LSA Sales Slow To Rally

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Despite generally upbeat reports from light sport aircraft vendors at Sun 'n Fun last month, sales reported for 2010 from January through the end of April were slow, even slower than in 2009, Dan Johnson reported on his industry blog last week. In 2009, which was an extremely slow sales year across all aviation segments, LSAs sold at the rate of about 20 per month. But in the first four months of 2010, sales averaged just 15 a month, Johnson said. That's a decline from about 45 per month just three years ago. Why the sluggish response to what is generally considered to be the start of a recovery? "No one has a crystal ball," says Johnson, "but common suspects are: an oscillating stock market ... government budget problems ... and a widely held feeling that LSAs are still proving themselves." The industry is addressing the perception issues, he said, but the rest are beyond their control. And there is one bright spot, he added.

"The Euro's sharp decline against the dollar may reduce the retail price of European imports," Johnson said, good news for those with an eye on LSAs manufactured abroad. His sales figures, which are based on new FAA registrations, show CubCrafters in first place, with 17 aircraft registered in the first four months of the year. In second place was Flight Design with 9 registrations, followed by Tecnam at 8, PiperSport at 7, and Cessna with 6. FlightDesign retains its number-one sales rank overall, with 312 airplanes registered, followed by American Legend and Tecnam.