From AvWeb today:

Cessna CEO Scott Ernest told aviation media at NBAA 2013 in Las Vegas the company's made-in-China S-LSA Skycatcher has "no future" but he didn't have much to say about it other than that. His answers were also short when he was asked about the progress of the diesel-powered Cessna TurboSkylane JT-A following the test article's off-airport landing earlier this year. Asked specifically about the Skycatcher, Ernest responded "There's no future for the SkyCatcher." When asked if the company was ending production of the LSA, Ernest answered by repeating, "there's no future."

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With the abandonment of the 3rd class medical coming soon, LSA will evaporate. Builders should certify 750 aircraft to 1440. Also, the sky catcher was too expensive and insurance too high. Finally, part 23 will make owner maintenance on older planes feasible which makes a lot of smaller GA planes more feasible again!!!

If you were intending to finish and fly your plane in the near future and needed it to be LSA-compliant so you could fly without a medical, you'd have to certify at 1320.. If at a later date the feds abandon the 3rd class medical, you could always increase the gross weight on an Ed. 2 or Ed. 3 to 1440, put the plane back into Phase I for 5 hrs, and it would be perfectly legal to then fly at 1440 max gross wt.

The converse, of course, is not true. You can't certify at greater than 1320 and then later decrease the max gross wt to 1320 or less to make it LSA compliant. The plane has to originally and continually be certified at 1320 or less.



It looks like room in the market just opened up for a a variant of the 750 S-LSA.

Hang an O-200 or O-235 up front, change the doors to hinge on the front and a few other minor things to make it "flight school friendly"...

"With the abandonment of the 3rd class medical coming soon, LSA will evaporate."

Chris, I haven't heard of this late-breaking news. Just curious, what day soon is this going to happen, and what was the source of that info?


It doesn't take a rocket scientist to forecast trends. The increased cost of a new S-LSA airframe, the insurance that goes with it, and the fact that no accidents were attributed to pilot incapacitation, means that LSA was a good experiment, but just that. The arbitrary limit of weight, just below the Cessna 150-152 and other certified planes, was not a mistake, it was designed in an attempt to restart GA production with new airframes. Almost all firms are now out of production or business, with only a few surviving. All airframes, like Zenith will be easily adapted for higher gross weights when the 3rd class medical goes to drivers license. (Perhaps within 6 months)

Also, Part 23 has been severely revamped (soon to be codified - just read updates on Google as many sites and publications are taking about it.) to decrease the cost of maintenance and design costs of private use aircraft. Bottom line is bringing products to market will be incredibly cheaper, which will be good at the airframe, and avionics level. For example, the burden of certifying the same avionic in 30 different airframes, will become far less expensive. Most importantly, from what I can tell, owners flying for private use, will be able to maintain their own aircraft, including the AiRFRAME!!, which would mean that thousands of older aircraft now become feasible again bc the cost of using an A and P on structural issues such as corrosion will not be necessary. The owner can perform the work. Which for the many people who have wanted to take on a project like reforming a plane, and can actually do it, because they acquired skills through home building or their livelihood, can do it. Our GA fleet is over 30 years old on average, and the amount of planes going to salvage over a $5000 repair to the skin or fuselage, is ridiculous. I'm sure that there will be limits of course, but, all of those airplanes at the airport or on EBay that are "projects" for some small (or big) reason could potentially become airworthy again, utilizing the labor of a "homebuilder". It is a dream come true for EAA if it happens. After 15 years of having a commercial instrument license, I finally discontinued my AOPA subscription, and stayed with EAA. I'm not in the market for a Pilatus, and AOPA only cares about the big guys. I own a business, but I love home building now that I have a Zenith project. I am 65 percent done with o-200 750. I hope that LSA goes away and everything is simplified. It is the only way that GA will survive. Lower costs, simplicity, and rewarding those with a skillset to maintain and repair their own planes with the appropriate oversight, of carrying passengers privately. (As the unknowing and willing passenger still needs some level of protection from unskilled repairs being done.)

Christopher Braun
Zenith 750 - O-200

I do remember waiting years for the FAA to make the rules for the sport pilot cert. as I stayed a student pilot till they finished, not going to wait for them to make a decision again.

The main reason for the LSA was to fix the problem with having heavy and two seat ultralights. Which was a problem that the FAA caused to get flight training in an ultralight. Now the have done away with that and people are back to the way it was in the early 80's you can't get instruction in an ultralight with out breaking the rules. They say you need a LOD on your two seat Elsa (which was a two seat ultralight till they changed the rules) but they are not wanting to issue the LOD to too many people (sometimes only one per state per category).

Don't forget that the parts all have to be certificated (FAA-PMA) on that GA fleet. You can't just build a new spar or flap from scratch.

(As the unknowing and willing passenger still needs some level of protection from unskilled repairs being done.)

That is what hey have now they call it A&P and or IA. I went to school for the A&P and can tell you there were people in that class that I would not let work on my lawn mower and they wanted to work for an airline company, most of them didn't make it thru luckily.  I don't want to get into a 172 that was flipped over and then rebuilt by someone that didn't know the difference from one alloy to another (6061, 2024, 5052, 7075, 1100) let alone the heat treating conditions.   AT least when they get into a 750 or any other EAB it is required to say EXPERIMENTAL in big letters where they can see them so they know what they are literally getting into.

Well that is my 2 cent worth. Thanks for putting up with me.

Paul    Zenith 750    O-235

3rd class medical goes to drivers license.

Any info on this, I'm not sure what it is?

Last thing I read was that in April this year, AOPA and EAA met with Huerta (FAA) and was either told or given the impression that the driver's license medical "wasn't a priority" of the FAA. In government-speak, that means they'll get around to it by the next ice age.



So this is confusing to me, cant you get a LSA license now with a drivers license? So what is a 3rd class and how would it be any different?

Yes you can get a Light Sport ticket by self-certifying your medical condition. A medical certificate is required for a Private Pilot ticket (or higher). With a Light Sport ticket, you must adhere to the Light Sport rules, including flying only aircraft that meet the Light Sport criteria.

One example is the gross weight limit of 1320 pounds. If you will be flying under the Light Sport rules, you would have to certify your airplane at 1320 (because that's the rule). If you will be flying under the Private Pilot (or higher) rules, you can certify your airplane at 1440 (because that's the structural limit).

EAA has been lobbying FAA to do away with the 3rd Class Medical Certification, arguing that self-certification makes more sense. So far FAA has not ruled on the request. As far as I know, they have given no indication of when or how they will rule.

Sorry if I am being dense here but what is a 3rd class Med cert?  And by doing away with it would that not just make it the same as a LSA license?


I think Ken's explanation pretty well lays it out. What all the hoo-rah is about is this:

  1. All private pilots have to have at least a 3rd class medical to fly any plane exceeding Light Sport parameters.
  2. With the graying of the pilot population, the Light Sports look attractive since as long as you've never been denied on a flight medical (which is a huge Catch-22!), in the event of developing marginal health, one could self-certify as OK to fly and continue to fly an airplane meeting Light Sport parameters with only a driver's license.
  3. The Light Sport experience has shown that few accidents have occurred from medical incapacitation, therefore, there has been a push by AOPA, EAA, etc. to get the FAA to just do away with the 3rd Class Medical requirement for private pilots entirely.
  4. If the 3rd Class was dropped, then (if nothing else changed), all general aviation planes could be flown with just a driver's license and self-certification as the medical requirement.
  5. If that happened, it would probably kill the Light Sport industry as there is an ample supply of far less costly used general aviation planes available.
  6. In my opinion, the FAA is incapable of making a simple change. If they ever get around to dropping the 3rd Class Medical, I'll bet you'll be restricted to 2 seats or four seats but just one passenger, non-high performance airplane/and or a slightly more generous gross wt. allowance than 1320 lbs ... but not too generous!

Just my $.02 worth!




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