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  Home > Newsletter > The Newest and Coolest Light Sport Aircraft, November 2013

The Newest and Coolest Light Sport Aircraft

The Sebring U.S. Sport Aviation Expo is January 16 – 19, 2014 at the Sebring Regional Airport in Sebring, Fla. In celebration of Sebring and its Light Sport Aircraft (LSA) show, let’s take a look at some of the latest and coolest crop of LSAs on the market and in development.

CubCrafters Sport Cub S2 — The CubCrafters Sport Cub S2 looks similar to Jim Richards’ 1980s Super Cubs, but the new generation is full of improvements, including a 100-hp Continental O-200 engine that propels the plane more than 100 mph, two 12-gallon wing tanks that give a range of 450 miles, and amphibious floats so you can touch down on either land or water. And unlike a J-3, the Sports Cub can be flown solo from the front seat.

Diamond HK36 Super Dimona — The Super Dimona is technically too heavy to qualify as a Light Sport Aircraft — it weighs in at 1,700 pounds. It’s actually a motor glider, which allows it to stay aloft with its engine off and its propeller feathered. Note: You need a private-pilot glider rating, which also allows night flying, to fly the HK36.

Evektor Harmony — The Evektor Sportstar, made in Czechoslovakia, has the distinction of being the very first Special Light Sport Aircraft (S-LSA) in the world to get approved by the FAA in the U.S. The latest incarnation, called the Harmony, can fly at up to 25 mph, climb at over 1000 feet per minute, and has a range of more than 800 miles. Pilots used to flying high-winged Cessnas will appreciate the Harmony’s bubble canopy and excellent visibility.

Evolution Revo — Looking for a modern weight-shift craft? The Evolution Revo is for you. It’s designed and made in the U.S., can fly as fast as 90 mph, and has a modern glass cockpit and electric trim.

FK-Lightplanes FK12 Comet — The FK12 Comet is an aerobatic light sport biplane that is powered by a Lycoming engine. It is rated from +6 to -3 g’s, is available with an open cockpit, and the wings are removable for relatively easy transport.

Flight Design CTLS — Want to fly low over rivers or to land on lakes? The amphibious CTLS is your LSA of choice. The CTLS can cruise at 115 mph, and sits on Clamar 1400 floats. Because the plane also doubles as a boat, the cockpit includes a gear-position indicator, a rudder handle, and a split-brake handle.

Gyrophibian — The Gyrophibian looks like a cross between a helicopter and a boat. It’s actually an autogyro — its main rotors, which still have cyclic controls, are unpowered and autorotate. The Gyrophibian can cruise up to 72 mph, and has a range of 180 miles.

Highlander — The Highlander is an experimental bush plane that weighs just 620 pounds empty, but can carry up to 700 pounds. It’s not very fast—the minimum flight speed with the flaps down is just 23 mph—but it has folding wings for easy transport, and there are attachments for floats.

Kitfox Super Sport — To infinity, and beyond! The Kitfox Super Sport has a Rotax 914 turbo engine which gives it 115 hp and a cruising speed up to 120 mph. And get this: Normally aspirated engines can rapidly lose power as altitude increases, but the turbo Kitfox can produce 100 hp all the way to 16,000 feet.

Legend Cub Amphibian — The Legend offers retro appeal, similar to Ford’s rebooted Thunderbird automobile. The Legend Cub’s O-200 engine uses modern tech to nearly replicate the 1930s- and 40s-era Cub. Another big difference between the Legend Cub and the classic Piper J-3 Cub is the second door on the left side of the cockpit.

Lockwood Aircraft AirCam — The AirCam was designed by Phil Lockwood for the National Geographic Society. The charge was to give its photographers a safe, stable platform to shoot from when flying slow and low over the Congo Basin rain forest. Twin Rotax 912 engines with redundant fuel tanks and electrical systems ensure that the plane can take off and fly with just one engine, and the wide open view from the cockpit allows for unobstructed photography.

Progressive Aerodyne SeaRey — The SeaRey amphibious airplane, which has been around for two decades, features a semimonocoque hull to keep afloat, wing floats and retractable wheels.

Rans S-19 — Into building your own? The S-19 kit starts at just $50,000, including the engine, and has more than 20 cubic feet of storage. The Rans can cruise at 128 mph and has a range of 580 miles.

SAM LS — SAM Aircraft of Quebec is developing the SAM as a prototype. The polished aluminum skin and glass canopy give it a retro look, but its performance is modern. The SAM has a range of 635 miles, and cruises up to 130 mph. It can be flown as an LSA (or an AULA in Canada), and comfortably seats pilots up to 6 feet 6 inches tall.

Tecnam P92 Taildragger — Italian aircraft manufacturer Tecnam released a tailwheel version of its P92 after noticing the growing interest in taildraggers, The P92 TD comes with either the popular Rotax 912S engine or a Lycoming O-233.

Vans RV-12 — Sitting at the limit of the Light Sport Aircraft rules category, Vans’ RV-12 is a kit that starts at $65,000, and takes around 800 hours to assemble. It has a maximum sustained flight speed of 138 mph, and can carry two 210-pound people with its 20-gallon tank topped off.

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