The Federal Aviation Administration defines a light-sport aircraft as an aircraft with a maximum gross takeoff weight of less than 600 kilograms (1320 pounds) for aircraft designed to operate from land, 649 kilograms (1,430 pounds) for seaplanes; a maximum airspeed in level flight of 120 knots (222 km/h); a maximum stall speed of 45 knots (83 km/h); either one or two seats; fixed undercarriage and fixed-pitch or ground adjustable propeller; and a single electric motor or reciprocating engine, which includes diesel engines and Wankel engines.
Aircraft which qualify as LSA may be operated by holders of a Sport Pilot certificate, whether they are registered as Light Sport Aircraft or not. Pilots with a private, recreational, or higher pilot certificate may also fly LSA, even if their medical certificates have expired, so long as they have a valid driver's license to prove that they are in good enough health to fly. LSA also have less restrictive maintenance requirements and may be maintained and inspected by traditionally certificated Aircraft Maintenance Technicians, by individuals holding a Repairman: Light Sport certificate, and (in some cases) by their pilots and/or owners.
The U.S. definition of an LSA is similar to most other countries' definition of "microlight" or "ultralight" aircraft. Except for the LSA's relatively generous MTOW of 600 kg, the other countries' microlight definitions are typically less restrictive, not limiting airspeed or the use of variable-pitch propellers.
By contrast, the U.S. FAA has a separate definition of ultralight aircraft defined in FAR 103. Aircraft falling within the U.S. ultralight specifications are extremely lightweight (less than 254 pounds if powered, or 155 pounds if unpowered), are intended for manned operation by a single occupant, have a fuel capacity of five U.S. gallons or less, a maximum calibrated airspeed of not more than 55 knots, and a maximum stall speed of not more than 24 knots. Ultralight aircraft in the U.S. do not require pilot licensing, medical certification, or aircraft registration.
Aircraft certificated as light-sport aircraft exceed the limitations defined for ultralight aircraft and require that the pilot possess, at a minimum, a Sport Pilot certificate. Among these aircraft were found those that were specifically designed to meet the LSA requirements, as well as overweight ultralights (commonly known as "fat ultralights") that previously were operated in technical violation of FAR 103.
In addition to aircraft specifically designed to meet the LSA requirements, certain certificated aircraft, such as the original Piper Cub, happen to fall within the definition of a light-sport aircraft and can be operated by individuals holding FAA Sport Pilot certificates. The aircraft can not be re-certificated as LSA, however: although Sport Pilots may operate conventionally certificated aircraft that fall within the definition of an LSA, the aircraft themselves continue to be certificated in their original categories.
Several designers and manufacturers of experimental aircraft kits are working to develop models that are compliant with the light-sport aircraft rules.
|Design||Manufacturer||Engine||Max. Cruise||Max. Range||Cost||Orders||Availability||Type|
|3Xtrim Navigator 600||3Xtrim||100 HP Rotax 912 ULS||104 knots||747 NM||USD$99,000 (Basic)||2008||Certified|
|Paradise P-I||Paradise Aircraft||100 HP Rotax 912 ULS||120 knots (184 km/h)||747 NM (1385 km)||USD$108,800 (Basic)||2008||Certified|
|Sport Hornet LRS||Higher Class Aviation||Rotax 912 or Rotax 582||100 knots (185 km/h)||450 NM (833 km)||USD$53,000 (Rotax 582 $43K), (kit $20K w/o engine)||40+||2008||Certified|
|JIHLAVAN airplanes, s.r.o.||SKYLEADER 500 LSA||Rotax 912 S or 914 Turbo||120 knots (222 km/h)||520 NM (960 km)||USD$113,000||140+||2008||Certified|
|Allegro 2007||FANTASY AIR||Rotax 912 or Rotax 912S||119 knots (220 km/h)||750 NM (1400 km)||USD$82,000||2008||Certified|
|Flight Design CTSW||Flight Design||Rotax 912S||120 knots (222 km/h)||540 NM (1000 km)||USD$101,390||150+||2005||Certified|
|Mermaid Amphibian||CZAW /Wet Aero USA||Jabiru 3300 or Rotax 912S||110 knots||450 NM (833 km)||USD$155,000 , no kits||2006||Certified|
|Cirrus SRS||Cirrus Design||Rotax 912||120 knots (222 km/h)||USD$110,000-$120,000||2009||Certified|
|Cessna 162 - SkyCatcher||Cessna Aircraft Company||Continental O-200D||118 knots (218 km/h)||470 NM (870 km)||USD$109,500||850+||2008||Certified|
|AMD Zodiac (S-LSA)||Zenith Aircraft Company (Kit)||Continental O-200 + Others||120 knots (222 km/h)||USD$84,900||Certified|
|ACS-100 Sora||Advanced Composite Solutions||120 knots (222 km/h)||USD$75,000||Kit|
|EuroFox (80 hp)||Aeropro CZ||Rotax 912UL||110 mph (178 km/h)||570 NM (1056 km)||USD$55,950|
|Breezer (80 hp)||Aerosport||Rotax 912UL 2||110 mph (178 km/h)||497 NM (920 km)|
|C42 (80 hp)||Aerosport||Rotax 912UL 2||194 km/h||Certified|
|Remos G-3||Remos Aircraft||ROTAX 912 ULS 100HP||138 mph / 120 knots||550 NM / 1000 km||USD $109,500||2007||Certified|
|Tecnam P2004||Tecnam Aircraft||Rotax 912S||116 knots (222 km/h)||USD$99,900||100+||2005||Certified|
|Kitfox||Kitfox Aircraft||Rotax 912S||109 knots (201 km/h)||530 NM (980 km)||USD$25,000 (kit price)||4000+ (since 1984)||2008||Kit|
|Aviasud Mistral||Aviasud Engineering||Rotax 582 DCDI||65 knots, 75 mph, 120 km/h||270 NM, 500 km|
|ICON A5||ICON Aircraft||Rotax 912 ULS||105 knots, 120 mph, 193 km/h||300 NM, 555 km||USD$139,000||2010|
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