By Mary Grady, Contributing editor
The European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) has certified light sport aircraft for the first time, in a newly created certification category. Three airplanes have been certified as European Light Aircraft (ELA): Czech Sport Aircraft's PS-28 Cruiser, the Flight Design CTLS-ELA, and the Evektor SportStar RTC, EASA said. The new category certifies aircraft with no more than two seats and a weight of less than 600 kg (1,320 pounds). EASA said it has been working to address feedback from industry and operators that its regulatory framework for recreational aircraft is too burdensome. Dan Johnson, president of the Light Aircraft Manufacturing Association, told AVweb this week EASA's procedures are too expensive for most LSA manufacturers.
"The producers have to pay for all of these approvals, factory visits, and inspections," Johnson said. "And the question is, how does this enhance safety?" LAMA would prefer to see EASA accept the ASTM approval procedures used in the U.S., Johnson said, which already have been accepted in Australia and Brazil. EASA said it is continuing to work closely with the aviation community, and "further improvements to certification procedures for ELA are expected in the near future." Johnson said some U.S. manufacturers are delaying entry into the European market, despite the favorable exchange rate, due to continuing uncertainty about EASA's rules and regulations. In April, Cessna said it wouldn't take any orders in Europe for its Skycatcher until it had worked out a plan with EASA for certification.