Icon Aircraft, manufacturer of the in-development amphibious A5 Light Sport Aircraft (LSA), announced at EAA AirVenture Oshkosh today that the FAA has granted an exemption for a gross weight increase for the A5 to accommodate added safety features, including a spin resistant airframe (SRA). Under Exemption Number 10829, the A5’s allowable takeoff weight will increase up to 1,680 pounds, though the initial production A5 will weigh 1,510 pounds, according to the Los Angeles-based company.
Oshkosh, Wis.-based Sonex Aircraft opened the order book on July 28 for the smallest, lightest and lowest-cost jet-powered airplane–the $125,000 SubSonex single-seater. The tiny jet will be sold as a nearly completed kit, and the price includes everything except paint and avionics.
Activity in the light sport aircraft (LSA) arena is heating up, with more pilots trying the many modern aircraft spawned by this new category which was enacted by the FAA in 2004. While LSAs include a variety of aircraft types such as fixed-wing airplanes, powered parachutes, weight-shift-control aircraft, balloons, gliders, airships and gyroplanes, much of the LSA development has focused on the basic two-seat light sport airplane.
One of the most eagerly anticipated demonstrations at this year’s EAA AirVenture Oshkosh show is the first publicly planned flight of the Terrafugia Transition flying car. “This is the first public display of the Transition doing its thing,” said Richard Gersh, vice president of business development for Woburn, Mass.-based Terrafugia, although the company did host an invitation-only flight demo at Lawrence Airport near Boston last October.
Maybe for general aviation to survive, we need more disruption. An article published in Wired magazine (Clayton Christensen Wants to Transform Capitalism, by Jeff Howe) discussed how successful companies often fail to recognize that new companies with “disruptive innovations” are about to take over their marketplace.
There is only a little time left to comment on a petition for exemption from the third-class medical requirement for pilots flying recreationally. The exemption petition was submitted to the FAA by the Experimental Aircraft Association and the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association, and the comment period closes on July 2. As of June 25, there were more than 3,300 comments, but the more comments received, the more the FAA might pay attention.
A broad-based and international FAA-industry committee is working to simplify Part 23 of the Federal Aviation Regulations in a way that doubles aircraft safety while reducing costs by as much as 50 percent.
The potential new rules will also serve as a new international set of standards for aircraft weighing less than 12,500 pounds.
It is testament to how seriously the China market takes its fledgling general-aviation industry that key players from the China Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA) took to the stage for one of the conference sessions here at the ABACE show yesterday.
Although I get the impression that air safety in Australia is micromanaged, I admire John McCormick, director of aviation safety for the Civil Aviation Safety Authority. Maybe’s it’s because McCormick bluntly addresses CASA’s role and that he makes an effort to communicate regularly with CASA’s constituents. But it is also his willingness to confront change and consider new options.
Spending a week at the annual EAA AirVenture Oshkosh show never fails to exhilarate and inspire, but at the same time it can frustrate. The good news is that we U.S. citizens are extraordinarily lucky to live in a country where the federal authorities have decided that it's OK to allow us the freedom to design, build and fly an aeronautical device of our own creation, with few restrictions.