The sky isn’t falling on the LSA phenomenon, though daily reports of global financial megadoom continue apace. Nor was 2011 the recovery year we had anticipated. And let us pause to lament those handful of craft and companies we had come to know and love—notably the Gobosh 700S—which are no longer served up by American dealers. Yet, there remain reasons to keep our chins up. Sales numbers did grow, if slightly, this year. Cessna Aircraft fulfilled its ramped-up production schedule by registering 140 Skycatchers as of November 2, 2011. The company is heroically gobbling up that backlog of 1,000 orders amassed before 2008’s econo-geddon.
The rainbow of LSA designs never fails to delight: tricycle and taildragger models, floatplanes, seaplanes, fabulous motorgliders and flying cars…talk about an oasis in an economic desert. In the year since our last Buyer’s Guide, 12 new S-LSA have earned ASTM approval: That’s 123 in all. As noted, a few have ceased production. Remarkably, most manufacturers soldier on—no major shakeout yet—albeit many companies and dealers have tightened their belts.