Sunday, December 12, 2010

Light Sport

I cut my teeth flying an Aeronca Champ. My instructor didn't teach me wheel landings, but did insist on using my feet and on solid airmanship. I remember watching traffic pass me as I followed roads in Pennsylvania on a breezy day. So I was already familiar with the concept: minimal, basic, stick & rudder flying. While that appealed to me, I had just spent a year flying the Cirrus and wasn't sure I wanted to go back to those basics. No IFR, no night flying (which I love), slow, would mean a significant change to my mission profile. And, the planes are NOT cheap! If I was getting into this to save money, the payment on the note was going to be a real challenge.

Another concern was the number of makes and models and the strength of the various companies. I didn't want to buy a new airplane to find within a year the company was bankrupt and my support was gone. Cessna had already announced a Light Sport Airplane (LSA) and in January Piper announced they would take over marketing and support of the Czech built SportCruiser, and rename it the PiperSport.

I was already a big fan of Piper. The first plane I soloed was a Cherokee 140 and most planes I've flown since have been low wing configurations. In September we went down to Fort Pierce to fly one. It didn't take long, I knew after just a bit of high work that it exceeded my expectations...and the landings were sweet. We placed a deposit two days later.

So, I could buy a very nicely IFR equipped used airplane for the price of an LSA, why did I do it? It fit 90% of my mission requirements.

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