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Light Sport Aircraft Rules

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  • Light Sport Aircraft Rules

    I have a question about LSA Planes in general. I've been out of Aviation (both Military an Civilian) for many years and for the last couple of weeks I've been studying the LSA Rules. My understanding is the these rules might been changing in the near future allowing folks to fly Cessna 172, Piper Cherokee and similar Aircraft as a LSA Pilot.

    So here's the question. Were will this leave all the current crop of LSA's, can some be upgraded to use bigger engines, and higher gross weights.

    I've been reluctant to post this as some may feel this is criticism of the current crop of LSA Planes which of course it isn't so would a appreciated your thoughts.

    Warm Regards (it's cold here :-)


  • #2
    It's important to distinguish between pilot certificates, medical certificates and light sport aircraft rules. The change you are probably referring to has to do with the medical rules and allows a pilot to fly without an FAA medical certificate as long as they meet certain requirements. Look up BasicMed. The rules were recently changed to allow BasicMed holders to fly aircraft up to 6000 lbs and not more than 6 occupants.


    • #3
      There have been talk of changing light sport rules for years...years. I doubt it will ever happen especially with Basic Med now being a thing. Personally I think Basic Med is great and effectively negated the "need" to change Light Sport rules which is part of the reason I don't think a change will happen.

      If you build a Light Sport qualifying aircraft you can change the engine and the gross weight at your choosing. However, if you increase it's gross weight beyond what is allowed by LSA rules, 1320lbs, then the plan can never qualify as a light sport ever again even if you reduce the weight back to 1320. It's silly but them's the rules.
      Scratch Built 4-place Bearhawk. Continental IO-360, 88" C203 McCauley prop.


      • #4
        The FAA will eventually change either the LSA rules or make a new category when they finish the rule making process on MOSAIC. What that looks like at this point, who knows. I think you might see a public notice sometime in 2023, rules to follow a year to two later.

        Things done under the old rules will likely stay that way. You can't just increase the gross weight on most aircraft without significant structural changes.

        Manufacturing, maintenance and the special airworthiness process are the big things that will be effected. Not medical stuff.


        • #5
          Dan Johnson is the guru of the new rules. I believe is his website which typically has the latest updates.

          As stated by zkellel2 above, MOASIC is the thing to follow. Over year ago the rumor was LSA was going to 200hp, 2300 pounds MGW and constant speed props as long as the plane could meet a certain stall speed. At OSHKOSH this year the 200, 2300# and CS prop hit some snags. As of now no one knows beyond LSA pilots are not crashing airplanes at a higher rate than anyone else.
          N678C reserved
          Revo Sunglasses Ambassador


          • #6
            Originally posted by zkelley2 View Post
            You can't just increase the gross weight on most aircraft without significant structural changes.
            I would generally agree but one asterisk applicable here is that Bob tells us the Bearhawk LSA is structurally a 1500 pound airplane. I'm not sure how many other manufacturers have similarly derated max gross just to meet the rule.


            • rodsmith
              rodsmith commented
              Editing a comment
              That's a great feature of the Bearhawk LSA. You can register it as an LSA with 1320 gross if you need to, or experimental at 1500 gross.

          • #7
            LSA is becoming an increasing interest to me so I would like to understand it more. I was on AOPA this morning reviewing their comments on BasicMed and it looks useful to me. Fortunately, I'm healthy and always have been but none of us knows our DNA or what they will do with time. Ultimately, I want to be able to retain the ability to fly even it's only at 95-100 mph but I prefer the side-by-side seating arrangement. The fact that Bob always designs aircraft within the utility category makes everything safer.