A Hungarian design from a company called Apollo built this familiar looking aircraft. But now, it is primarily assembled in the USA, in Florida. Apollo Fox may look like a familiar older design but in fact, Apollo Fox has experienced several changes. One of them for example, it a taller vertical tail that helps bring very cooperative handling. The wings fold, too.
The Sadler Vampire is a new-old design. It’s new to those attending airshows today, but we saw this design as a single seater many years ago. For a while it found military applications but is now returning as a fully-built (or kit) aircraft with Special Light-Sport Aircraft approval in progress. Vampire has the most unusual and compact folding wing design of any LSA.
Sky Arrow was one of the early entrants to the Light-Sport Aircraft world. The Italian producer (abbreviated “triple I”) ran into financial trouble, but thanks to steady importer Hansen Air Group, the all-composite Sky Arrow can still be obtained and service continues in the USA. While not as fast as some LSA, Sky Arrow still shows wonderful flying qualities.
Hansen Air Group has long been a supplier of interesting light aircraft. Today this Atlanta, Georgia based importer offers three different airplanes: the Sky Arrow from Italy, the FK-9 from Germany, and the Peregrine from Germany. In this video review of the FP-04 Peregrine, we look at the airplane which set a record 17-hour flight from east to west coast in the USA.
One of the simpler yet distinctive airplanes in the LSA category is the Rainbow Aircraft Cheetah XLS, which won SLSA approval in September 2009. Manufacturered in South Africa, Cheetah is sold in the USA by Midwest Sport Aviation of Wisconsin. The lightweight LSA offers eye-catching styling and unique features like fold-down armrests with a throttle handle at the end.
Allegro was the third aircraft certified under new SLSA rules back in April 2005. When the Czech manufacturer collapsed, the American importer worked to bring production to America. That’s now complete and Allegro USA is building the Allegro 2007 in Oregon (alongside the Sadler Vampire). Let’s catch up with this true composite.
Storm of Italy (represented in the USA by Air Elite Aviation) has designed and produces three very different aircraft. In addition to the high wing composite Rally, the company makes this all metal low wing Century. Storm also makes an amphibious Sea Storm though it is not being imported to the USA at this time.
FPNA stands for Floatplanes and Amphibians and they’re into water flying, as the name implies. However, they also build an increasingly popular landplane called the Valor. Put that on their own straight or amphibious float system and you have the Cape Town. Land or sea, the A-22 model is a fun flying machine with terrific visibility.
Made in the USA, the IndUS Thorpedo is a storied American design (hint: the 1950s version was the predecessor to the Piper Cherokee). Now the Texas company builds it with the potent 120-hp Jabiru 3300 to make it a performer designer John Thorp never envisioned. This all-metal design has the mmost interesting wing structure among SLSA.
SeaRey from Progressive Aerodyne is an all-American amphibian in the Light-Sport Aircraft segment. The U.S.-manufactured entry may follow several foreign designs, but is no newcomer. More than 400 flying aircraft worldwide have been created by home builders in a tight-knit community. SeaRey will be available as a fully-built SLSA soon.
In its next generation model, the Sting S3 brings new sophistication to a Light-Sport Aircraft that was already one of the sleekest and best equipped models available. A leading seller, Sting comes with more standard features than most LSA, including safety-oriented airframe parachute and seat belt airbags. Sting is an all-carbon fiber construction.
Storm Rally is offered by Air Elite Aviation, who also recently certified the all-metal, low-wing Century from Europe’s Storm Aircraft. The high wing Rally is a composite construction, showing the versatility of this Italian-design aircraft. Gull wing doors make for easy entrance to the comfortable interior.
If you are a conventional general aviation pilot used to Cessna aircraft, you’ll probably love the Paradise P1. It looks somewhat similar, has room to carry bulky items and flies like most pilots expect. Paradise’s P1 is one of only a few Light-Sport Aircraft that use a yoke for primary control, but that will be familiar to legions of GA-trained pilots.
Remos is an up and coming company that has taken the lead in FAA registrations and one reason is the new GX model that looks great and flies well. The interior was redone as was the wing construction making a nice upgrade from the G-3 that flew in Europe for many years. Pop its gull wing doors and see for yourself.
SeaMax is a Brazilian design that has sold well in Europe. After U.S. partner SeaMax USA helped earn SLSA approval, Americans became aware of this lovely little seaplane. It seems little and looks small, but holds two occupants in comfort and flies with great enthusiasm.
Gobosh is an all-American company that imports European aircraft but U.S.-based managers have carefully reconfigured the G700S and G800 to better fine tune them for American buyers. The result is their Luxury Sport Aircraft. Every pilot I’ve asked seemed to love flying the all-metal G700S.
Here’s another SLSA that looks so small, you’d think it might be cramped inside. But it isn’t and it flies very comfortably as well. The brand comes from Poland but is sold in the USA from Niagra Falls, New York. The composite airplane was well received at the Sun ‘n Fun 2009 LSA Mall.
One of the newest SLSA is an all-American design, from Arion Aircraft and it’s called the Lightning LS-1. Winning its approval just before Sun ‘n Fun 2009, LS-1 was preceded by some 80 kit Lightnings the company has sold in the last three years; more than 40 are already flying. I found the Lightning great fun. You might, too. CORRECTION: In this video, I refer to a “retractable” version of the Lightning in kit-built aircraft form, however, that is an error. The model was never designed with such equipment
Of all the bright, colorful airplanes in the LSA Mall at Sun ‘n Fun 2009, the Falcon had a distinction that sets it apart from all other models and endears it to experience general aviation pilots: Falcon LS is powered by a Lycoming O-235, a brand familiar to many.
See the German-made Breezer sold by Sportsplanes.com. This all-metal Light-Sport Aircraft has already evolved into the Breezer II and is one pleasant flying machine you might like. General aviation pilots will like some of the new features of this second version.
Jabiru is the one company I know of that produces both the airframe and the engine under one brand. Jabiru US purchases a basic kit from Australia (along with the engine) and assembles the package in Shelbyville Tennessee. The company has enjoyed consider success at this venture.
The FK Lightplanes company has released its new Fk9 ELA that more closely meets U.S. LSA regulations but its Mark IV version of the Fk9 is one of Germany’s most popular light aircraft. See it in this video atop straight Baumann floats made in Minnesota.
While Flight Design has released two newer models (the CTLS and all-metal MC), it was the CTsw that helped the German Flight Design company continue to be the market leader, even after four years and nearly 100 new models followed the CT series into the American market. CTsw is one of the fastest and longest flying LSA in the U.S. fleet.