The LSA Boom!
Private and sport pilots alike have driven the market to new heights
Looking back to Sun ‘n Fun 2005, it’s fair to say that was when the light sport aircraft bell was rung, and since then, they’ve been off to the races. In the short four months between early April and early August, 14 new aircraft received airworthiness certificates in the special light sport aircraft (S-LSA) category. Although several of these airplanes have been flying in Europe for years and the number of additional new aircraft receiving approval will certainly slow down over time, the figure is remarkable nonetheless.
To reinforce the coming of LSA, the EAA AirVenture 2005 saw a generous amount of coveted display area given over to a Sport Aircraft Mall, and according to a number of the companies displaying their products there, it was a good week for business. Within hours of AirVenture’s opening, the grass was well beaten down around everything on display from classic fabric-and-tube designs, such as the American Legend Cub, to the composite Tecnam, Kappa, Ikarus and Evektor models.
Like many of the LSA manufacturers, Dr. Ram Pattisapu, president of Dallas-based IndUS Aviation, has noticed a huge upswing in LSA interest. “We’ve been showing up at Sun ‘n Fun and Oshkosh for several years now. We’ve gone from several dozen people coming by our aircraft display and asking about light sport aircraft a year ago to several hundred showing up now,” he says. “Now they’re smarter and they’re asking very technical questions or talking to us about setting up flight schools with our airplanes. This is going great.” Even though the FAA didn’t start handing out LSA certifications until the end of April this year, IndUS will handily beat its 2005 projections for aircraft sales.