Remember those grade-school history-book pictures of Conestoga wagons with “California or bust” painted on their sides? You might view the five years since the FAA’s sport pilot rule created the LSA category as a similar period of wild dreams…and sobering realities.
“GA is saved!” was the early cry from pilot pundits far and wide…until the bottom dropped out of the dollar versus the euro. Nearly 70% of all LSA are produced overseas, so prices shot up, and sunward they’ve climbed since. Then the economy tanked, and it seemed our early vision of cheap-to-buy LSA pretty much ground-looped on its first flight. While most manufacturers managed to stay afloat through 2009’s economic apocalypse, U.S. makers were hard-pressed to build even the most basic designs for less than $60,000.