Tuesday, June 22, 2010
Bringing the fun back to flying with our picks for exciting light-sport aircraft
| Cubcrafters Carbon Cub SS |
And with the Euro taking heat against the dollar lately as Europe goes through its own econoclysm, U.S. prices for foreign-produced LSA could drop. Many airframe makers lowered prices, but the industry still faces challenges: ongoing dyspepsia imbued by the sluggish recovery; market recognition—many people still aren’t aware of what an LSA is, maybe that’s why 20% of all U.S. sales in the U.S. are Piper Cub replicas; and reservations over reliability of ASTM airworthiness standards. And how in the world do you make a good buying decision when there are 107 different aircraft to evaluate?
Never fear: Help is here. Our survey of top sellers and up-and-comers awaits your scrutiny. Special thanks to Dan Johnson for supplying Jan Fridrich’s exhaustive market-data crunching of FAA registrations, posted regularly at www.bydanjohnson.com. Clear prop!
THE TOP TIER
Since 2004, the German company Flight Design has dominated the U.S. market. Its 312 sales represent a 17.4% market share. New this year are the all-composite CTLS Lite (50 pounds more payload than the CTLS; $20,000 lower cost) and the MC (all-metal, super roomy, recreational/flight-school appeal). The company’s excellent U.S.-based service and support network, quality construction and the CT’s reputation for top performance keep bringing sales; it’s second in registrations so far this year. Price (CTLS Lite): $119,800. Contact: www.flightdesignusa.com.
This friendly, well-run Texas company remains in second place (154 sales, 8.6% of market share), thanks to market sensitivity, quality construction methods and the enduring appeal of its flagship, the Legend Cub. In addition to the Texas Star E-LSA kit version, there’s a new, budget-wise Classic J3 S-LSA powered by a Continental O-200 engine (price: $94,895); a Garmin G3X Glass Cockpit multifunction display option; and the AmphibCub float-equipped version. Contact: www.legend.aero.
The impeccably finished, all-composite, carbon fiber-winged Remos GX was 2009’s leading seller. Made in Germany, the flagship GX holds fifth place overall and remains a top contender in the market, due to its quality and the company’s deep funding base and consistently high-profile marketing strategy. More germane to pilots: This is one handsome, excellent performer, with top-tier handling and construction/finish, among the best examples available of S-LSA. Price (Aviator II model): $148,900. Contact: www.remos.com.
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Labels: Aircraft Bargains, Buyer's Guide, Buying A Plane, Decision Making, Features, Finance, Learning Center, Best Buys, Aircraft Ownership