LSA Update -- Allegro Moves To Oregon; New Online Tool Helps Shoppers

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Times have been tough lately for the U.S. aircraft biz, but a bright moment occurred this week when Allegro announced that its LSA, formerly built in the Czech Republic, will now be manufactured in Roseburg, Ore. "We believe in the Allegro and the USA Light Sport market and will continue with our expansion," said Doug Hempstead, president of Allegro USA. The new location will make it easier for U.S. customers to deal with warranties, parts, delivery and financing, the company said. The move was prompted by the strong Euro currency, which made the airplane too expensive for U.S. buyers, the company said. Australian customers will also benefit from the move, because their exchange rate in relation to the U.S. dollar is more favorable than the euro. Shipments from the Oregon factory are expected to begin by August.

Meanwhile, pilots who are considering an LSA purchase now have some help to sort through the almost 100 models now available. LSA guru Dan Johnson has created an easy-to-use online tool at his Web site that helps buyers find the right LSA by choosing preferences in 24 categories, such as price range, STOL capability, and metal or composite construction. The PlaneFinder will generate a listing of the LSAs that meet the user's criteria, with links to more info about each model. Use of the PlaneFinder is free, but registration is required.