New LSAs Could Break Price Barrier

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Many potential buyers of light sport aircraft have been disappointed that these "entry-level" airplanes have gone on the market for $100,000 and up. But that could be changing soon, says Light Aircraft Manufacturers Association (LAMA) Chairman Dan Johnson. He expects that at least two ultralight manufacturers will seek LSA approval for their designs by the end of this year, and those aircraft would likely sell for about $50,000 or less. CGS Aviation, which builds the Hawk, and M-Squared Aviation of Alabama, have said they will enter the LSA market, Johnson noted. What about the effect of Cessna's announcement on Tuesday that it will produce an LSA? "No surprise there," Johnson said. Most observers have been expecting that it would for some time. "For the top five or 10 LSA manufacturers, I think they will see this as a boost. It legitimizes and validates the LSA concept. It won't hurt them, and may help them sell more airplanes," he said. However, other manufacturers who are not yet well-established, or new players thinking of entering the market, might worry that Cessna will dominate the market, he said. In other LSA news, Johnson pointed out that Sun 'n Fun decided just this week that they will create an LSA Mall just inside the entrance of next year's show. At EAA AirVenture in Oshkosh, Wis., later this month, the LSA Mall will return to its spot just south of Aeroshell Square for the third year in a row.