LSA Sting to be certified for IFR in IMC

Talk about airplanes! At last count, there are 39 (and growing) FAA certificated S-LSA (special light sport aircraft). These are factory-built ready to fly airplanes. If you can't afford a factory-built LSA, consider buying an E-LSA kit (experimental LSA - up to 99% complete).

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Re: LSA Sting to be certified for IFR in IMC

Postby SportPilot » Thu Oct 01, 2015 9:52 pm

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Jack Tyler
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Re: LSA Sting to be certified for IFR in IMC

Postby Jack Tyler » Fri Oct 02, 2015 10:20 am

Howard, I agree with all the facts you stated, just not your presumptions. Setting aside Andy's topic of night flying privileges, I think the point most recently being discussed is why an LSA, legally configured, shouldn't be eligible for IMC flight by a properly trained & licensed pilot. Or as another poster summarized: '...the thread is about a LSA being certified for IFR in IMC." So let's agree to dispense with the notion of a 'light IMC' category of use or just supplementing SP training and such.

In the personal example I mentioned, I was investigating with the Orlando FSDO the RV-12 mods necessary (e.g. a heated pitot tube, VOR nav and so forth) to permit an experimental LSA to be flown by an instrument rated PP, just as any other experimental is currently equipped and flown. Other than the breathtaking power-to-weight ratio of e.g. an RV-6, the only difference I could see in using an RV-12 in the same way as a -6 is that I might be a lot safer in the -12. Initially, the FSDO was agreeable with my plan. Now as it happens, not only did my mission preclude exploring that further with the FSDO (e.g. how would the FSDO and also the DAR react to the Rotax limitation) but so did my budget. Modern LSA's, even if minimally equipped for IMC and built by yours truly, were more than I chose to spend. (And let's note. This 'cost' issue is where some of the drive to expand LSA capabilities comes from and what also drives some of the EAA/AOPA/GAPPA/PBOR 1&2 proposals on behalf of Part 23 aircraft, as we occasionally see mentioned here). And of course, all of this applies to experimental category LSA's alone, not S-LSA's.

I think we've all seen the Go/NoGo apps & articles & guidelines out there that are intended to help us make a safe decision about launching on a given flight. As it happens, I carry a small card in my wallet which I drafted for my use alone and which outlines my 'minimum's for flight, including flight in IMC. I made this up, over a period of time, when no specific flight was being considered, and I'd recommend the process to everyone because it made me more aware of my operational limitations and therefore, I think, safer as I pilot. I chose the minimums, in part, based on the limitations of my aircraft (tho' mostly based on my own). I don't see that process being any different if I was considering flying in the goo in an RV-12 or other E-LSA/E-AB LSA, tho' the minimums themselves would no doubt change.

If I had a magic wand, here's the change I'd most like to see: The FAA would permit Part 23 aircraft to be reclassed to permanent Experimental. Those aircraft would carry into that classification all the 'superior' TSO'd gear and the certified airframe they now have but would then be free to be equipped in the same ways as any other experimental, and to have the same rights/responsibilities to work on their aircraft as experiential owners do. The price of this would be that the aircraft & its owner must abide by the limitations and requirements of experimentals and hold the same pilot privileges that now exist. Canada has just such a category of aircraft now and, while it doesn't suit most owners, it allows more options and helps address the cost side of GA flying. While this doesn't directly relate to our 'LSA in IMC' discussion, I think it provides more flexibility in aircraft operations & ownership and I think that's generally what's missing with our current system.
Jack
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Re: LSA Sting to be certified for IFR in IMC

Postby Nomore767 » Fri Oct 02, 2015 11:42 am

Jack,

You can argue why shouldn't an LSA be configured to fly in IMC/IFR/light IMC . Okay. The thread starter mentioned 'one' Sting LSA that 'might' be so configured. Might.
I have to say the demand, in my experience talking to various LSA owners, at fly-ins, and Expos is slim to none. Maybe because most LSA pilots/owners are like me retired guys who just want the sport privileges, with little fuss and no medical? The sport rules provide the type of flying we said we wanted. If we want more we can exercise our higher sport licenses. The ones who I've talked to who are really interested in IFR, night etc are all waiting to see what PBOR2 offers and would contemplate a medical to that anyway.Their interest in sport flying and LSAs in particular is low.
Andy said earlier in this thread :-
"I don't want a medical, I don't want to fly IMC. I would like to occasionally fly briefly after sunset."
That's been what I've heard from talking with other LSA pilots and owners. Until Andy, I've not encountered anyone who even wanted to fly at night in an LSA or as a sport pilot.

The demand for IFR capable, or even night capable, LSAs/SLSAs is pretty darn small. The demand for LSAs as a whole isn't huge and sales are slow. Tecnam for example has only 8 Astore on the US register including sales demo planes since it was introduced at Sun N Fun 2014, and 22 P2008s including 2 sales planes and several used for sale on the market that aren't moving, and that plane has been around for several years now, well since 2008/9. In an effort to improve sales they don't offer an IFR package for example. Their models are already over $200k and that's without the additional cost that making them IFR capable would likely cost. Most prospective buyers baulk at anything over $100k. Pushing the price up towards a new Tecnam P2010 or Skyhawk doesn't help the LSA market.
I asked Vans recently about IFR and was told, not happening, no demand.

You may need to polish that magic wand. :D
Last edited by Nomore767 on Fri Oct 02, 2015 4:16 pm, edited 3 times in total.

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Re: LSA Sting to be certified for IFR in IMC

Postby 3Dreaming » Fri Oct 02, 2015 12:26 pm

I guess I'm the odd duck. I am a commercial pilot with a instrument rating and a current medical. I have both a Piper Warrior and a Flight Design CTLS. If I have a night flight I want to make, I prefer to take the CTLS over the Warrior if I don't need the extra seats. I am instrument rated, but not current. I would gladly fly the CT over the Warrior in any of the IFR conditions which I was comfortable making the flight. Honestly I would choose to fly the CT over the Warrior on most any flight I take if I don't need the extra seats.

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Re: LSA Sting to be certified for IFR in IMC

Postby designrs » Fri Oct 02, 2015 2:20 pm

Re: Night Lighting: My SportCruiser has a night lighting package. I like it as I frequently fly at sunset, in coastal haze, and in SportPilot legal twilight. It's also good for resale to a private with medical, offers flexibility if the plane ever needed to be ferried, and/or if I ever decide to upgrade to Private Pilot.

... compared to IFR certification, night lighting packages are a cheep option.

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Re: LSA Sting to be certified for IFR in IMC

Postby dstclair » Fri Oct 02, 2015 3:26 pm

Howard -- I don't think you're correct on the RV-12 not being equipped for Night VFR. From the vans website (http://www.vansaircraft.com/cgi-bin/sto ... 12lighting):
The RV-12 has a defined comprehensive lighting system using AeroLEDs, RV-12 LIGHTING KIT, which includes landing, position and strobe lights.

The announcement for the S-LSA also states (https://www.vansaircraft.com/images/ope ... elease.pdf): ".... and LED lighting for night flight".

After all, an aircraft is required to have very little extra to be legal for VFR night (FAR 91.205):

F – fuses (one complete spare set. Most have breakers today so are exempt)
L – landing light (only if you are flying for hire)
A – anti collision lights (required of day VFR as well for planes after 1971)
P – position lights
S – source of electricity (alternator, generator)

So for all intents and purposes, an new LSA only needs to add position lights to be night legal.

To the prior IMC/night post -- I'm an "odd duck" as well :-)
dave

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Re: LSA Sting to be certified for IFR in IMC

Postby Nomore767 » Fri Oct 02, 2015 3:48 pm

dstclair wrote:Howard -- I don't think you're correct on the RV-12 not being equipped for Night VFR. From the vans website (http://www.vansaircraft.com/cgi-bin/sto ... 12lighting):
The RV-12 has a defined comprehensive lighting system using AeroLEDs, RV-12 LIGHTING KIT, which includes landing, position and strobe lights.

The announcement for the S-LSA also states (https://www.vansaircraft.com/images/ope ... elease.pdf): ".... and LED lighting for night flight".

After all, an aircraft is required to have very little extra to be legal for VFR night (FAR 91.205):

F – fuses (one complete spare set. Most have breakers today so are exempt)
L – landing light (only if you are flying for hire)
A – anti collision lights (required of day VFR as well for planes after 1971)
P – position lights
S – source of electricity (alternator, generator)



So for all intents and purposes, an new LSA only needs to add position lights to be night legal.

To the prior IMC/night post -- I'm an "odd duck" as well :-)


Dave,

Sorry, my typo, now corrected. No IFR planned for RV-12 SLSA but there is a night package! I should know…because I have it! D'oh!

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Re: LSA Sting to be certified for IFR in IMC

Postby Jack Tyler » Sat Oct 03, 2015 1:22 pm

Howard, I know you invested considerable time, effort & thought when scanning the marketplace for your 'best-choice' so I surely yield to your knowledge of the marketplace. It's just that the example I provided - and the broader issue being raised about possible LSA flight in IMC - was in reference to E-LSA's and E-AB LSA's. Or at least that's how I was qualifying my comments. So it's not a matter of a mfgr. responding to demand and building a S-LSA that would be IFR equipped, or issuing a letter of authorization. As 3Dreaming suggests, there are a few of us odd ducks out there. <s>
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Re: LSA Sting to be certified for IFR in IMC

Postby SportPilot » Sat Oct 03, 2015 1:58 pm

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Re: LSA Sting to be certified for IFR in IMC

Postby 3Dreaming » Sat Oct 03, 2015 4:26 pm

Jack Tyler wrote:Howard, I know you invested considerable time, effort & thought when scanning the marketplace for your 'best-choice' so I surely yield to your knowledge of the marketplace. It's just that the example I provided - and the broader issue being raised about possible LSA flight in IMC - was in reference to E-LSA's and E-AB LSA's. Or at least that's how I was qualifying my comments. So it's not a matter of a mfgr. responding to demand and building a S-LSA that would be IFR equipped, or issuing a letter of authorization. As 3Dreaming suggests, there are a few of us odd ducks out there. <s>


SLSA manufactured after 2010 or 2011 can not be approved for flight in IMC, unless ASTM develops a IFR standard.

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Re: LSA Sting to be certified for IFR in IMC

Postby Jack Tyler » Mon Oct 05, 2015 8:35 am

"SLSA manufactured after 2010 or 2011 can not be approved for flight in IMC, unless ASTM develops a IFR standard."

"... issue being raised about possible LSA flight in IMC - was in reference to E-LSA's and E-AB LSA's."
Jack
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Re: LSA Sting to be certified for IFR in IMC

Postby 3Dreaming » Mon Oct 05, 2015 2:48 pm

Jack Tyler wrote:"SLSA manufactured after 2010 or 2011 can not be approved for flight in IMC, unless ASTM develops a IFR standard."

"... issue being raised about possible LSA flight in IMC - was in reference to E-LSA's and E-AB LSA's."


That's not what was said in the first post of this thread.

Quote "I was talking with Bill Canino at SportAir, this morning.

He recently sold a new Sting S4, that he says will be certified for IFR in IMC. He seems convinced." Quote

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Re: LSA Sting to be certified for IFR in IMC

Postby zaitcev » Tue Oct 06, 2015 2:20 pm

chavycha wrote:The idea of flying a 1320# aircraft in actual IMC is patently terrifying.


Why would the weight matter? What really matter are the area load and the stall speed (well, and Vne).

A number of LSAs are approved for IFR, which presupposes "actual IMC". There's no "IFR in VMC only" certification anywhere in the world. Tecnam Sierra is one of the most common examples of such LSA. There is also a number of LSAs that are "paper LSA", being certified in other markets, or even in the U.S. under Part 23 like the Sky Arrow.

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Re: LSA Sting to be certified for IFR in IMC

Postby frfly172 » Fri Nov 20, 2015 2:50 pm

I fly a Liberty xl2 ,which is a few hundred pounds heavier than a light sport,the ability to fly it IMC ,is why I purchased it, it's a great plane for breaking through a layer. Would like to have a light sport I could fly IMC when the need arises. And if a medical problem should arise then I could go light sport. I'm not getting any younger.

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Re: LSA Sting to be certified for IFR in IMC

Postby Nomore767 » Sun Nov 22, 2015 9:17 am

frfly172 wrote:I fly a Liberty xl2 ,which is a few hundred pounds heavier than a light sport,the ability to fly it IMC ,is why I purchased it, it's a great plane for breaking through a layer. Would like to have a light sport I could fly IMC when the need arises. And if a medical problem should arise then I could go light sport. I'm not getting any younger.


Presumably you are a PPL with an instrument rating ('its a great plane for breaking through a layer?")….so it sounds like you have what you want right now?

Under the new PBOR2 if you have a medical issued within last 10 years you don't need a new medical/SI and will just have to visit with your physician every 4 years, log it in your flying records, and complete the on-line review of medical issues every 2 years.

If a medical issue should arise, discuss it with your physician (not an AME) as per PBOR 2 and decide if its a grounding condition. The PBOR 2 lists some such conditions.
If you have ever been denied an FAA medical, or had one revoked, then this would prevent you from flying as a Sport Pilot.

Someone earlier in this thread stated that there is a difference between an LSA and being a sport pilot. A PPL can fly a light sport to the extent that its properly equipped e.g.. lights for night VFR. It isn't equipped for IMC as is, presumably, your Liberty XL2.
So If you wish to continue flying where you can occasionally 'break through a layer' of IMC stay where you are. If you don't want to take advantage of the new PBOR 2 changes, you can fly an LSA as a sport pilot. You simply can't fly through a layer under IMC.

There seems to be a train of thought amongst some pilots that if they develop a medical condition then they always have the option to at least fly light sport. To a certain extent that's true, and you accept the restrictions to that type of flying which go along with it, but should you have a medical condition that is grounding, and prevents you even holding a valid drivers license, e.g. heart, vision,seizures etc, then you couldn't operate as a sport pilot even if you haven't had an FAA medical denied/revoked.

Also, even under PBOR 2, a valid driver's license will be required. This covers possible suspensions, revocation etc because of DUI etc.

When you say you'd like to 'fly IMC when the need arises' how would this be defined under the current rules? In Europe they developed an IMC Rating to allow for this very thing. PPLs can fly through cloud layers but are not authorized to conduct interment approaches and the level of IMC is defined and they are trained and examined as such. In the USA we don't have this available.

When you enter IMC you're also joining the IFR system with pilots and ATC who deserve to know where you are, who you are, communicate with you and know your intentions, especially if you lose communication. Even when you're just negotiating that brief layer.


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