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LAMA audits sport aircraft manufacturersLAMA audits sport aircraft manufacturers

The dizzying variety of manufacturers offering airplanes for the light sport aircraft (LSA) market has convinced the Light Aircraft Manufacturers Association (LAMA) to audit the firms and offer its own seal of approval.

About 70 manufacturers are offering 97 aircraft models in the LSA category, and LAMA wants potential buyers to have a way to know manufacturers are following proper industry practices. LSA manufacturers are allowed to self-regulate—and LAMA President Dan Johnson wants his organization to act as a “coach or friendly advisor.”

Johnson said the LSA manufacturers, most of which are very small companies, are faring better than larger firms during the current economic downturn.

“When times get tough, LSAs offer a way to get brand-new aircraft at much lower prices,” he said.

General aviation market leaders Cessna and Cirrus both had been planning for several years to enter the LSA market with their own aircraft. But Cessna’s Skycatcher has suffered two accidents in testing, and Cirrus suspended development of its SRS sport aircraft.

Johnson said he believes both companies will enter the LSA market eventually, however, and their interest has already validated the market for the new category.

Dave Hirschman

Dave Hirschman

AOPA Pilot Editor at Large
AOPA Pilot Editor at Large 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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