Freedom Amphibian LSA Certified

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The Freedom amphibian, built by Spanish manufacturer Colyaer, was approved last week as a Special Light Sport Aircraft. The airplane, which is built of carbon fiber, Kevlar, Nomex and epoxy, won recognition earlier this year at Sun 'n Fun, where it was named best composite seaplane. It also won a takeoff award, averaging six to eight seconds to skip into the air. Its three-bladed pusher prop is powered by a 100-hp Rotax 912, and its 40-foot wingspan brings a reported 20:1 glide ratio. It's been tested in seas as high as one foot, and the retractable landing gear is designed to tolerate unimproved fields. The FAA's rule against reconfiguring the landing gear in flight remains in force. The U.S. distributor, LSA Aero, of Decatur, Ala., says it has filed petitions with the FAA for an exemption to that rule. For now, a sport pilot can't reconfigure the airplane's gear in flight, but a private pilot (or higher certificate) with a complex endorsement can. Colyaer also builds a Martin3 landplane and Gannet seaplane, which are in the process of LSA certification. The airplanes have been flying in Europe for about eight years.