EAA AOPA medical proposal

Here's the place to ask all of your medical questions. But don't believe everything you read!

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Mark Gregor
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EAA AOPA medical proposal

Postby Mark Gregor » Fri Nov 25, 2011 11:30 pm

I myself dont see where this will have a big impact on LSA sales if it passes. It could even help LSA sales as pilots will eventually want to move into something newer and an LSA would be a good next step up from a 150. Fuel savings of an LSA would be enticing also.

A potential buyer of a $150000 LSA is not going to now buy an old cessna instead. I dont get it. And if you want new you can buy an LSA or spend $300000 on a 172 designed in the 50s with modern avionics. Makes the LSA look like a pretty good buy.

I do believe there are some pilots who will steer away from LSAs due to the durability and sensitive flight caractoristics though. Giving them a couple hundred more on gross weight and a bit more wing loading would really help their desirability although I dont see that ever happening.

Jake

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Daidalos
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Postby Daidalos » Sat Nov 26, 2011 12:51 am

I am not so sure. You make some valid points and I even know some PP that have a medical and would like to try an LSA.

You make a comparison to a new Part 23 A/C, point taken, the LSA's are less expensive.

However if they suspend the medical for RP there will be a plethora of options for used A/C on the market at much lower prices. Not to mention that many clubs that will have eligible A/C. Existing flight schools will have planes on the line to train new pilots.

The LSA's have not been around long enough to be significantly depreciated but somewhere down the line the used LSA market will develop. I check Barstormers, Trade-a-plane and Controller all the time.
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Jack Tyler
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What is the Chicken and What is the Egg?

Postby Jack Tyler » Sat Nov 26, 2011 9:41 am

It might help to first look at the categories of prospective LSA buyers and then line that up with the sales data.

Here are prospective LSA Buyer categories as I see them:
1) Currently licensed pilots of all license types who, for a mix of reasons, want to move to an LSA a/c (no medical, more modern panel, better match for their mission, new(ish) airframe, etc.) and who have significant discretionary funds to make the purchase (since most LSA's are new enough to cost between $60K - $150K, used to new). [NB: Let's remember: For the near term, the purchase of a late model, used LSA directly eliminates the sale of a new LSA].
2) Prospective pilots attracted to the SP license, starting SP training or now with a SP license, who also have the significant funds to make such a purchase
3) FBO's and Flight Schools who are willing to fill the LSA training and rental a/c gap for all new/existing pilots who don't have the funds to purchase but want to fly an LSA.

How will each of these categories be affected by the change in the Part 23 rule exempting pilots from the Class III medical for recreational flying? First, let's remember the change is for the same type of recreational flying in Part 23 a/c that is the only type done in LSA a/c. So this is apples with apples; we are looking at the entire subset of pilots who are deciding where they want to put their 'recreational flying' dollar. IOW it seems a reasonable conclusion to me that the LSA sales market will directly compete with the Part 23 a/c used sales market (for those Part 23 a/c that qualify for the change).

When I look at the above 3 categories, and reading tea leaves as best I can, here are my estimates:
Category 1: For those buyers with PP and above licenses, they will split between the newer but more expensive LSAs and the older but cheaper Part 23 a/c. IOW the LSA mfgrs. will lose some portion of their new LSA sales to used Part 23 a/c sales for PP and above pilots. For those who only have a SP license, LSA sales will be unaffected. BUT just how big a slice of the buyer market is this? (answer follows below)
Category 2: Probably (mostly) unaffected by the change. OTOH how many SP student pilots are buying their own LSA to train in? Not many...so the impact on this category would not seem to be meaningful
Category 3: These sales will likely diminsh. FBO's and schools already have Part 23 a/c they can train in, and almost all of them fit the new proposed rule, so the business rationale to buy a new(ish) LSA is to some extent diminished for those students willing to train to the PP standard instead of the SP standard (to the extent the medical was a consideration). Said differently: If the unique nature of the SP no-medical license hasn't driven the schools to already widely adopt a SP curriculum and buy at least one LSA to train in, the proposed rule change is certainly going to dampen that choice further.

So...it seems reasonable to me that there will be some negative impact on sales for the bulk of the prospective LSA buyer population. And while the incentive of the SP license has been in place for 6 years now, as I recall fewer than 2,000 SP licenses have been issued annually during that time. How much of a driver have these licenses been to LSA sales? From 1/08 thru 9/11 (3.75 years), LSA sales have averaged just under 300 sales/year (divided among perhaps 30 or 35 active LSA mfgrs of all sizes, domestic and international). Moreover, I don't see additional reasons why the SP license will become more appealing that it was initially, before the GFC began in late 2007. So the SP license has not generated a high demand for LSA a/c.

The conclusions I tentatively reach is that:
-- the average LSA mfgr can not sustain its business indefinitely on 10 a/c sales/year. Shakeout will continue, the most successful mfgrs will pick up the sales that would have gone to the smaller mfgrs, and so - based on the status quo and with the proposal not accepted - we'll end up with 15 or 20 active LSA mfgrs & distributors selling LSA a/c in the USA a few years from now.
-- domestic LSA mfgrs. are at more risk than domestic distributors of LSA's built in Europe (and also Australia) because the latter have a wider market. (Import barriers & certification standards in Europe make it very difficult for a USA builder to market their LSA competitively there).
-- if the proposal is accepted and the status quo changes, all the numbers ratchet downwards to some degree. Perhaps 10-15 mfgrs. selling significantly fewer than 300 LSAs each year might be a fair ballpark guess.

It's going to be an interesting issue to follow, with a lot of heat generated along the way , I suspect.[/i]
Jack
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Daidalos
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Postby Daidalos » Sat Nov 26, 2011 11:00 am

Nicely stated Jack. My thoughts exactly.

There is one thing to add however, the SP license was not deregulation but rather the opposite! The SP license came about in an effort to extend further regulation to the Part 103 ultralights.

The LSA industry grew out of this. You can clearly see the difference if you take a look on Barnstormers and see all the "Fat Ultralights" for sale.

I don't believe the FAA will approve the RP proposal.
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Mark Gregor
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Postby Mark Gregor » Sat Nov 26, 2011 6:37 pm

Jack,

I cant dissagree with your thaughts although when you talk about people making choices between different aircraft I believe their financial position will pretty much determine what aircraft they purchase.

To simplify it I dont believe someone who is in a financial position to buy a $150000 LSA ( olmost all of the LSA sales seem to be the more expensive planes ) will now purchase a less expensive part 23 plane. An older part 23 plane is just is not attractive to them. Pilots will fly what they can afford. (and sometimes more than they can afford ) You cannot push someone into purchasing an LSA if they dont have the money and people who do have the $ will still buy them in my opinion.

Jake

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Daidalos
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Postby Daidalos » Sat Nov 26, 2011 8:30 pm

jake wrote:Jack,

I cant dissagree with your thaughts although when you talk about people making choices between different aircraft I believe their financial position will pretty much determine what aircraft they purchase.

To simplify it I dont believe someone who is in a financial position to buy a $150000 LSA ( olmost all of the LSA sales seem to be the more expensive planes ) will now purchase a less expensive part 23 plane. An older part 23 plane is just is not attractive to them. Pilots will fly what they can afford. (and sometimes more than they can afford ) You cannot push someone into purchasing an LSA if they dont have the money and people who do have the $ will still buy them in my opinion.

Jake


Not necessarily true. They may opt for an aircraft tested to higher standards and the test of time. Better parts availability and maintenance facilities. Not to mention more speed and payload which are the biggest two factors! Limited to two persons many of these four place airplanew will have plenty of baggage and fuel capacity. Which is limited in LSA's.

It depends not only upon budget, but mission requirements. Most LSA's are just not well suited for X/C althoguh with short hops they can and have been flown across the country.
Marcus - WA2DCI
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roger lee
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Cross country machine

Postby roger lee » Sun Nov 27, 2011 12:09 am

Hi Marcus,

The Flight Design CTLS or SW is a good cross country machine. There are 360 of them in the US and over 1700 world wide. We fly them every where in the US and all over the globe. We never have to worry about room, CG, fuel/distance and even weight.
Roger Lee
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Jack Tyler
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Postby Jack Tyler » Sun Nov 27, 2011 6:14 am

I think we're overlooking - I certainly overlooked it - a key factor in aircraft sales: What did someone train in, and to which license standards? Cessna became the most successful Part 23 a/c mfgr. in part because the Part 23 training fleet was predominantly Cessna-built and their product line allowed for an upgrade path. The installed base of SP training and LSA rental a/c has been, so far, too small to generate this same cycle...and it seems a reasonable conclusion that the proposed rule will to some extent diminish the chances of this cycle strengthening.

Let's keep in mind, however, that some details remain unclear at this time. Related to the comment above about the existing training fleet being predominantly Part 23 a/c, here's one such detail: If the absence of a Class III medical is important to a prospective student (who otherwise would be considering a SP license) and that person seeks training in a Part 23 a/c with the goal of flying it under the 'recreational flying' rule, will s/he need to get a Class III medical before soloing (which is currently mandated)? The student isn't yet licensed and so might not be eligible for a 'driver license medical' qualification as it's proposed.

Lots of details to be ironed out...even before it's possible to guess how it will be accepted by the FAA.
Jack
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DL only

Postby roger lee » Sun Nov 27, 2011 9:28 am

If the medical was waved for certain GA aircraft you probably won't see it happen for 3-5 years.
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Postby 3Dreaming » Sun Nov 27, 2011 11:29 am

Daidalos wrote:
jake wrote:Jack,

I cant dissagree with your thaughts although when you talk about people making choices between different aircraft I believe their financial position will pretty much determine what aircraft they purchase.

To simplify it I dont believe someone who is in a financial position to buy a $150000 LSA ( olmost all of the LSA sales seem to be the more expensive planes ) will now purchase a less expensive part 23 plane. An older part 23 plane is just is not attractive to them. Pilots will fly what they can afford. (and sometimes more than they can afford ) You cannot push someone into purchasing an LSA if they dont have the money and people who do have the $ will still buy them in my opinion.

Jake


Not necessarily true. They may opt for an aircraft tested to higher standards and the test of time. Better parts availability and maintenance facilities. Not to mention more speed and payload which are the biggest two factors! Limited to two persons many of these four place airplanew will have plenty of baggage and fuel capacity. Which is limited in LSA's.

It depends not only upon budget, but mission requirements. Most LSA's are just not well suited for X/C althoguh with short hops they can and have been flown across the country.


I guess I may be the excetion to the rule. I grew up with GA aircraft. I have a Piper Warrior, and a Flight Design CTLS. I have a CTSW as well, but it is for sale. Unless I need more than 2 seats, or it is a commercial flight that I can't do in the CT, I will take the CT first everytime. The reason is just the opposite of what you stated. It is faster, will fly farther, it's more comfortable, and I like the modern avionics. Tom

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Postby shasta » Sun Nov 27, 2011 12:58 pm

I don’t think the FAA will really allow drivers license medicals any time soon but I would be really happy if they did. To me I am not really worried about passing my physical now but it would take a lot of the pressure off worrying about passing them every two years. If I can’t pass my first physical it would suck but really I am not out a bunch of money. Sure I would be disappointed but I could always take a pre-physical that would most likely identify any problems I may have. The thing that really scares me is if I spend all the time and money getting my license, and then buy a plane, passing that physical gets a little more important.

My belief is that if the FAA really goes for the no physical thing it will basically kill the sport pilot license for anything other than fat ultralights. I know there is nothing definite yet but if they go for a no medical for PP I would bet they will extend it to the Rec license too. As pointed out earlier that would allow many more flight schools to offer the option. It would also allow many more people to afford to build up flight time before they decide what route they want to go.

I am not sure that would be all bad news for LSA manufactures though. I looks to me that many of the current LSA’s have to make pretty severe compromises so that they stay light sport qualified. Looks like many are capable of carrying more weight but are limited to the 1320 LSA limit or as in the case of the Pipistrel Virus SW you have a plane that can cruise at over 140 kts on 100 HP. If seems to me that if we can somehow get more people in the game it may actually encourage sales if these airplanes are priced right and have the performance to match.

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Postby comperini » Sun Nov 27, 2011 2:32 pm

shasta wrote: I know there is nothing definite yet but if they go for a no medical for PP I would bet they will extend it to the Rec license too.


That's basically the stance the AOPA/EAA are taking with their latest attempt to get this thru. They only want the no-medical thing to apply to pilots (both Rec and Private), who are basically exercising the privilege of Rec (limits on the aircraft being flown, sunrise to sunset, altitude limits, etc)

http://eaa.org/news/2011/2011-11-14_faq.asp
- Bob
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7900
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Postby 7900 » Sun Nov 27, 2011 2:35 pm

It's going to be very interesting to see whose interests the FAA allows to prevail. Will it be PPs and legacy American made aircraft or the business interests of a relatively new segment of aviation, namely the LSA industry who's largely comprised of foreign aircraft and engine manufacturers.

Judging by the limited impact the LSAs have had on GA in the seven years they've been out GA needs a much stronger stimulus to survive and grow again. This is the perfect opportunity that's long overdue to save a dying industry.

I pray they'll get it right.

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dstclair
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Postby dstclair » Sun Nov 27, 2011 7:08 pm

Don't see how the proposed exemption will do anything to revive GA. All indications are that it will be an exemption for the medical for pilots flying with RP priveledges. This may well keep existing pilots flying but is unlikely to spur sales of new $300K+ Part 23 aircraft. We should find out what the exemption proposal actually is in month or two. Various interviews with EAA and AOPA estimate the time to push the exemption through at 3+ years, if acted on at all.

Marcus -- there are several LSAs that are both as fast (or faster) and have more range than 150-180hp Part 23 aircraft. For example, my Sting can cruise around 122-124kts at 5500rpm at 6000' feet. This keeps up with a 180hp c172 and is about 5kts slower than a newer model Piper Archer. It's faster than the 150/160hp Cessna and Pipers. My Cherokee 180 burned 10.5gph with 48 usable giving slightly over 4hrs range with VFR reserves. The Sting S4 would have closer to 5 hrs range at 5500rpm. Slow down to 160hp C172 cruise would give the S4 closer to 6 hrs. There are other LSAs with similar performance. Of course, you do have more load capability in the four seaters if you only fill two seats.

Jack - I'll grant in advance that the AA5A and B will out cruise the LSAs by 10-15kts. :D.
dave

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Postby zaitcev » Sun Nov 27, 2011 8:09 pm

Out West the bare minimum is a Mooney. Anything slower is too slow. My wife only agrees to go to Vegas in a rental Arrow, and we do not fly out to California at all. In the other direction I can barely reach Dallas. Florida - forget it. Boston - utter fantasy.

I know a guy in El Paso who flies AA-5 Tiger, which is barely adequate for what he does. He has missions going up to relatives in Tucson.

In October, I saw a guy at a fly-in who flew a GX (N90GX - a sister ship of N28GX) from down from Vegas. It took him 6 hours.

I agree that CT beats a lot of basic singles, but those are not suitable for travel either. Note that many of 4-seaters carry a better payload, so at least you can carry the luggage made necessary by several overnights.


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