Experimental or Special Light Sport?

Discussion in 'Home Builders and Sport Pilots' started by lancie00, Aug 11, 2016.

  1. lancie00

    lancie00 Pre-Flight

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    OK, second post in a row. At first I thought I was looking for an ultralight to buzz around the farm. As I look into it more, I think I'm more interested in a Light Sport Aircraft (2 seats, more fuel, etc). If I understand it correctly, there are 2 different categories, experimental and special. Special I can receive instruction in and experimental I can complete the maintenance (among other things). When I look at aircraft on Barnstormers none of them list whether they are experimental or special. Is one more common than the other? Is one considered "standard"? Does one hold it's value better? I read that the special LSA must match the original built at the factory, including all avionics??? Is this true? Seems like it may as well be a certified plane????

    Thanks,
     
  2. Capt. Geoffrey Thorpe

    Capt. Geoffrey Thorpe Final Approach PoA Supporter

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    You specifically want an aircraft that is certificated as E-LSA or S-LSA, or do you want a Light Sport Aircraft that can be flown under the sport pilot rules?

    If you own it, you can receive instruction in it.

    If it meets the definition of LSA (FAR part 1, definitions) then it can be flown under the sport pilot rules no matter how it is certificated - S-LSA, E-LSA, E-AB, Type Certificated.

    If an LSA is E-AB you get to maintain it yourself (no matter who built it).

    If an LSA is type certificated under the old rules - no different for maintenance than any other type certificated aircraft.

    E-LSA and S-LSA have their own rules: http://www.sportaviationspecialties.com/LSA_Repairman_Courses.htm
     
  3. ralarcon

    ralarcon Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Great response from the Captain. However, to give you a better response we need more info. eg. Age, mission (buzzing around the farm in Colorado is vastly different from buzzing around the farm in Florida), price range. Ability to get training. Most people think LSA aircraft are easy to fly. This is a misconception, they are difficult to fly and land due to the low wing loading. Going from a Cessna to an LSA is very different, especially on landings. You need to be very good at stick and rudder maneuvers with any LSA.

    Cheers
     
  4. Ravioli

    Ravioli Pattern Altitude PoA Supporter

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    I think if it is E-AB you can do all of your maintenance yourself but you must get your Annual Condition Inspection from an A&P or the holder of the repairman's certificate for that exact plane. The repairman's certificate can only be issued per tail number to the actual builder.
     
  5. lancie00

    lancie00 Pre-Flight

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    I'm a 44 year old PPL with a current third class medical and 200± hours. I have access to a Piper Arrow but it gets awful expensive to fly around the patch.
    What I'm looking for is a 2 person light sport aircraft that:
    1. I can do the maintenance on (I understand I may need an annual performed by an A&P)
    2. I can install avionics
    3. Can receive instruction. I'm not a fan of jumping into an unfamiliar plane by myself the first time.
    4. I'd really love to get a majority of my IFR training in this plane and rent something for a check ride and if I ever fly IMC.
    5. Good plane to park at home and fly off a grass strip in central Iowa 1100' MSL
    6. Speed not an priority
    7. The cheaper the better, then I can afford better radios. Less than $5000?
     
  6. Capt. Geoffrey Thorpe

    Capt. Geoffrey Thorpe Final Approach PoA Supporter

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    Speed is not a priority until the first time you look down and realize that someone in a golf cart is passing you.;)

    Sounds like you are looking for something E-AB (no training required to maintain) or E-LSA (16 hours training? I think? I can't keep those straight).

    The low end stuff like Avid Flyers (Kitfox commands a premium price just like a RV something) or similar is not likely to come with what you need for avionics.I don't have any nav radio or functional gyro in my ride (Merlin GT). And, friends don't let friends fly behind two strokes. (Yes, they work well for those who are able to cast the appropriate spells, but they are not fire-up and forget like a Lycoming or Rotax 912.)

    Consider things like a Wittman Tailwind or T-18 or... Not LSA eligible so you will have to maintain your medical, but you are much more likely to find one with a comprehensive panel at a reasonable cost (but not $5000 but you will save a lot on avionics). And, if you stick to O-290ish engines (T-18) or C-85 (Tailwind) you can run pretty skinny with the fuel expenses and still get there if there is a headwind.

    Getting training is typically not an issue (at least it hasn't been for me).
     
  7. ralarcon

    ralarcon Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Again, excellent response from the Captain. It looks like you check every requirement wonderfully, except for #7, that is going to be hard. I wont even mention what I had in mind.

    Cheers
     
  8. Doggtyred

    Doggtyred En-Route

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    Not exactly..... o_O
    The rules were slightly different for LSA as opposed to full on Experimental Amateur Built

    The LSA maintenance requirements, as well as repairmen's and inspector's certificates are pasted below, summarized by EAA..

    In short, the 16 hour course for an inspectors certificate allows you do do your own condition inspection on your own Experimental-LSA. You have to own it, but you dont HAVE to have built it (this is different from traditionally certificated experimental-amateur builds where you had to be the builder. Anybody can perform the maintenance, including a 5th grader with a crayon box, or the garbage man or the postman... just like in Ex-AB.

    If you take the 120 hr maintenance/repairman's course you can do the condition inspection on ANY factory built or amateur built LSA, owned by you or not, and ANY certificated pilot (sport pilot or higher) can perform maintenance and log it on a factory built LSA. There are shorter courses for less complex categories of LSA.
     
  9. Capt. Geoffrey Thorpe

    Capt. Geoffrey Thorpe Final Approach PoA Supporter

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    Just to be clear, those are the rules for aircraft certificated as E-LSA / S-LSA, and not for an LSA certificated as E-AB.
     
    Last edited: Aug 14, 2016
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  10. Doggtyred

    Doggtyred En-Route

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    To be clear...Not JUST experimental LSA certificates.. (E-LSA) but also Special LSA (S-LSA) certificates.
     
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  11. Capt. Geoffrey Thorpe

    Capt. Geoffrey Thorpe Final Approach PoA Supporter

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    Yea. It's hard to keep all this nonsense straight - and more than a few have gone charging off in the wrong direction without realizing... But I'm not going to be naming names.
     
  12. Ravioli

    Ravioli Pattern Altitude PoA Supporter

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    Actually - it is absolutely exactly. If the aircraft is E-AB my statement is correct. And there are LSA's that are certificated as E-AB. The certification dictates the rules. E-LSA and S-LSA do indeed have differing rules, but the initial certification lives on forever.

    Case in point - VANS RV-12 can be E-LSA or E-AB, right up until the registration.