July 27, 2011
By Dave Hirschman
Light Aircraft Manufacturers Association (LAMA) President Dan Johnson gave an upbeat assessment of the light sport aircraft segment at EAA AirVenture in Oshkosh, Wis., July 27 saying the category is poised for growth and is laying the groundwork for worldwide acceptance of manufacturing standards.
LSAs are certified according to consensus ASTM standards; LAMA is pushing for international acceptance of ASTM rather than individual and often repetitive examinations from regulators in each country LSAs are sold and flown. He said European countries as well as Brazil and Australia have accepted, or are near to accepting, ASTM for LSAs--a move that could increase worldwide sales of the relatively simple aircraft limited to no more than two seats, 120 KIAS top cruise, and a maximum 45-knot stall speed.
Johnson said ASTM certification also could serve as a model for a planned FAA rewrite of Part 23 standards for light aircraft.
"[General aviation manufacturers] would like to move in the direction of LSAs and ASTM in terms of consensus standards for aircraft certification in the future," he said.
Johnson said the LSA market is increasingly recognized as the entry point for new GA pilots and will play an important role in the future of flying in the United States and abroad.
"Light sport is increasingly the place where new students come into aviation," he said.
AOPA Pilot Senior Editor Dave Hirschman joined AOPA in 2008. He has an airline transport pilot certificate and instrument and multiengine flight instructor certificates. Dave flies vintage, historical, and Experimental airplanes and specializes in tailwheel and aerobatic instruction.
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