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September 6, 2012
By Alton K. Marsh
If you look at total aircraft registered, as seen on bydanjohnson.com, then Flight Design still leads the light sport aircraft market based on the 347 aircraft it has sold in the eight years since the LSA category was approved, with Cessna Aircraft Co. coming in second with 253 sold. There are now 126 LSA models to choose from built by 89 brands.
But if you look at who is registering LSA aircraft the fastest, then Cessna wins with 71 registered in the first six months of 2012. Many are registered in the Cessna name, meaning they have not been delivered as yet. Registrations have reached 11.8 aircraft per month. Cessna said it will certify the aircraft to meet standards in Europe but it will still meet the definition of an LSA in the United States.
Following Cessna are CubCrafters with 28 registrations in the first half of 2012, American Legend (Cubs) with seven, Flight Design with six, and Jabiru U.S./SportCruiser tied with five each.
The Phoenix motorglider company reports four registrations, but claims 20 orders are on the books. Bristell has three (look for a pilot report in an upcoming issue of AOPA Pilot), while the following companies have two each: Aerotrek, Arion Lightning, Renegade Falcon, World Aircraft Spirit, and the Canadian Light Aircraft Bush Caddy.
Dan Johnson, president of the Light Aircraft Manufacturers Association, said the first half of 2012 represents an improvement over the same period for 2011.
AOPA Pilot Senior Editor Alton Marsh has been a pilot since 1970 and has an airline transport pilot certificate and instrument and multiengine flight instructor certificates, aerobatic training, and a commercial seaplane certificate.
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