Sport Pilot A Year Later

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It's come a long way in a year but there are still some details to be worked out before the Sport Pilot/Light Sport Aircraft rule spawns an industry that lives up to its full potential. That's EAA's take on the process, a year after implementation of the rule. "Some in the aviation community are amazed at how quickly airplanes and interest in sport pilot emerged after the rule became reality last September," said Earl Lawrence, who's been EAA's point man on the rule. Although it's now possible to buy any of more than a dozen flight-ready LSAs, there are some significant issues barring access to them for many people. Lawrence said training has to be ramped up to meet demand, the pilot medical certification process ironed out and some lingering certification issues, particularly with ultralights, need to be resolved. "These are challenges but this consensus effort among government, industry and consumers has shown that things can get done in a cooperative, timely manner," Lawrence said. Meanwhile, private enterprise continues to forge ahead with making the most of the LSA options available. Sportplanes.com was among the first out of the gate to open dealerships and flight schools and recently announced a partnership with South Lakeland Sport Aviation in the establishment of a sales, service and training outlet at South Lakeland Airport in Florida.