The Light Aircraft Manufacturers Association (LAMA) issued an upbeat report on its advocacy initiatives at the Sun 'n Fun International Fly-In and Expo in Lakeland, Florida. With the recent introduction of Glasair’s new Merlin and the SkyRunner MK 3.2 light sport aircraft, LAMA boasted that the last four of the four most recent LSAs were made in the United States, and were the last seven out of 10 LSAs.
“A few years ago, a full two-thirds of the LSAs were built in Europe,” said LAMA Chairman of the Board and President Dan Johnson. “Now, that’s changing.”
LAMA has four recently prioritized advocacy initiatives that it touted at Sun 'n Fun.
- Promoting special light sport aircraft (S-LSA) and experimental light sport aircraft (E-LSA) manufacturers. This includes efforts to promote commercial use of LSAs—excluding passenger or freight hauling flights—under an “aerial work” provision of LSA rules that allows activities such as pipeline patrol, police, and surveillance roles.
- Promoting initiatives to allow electrically powered aircraft to be used in flight training. Currently, electrically powered airplanes are not covered by U.S. regulations, and LAMA hopes for a change through an exemption to those regulations.
- Allowing gyroplanes to be certified under S-LSA rules, which allow manufacturers to build completed airframes. Currently, gyroplanes come under E-LSA rules, which require owners to assemble their own gyroplanes from kits.
- Securing permission to use two-place ultralight aircraft for flight training purposes. Until 2010, such aircraft could be used for flight training under an exemption. When the exemption expired, two-place ultralights were put under E-LSA rules, which prohibit flight instruction. LAMA plans to secure a letter of deviation authority (LODA), issued by flight standards district offices, to permit flight training.
Thomas A. Horne
AOPA Pilot Editor at Large
AOPA Pilot Editor at Large Tom Horne has worked at AOPA since the early 1980s. He began flying in 1975 and has an airline transport pilot and flight instructor certificates. He’s flown everything from ultralights to Gulfstreams and ferried numerous piston airplanes across the Atlantic.