Plane & Pilot
Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Light-Sport Chronicles: Sport-Pilot Survey Says! Part III

Wrapping up our look at how we do our LSA thing

Student pilot Tom Grinolds likes the high level of technology and innovation in LSA, but not "the price gouging from instrument and engine manufacturers who charge like this is Part 23 all over again."

Fellow student Rob Finfrock rents primarily because of LSA sticker shock. "However, the idea of a $105,000 Van's RV-12 light-sport aircraft (S-LSA) with Skyview electronic flight instrument system (EFIS) is exciting, and almost financially workable."

"Overall, sport pilot strikes me as the perfect starting point for student and low-time licensed pilots. My dislikes center on lack of aircraft availability, high price and general lack of enthusiasm and support—veering closely towards contempt from the larger pilot community."

Californian Steve Mink says, "I like LSA fuel economy, simplicity and sporty handling." And, like the majority of our responding pilots, he appreciates having a parachute on board.

He feels the industry's biggest challenge is to be the small market, except for "mid-50s empty nesters. If FAA expands the driver's license medical to the recreational license it'll help. If I could (pass) a flight medical without lying and risking my insurance, I'd buy a Cessna or Piper, if, for nothing else, (than) to carry more stuff."

Tecnam Sierra partner/owner Phil Howe found his group's decision to buy influenced by having a company dealer just 15 minutes away. He most likes the "Very well-equipped plane. It's cheap to operate, has good performance compared to the C-172 I learned on and it's fun to fly!" General LSA dislikes: the gross weight limit and lack of storage space.

He wishes more young people and women were interested in aviation, and he dreams of flying the Southwest and over mountains, tackling grass strips, and getting his taildragger and seaplane endorsements.

Instrument-rated private pilot Ron Gibson feels the light weight of LSA limits the weather conditions he'll fly in. "It bounces around too much when flying in the summer bumpies.'"

Another concern: "The biggest flight school in my state is unwilling to own an LSA-qualified airplane. I had to drive 70 miles to another airport for my biennial flight review."

Once again, thanks to all who shared their valuable insights!


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