Exploring The Range Of Light Sport Aircraft

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Two announcements this week are a case in point for the diversity of the newly regulated Light Sport category of aircraft. Nexaer, of Colorado Springs, announced that its LS-1, an all-composite low wing with a swooping fuselage, is ready for its first flight. Meanwhile, beleaguered Renaissance Aircraft said it's found a home at Flabob Airport in Riverside, Calif., and will produce an LSA version of the Luscombe 8, a 1940's taildragger, there. Nexaer showed its futuristic mock-up at AirVenture last year and the company says it got plenty of response to the design, which looks like it's going fast sitting on the ground. The company says what sets it apart from other LSAs is the 54-inch wide cabin and great visibility. Renaissance has been looking for a home for two years since parting company with the city of Girardeau, Mo., and a deal to build airplanes there. Plans then called for an updated version of the Luscombe with a bigger engine and greater performance and that may come later (along with a trike version). The LSA design will have a Continental 0200 (not much different from the C85s and C90s that power so many Luscombes) and, since the later "high powered" Luscombes had a maximum gross weight of 1,400 pounds, the new version will need to shed a few pounds to sneak under the all-up weight limit of 1320 pounds.