New Models, New Features
While many of the first S-LSAs were imports from the European "microlight" class, which is restricted to about 950 pounds gross weight, more of the newer models are designed from the ground up to meet the U.S. rule, with a limit of 1,320 pounds. This allows for bigger, roomier models with more features. Danny Defilici, president of Sport Aircraft Works in Florida, imports the newly approved Sport Cruiser from Czech Aircraft Works (CZAW). He says the Cruiser is a "clean-sheet" design built to the U.S. rules, with a 660-pound useful load and excellent low-speed performance. It's easy to handle for a low-time pilot or a flight-school environment, he said. Interest also was high at the show in the CZAW amphibious Mermaid, which recently got its S-LSA approval despite some FAA consternation over the repositionable gear. The FAA approval requires that the aircraft carry a placard in the cockpit that forbids sport pilots from repositioning the gear in flight, Defilici said. The FAA has assured him it will eliminate that issue in a future rewrite of the rule, he added.