I Know I'm Allowed To Fly an Light Sport Aircraft, But What Exactly Is An LSA?

A LSA could be a variety of different types of light aircraft including, but not exclusively; fixed wing, powered glider, weight shift, or lighter than air. By definition, an LSA is limited to:

  • Max takeoff weight of 660lbs. (lighter than air)
  • Max takeoff weight of 1,320lbs. (aircraft not intended to land on water)
  • Max takeoff weight of 1,430lbs. (aircraft intended to land on water)
  • Maximum stall speed of 45kts CAS at maximum takeoff weight and the most critical center of gravity
  • Maximum level flight airspeed of 120kts in standard conditions
  • Maximum seating capacity of 2 including the pilot
  • If powered, a single reciprocating engine
  • Fixed or ground adjustable propeller for powered aircraft other than powered glider
  • Fixed landing gear for powered aircraft except for gliders and aircraft intended for landing on water
  • Nonpressurized cabin if aircraft is equipped with a cabin.
  • Fixed or repositionable landing gear for aircraft or hull intended for landing on water
  • Maximum never exceed speed of 120kts CAS for a glider
  • A fixed or auto feathering system is aircraft is a powered glider
  • Fixed or retractable landing gear for a glider

Many manufacturers produce LSA's and LSA kits exclusively. Popular aircraft are made by companies such as 3Xtrim, AirMax, Czech Sport Aircraft, Evektor, Jabiru, and Tecnam. Cessna Aircraft has recently thrown their name in the LSA hat with their new and exciting C-162 Skycatcher. In addition to LSA's, the FAA has a separate designation of aircraft called S-LSA (S standing for Special). These are aircraft available to be rented or used for flight instruction. They are factory built, ready-to-fly aircraft held to strict maintenance and manufacturing standards.

Experimental (E)-LSA certification may be issued if the aircraft is built from a kit or from plans. This type of aircraft may only be flown by the owner.


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