Aero Friedrichshafen, which opens today and runs through Sunday, is continuing to grow, and attracting a wide range of exhibitors eager to expand in the European market. Overall, 625 exhibitors from 27 countries are setting up at the show, with German companies in the lead, followed by companies from the U.S. and the Czech Republic. AVweb is staffing the show and will have reports later in the week. Many companies have expanded their space compared to the last show. The show is the biggest for gliders from around the world, and ultralights, LSAs, and helicopters are robustly represented. An E-Flight Expo will showcase aircraft with electrical propulsion, new solar technologies and other innovative propulsion concepts. The show also provides an opportunity for GA folk from various places to meet, and Dan Johnson, chairman of the Light Aircraft Manufacturing Association, said that could have some significant repercussions, perhaps leading to a universal standard for light sport aircraft. "A Certification Specification for Light Sport Aircraft (CS-LSA) is working its way through the European Union and at Aero, some key meetings are planned to help EASA personnel get with FAA people and ASTM committee members," Johnson wrote at his blog this week. "Dull? Maybe ... But look at the prize: the potential for a worldwide standard for LSA."
Johnson said if a universal ASTM standard can be created, U.S. companies could work to enlarge their market in Europe at dramatically lower cost than for type-certificated airplanes, which must gain approval country-by-country. "Can we expect LSA to give birth to a global aircraft certification standard?" asks Johnson. "Possibly, and my best analogy is jet or auto fuel. In every country on Earth, these fuels meet non-governmental ASTM standards. If it works for major commodities like airline and auto fuel, many believe it can work for light-sport aircraft."