Thursday, June 19, 2008
With more than 1,400 aircraft registered in the States, the phenomenon keeps growing!
|What exactly is a light-sport aircraft (LSA)? To qualify as an LSA, an airplane must be a maximum two-place, single-engine, fixed-gear machine that weighs no more than 1,320 pounds (1,420 for watercraft). It must have a level, full-power speed of no more than 120 knots, a clean stall speed no faster than 45 knots and a fixed-pitch propeller.|
B Bar D Aviation
North Carolina’s B Bar D Aviation brings us the Fantasy Air Allegro 2007 from the Czech Republic. With its strut-braced, metal high wing and its T-tail placed well above the composite fuselage, the Allegro 2007 stands out on the ramp. Seventeen gallons of car gas flow to either the 80 hp or 100 hp Rotax engine; range is 450 miles. The LSA comes well-equipped with a tail strobe, NAV lights, wheel pants and more. The Allegro features one of the highest useful payloads of any LSA.
[Read Allegro 2000: Light Sport & Fun! from P&P November 2006.]
FK Lightplanes features a great father/son team that’s big on service after the sale, and their LSA training center in south Florida is a popular vacation spot. The airplane is reminiscent of the best-selling Kitfox, but much faster, more civilized and more comfortable. Wings are composite, which contribute to the FK 9’s ability to virtually lift its own empty weight. The 100 hp Rotax enables the FK 9 Mark IV to climb 1,500 fpm solo (and about 1,000 fpm when it’s fully loaded). The manual specifically allows the doors to be removed altogether for open-air flight, which is great for warm days.
Gobosh is a new name in the States; its low-wing pair of LSA, the metal 700S and composite 800XP, have shown that “beauty” doesn’t mean “hardship.” With sleek low-wing bodywork and mechanic-friendly features, such as no-tool-needed inspection doors on both machines, the look-alike machines hide their differences. The company has positioned itself as providing “luxury sport aircraft” with an eye to providing practical flight capabilities to anyone who flies two-seaters. The composite 800XP is 60 pounds lighter and carries 8.5 gallons more fuel (29 total) than the 700S, translating into greater range. The 41-inch-wide cabin and full-bubble canopy offer comfort and visibility.
[Read Good Gosh: It’s A Gobosh from P&P January 2008.]
IndUS has brought John Thorp’s Thorpedo into LSA, aiming it as the trainer for the new class. Because Thorp’s original design was intended to capture the military’s contract for a primary trainer, he made it stable, predictable and economical—traits that the 85 hp, four-cylinder or 120 hp, six-cylinder modern planes, which are powered by Jabiru, retain. (A 100 hp WAM diesel version, displayed at April’s Sun ’n Fun, may join the lineup soon.) In addition to the three engine options, IndUS has brought a lot of refinement to the Thorp design, resulting in a modern panel and comfortable operation, which includes open-canopy flight.
[See “Fast, Fun & Inexpensive: The Thorpedo” from P&P July 2007.]
Luscombe Silvaire Aircraft
Luscombe Silvaire Aircraft of Riverside, Calif., brings us another great 1940s design in an improved form, the only all-metal “classic” LSA. The model SLSA-8 features a Continental O-200A with starter and electrical system, and it’s built in conformance to the CAR 4a certified standards in place when the original 8A was a brand-new design. Polished to blind but too pretty to ignore, the SLSA-8 comes equipped with NAV lights, an ELT and transponder, plus instrumentation beyond LSA requirements. Options include an IFR avionics package, special seats, right-side brakes and more.
RANS had a ready-made LSA available for the market, its primary category S-7C, but when Kansas-based designer Randy Schlitter decided to make his made-in-America, LSA-specific machine, the result was the S-19LS, first shown at Oshkosh in 2007. The all-metal, mid-wing S-19LS features a Rotax 912S and is plenty big: 43.5 inches wide and tall enough for six-foot, four-inch pilots. The 13-cubic-foot luggage area is one of the largest in the class, and functionality is enhanced with such high-quality components as an adjustable Sensenich carbon-fiber prop, Matco brakes and economical standard (or really sweet glass-panel) avionics options.
Remos has a winner in its G-3, a clean composite bird from Germany that was the delivery leader in April 2008. With a big 695-pound useful load and a fast climb speed, the 46.8-inch-wide cockpit seats only, as they say, happy and comfortable people. Visibility out the sides and especially forward is good, and the optional BRS parachute system is appreciated by otherwise-apprehensive passengers. The clean design yields a 17:1 glide ratio, which explains the company’s claim that the G-3 consumes 3 gph at cruise and, consequently, has a 550 nm range.
[Read Remos G-3: Teutonic LSA from P&P February 2007.]
The SkyLeader 500 evolved from the innovative Kappa, but it improved and expanded on the design. Now featuring true side-by-side seating in a 47-inch-wide cabin, the 500 features such niceties as a two-year/200-hour warranty, adjustable seats, 17- or 25-gallon fuel capacity and LED lighting. The panel comes standard with a Garmin 296 (upgrade available), plus SL40 and intercom, 320 transponder and an ELT. Engine monitoring is accomplished by standard instruments, with a Dynon D120 option. Pushrod controls, electric trim and Fowler flaps make the 38 mph stall easy to handle, and a 66-pound luggage compartment offers plenty of capacity.