Just a quick correction. The most recent FAA numbers show 3,297 sport pilots. See the last page of this FAA report: http://registry.faa.gov/activeairmen/M70_Active_Pilots_Summary.pdf
Second, the 152 you train in has a 110hp Lycoming 235, this would still exclude it from sport pilot/LSA.
Also, in talking with flight schools that have LSA programs and
those that don't, the one thing I notice is that many of the LSA flight
schools are pbusy, while many of the non-LSA flight schools are hurting
right now. One FBO owner mentioned that his SLSA is in the air all
the time for instruction or straight rental while his Cherokee is
sitting on the ramp growing roots into the asphalt.
My bet is that the market will eventually force more schools to
develop sport pilot programs, for fear of losing too much money. When
I first started looking for flight instruction, several schools tried
to talk me out of Sport Pilot, in favor of Private Pilot. The only
thing they succeeded in doing was losing my business. The schools
could get away with this when there were no nearby sport pilot
programs. With both Cessna AND Piper getting into LSA and intergrating
sport pilot into the instruction curriculum at their flight schools,
those resistant flight schools are going to lose more and more business.
When you think about it, the business model for offering a sport
pilot program is very appealing if a school is willing to make the
investment in an aircraft. Here are some of the points I see.
1) They can get and keep students who may have been lost due to a denied medical
2) They can offer a lower priced instruction option for those students who balked at spending $8-10K for a PPL
3) A student who may have dropped out after 30hrs for a PPL would
probably have an SPL by then, if the Sport pilot program was
intergrated into the PPL curriculum. I believe that this is how Cessna
is doing it. The benefit to the school is that student can still rent
the LSA and generate income for the school. Whereas a dropout
generates no additional income for the school unless he choses to
4) Existing pilots without medicals will rent from the school, generating more income.
Like I wrote earlier, eventually the market will pressure several (but not all) of these schools to embrace sport pilot.