Light Sport Aircraft Sales Reflect Economic Slowdown

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Sales of piston aircraft showed a slump in the first quarter of this year, down 28 percent compared to the year before, as AVweb recently reported, and the numbers for light sport aircraft reflect a similar trend. The data for 2008 through April show sales off 30 percent compared to a year ago. The numbers reflect the economic concerns of potential buyers, says Dan Johnson, of the Light Aircraft Manufacturers Association. "Personal and sport aircraft sales react quickly to the slightest perception of economic shakiness," says Johnson. But if fuel prices continue to rise, Johnson told AVweb on Wednesday, the LSAs may gain an advantage in the market. "Better to be burning three or four gallons per hour, compared to six or seven or even more," Johnson said. Even with the overall numbers down, some LSA manufacturers are holding their own or even increasing their sales. REMOS, of Germany, registered nine LSAs in the U.S. in the month of April, putting it first for the month, for the first time.

"Response to the REMOS in the United States has been very gratifying," said Michael Meirer, managing director of REMOS in the U.S. "The steady increase in sales here is attributable to the docile flight-handling characteristics of the REMOS, the high quality of German precision in manufacturing, its sleek style, minimal operating costs and the fact that the wings fold into a very small profile."