Sport Pilot

Zodiac CH601XL and 650 Update

The Zodiac CH601XL has had a rough few years. There have been six in-flight structural failures resulting in an effective grounding of the fleet and mandatory modifications to all aircraft. The FAA recently released an official report on the situation.

Good Changes to Sport Pilot Rule

The FAA officially released the final revisions to the Sport Pilot rules this Monday. Overall, they seem to have been greeted warmly by the AOPA and the EAA, though there are a few lingering points of dissent. Overall, it seems to me that the rules generally make the Sport Pilot rating easier to obtain and administrate and give Sport Pilots more opportunities in their operations.

SkyCatcher Delay?

Cessna made some news recently when they delivered their first 'production' C-162 SkyCatcher to Rose Pelton, the wife of Cessna's CEO. According to Plane and Pilot Magazine, Cessna has over 1000 orders for SkyCatchers so you would think they would have firewalled the throttle on the assembly line and started cranking airplanes out as fast as they could...especially in a rough economy when the company needs all the cash it can get. Strangely, that was not the case.

As reported by the AOPA, Cessna is now delaying deliveries by 6-10 months!

Piper Breaks Into The LSA Market

Piper Aircraft made a splash at this years sport aviation expo by unveiling their foray into the LSA market. The PiperSport which looks a great deal like the Czech Sport Aircraft Super Cruiser... In fact it is the Super Cruiser (I knew I couldn't pull one over on ya'll...). I think Piper did an interesting thing, rather than research/test/market their own LSA, they purchased an already successful offering. They jumped right up next to Cessna without all the nasty press that comes from a troubled flight test regimen.

New Look For Sport Aviation

EAA's membership magazine Sport Aviation has just gotten a face lift for the new year. The January edition is configured vertically, as opposed to the usual horizontal layout that's made this publication sort of unique. You could always pick out the Sport Aviation on the coffee table, it was the one that just quite look like a magazine should... In addition to the layout redesign EAA is pushing new features based on 1,500 member surveys. I'm eager to dig into mine to see what's changed in the content.

You can grab a look through a digital edition beginning tomorrow (8 Jan 2010) so let us know what you think in the comments!

Cessna CEO's Wife Gets First SkyCatcher

Cessna CEO Jack Pelton's wife Rose took delivery of the first production SkyCatcher this past friday at the Yingling assembly facility. This airplane has had some rough breaks so it's nice to see if finally break through into production. Interestingly enough, Rose Pelton has always had the first production SkyCatcher promised to her, so I'm sure her husband will be glad to finally be able to hand over the keys.

A Magnificent Engine Option

It took me a while to find a solution for replacing the engine in my plane. I was lucky to find an option that won't completely break the bank; however, the first options I came across were very expensive. One of the great parts of building a kit aircraft is the ability to keep costs low. A quick glance at our LSA Engine Comparison page tells me that a new engine for even the simplest kits can still be very expensive though. Thanks to an article in the Kitsap Sun, I just found out about an intriguing and economical engine option for kit biulders: the MagVair by Magnificent Machines LLC.

FAA and NTSB need to play nice... for everyone's sake

News broke friday that the NTSB has reported yet another crash of the CH-601XL, an aircraft that the FAA has previously issued a safety alert for. The release from the NTSB stops just short of telling the FAA we told you so... but makes sure to detail their recommendation from April suggesting that the FAA ground the entire fleet of CH-601XL aircraft. They were blunt before titling the article "NTSB ASKS FAA TO ‘PROHIBIT FURTHER FLIGHT’ OF LIGHT SPORT AIRPLANE TIED TO IN-FLIGHT BREAKUPS." The FAA chose not to ground the fleet, instead they required all the Zodiac's certified as light sport aircraft to be modified. The NTSB contends that the advisory should have been applied to amateur built aircraft as well.

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