Among all aircraft producers in the world, a very limited number have exceeded the daunting barrier of delivering more than 10,000 airplanes. Those in this exclusive club include manufacturers of major aircraft such as Boeing, Cessna, Piper, and precious few others. While Van’s Aircraft is approaching this number with its RV kit-built aircraft series (itself a rather incredible achievement), no recreational aircraft company has passed the 10,000 unit mark…except one: Quicksilver.
The FAA recently issued its 20-year forecast for aviation, showing growth prospects for business jets and LSAs. It also forecasts a decline in the total number of piston-powered aircraft. Viewed from a distance, this might seem beneficial to LSA producers and sellers. Reasonably, FAA’s report appears to suggest recreational pilots will enjoy more hours aloft in a growing fleet of LSA.
Against a backdrop of what seems to be continuously increasing prices for avgas — some believe 100LL might even disappear — the fuel efficiency of LSAs becomes more important. For example, Rotax just launched its 912 iS fuel-injected engine boasting a 21% reduction in fuel consumption, taking the popular engine from burning about five gallons per hour to a theoretical four gallons in an hour of flying. Should we LSA enthusiasts celebrate these facts?
Regretfully, I find FAA’s forecast improbable (see details below). [Read more...]
FarWest Aviation has become a factory-certified service center for Tecnam Light Sport Aircraft. Located at historic Flabob Airport (RIR) in Riverside, Calif., the company also recently earned the designation of Independent Rotax Service Center.
According to a French dealer for Cessna, 80 Skycatcher orders have been cancelled, but Cessna officials in the U.S. say the Wichita giant has just temporarily suspended taking orders for the LSA in Europe.
On Day 1 of Aero 2012, Dave Unwin reported hearing many comments about EASA’s halting move toward acceptance of the concept of Sport Pilot/Light-Sport Aircraft, which was invented in the USA. The European Union, with an equally proud heritage of aviation, is showing familiar reluctance to embrace what another country has achieved, even when aircraft builders in the EU seek a one-for-one alignment of the rules so that aircraft certified in one country can be sold in another, as happens now with (most) European airplanes being accepted in the USA.