Champ The Only New Certified LSA

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The light-sport aircraft category captured a couple of dozen standard category aircraft by virtue of the performance and weight specs they'd been built with decades ago. And while they're an appealing option for some pilots, they long ago lost that new airplane smell. At the moment, the only aircraft in this class that's still under production is the Champ, and American Champion Aircraft Corp. is making the most of its unique niche. Within hours of parking a very well-equipped Champ in the display area of Sebring Airport for the U.S. Sport Aviation Expo on opening day, Orlando/Sanford Aircraft Sales, based at the airport of the same name, had sold it and was taking bites on a second Champ due to arrive the next day. "This is a real airplane," said company spokesman Larry Tague.

New Champs come with a Continental 0200 engine and an electrical system (including electric start) in a tandem configuration with basic instruments for $88,000. Options available include a full Garmin suite (including Mode S) and rear-seat amenities including a push-to-talk button and toe brakes. There are also paint and interior options that can put the price in the low 100s for someone who wants nostalgia with the modern conveniences. All that's missing is a grass strip ...

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