Sport Pilot

FAA Publishes 3rd Class Medical Reform

The FAA finally announced their new BasicMed rule last week. (This is the rule that let's pilots fly a lot of aircraft without the need to hold a 3rd class medical.) It's a really big deal in a lot of ways. It will help further the cause of aviation in the United States. Of course, it also has some caveats that make it far less of a good deal than I'd hoped.

(You can read the FAA's final rule here, or you can catch it in the new 14 CFR Part 68 when it's published.)

Piper Abruptly Exits Light Sport Market

I think most of us were pretty excited when Piper entered the LSA market by adopting Czech Sport Aircraft's SportCruiser as their own. Their well-established name gave credibility to the market as a whole and to SportCruiser itself. We were shocked and disappointed to read in Aviation Week and a Piper press release that they have officially terminated their relationship with Czech Sport Aircraft. Piper cites "differences in business philosophies" as the driving reason for this split.

All of Piper's statements now feel like they're trying to distance themselves from Czech Sport Aircraft as quickly as possible. It's a surprisingly rapid turn-around from an advertising campaign that basically named the PiperSport as the successor to the iconic J3 Cub and pictured them next to each other in advertisements.

John Monnett Flies Electric Waiex

Terrafugia Wins Exemption for Transition Weight

The Terrafugia Transition has garnered a lot of hype so far. It is the latest attempt to produce and sell large numbers of a "roadable aircraft"...known in times past as a flying car. There have been a couple tries at this in the past, but none found any long-term success.

Times have changed though and Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards (FMVSS) dictate some structural characteristics for the vehicle that the Transition's makers are going to have to include to make their aircraft street legal. These features (such as a crumple zone and airbags) are not normally used with aircraft and add a significant amount of weight. In order to comply with all the FMVSS and still have a competitive useful load, Terrafugia applied for an exemption to the maximum LSA weight of 1320 pounds.

As the EAA recently reported, the FAA granted a partial exemption and will allow the Transition to weigh up to 1430 pounds.

Icon Updates

The development of ICON's A5 is still going full-tilt. They've released a video of further testing that includes amphibious operations. It looks like things went pretty smoothly to me. I especially enjoyed the formation taxiing with jet skis.

Flight Design - The Other End of the LSA Spectrum

I wrote about the Pipersport on Monday. I am glad to see companies like Piper and Cessna excited about the LSA market. I think they have pedigrees that will help sell their aircraft and lend legitimacy to Light Sport Aircraft overall. Though these companies may be leaders in the 4-place piston and even bizjet classes, they are definitely just the babies in LSA world. The disparity between their progress and that of the major LSA players is pretty significant.

First Pipersport Delivered

Piper proudly announced the first delivery of a Piper Sport at Sun 'n Fun last week. The lucky owners are a pair of former airline pilots and a veterinarian/veteran pilot. It looks like a really fun plane to fly and I absolutely understand their excitement. Congratulations to Piper on your first delivery!

Syndicate content