Thursday, October 1, 2009


Pumpkin time is coming early to the LSA ranks with two new ASTM-certified SLSA swelling
the already-well populated list (103 now!) of two-seat light sport aircraft. The new offerings span the price and performance range of the LSA spec.
The first (#102) is the Trident, put out by Ramphos. Dan Johnson reports in his blog that the company was hanging on by it's toenails after spending all its money to get the cert for the boat-hulled, amphibious LSA.
Then along came China, throwing lots of money, machines, engineers and builders around to help the Aussie-based company make big noise with several of its upcoming LSA designs.
Now get this: Ramphos has the right idea in these challenging times, with two versions (Rotax 582 or 912) coming in at $40K and $50K respectively!
Dan also reports that China is pushing sport aircraft hard by building airports and supporting manufacturers to grow their markets in Asia and abroad.

Next is the TL 3000 Sirius, a new SLSA distributed by SportAirUSA, which also carries the low-wing Sting S3 we just covered in dead-tree P&P.
Sirius is the number #103 ASTM-certified light sport and they've done a lovely job. Just a few features: carbon-composite construction, 48" wide cabin (almost a foot wider than a Cessna 172 - an airplane it bears more than a passing resemblance to), range of 800 miles, good 116-knot cruise to go with it and loaded with electronics and a Galaxy emergency 'chute to boot, priced at just under $131,000.
Things That Caught My Eye Dept: Twin yokes (the Cessna Factor), tush-pleasing contoured seats, that four-foot wide cabin!, electric flaps, lots of baggage room (something many top LSA are deficient in).
I also like the engine/cabin synergy: the Rotax 912 ULS (100 HP) and cabin design deliver a low 58 dbA noise rating. FYI, loud conversations such as a dyspeptic spousal unit come in at 50-65 dbA, while heavy traffic is 90.
The carbon fiber-reinforced cockpit cage has integral rollover protection, and fiberglass main gear should be up to the rigors of student ops.
Can't wait to get some time in these two exciting additions to the fleet (or flotilla).
---photos courtesy Ramphos and SportAirUSA

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