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Monday, August 1, 2005

Light Sport Aircraft Are Here And Flying!

Now, there’s no argument whether or not LSA designs will become a reality

As some pilots may have heard, the FAA finally handed down its completed rulemaking regarding light sport aircraft (LSA) and sport pilots this past April 15 (perhaps, more than coincidentally, tax day) at the Sun ’n Fun Air Show in Lakeland, Fla. The LSA regulations were several years in the making, the consummation of extensive lobbying efforts by virtually all of aviation’s alphabet groups. In fact, the final rules reflect extensive input by the EAA and AOPA, an example of what can happen in that rare instance when the government actually listens to the people it represents. " />

Also newly certified in the LSA kingdom is the IndUS Aviation Thorp Sky Skooter. If you think the Thorp looks like a Piper Cherokee, you’re not alone. Both designs came from the same man, the legendary John Thorp. The Thorp has enjoyed an FAA certification as a FAR 23 airplane for years, but Dallas-based IndUS is upgrading and improving the design for the LSA category.

The Thorp Sky Skooter is a ton of airplane for the money. The $79,995 all-metal Sky Skooter is light on the controls and offers wonderful visibility. The canopy slides all the way open for a convertible sports-car flying experience. Even more remarkable is the fact that the design is absolutely spin-proof.

“When you get a chance to fly this airplane, you’ll see what a genius John Thorp was,” says IndUS Aviation president Dr. Ram Pattisapu. “You can’t make this airplane spin, no matter how hard you try. What an excellent safety feature.”

The Thorp Sky Skooter comes with an 85 hp Jabiru 2200 engine. It delivers about a 100-knot top cruise speed as well as a climb rate of about 700 fpm. For an additional $5,000, IndUS Aviation also offers the Thorpedo, which has the same Thorp airframe but utilizes a six-cylinder, 120 hp Jabiru 3300 engine instead. The increased power adds about 15 knots to cruise and pushes the climb rate past the 1,000 fpm mark. There are, perhaps, another dozen models hoping to make inroads to the LSA market, all entry-level sport machines designed specifically for the pilot for whom the simple act of flying is more important than where you can go or how fast you can get there.


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