The Term Light Sport Aircraft, Also Simply Called An LSA, Gets Thrown Around So Much That It Can Get A Bit Confusing And It Brings Up The Question Of, What Is An LSA?
Anyone that holds a sport pilot certificate, or anyone that is exercising sport pilot privileges, is limited to flying a light sport aircraft. If a pilot is not limited to sport pilot privileges, an LSA may be a perfect choice for an aircraft, but it’s not a required choice. LSA is a definition of an aircraft; it is not a specific certification type.
The definition of a light sport aircraft is found in the Federal Aviation Regulations Part 1. Here is an abridged version of that description.
- A maximum takeoff weight of not more than 1,320 pounds for aircraft not intended for operation on water; or 1,430 pounds for an aircraft intended for operation on water.
- A maximum airspeed in level flight with maximum continuous power of not more than 120 knots.
- A maximum stalling speed or minimum steady flight speed without the use of lift-enhancing devices of not more than 45 knots at the aircraft’s maximum certificated takeoff weight.
- A maximum seating capacity of two persons, including the pilot.
- A single, reciprocating engine, if powered.
- A fixed-pitch propeller or ground-adjustable propeller.
- A fixed-pitch, semi-rigid, teetering, two-blade rotor system, if a gyroplane.
- A non-pressurized cabin, if equipped with a cabin.
- Fixed landing gear, except for an aircraft intended for operation on water or a glider.
Any aircraft the fits this description is okay for a sport pilot and is often referred to as an LSA. However, the type of FAA certification the aircraft holds can make a difference in the ownership of the aircraft. The most common LSA certification categories you will be considering as candidates for owning are:
- An FAA type certificated aircraft such as a Cub, Champ, Ercoupe, or some other “classic.”
- A special light sport aircraft (S-LSA) that is certified under the new light sport rules.
- An experimental aircraft that could come in several sub categories.
Any one of these aircraft certification types may have pros and cons to ownership but they all could qualify for sport pilot operation. The LSA buyer needs to learn how the certification affects ownership and we’ll cover that in an upcoming issue of AeroSports Update.
Sources: : www.faa.gov, www.eaa.org et firstname.lastname@example.org