3Dreaming wrote:The Flight Design earlier model the CTSW's sells in the price range you mentioned. The CTLS was introduced in 2008, and most of them go a little higher in price.
This is true, however even though the CTLS is the newer "improved" version, I personally think the CTSW is the better airplane. Most of the improvements to the CTLS are with regard to control harmony and yaw stability (due to a two foot longer tail boom). All CTs are rudder airplanes, you have to use your feet. So you get a bit more yaw stability in turbulence, but no real change in how you fly the airplane. The CTLS does have better landing gear. The modest improvements to the airplane come at a price, though.
All CTs in the USA have a 1320lb gross, but the CTSW is much lighter. Most CTSWs have a useful load in the 570-590lb range, a few with very little equipment are up around 600lb. Conversely, the useful load on the CTLS airplanes is usually around 520-540lb. It's even worse for the newest CTLSi with the heavier fuel-injected engine, their useful is more often in the 480-490lb range, on par with a Skycatcher.
520lb useful is okay, you can do some dual traveling at those weights. Two 200lb people and and 20 gallons of fuel and you are right at gross. With the 570lb of the CTSW, you still have room for 50lb of bags, tiedowns, and all the other junk that accumulates in an airplane. If you want to take a weekend trip with those two 200lb people, you can in a CTSW, but in a CTLS it's harder. You have to either load fuel very low and make short legs, or take no baggage, ship your bags ahead or have somebody take them for you, fly over gross (illegal and not recommended), etc. It gets annoying to travel that way. Of course, if you are not "standard American size" and weigh 140lb and have a 100lb wife as a traveling partner, these are non-issues. Likewise if your flying is solo.
Don't get me wrong, the CTLS is a great airplane, I just don't think the price premium on the used market (usually tens of thousands of dollars) is justified by the improvements. And all of this is just my opinion, worth exactly what you paid for it.