...And So Are Would-Be Pilots...

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With the announcement only a couple of days old, Heintz has already noticed a surge in interest. Light Sport/Sport Pilot is intended to spark interest in aviation by people who previously thought it too costly or time-consuming to pursue. Initial indications are that it's worked. "There have been a lot more phone calls in the last few days," Heintz said. "There's initially some pent-up demand." He said he's hopeful the interest will translate into airplane sales and is looking forward to EAA AirVenture next week where would-be sport pilots can kick the tires. "There is the potential to get more people involved in aviation," he said. As the announcement was being made, Sport Planes Ltd. was making plans to open 20 sales, training and maintenance centers to meet the demand. The company says it has contracts in place to sell and service U.S. and European aircraft that meet the criteria. At the same time it will establish training centers, using the airplanes that meet the regs as trainers. The chain of one-stop LSA shops will also offer advanced training outside the new category for private and IFR tickets and sell all the training aids, accessories and even clothing that the new pilots will need.