Lately the subject of flying IFR (Instrument Flight Rules) has occupied my time and lots of editorial space. The debate centered on flight into IMC . Although I spend 100% of every day on the subject of Light-Sport Aircraft and other flying machines used for aerial recreation, I can also make mistakes explaining all the ins and outs of the six-year-old regulation abbreviated as SP/LSA. I enlisted Robert Hamilton of Dynon Avionics to help further, who politely explained that I’d made an error.
Landing on water with your wheels down is a confirmed aviation no-no. Land planes that try it often get flipped over and upside down, when escaping the cabin becomes a real concern. Every seaplane pilot I know has a mantra he or she repeats, “I’m landing on water so the wheels must be up.”
While most of the LSA industry — as with most of aviation — endures unprecedented slow sales in 2010, at least two companies are showing reasonably good performances. Washington-based CubCrafters is the clear market leader for the first seven months of 2010, with 27 new registrations. [Read more...]
Summer is about to flow into fall, which is often a beautiful time of year to aviate for recreation. Temperatures moderate from summer’s heat, yet winter’s icing and other hazards are still well off in the distance. That big celebration of flight, AirVenture, is history and now Light-Sport enthusiasts turn their attention to the Midwest LSA Expo. This Illinois entry approaches only year number two, but it appears to be in a building phase.
In the last month, I’ve received many calls and e-mails from more than a dozen flight schools. Here, I will try to reduce the confusion — and some alarm — regarding IFR (flying by instrument reference) and LSA.
Call them flying cars, flying motorcycles, flying dune buggies, or roadable aircraft. Regardless of the correct term, a growing wave of these car-to-airplane machines are in various stages of development. [Read more...]
SportairUSA, run by proprietor Bill Canino, has long been an innovator in the LSA business. His company doesn’t build airplanes, but Canino has triggered several interesting add-ons: He was one of the first (along with Flight Design USA) to install parachutes on all StingSports; he developed the GreenLine engine monitor system; he offered the Straight & Level button to help those caught unexpectedly in no-visibility conditions; and last year at AirVenture he rolled out the ForeSight enhanced visibility system.
His latest concept is the iCub. [Read more...]
The names flew around on the strangest beginning to EAA AirVenture Oshkosh since long before it acquired the three-name title EAA prefers these days. Known to legions of visitors and exhibitors as Oshkosh, the summer celebration of flight generated some new variations this year. I heard “Sploshkosh,” “Washkosh,” and “Sloshkosh,” and I’m sure more colorful variations were mentioned around soggy campfire gatherings across the grounds. EAA says attendance was only down about 7% and that’s not bad — not bad at all considering the sloppy start.
Learning to fly a powered parachute can be challenging. Weather needs to be nearly perfect. Some folks have been discouraged, especially if they travel a long way only to be frustrated by Mother Nature. Easy Flight has the answer: Immersion Training.
The Greenville, Illinois-based company has August and October sessions of its concentrated 12-Day Sport Pilot training camp. Owner Roy Beisswenger created the multi-day sport pilot training course in 2007. The key has been bringing in CFIs to provide a one-to-one student-to-flight instructor ratio. And a modular lesson plan allows flexibility in the daily schedule. “That means when it’s time to fly, everybody flies,” explained Roy. Everything needed to become a sport pilot in 12 days is provided, including accommodations at a local motel, all part of a package deal. To learn more, call 618-664-9706 or EasyFlight.com.
Another one managed to slip by my radar. I follow LSA closer than most, yet I can barely keep track of all the approvals. No wonder I frequently get calls asking me to unravel the puzzle of LSA makes and models. Better late than never, welcome the Predator powered parachute to our SLSA List of 108 models from 72 still-active companies (at least five have left the business). Scott Hughes is the original designer & creator of the Predator.
New CEO Fredrick Scheffel wrote, “On April 22, 2009, SkyTrails LSA (Predator Powered Parachute LLC) purchased the rights to manufacture the Predator along with the tooling and inventory from Hughes Aero.” SkyTrails LSA moved into the hangar facilities where Hughes Aero had been building the Predator for the past four years. Scheffel further noted, “SkyTrails Ranch, Inc., is a long standing name in powered parachute training, sales, and service that [has now] expanded into powered parachute manufacturing.”