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Repeat After Me - Light Sport is General Aviation


Jim Meade

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I see a tendency in the light sport world to exclude itself from the category known as general aviation. General aviation as a name used by the FAA is a category distinct from military or schedule airline operation. General aviation includes charter operators, recreational pilots, business pilots, banner towers, gliders, crop dusters, air show performers, pipe line patrols, fish spotters, hot air balloons, flight schools, ultralights and yes (gasp) light sport airplanes, including such as the J3 Cub which many would have said was GA.

 

Apparently, there is a felt need to find a name for airplanes that at typically small and standard certficiated, like Warriors, C172, Bonanzas, King Airs, Ag Cats and so on so that we who fly using Sport Pilot privileges can distinquish our airplanes and tecniques from this more traditional milieu. Sometimes the categorization is used in a possibly disparaging manner, as in talking about a technique or practice that is accepted in a Warrior but according to some would not be good in a CTLS.

 

My own opinion is that we should strongly embrace that we are GA and not let ourselves be seen as distinct from it. Strength is numbers. Counting ourselves as GA helps our credibility in the aircraft community and establishes ourselves as a legitimate player, not a niche or pariah.

 

I've never flown military (well, don't tell but I have some OH-58 stick time) or airlines, All my 40 years of flying have been GA. The most recent few years has been using Sport Pilot privileges in GA airplanes that are designated as LS or LS compatible.

 

If we are talking about traditional airplanes or practices, maybe we can use that term (although it has it's faults).

 

Maybe one of you has a good, catchy, short, easy to remember way to show that those of us flying airplanes using Sport Pilot license or privileges are in GA with a distinct personality?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Jim,

Light Sport is General Aviation........................ I repeated it! I agree as well. No catchy slogun though. I seem to remember reading in the preamble to the initial light sport rules where among the intentions was to create/recognize a less expensive, less complex group of aircraft, and associated operating/maintenance privileges to allow persons to enter into, or continue in General Aviation that might otherwise not have had the opportunity to.

 

Doug Hereford

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We should consider ourselves a valuable section of GA! Its up to us to educate other on the joys of flying our sporty, economic, and down right capable LSA's. We can show them that our little plastic plane can do as much and more as many "standard" GA airplanes. I know it hurts sometimes when others mock the size and looks of our CT's but I'm sure Mr. Rutan heard the same about many of his brilliant ideas and now he is taking people into space! So stand tall by your LSA, take people for rides, join those pilots associations and take trips with those "bigger" airplanes. Most likely you will beat them to the destination while they are fueling up!

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Maybe I'm just lucky, but at my airport there doesn't seem to be any prejudice against Light Sport. I was the first Light Sport aircraft at my airport and now we have a second and an ultralight. We all have a great time.

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Strangely different experience here.

 

I seldom stop at an airport that I don't get people coming over and admiring my plane - much like the early days of flying my Cirrus in '03~'04 when they were a rare breed.

 

At least a half dozen times I've had commercial pilots in 737s, 757's ask GND CTL what it is and that usually ends up in a brief complimentary conversation. Few can believe 120kts on 6gph mogas and 850nm range. Outstanding! :D

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"Light Sport... The Future of GA"

"LSA, The Future of GA"

Everywhere I go, people come out to take a look. People are intrigued by the little, sleek, bright white, quiet airplane. People look inside and drool at the avionics, they exhale a little when they see the wide cabin, they are mesmerized by tales of 600lb useful load, 1000 fpm climb, 120kts cruise and only 5 gph fuel burn!

Seriously, I get crowds everywhere I go. I seldom see people walk out to see an old (or new) 172 or 182.

The lousy economy, the rising price of fuel and maintenance almost universally has created the small airplane movement in Europe. As things continue to cost more in the USA there become fewer and fewer who can afford a new $300,000 Cessna 172. I look at a $500,000 Cirrus (and I'm a wealthy guy) and wonder how the hell people do it (and have houses, cars, kids, etc).

New and modern has a price... Old and worn out will always be there for those on a tight budget. The LSA segment will thrive over the next decade (my prediction).

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Don't get to hung up on semantics.

LSA vs GA

Just a tongue and cheek way of separating old thinking vs new thinking. New planes vs old planes, new LSA category vs the Piper/Cessna type aircraft, light planes vs old heavy station wagon planes, different handling characteristics vs old aircraft handling, ect...

 

It's all GA, but there are difference and it's a way that many choose to add a little division. I wouldn't get to worked up over it, everyone seems to know exactly what you are talking about.

 

 

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Strangely different experience here.

 

I seldom stop at an airport that I don't get people coming over and admiring my plane - much like the early days of flying my Cirrus in '03~'04 when they were a rare breed.

 

At least a half dozen times I've had commercial pilots in 737s, 757's ask GND CTL what it is and that usually ends up in a brief complimentary conversation. Few can believe 120kts on 6gph mogas and 850nm range. Outstanding! :D

 

One of my favorite experiences was when a Citation pilot in Blacksburg, VA came over and asked if he could look at N293CT. He was asking all about it.

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It seems that in the last year I no longer get a "what" from ATC when I call them. Rarely have I come across a controller that doesn't know what a Flight Design is. It took 5 years and hundreds of tail numbers to reach this point.

 

Being good on the radio really puts ATC at ease. If someone calls them and sounds like they know what they are doing and what the want, I don't think ATC cares what they fly.

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  • 1 month later...

August 2012 issue of Aviation Safety has article on " Is The LSA Safe? Seven years of accident data indicates LSA's suffer mechanicals more frequently-Page 16."

In the 15.1 percent of mechanical failure of all NTSB reports,some of the specific in-flight failures cited are: Fuel siphoning due to the improper design of the fuel filler port, resulting in fuel exhaustion in flight. or how much about Failure of preexisting cracks in the nose gear fork, not addressed in a recent inspection. Interesting reading. As it says LSAs can "just barely kill you".

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