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Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Easy Ownership: The Great LSA

Paradigm shifts happen...and we’re right in the middle of one!

Herewith, the Essential Question: What's great about owning and flying an LSA? Dan Johnson, High Lama of LAMA, doyen of sport-flight discourse, taxis us out by talking about LSA as the aircraft of the 21st century.

"We have two basic kinds of pilots," he says, "the Go Long, and the Get Up. Sure, we go back and forth between the two. But you are by nature one or the other."

Go Longs use airplanes to get someplace. Get Ups get their flight jollies looking down on the beautiful earth, or flinging eager craft through those footless halls of air.

Johnson believes dedicated Go Long pilots are fewer in number. "But Get Ups? They'll fly anything around the local patch for sheer enjoyment."

"And in that," Johnson concludes, "lies the greater potential for people to enjoy flying a light-sport."

Closet Soloists

Studies show aircraft, including four- and six-seaters, average 1.6 occupants per flight hour. That means that roughly half the time, we fly solo. Except for those fast, heavy-hauling GA flights beyond 120 knots, LSA provide more efficient, more affordable recreational
flying, period.

Many LSA handle Go Long flights just fine, too. I've done 1,200 miles in a Dakota Cub, and made a 16-hour, 1,700-mile round tripper in an Evektor Max (most comfortably too, thank you).
LSA aircraft and the driver's license medical are the single greatest thing that no other category can provide.

Features, Benefits...And One Challenge

The light-sport aircraft as mandated by the FAA in 2004 isn't quite like anything we've seen before.
• LSA purchase price, brand-new, remains more affordable than many used GA airplanes.
• LSA are manufacturer certified under ASTM compliance standards.
• LSA have lower operating and maintenance costs, make less noise, have tremen-dous diversity (115 models) and use cutting-edge technologies.
• LSA require the conveniently less-costly sport pilot license.
• LSA owners can do their own light maintenance, and take courses to legally perform annuals and other inspections.
• LSA have docile handling, and they're comfortable and safe. In fact, many carry airframe parachutes.


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