Sunday, August 26, 2012

The Great Debate: is the LSA rule a failure?

Reference: Air Facts

...or is it a success?

This discussion has had some very interesting comments made on both sides of the argument. I break it down into these categories:
  • Maximum Take Off Weight limit (1320#) is too limiting. If it were only slightly higher (1500#) it could include legacy aircraft like C140, C150, etc
  • The light weight makes LSA less safe and harder to fly.
  • The rule was only put in place so that pilots don't need a medical exam from an FAA approved Medical Examiner. (special issuance medical not needed) This allows older less able pilots to fly. Medically able pilots shouldn't bother with the Sport Pilot Rating.
  • The LSA rule was supposed to make flying affordable. Why would anyone buy an LSA when you can pick up a C-150s for much less money? Only the rich can buy these toys (I can find hundreds of used Cessna 172s for under $50K)
  • Except for the Cessna Skycatcher, flight schools have not adopted LSA and few aircraft are available for training.
  • Experimental equipment (avionics and instruments) is far superior and far less expensive than certified equipment.
 My thoughts:
  1. I wish I could take more stuff. When Kathy & I take a trip I'm always looking closely at the weight to insure we don't exceed the Max Take Off Weight (MTOW). It means she packs lighter and we NEVER have full gas tanks. I usually plan enough gas for two hour (5 gals/hour) legs with reserve. On the other hand, most of the time I fly solo. So MY utilization is good as it meets MOST of my weight requirements. (BTW, I'm also on a diet program)
  2. I don't fly on windy days. I have a personal wind gust limit and if the forecast goes above that I stay on the ground. So I am grounded on some days that other pilots might fly. (I also don't fly in IMC any more, a personal choice.) I don't believe that LSA is less safe, but one must understand their own personal limitations and the decision making can be more critical.
  3. I still fly with a medical, without any special issuance. If this allows more pilots to fly then I say it is a good thing. I don't know of any LSA accidents attributed to pilot incapacitation.
  4. Flying is expensive, period. Like any other avocation you can spend what you want to and then some. It is unreasonable to think that you can buy a new product at the same price as an old one. I have found my operating costs to be lower than what I would have spent on an older airplane.
  5. This is somewhat of a "Chicken & Egg" story. Flight schools want students, students want new airplanes, but flight schools won't buy new airplanes until they have students. Sally draws a crowd wherever we go. I think having an attractive new airplane on a flight line would be a great draw for new students, as long as the hourly rental costs were set properly.
  6. It has been a long transition, but I like glass over steam gauges. If it weren't for LSA I wouldn't own a plane with a glass panel, autopilot, BRS system or other modern innovations. The technology is simply fantastic.
So check out the reference link, read through the comments and decide for yourself. LSA has been successful...for me.

1 comment:

  1. The problem with the medical is that a pilot can be completely blind-sided by its inflexible rules. FAA and CAMI know about the problem, which is why the deferral procedure is established.