Aero-TV: US Sport Aviation Expo's Robert Woods Talks LSA (Part One)
The 4th Annual Sebring FL-based US Sport Aviation Expo is now history. The growing (occasionally struggling) LSA movement shows signs that it may mature into a solid industry, providing a new entry-level option for those who want to become pilots and aircraft owners. While there are still too many manufacturers barely keeping the doors open, the entry of industry heavyweights Cirrus design and Cessna Aircraft was a signal to one and all that the LSA market had to be taken seriously.
Among the more significant news we heard from the 2008 USSAE, was Cirrus Design's decision to start taking orders for their speedy little SRS, the naming of US SkyCatcher completion centers by Cessna, the unveiling of the new Flight Design CTLS, the introduction of the TECNAM P92 Eaglet, the unveiling of the Gobosh 800XP, the chance to look over the updated Indus Aviation Thorpedo, new options form American legend, a chance to look over the Teledyne Continental O-200D (the engine that will power the SkyCatcher), as well as the opportunity to catch up on all things Rotax, AirCam, X-Air, Evektor, and so much more. in other words, despite the rain, the cold and the wind; there was no lack of things to see and do in Sebring, FL.
Still; there was the specter of trouble ahead... as most of the better offerings at the USSAE cost well over 100K... and we;'re not sure that their is a sustainable market for aircraft in that price range. Much has been written about the need to bring "new blood" into the aviation business... how we need new pilots and a way to provide ready access to the freedom of the skies for tall those who have dreamed of playing among the clouds. We desperately need a cost-effective path for people to follow to stretch their wings... but to be honest, we're not sure that 100-130K LSAs are the ticket we've been looking for. BUT... there was NO mistaking the excitement of so many people we met at Sebring... people who see LSA as THE answer to their search for wings... and see this new market as a proper way for them to enter the world of flight... We hope that their interest is a sustained phenomenon.
For an overview of this year's event, we spent some time with USSAE Event Chairman Robert Wood, who has been watching this industry as closely as anyone, for his thoughts and feelings on the state of the art and the state of the market for Light Sport Aircraft... Without further delay, let's check out Aero-TV's interview with USSAE Chairman Robert Woods.