LSA Numbers Reflect Slow Recovery
Yesterday's report on shipments of general aviation aircraft left out most light-sport aircraft manufacturers, but LSA advocate Dan Johnson has compiled his own annual report for the industry. Overall, said Johnson, "The first half [of 2012] foretold a better recovery, but the last half of the year stalled somewhat." Based on a count of FAA registrations for Special-LSA aircraft, Cessna's Skycatcher led the fleet, with a reported 94 registrations. The first half of the year set a faster pace for the Skycatcher, with 76 new registrations, which dropped off sharply in the second half to just 23. Johnson speculated the announcement that Cessna will switch the airplane from LSA to Primary category might explain the drop. The growth standout for 2012 was CubCrafters, which took second place with 48 new registrations, up from 36 in 2011, a 33 percent increase. (Click here for an AVweb video report of a flight demo in a CubCrafters S2.)
Aerotrek moved into third place for 2012 with 13 aircraft registered, while Flight Design and American Legend logged 11 each. All other LSA manufacturers registered 10 or fewer aircraft, and the total for the industry was 259 for 2012. New companies continue to enter the LSA market, such as Bristell, Breezer, and Just Aircraft, which Johnson says may show up on the list by next year. Although kit aircraft are not on the list, Johnson noted that in 2012, 203 registrations were counted for Van's Aircraft RV-12 kit planes.