...Will Any Be Made In America?
Many aircraft that have been flying as factory-builts for years overseas -- such as the Flightstar CT in Europe and some Jabiru models in Australia -- meet the LSA criteria, and the procedure for them to get LSA-certified is fairly straightforward, as long as they are already certified in their home country. Foreign-built aircraft have an advantage in the way liability is structured, Fiduccia said. Also, some U.S. manufacturers who want to start selling factory-built sport planes may choose to build those airplanes abroad. "It just makes more sense," Sebastien Heintz, president of Zenith Aircraft, told AVweb at Oshkosh. "It's a relatively low-volume, high labor business. It's expensive to do that in the U.S. 'Offshore outsourcing' will help to make Light-Sport Aircraft affordable." Fiduccia says that while some manufacturers may reach that conclusion, he doesn't see it as the only option. "I think there will be a mix," he said, of manufacturers building aircraft in the U.S. and elsewhere. "There are a number of factors involved in making that decision," he said. Zenith has a longstanding relationship with the Czech Aircraft Works, which builds Zenith kitplanes ready-to-fly for the European market. If Zenith decides to sell ready-to-fly LSA aircraft in the U.S., Heintz said, they will probably be built in the Czech Republic.