What was the Genesis for Sport and LSA?

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FlyAgain
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What was the Genesis for Sport and LSA?

Postby FlyAgain » Wed Nov 28, 2018 7:19 pm

Having been out of aviation for many years and exploring coming back in as a Sport pilot I'm trying to figure out why the category was created? I did some poking around here and online and while the requirements are pretty well spelled out, how did this all get started? Was it to get more people into aviation? Create regulations for the expanding ultralight community? Allow older flyers with gray area medical issues to keep flying? Combination of the above?

What's most confusing is the weight restriction for LSAs. It's not clear to me from a safety and risk perspective why flying cross country in a Cessna 172 or Piper Tomahawk VFR, daytime only and just one passenger is any more dangerous than doing it in a Czech Sport Cruiser? I assume the intent had to be restrictive for a reason. I can understand speed limits as high performance usually increases risk for new aviators. As far as the medical issue is concerned the stats don't bear it out...I looked through a ton LSA accident reports and didn't see any attributed to a medical condition that the sacrosanct 3rd Class Medical would have prevented. Conversely there are numerous examples of medical contributing to accidents with med certified fliers...even with Class 1's.

Cost seems a significant barrier to entry based on the weight restriction. New LSAs well equipped are $160-$200K...beyond the reach of the average Joe and most folks aren't going to have the wherewithal, facilities, time or skill set to build kits or do experimentals. It seems there are a lot of good LSA manufacturers making very limited numbers of airplanes. As such the used market is thin. Training isn't readily available at many places nor are the airplanes available to rent. Buying an LSA could put a low time pilot as a lone wolf at his/her airport without much in the way of a local network of fellow LSA fliers or CFIs for building experience safely. In contrast, an old jalopy Cherokee could be found and completely restored for half the price (maybe less) albeit operating costs may be higher and you can't swing a dead cat where I live without hitting an old Piper or Cessna pilot.

Don't get me wrong, not complaining, I'm thankful the Sport rating exists and gives some of us older guys some great options. Just curious the thought process that went into it. Perhaps LSA is still in its infancy and will continue to grow with time.

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CharlieTango
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Re: What was the Genesis for Sport and LSA?

Postby CharlieTango » Wed Nov 28, 2018 7:35 pm

The Light Sport rule was orignally an attempt to bring the many Part 103 'fat ultralight' 2-seat trainers under some jurisdiction. Part 103 never meant to give someone the ability to fly around in a 2-place airplane without a real license but that was the result and the light sport rule did pretty much put an end to that practice.

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Re: What was the Genesis for Sport and LSA?

Postby TimTaylor » Wed Nov 28, 2018 7:36 pm

Don't overthink this. You are a Private Pilot without a current medical. All you need to do is get a checkout in an LSA and you're good to go. That assumes you have a drivers license and no serious health issues that would prevent you from flying safely.

Check around all the local airports and see if any have an LSA available for rent. If not, you might need to purchase something if you really want to fly. A really nice used LSA can be had for around $50,000 to $60,000. There are a number of older aircraft that qualify as LSA such as J3, Taylorcraft, Champ, etc. Some of those can be had from around $20,000 to $30,000.

Also, you will NOT be a Sport Pilot. You are and always will be a Private Pilot. If flying without an FAA medical or Basic Med, you will be a Private Pilot operating with Sport Pilot privileges and limitations. There is nothing so unique about LSA that needs a network of fellow pilots. It's just another airplane. I got 55 hours in a J3 53 years ago as a new Private Pilot working toward a Commercial. I had no idea I was flying an LSA.
Last edited by TimTaylor on Wed Nov 28, 2018 7:54 pm, edited 5 times in total.
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ShawnM
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Re: What was the Genesis for Sport and LSA?

Postby ShawnM » Wed Nov 28, 2018 7:42 pm

Here’s an article from 2005 and AOPA that may shed a little more light on it for you, maybe you’ve already read it.

https://www.aopa.org/advocacy/advocacy-briefs/regulatory-brief-sport-pilot-light-sport-aircraft-final-rule

Asking us to interpret WHY the FAA did something is just ludicrous, I’ll bet they don’t even know. :mrgreen:

I personally think that there are many, many planes on the used market and it’s far from “thin” as you say. The cost of a new LSA is certainly a barrier for many, they’ve just gotten too expensive. I bought my SportCruiser used in 2013 for a song and couldn’t be happier with it.
Last edited by ShawnM on Wed Nov 28, 2018 7:46 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: What was the Genesis for Sport and LSA?

Postby 3Dreaming » Wed Nov 28, 2018 7:44 pm

First, why the rule? in my opinion it was a way for the FAA to corral the expanding "ultralight" community. If they had stayed with true ultralights there wouldn't have been an issue. The idea of a 2 seat training ultralight was a good idea, but the 2 seaters started being used in a manner for which they were not intended. People went as far as selling rides in 2 seaters without a pilot certificate, and not as a BFI.

Safety in an airplane is directly related to energy. The more energy an object has when it hits something the more damage it is going to do, to both the occupants and objects on the ground. Take a look at this safety review of light sport aircraft, and you will notice that the aircraft with the lowest energy potential has the lowest fatality rate. http://www.aviationconsumer.com/issues/ ... 228-1.html

For cost the $160,000 plus LSA's are far from what was envisioned when the rule went into effect. Even the most complex LSA when the rule was put in place have become more complex. Also when the rule went into effect the exchange rate was so that you only paid $75,000 for a 100,000 EURO for a European built airplane. Right now that same 100,000 EURO airplane will cost $114,000, and at one point it was as high as $163,000.
In 2007 I bought my first CT, and it cost $100,000. I replaced it 2 years later and it cost $130,000. Today it would be $170,000. I was using it in a business, and also as a dealer demo, but the price has pushed me out of the new airplane market, at least for a airplane like the CT. You can still buy a new Rotax powered SLSA for around $80,000, but it is not going to be a fancy 120kt machine.

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Re: What was the Genesis for Sport and LSA?

Postby TimTaylor » Wed Nov 28, 2018 7:49 pm

By the way, it doesn't matter when you got your last FAA medical. What matters is when did it expire and when was it last in force? If it expired after 7/15/2006, you can do Basic Med.
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Re: What was the Genesis for Sport and LSA?

Postby TimTaylor » Wed Nov 28, 2018 9:08 pm

Also, you don't need an LSA or Sport Pilot "endorsement." You are legal to fly an LSA now if you get a flight review. What you need is a CFI checkout in an LSA to be safe and meet any insurance requirement that the aircraft owner's insurance company might have and you need a flight review in any single engine - land aircraft. Your Private Pilot certificate allows you to fly single engine - land aircraft. That's what an LSA is unless it is a single engine - sea aircraft. And before the usual suspects jump in, we're not talking about balloons, blimps, gyros, gliders, etc.
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Re: What was the Genesis for Sport and LSA?

Postby drseti » Wed Nov 28, 2018 11:11 pm

3Dreaming wrote:Safety in an airplane is directly related to energy. The more energy an object has when it hits something the more damage it is going to do, to both the occupants and objects on the ground.


Tom is entirely correct here. The numbers (which many believe are arbitrary) were actually determined with kinetic energy in mind. The most common type of LSA accident involves running off the left side of the runway during takeoff of landing. These are almost always non- injury accidents, in which the occupants simply walk away from the crumpled aircraft. That's because at maximum gross weight of 1320# and a stall speed of 45 Kt calibrated (the speed near which flare or rotation occur), there's only 160 kiloJoules of energy to dissipate - not enough to inflict serious injury. Heavier and faster may be safer under certain circumstances, but not when you hit something.

Now, why is it always the left side of the runway? Simple physics, and a function of the direction the prop spins. The rotating mass of the engine innards and prop is a pretty effective gyroscope. Displace it upward in the vertical plane during rotation or flare, and the plane will lurch left. Not a big deal in a heavy aircraft with lots of inertia, but it can be pretty dramatic in an LSA (which is why transition training is so important).
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Re: What was the Genesis for Sport and LSA?

Postby drseti » Wed Nov 28, 2018 11:20 pm

CharlieTango wrote:The Light Sport rule was orignally an attempt to bring the many Part 103 'fat ultralight' 2-seat trainers under some jurisdiction.


That's right. FAA had to do something to rein in all those unlicensed scofflaws flying unregistered death traps under Part 103! ;)
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Re: What was the Genesis for Sport and LSA?

Postby TimTaylor » Wed Nov 28, 2018 11:25 pm

drseti wrote:
3Dreaming wrote:Safety in an airplane is directly related to energy. The more energy an object has when it hits something the more damage it is going to do, to both the occupants and objects on the ground.


Tom is entirely correct here. The numbers (which many believe are arbitrary) were actually determined with kinetic energy in mind. The most common type of LSA accident involves running off the left side of the runway during takeoff of landing. These are almost always non- injury accidents, in which the occupants simply walk away from the crumpled aircraft. That's because at maximum gross weight of 1320# and a stall speed of 45 Kt calibrated (the speed near which flare or rotation occur), there's only 160 kiloJoules of energy to dissipate - not enough to inflict serious injury. Heavier and faster may be safer under certain circumstances, but not when you hit something.

Now, why is it always the left side of the runway? Simple physics, and a function of the direction the prop spins. The rotating mass of the engine innards and prop is a pretty effective gyroscope. Displace it upward in the vertical plane during rotation or flare, and the plane will lurch left. Not a big deal in a heavy aircraft with lots of inertia, but it can be pretty dramatic in an LSA (which is why transition training is so important).


So, if you think you're going to crash, jump out of the airplane to reduce your kinetic energy. :lol:
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Re: What was the Genesis for Sport and LSA?

Postby drseti » Wed Nov 28, 2018 11:30 pm

TimTaylor wrote:So, if you think you're going to crash, jump out of the airplane to reduce your kinetic energy. :lol:


Not a bad idea - especially if you're wearing a parachute.
The opinions posted are those of one CFI, and do not necessarily represent the FAA or its lawyers.
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Re: What was the Genesis for Sport and LSA?

Postby FastEddieB » Thu Nov 29, 2018 6:26 am

drseti wrote:
Now, why is it always the left side of the runway? Simple physics, and a function of the direction the prop spins. The rotating mass of the engine innards and prop is a pretty effective gyroscope. Displace it upward in the vertical plane during rotation or flare, and the plane will lurch left. Not a big deal in a heavy aircraft with lots of inertia, but it can be pretty dramatic in an LSA (which is why transition training is so important).


A large percentage of Cirrus takeoff and landing accidents result in the proverbial “smoking hole”, virtually always on the left side of the runway. Which, due to the much larger inertia involved often lead to serious injury or death. I think the main reason is the combination of left roll and yaw can elicit a reflexive response - pull the yoke or stick to the right and back to stop it. What’s clearly lacking in that response is the right rudder necessary to stop the left yaw, sometimes combined with forward stick to decrease the angle of attack. To survive, instructors have to be very quick to recognize the danger and take prompt corrective action.

One quibble. Gyroscopic precession causes a force applied to a rotating mass to be felt 90°in the direction of rotation. This causes a very dramatic left yaw as you raise the tail of a powerful tailwheel aircraft. Lifting the tail is like pushing on the top of the rotating propeller disc, and the resultant force due to precession is on the right side of that disc, 90° in the direction - clockwise - of that disc, causing the left yaw.

But raising the nose of a plane is like pushing on the bottom of the rotating disc. Wouldn’t the resultant precessional force then be on the left side of the disc, causing a slight right yaw?

My take is that in a low-powered aircraft, whatever slight right yaw that might be imparted by precession is dwarfed by spiraling slipstream, p-factor and torque, which all combine to cause the left yaw and roll we observe.

Stipulated: the professor’s knowledge of physics and his engineering prowess dwarf mine. So I always want to tread lightly when making a correction.

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Re: What was the Genesis for Sport and LSA?

Postby drseti » Thu Nov 29, 2018 8:24 am

Good point. Eddie. I should have stipulated that the precession-induced left yaw I was talking about is in Rotax-powered LSAs (that acounts for about 80% of the fleet). Those are geared engines, so the crankshaft and flywheel turn in the opposite direction to the prop. The composite props are very light, so they contribute p-factor and slipstream, but practically no mass-induced precession. That all comes from the engine innards, which adds additional left-turning tendency right at rotation or flare.

In the Cirrus, that massive metal prop is moving the same direction as the crankshaft and flywheel, which just compounds the problem. I noticed in the SR22 I flew recently, I needed lots of rudder in the flare.

And in Eddie's pusher-prop Sky Arrow, with its mid-mounted engine, all bets are off!
The opinions posted are those of one CFI, and do not necessarily represent the FAA or its lawyers.
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Re: What was the Genesis for Sport and LSA?

Postby FastEddieB » Thu Nov 29, 2018 10:18 am

I had not considered the engine innards turning "backwards" in a ROTAX.

drseti wrote:
And in Eddie's pusher-prop Sky Arrow, with its mid-mounted engine, all bets are off!


I had to reason through that if anything, p-factor and spiralling slipstream would work opposite to a "tractor". P-factor here:

Image

In practice, with the thrust line so close to the CG and the distance between the prop and the horizontal stabilizer so short I really don't notice any right-turning-tendecy regardless.
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Re: What was the Genesis for Sport and LSA?

Postby proemer » Fri Nov 30, 2018 11:52 am

I believe in the Sky Arrow the engine/prop is mounted with a small offset in both yaw and pitch.

The net result is there is little to no "torque/pfactor", nor any other notable trim changes in pitch or yaw in most any flight condition. It took me 100 hours to finally decide there is a slight pitch up going from 10 to 20 degrees of flap... and that's about the only trim change I notice.

This makes for a very pleasant flying airplane.

Pete


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