LSA Weight Restrictions Changing

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Major changes to Light Sport weight restrictions are about two years away and the new rules will capture many legacy training and personal aircraft, EAA Chairman Jack Pelton announced on Monday. In a news conference at AirVenture, Pelton said the changes are about halfway through the four-year rulemaking process and are aimed at fixing what many consider the most serious problem with the aircraft classification. “They’re addressing the weight limits of LSA,” Pelton said, adding that weight won’t be the sole criteria in establishing eligibility. He said it will be more focused on establishing the class of aircraft that should be allowed to fly under the simpler licensing and certification standards of LSA.

LSAs are now limited to 1320 pounds for land-based aircraft and 1430 pounds for float and flying boat designs. The limits have been a longstanding gripe among manufacturers because they restrict the design limitations of aircraft by sacrificing durability and safety features at the expense of useful load. Many LSAs have only enough useful load for two full-sized adults and partial fuel and manufacturers have been asking for more flexibility to build more useful aircraft. Also, the weight limits exclude many legacy two-place aircraft by a few hundred pounds and owners and type groups have been lobbying to have dozens of designs included in the classification. Pelton said the new performance-based regulatory attitude of the FAA is behind its sudden flexibility on the LSA regs and he’s been assured the changes are moving through the process.



Comments (6)

Weight restrictions still two years away? WHY? How can a Cessna 150 not be a "Light Sport Aircraft"?

Shoulda been done already.

Posted by: James Efird | July 24, 2018 11:14 AM    Report this comment

On the fence about that 150 purchase? Better buy it now because in 2 years there will be a significant price increase.

Posted by: Robert Ore | July 24, 2018 8:17 PM    Report this comment

Why in God's name does it take four years to decide whether to increase the LSA weight limits? The Europeans have good data on this already and most engineering data says it is a no-brainier. Wake up FAA and jut DO IT!

Posted by: John McNamee | July 27, 2018 5:18 PM    Report this comment

I have no idea why people would want to raise the weight limit of LSAs. The Cessna 150 is a total pig! And if that's not enough it is only 38 inches wide! That's barely 3 feet wide when most LSAs approach 4 feet wide! My LSA can carry 2 big 200 pounders full fuel and still has 90 lbs of baggage allowance. It has no life limited parts either! So what is the problem? Maybe some legacy aircraft designers need to go back to school? Not really. It just come down to the fact that newer engineering tools like FInite Element Analysis allow a designer to not waste weight where it is not needed, and with Carbon Fiber and titanium being stronger and lighter than aluminum, you can have your cake and eat it too, so to speak! I vote to round up all the Cessna and melt them down. Who's with me?!!

Posted by: Keith Martin | August 5, 2018 7:55 PM    Report this comment

There are numerous reasons why someone would want the LSA weight limit increased. Many locales do not have LSAs available for rent. We are fortunate at my FBO in that we do have a solid LSA available for rent and instruction (and one more in the pipeline), but three of my students drive up to 2.5 hours one way to take lessons in our LSA because there are no LSA aircraft near their home airport.

Many people can't afford to purchase even a used airworthy LSA. Having the option of a C-150 or C-152 along with a C-140/120, Piper Super Cub, Piper Colt, all versions of the Ercoupe and the Luscombe, the Citabria, and a plethora of other GA aircraft available would greatly increase a Sport Pilot's access to the skies. Also, one drawback for the LSA fleet is that not all FBOs can service the Rotax 912/914 series (by far the most common LSA powerplant) and unleaded MoGas or Swift isn't always readily available.

Certainly the C-150 is a bit cramped if you are a large or tall person (and so are many LSAs!)... and going along with that idea, its performance can be less than stellar with two 'substantial' individuals and a high DA. So what? Fly the 150 according to the POH. It's not a pig, it's an airplane and a darn good one, particularly for training. As a CFI, there is no reason why Sport Pilot students should not be able to fly the C-150/152... or the Skyhawk for that matter. The more airplanes we have available to fly, the better (and, IMO, safer) it will be for everyone.

You've made the choice to purchase a LSA that fits your needs and that you enjoy flying. Good for you and I mean that! But why would you denigrate the C-150 or even care if the FAA raises the LSA weight limit? What is that to you? Why not be happy for those of us who stand to benefit from a weight limit increase?

Posted by: Stanley Blank | September 2, 2018 9:18 PM    Report this comment

I agree with Stanley. I have been flying LSA for quite some time, including the C162. when starting, there was approximately five C162s in the area for lease. Now, in my rather large metropolitan area, there are none. No LSA in flight clubs or local FBOs. I have to drive out of town to lease a plane for a hour of enjoyment. If the FAA allows for the proposed weight adjustment and brings in the 150/152 class into the LSA class while expanding our pilot certificates to fly beyond current limitations, this could only increase participation in the LSA catagory. Right now, no one in my area can earn the Light Sport certificate without traveling an hour out of town. And, if that one plane goes down, then no one is flying.

Pilots flying with light sport certiificates have proven theselves to be safe and effective pilots. There is no reason not to increase the weight limit and qualification to bring in the 150/152 and allow these pilots greater access to avliable and more stable planes.

Posted by: Charles Lamb | November 17, 2018 11:10 AM    Report this comment

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