefer a very basically equipped airplane for a low price and let buyers add the stuff they want. Fair enough; a free market in aircraft should offer more choices and let the buyer decide.
One company has a great value for you and a longtime American representative to sell it. The company is South Africa’s SkyReach and their Wisconsin-based U.S. distributor AeroSport sells the BushCat. It is not a carbon fiber speedster. It is a very modestly priced aircraft that flies well, performs well, and has hundreds flying around the world for many years.
At the 2016 edition of the Mid-West LSA Expo, I got to fly BushCat with AeroSport partner Jeremy Knoll and the video below attempts to fill in some of the details.
Normally I stay away from price quoting as these figures change and, as noted above, stating a price means determining what is “standard equipment,” what is “optional,” and what you likely want… the latter being an impossible task since I am not you and as I have no idea what you want today (which itself could change tomorrow). Nonetheless, I’m stepping out on the thin ice to at least put it in perspective. Check with the company for current pricing.
I referred to Aerosport’s price sheet and you can dig into the details yourself if interested.
As of November 2016, the starting price for BushCat is $65,400 for a Special LSA ready-to-fly model using the 80-horsepower Rotax 912. That engine is perfectly fine and can use 87-octane auto gas for low-cost, highly-reliable operation. Yet for only $67,600 you can have 20 more horsepower, so nearly everyone selects this option. Those low prices include basic analog instruments and are enough for most recreational aviators. If you like traveling with digital instruments and a transponder to handle certain FAA airspaces, you can spend $1,500 to $5,000 for a fairly deluxe panel or for much less choose an iPad and a flight app as an alternative.
A three-blade prop, a parachute, lighting, and cabin heat will bid the price up further but you can still stay in the $75,000-range. Even an amphibious float-equipped BushCat can be had for $105,000. From my viewpoint, BushCat is one of the great bargains of the LSA space.
An observation: BushCat is priced almost exactly where everyone seemed to expect back in 2004 after adjusting for inflation. That ain’t bad.
To learn more about BushCat from SkyReach and to get views inside and out plus flying footage, catch the video below.