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In some respects the FAA promotes unsafe issues with the LSA aircraft.

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Ralph King
437
Posts
50
#1 Posted: 4/3/2010 08:13:42

I have been trying to figure out why an LSA aircraft can not have a gross weight higher than the prescribed max of 1,320 for land operation aircraft.  Looking at the older tail wheel aircraft, so many are not able to be flown under the current LSA rules.

It is a shame that a prior rated pilot that flew many of the 2 seaters can not continue flying these aircraft,( should he cease getting an FAA physical) and continue flying with his drivers license for the LSA class.

A 2 wheel taildragger that may gross at 1,400, 1,500,1,600 etc is safer at these gross weights in wind conditions than a lighter aircraft.    I wish the LSA class would have considered Private or Commercial pilots as being able to exceed this gross weight  if only it is no  more than by few hundred pounds.

I think in some respects the older 2 seaters fit in better with airport conditions,  plus I am not aware of  early 2 seaters at 1,600 gross lbs being able to exceed the max airspeed limits of the LSA.

 

Ralph



Ralph King
437
Posts
50
#2 Posted: 4/3/2010 08:38:27 Modified: 4/3/2010 12:51:25

If I did not know better, I would think that the politics wanted to create new airplanes and cut out the older ones for the older pilots experienced in the older models.   So I am going to leave my cessna 120 in the barn, and run out and buy a new LSA, that I can fly with my drivers license.

When that new fresh LSA rated pilot goes to land his LSA aircraft and the wind has increased as well as the direction, he might appreciate that little heavyer grossed airplane under his seat belt.

If your trianed to fly, then flying an airplane liter than 1,320 lbs is not safer because it is 1,320 lbs or less.

I am sure I am not the first to bring this issue up.

 

Ralph

 



Ralph King
437
Posts
50
#3 Posted: 4/3/2010 08:56:02

My case in point, a cessna 120-140 max gross is 1,450 lbs.  Big deal.

 

 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cessna_140

 

Ralph



Don Chapton
Homebuilder or Craftsman
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#4 Posted: 4/3/2010 09:49:44

I agree the arbitrary weight limit is stupid. So many LSAs can easily carry more weight. Case in point a Legend or Carbon Cub. It encourages flying illegally as most have such a small useful load. Another thing about typical FAA rules is a friend's 7AC Champ. As built originally it complies with the LSA weight limit. Sometime in its life it was converted to 85hp with a higher gross. It was then restored back to original with the original gross weight but since it had a higher gross weight at one time it can no longer be flown as a LSA. If they could just raise it to 1500lbs it would open up a whole lot of really useful and inexpensive airplanes. Don



Ron Wanttaja
246
Posts
98
#5 Posted: 4/3/2010 10:31:48

Back when Light Sport was just coming out, the FAA published a 452-page document addressing the justification for each of the limits, including discussing the alternatives recommended by commenters.  I've attached the entire document.

The 1,320-pound limit was almost a hundred pounds higher from what the FAA was originally going to establish as the LSA limit.   The proposed limit was 1,232 lbs, and that was developed by a committee composed of FAA people as well as folks from EAA, US Ultralight Association, etc.  Comments swayed the FAA to raise the limit to 1,320 pounds and allow an additional allocation for amphibians.

Remember, the original goal was establish the equivalent of the European JAR-1 Microlight category.  The JAR-1 two-seat landplane limit is 450 kg, or about 990 lbs.  The American committee added almost 250 pounds atop of that, and the FAA gave it another 90 pounds.  The JAR-1 also has a 35-knot stall-speed limit, ten knots slower than the limit the FAA chose.

If you read the document, you'll see that the FAA wasn't setting the limit based on existing aircraft:

...in establishing the light-sport aircraft, FAA did not intend to promote existing certificated aircraft.  When the FAA initially set the proposed limits for the light-sport aircraft definition, the FAA did not look at currently built aircraft, either with type certificate approval or in the amateur-built aircraft marketplace.  The FAA’s proposed definition was to address aircraft to be designed and built for the sport pilot, rather than addressing existing aircraft for currently certificated pilots.

 



Files Attachment(s):
sportpilot_rule.pdf (972822 bytes)
Ron Wanttaja
Ralph King
437
Posts
50
#6 Posted: 4/3/2010 12:26:08 Modified: 4/3/2010 12:31:06

Don:

Thanks for your imput.  As you state, the FAA did not look at the current aircraft, when considering the LSA class.

I also do not think they looked at current rated pilots, and realized that when they came off the commercial aviation tread mill, that those pilots should be able to continue flying as long as they had not been denied a FAA physical, but had health good enough for a auto drvers license.  (Aircraft a few hundred lbs over the 1,320 gross)

Well, the FAA gets so much money on an annual basis.   However though I am not flying at present, they can count my certificates and say I figure into the total for getting their money from Congress.  Maybe they should have to count the current physicals on file, instead of the total of pilot ratings on the list.  I assume they do not count a pilot ratings after one dies.

Maybe its just me.   I remember when they were fining commercial pilots $10,000.00 for being off 100 feet or more on altitude on an IFR flight plan. (transponder reflected current altitude)  No matter that there is a 1,000 feet separation on IFR flight plans between aircraft.

I would like to see an organization move towards repealing the 1,320 lb gross weight for certian pilots already rated.

 

Ralph

 



Ron Shannon
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#7 Posted: 4/3/2010 18:20:20
Although I too would like the LSA possibilities to include a bigger, cheaper selection, I am opposed to creating two classes of sport pilot license, one for former PPL's and higher, the other for "new sport pilots". Let's not confuse the issues, and seek to solve it for some with illogical discrimination of the rest.

The real issue is the weight limit. Establishing two classes of sport pilot license just to provide former PPL's with a bigger selection of planes not only discriminates against new pilots -- pretty counterproductive to survival of GA -- it isn't even logical. It presumes former PPL's are better able to handle light aircraft (whatever the limit) than newly trained sport pilots. Unfortunately, the accident statistics for sport pilots tell an unambiguous contrary story, namely, that it's the former PPL's transitioning to lighter aircraft that are having problems handling them without adequate training.

I will join in arguing for a higher GW, but to suggest former PPL's should be entitled to some special status in that regard cannot be justified based upon supposedly superior ability, or anything else, and only serves to divide those who share common cause on the weight issue.

Ron

[The first 'from scratch' sport pilot in most of N. Calif., at 55, after training 46 hours in a J-3 clipped wing, happy to be flying taildraggers in the backcountry -- no less proficiently than a PPL.]



rshannon
Ralph King
437
Posts
50
#8 Posted: 4/3/2010 19:14:27

Don :Thanks for your reply

 

Maybe I did not explain it right.  I sure would not expect or desire 2 different LSA.   What I was trying to relate was by increasing the LSA to 1,500 gross would grandfather in alot more aircraft.   Example, I might have a 2 place taildragger in my barn at 1,450 lbs gross,  but can not fly it on my drivers license.

So for a difference of 130 lbs gross from the 1,320,  it can not be flown LSA.

For the people wanting to buy a new aircraft in LSA, that is fine.

What I do see is there is not many LSA aircraft around without driving many miles.  How is this helping promote aviation or new pilots?

 

Ralph



Ron Shannon
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#9 Posted: 4/3/2010 20:12:28

In the first post, you wrote:

"I wish the LSA class would have considered Private or Commercial pilots as being able to exceed this gross weight if only it is no more than by few hundred pounds."

Perhaps I misunderstood, when I thought you were proposing former PPL's (or former whatevers) are more qualified to drive another couple hundred pounds than are "from scratch" sport pilots. I accept that you didn't intent to make a distinction by omission by omission, as it appeared. After all, a limit is a limit, and except for some hours devoted to night flights and simulated IFR, the training and PTS are identical. It seemed to me there was no reason to distinguish former PPL's from anyone else when it comes to the LSA weight limit -- and there isn't.

To the charge of being highly sensitized to PPL disparagement of sport pilots, I plead guilty, but not with some reason. In the beginning, it was pervasive, but fortunately is less so now.

I appreciate your concerns about the weight issue, which we all share, for the same reasons.

Ron

[Almost done building a light Murphy Rebel, which I would never, ever even remotely consider flying over gross -- except in an emergency, of course. And writing a book about the many legitimate interpretations of "emergency." :-) Just kidding. It's an arbitrary number.]



rshannon
Jerry Rosie
Young Eagles Pilot or Volunteer
482
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#10 Posted: 4/4/2010 04:04:38


happy I'm chuckling here.  Over in the Ultralight section there is a discussion about wanting to raise the weight limit for Ultralights.  Seems no matter what limit is set, folks want it to be just a bit higher....

 



Cheers, Jerry NC22375 out of 07N
Adam Smith
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#11 Posted: 4/4/2010 10:22:47
Jerry Rosie wrote:

 


happy I'm chuckling here.  Over in the Ultralight section there is a discussion about wanting to raise the weight limit for Ultralights.  Seems no matter what limit is set, folks want it to be just a bit higher....


Yes, the same applies to the "51% rule" for homebuilders.



Joe LaMantia
Young Eagles Pilot or Volunteer
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#12 Posted: 4/4/2010 11:13:08

Fascinating discussion guys!  I think Ron has brought some new insights, for me at least.  If we go back to how Sport Pilot got started, I think it was in part due to the failure of the "Recreational License" coupled with the increasing number of "heavy ultra-lights".

This formed the back drop during a period when the US economy was beginning to "go gobal".  The EEU standards having been established were a good starting point.  The adjustments to the performance levels we see in "Sport Pilot" are the result of lot's of inputs from the whole aviation community along with the FAA's insights from the political environment in which they operate.  The whole process took years and many of us thought it would never happen.  I like many of you wish the weight limit was high enough to include the C-150 etc., but the purpose of the product was not to allow a huge number of older pilots to duck the 3rd-class medical.  The FAA doesn't want to touch the politics of that and who can blame them!  I think that the creation of the Sport Pilot reg's is a really nice achievement, think about what GA will look like in 20 years when there are large numbers of used LSA's for sale.  Jerry you are spot on about human nature!


Joe



Ron Wanttaja
246
Posts
98
#13 Posted: 4/4/2010 12:07:46

I think the FAA was basically in a "damned if you do/damned if you don't" situation on the weight limit.  No matter what they set it to, someone would have complained.  If they'd run it all the way up to 12,500 pounds, SOMEbody would have whined that their P-47 was single-seat and only a couple of thousand pounds over the limit, and why did the P-51 owners get a break?

The weight limit went from 990 pounds at the first proposal (JAR-1 equivalency), to 1,232 lbs, to 1,320 lbs, and finally to 1,430 lbs for waterplanes.  We certainly can't say that the FAA didn't listen to what the community said...

 

 



Ron Wanttaja
Joanne Palmer
Young Eagles Pilot or VolunteerHomebuilder or Craftsman
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#14 Posted: 4/4/2010 13:33:43

I also think that the FAA wanted to bring a set of NEW airplanes into the mix.  This means that the limit may have been artificially set to ELIMINATE these older aircraft that otherwise might qualify.  I also don't think that the FAA had in mind tailwheel aircraft either.  So I wouldn't expect a sympathetic ear with the FAA at this moment.    



Joe LaMantia
Young Eagles Pilot or Volunteer
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#15 Posted: 4/4/2010 15:56:12

Joanne,

You have a good point, but the politics on this is not exactly straightforward.  The training fleet in this country is loaded with 30 plus year old airframes, so there are some safety concerns regarding these.  Then there's the politics of new products, US manufacturers needed more time to develop the new LSA designs and their "global" competitors were smaller but more nimble.  It's been 5 years and we're finally seeing some products from the big two.  In both cases their LSA's are coming from off-shore, but Cessna has a big advantage in established US dealers, flight schools, etc.  I'm sure we will see the gradual fade out of the old training fleet being replaced by the new LSA's, this is good politics for the FAA and for most of aviation as well.  Most of us in EAA are disappointed in the outcome because the cost to get into the LSA world is too high.  The facts of the mater are that aviation has always been costly and for most of us that means we buy used, rent, or build.  

Joe



Ralph King
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#16 Posted: 4/4/2010 19:49:43 Modified: 4/5/2010 11:45:31

Many good valid points being made on my thread here.  I guess alot of times one takes up an issue based on his glass being half full or half empty.

My concern was motivated in part that there just are not LSA aircraft around to rent that I am aware of.  I will not drive 200 miles to fly 100 miles, then drive back 200 miles to home.   At age 71,  I was hoping to do more flying, however their is not the aircraft around to do so on LSA.  

My point was that LSA new students could be taught in aircraft new or old aircraft that do not gross over 1,500 lbs.  If  LSA is to promote growth in new pilots and general aviation in general, I think it will be quite sometime in seeing the mass of aircraft for rent such as the Cessna 150 presented to new pilots years ago.  However I hope I am wrong.

 

Ralph

 



Joe LaMantia
Young Eagles Pilot or Volunteer
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#17 Posted: 4/5/2010 14:15:20

Ralph,

You are right it will take longer for this program to develop and longer still to grow the pilot population.  Part of the problem is demographics.  I'm 66 and by definition 2 years short of being a "boomer" but since the population is aging so is the pilot population.  LSA will keep those flying who can afford to buy new, and those who want to build.  According to a recent article in AOPA's "Pilot" we went from 134 Sport Pilots to 2623 from 2005 through 2008.  That's 3% of the total pilot population of 2008.  Hardly a big deal but it is a ramp-up from zero.  Cessna says they have 1000 orders for the new C-162 and now Piper has their "Sport Plane" as well.  We're in a new world with lots of changes and everyone is learning to adapt.  Things will look a lot better in a few years but we have to be patient and live with the current environment.  Back when I started school we were over-crowded and short of buildings and teachers, that really didn't get fixed until after I left public schools and went to college where it became over-crowded...coming soon the national nursing home shortage!  My point is that there is always something we have to overcome and it takes time to get results.  I think the day will come when we look back and say "Hey! that Sport Pilot thing that EAA pushed was a really great idea ".


Joe

 



Ron Shannon
Homebuilder or Craftsman
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#18 Posted: 4/5/2010 15:33:04

The comments about lack of aircraft to rent are spot on. Availability depends entirely where you happen to be. When we lived in California, I had a dozen choices to rent within 45 minutes from home. Three years ago we moved to the N. Olympic Peninsula west of Seattle and even though the area is full of flyers, airports and airplanes, there are no LSA-qualifying rental aircraft anywhere on the entire peninsula -- still. To keep minimally current I have to take a whole day, traveling 3 hours each way by car and ferry across the Puget Sound to Harvey Field (S43) or Arlington (AWO) -- just to fly for an hour or two. A couple times a year I do multi-day cross country excursions. Depending on the current price of auto gas, the trip costs $80 - $100 -- even before renting the airplane! Add insurance and flying gets very expensive. In three years I've done this trek nearly 50 times. If I could fly a C-120 or C-140 -- which are available to rent not far away from home -- the time and money saved would have been huge.

Consequently, I have more than the usual motivation to finish the Rebel. Fortunately, that will be soon. How long? Until recently, I knew better than to predict completion, but now I figure it will only take... about two more trips across the Sound.  :-)

Ron

(http://n254mr.com)

 



rshannon
Ralph King
437
Posts
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#19 Posted: 4/5/2010 15:39:14

Joe:

Your response is nothing but the truth, I agree but I guess a place to vent causes me to hash out  over some of the voids I see in the topic in this thread.  Yes there has to be motivation by manufactures to gear up a production line, and simply put , it would be hard for them justifing the LSA class of aircraft if the older machines keep flying by the older pilots.

If I fly no more, I have been blessed, been there and done alot over many years. My flight hours are about the same as getting into an airplane and staying in it for 1 and 1/2 years solid.before getting out of the airplane.  

Yes, always something to overcome but,  sometimes I think one can help by doing a little nudging and bring issues to the forefront.   At least I think we still have free speech, but I have not checked the news today.

Thanks for your response.

 

Ralph

 

 



Christopher Carlson
IAC MemberHomebuilder or Craftsman
81
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#20 Posted: 4/5/2010 23:45:21

IMPO and FWIW;

The FAA took the EU regs and copied them with a small bit of tweeking. Thus the weird 1320lb. limit.

It was meant to rein in the "Fat Ultralight" community and give them an out to become legal...

They never wanted the SP rule to allow old pilots to continue to fly; as above, it was to get the Rotund Ultralight pilots to sign on! (Thus the stupid "If your Medical has been denied..." clause).

 

My beef with the SP rules is purely preformance oriented; with the stall parameters dictating wing planform (size/drag), the desire for the highest speed allowed and the lack of Energy (weight) in the airframes you set a combination up where the loss of the thrust provider (engine) results in the IMMEDIATE reduction of airspeed due to NO kenitic energy in the airframe...

This is a moot point in the older Cubs and Aeronca's...they had light airframes coupled to wings that would regain function if you reduced the AOA only a few degrees. But they were not, of course, as fast.

In the several newer LS airplanes I have flown I have found that, using the old "engine quit...S*IT, one Mississippi, two Mississippi  rule the airspeed was so far gone so fast that the recovery mandated a deep nose down pitch to get the speed back up. Not a prob for the old Fighter Pilot but maybe above the SP rookie.

Raising the weights to include the C-150 and others that fall into the same general weight/top speed/ landing speed would increase the safety of the SP rule IMPO.

As noted above, these are only my opinions.

I would love to see an article in the mag that compared the old and new SP airplanes as it pertains to the loss of engine perfomance senerios.

One of the new SP airplanes I've flown would not make the runway if the engine quit (using the 3-mississippi count) on the base leg at 1000 feet and 1/4 mile from the threshold.

 

                                                       JNPO and YMMV

 

                                                                     Chris

 

 



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