The following is our thumbnail interpretation of the rule--it is by no means a complete overview.
The LSA rule is actually two rules that are two sides of the same coin. The first rule is called the Sport Pilot rule and it is a new category of pilot license. It is intended by the FAA and industry to ease entry into aviation for new pilots and to help existing pilots stay in the air longer.
The highlights of the Sport Pilot rule are:
- A Sport Pilot may carry one passenger
- May fly planes up to 1,320 pounds (599 Kg) max gross
- May fly during daylight hours in VFR conditions
- May fly without an FAA medical, provided the pilot has a state-issued driver's license
There are numerous nuances to the rules, but those are the highlights. The last item in particular--the "driver's license" medical--will benefit the numerous licensed pilots who lose their flight medicals every year due to perfectly manageable medical issues.
The second rule is the Light Sport Aircraft rule itself. This is a rule that creates a new category of aircraft in much the same way that the Sport Pilot rule creates a new level of pilot license.
The highlights of the LSA rule are:
- The airplane must have a max gross of 1,320 pounds (599 Kg)
- The airplane may only have one engine
- The airplane must have fixed landing gear
In addition to the above, there is one key feature of the rule that cannot be easily explained with a bullet point . . .
The LSA rule will allow, for the first time ever, manufacturers to sell ready-to-fly complete airplanes to the public without going through the very costly and time consuming FAR 23 certification process.
The significance of this cannot be overstated. The FAR 23 certification requirement is what allows some manufacturers to sell 50 year-old designs for almost $200,000.
Ion plans on offering the Ion 120 ready-to-fly airplane under the LSA rule.
Light Sport Aircraft (LSA) Rule
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