Reflections: Amazing opportunities in General Aviation

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By Thomas W. Ivines

A new movement is happening in General Aviation. The LSA is now out and it is taking off with much enthusiasm.

"What is an LSA," you might ask?

Well, it is a light sport aircraft that anyone can fly. It requires no medical certificate like a regular pilot's license. A driver's license is all that is required. Well, yes you still need a pilot's license, but not in the sense of he word.

A sport pilot license cost a fraction of what it costs to get a general aviation license. About twenty hours of training is all it takes, and there is no FAA medical or flight exam. Your certified LSA instructor can sign you off for the FAA license when you are ready. You'll get a temporary from your instructor and the permanent arrives in the mail a short time later.

One of the good things about the LSA type airplane is that it is capable of most anything a basic GA aircraft is capable of. For instance, you can still fly as fast, as far and with a passenger, and all for a fraction of the cost.

The aircraft itself is more modern in design than the conventional GA aircraft. In most cases it is of composite material rather than the heavier and less strong metal the older airplanes are manufactured of. That's what makes them so desirable. It is lighter, stronger, and requires less power to perform the same as a bulky GA airplane.

In some cases most of the LSA airplanes are faster than GA airplanes. They not only fly faster they climb faster and land slower. Slower landing means safer landing. Flying faster means getting there sooner. The typical LSA airplane flies at 120 knots (that's 144 miles per hour for you novices) and lands at 35 knots. Forty two miles an hour is less than you normally drive your car and is about the same speed you would drive in a rural neighborhood.

Yes, the LSA is a new mode of transportation that should take off for the masses. Let me explain: at 144 miles per hour as the crow flies, you can go from Miami to Jacksonville in about two hours and twenty five minutes, verses driving, which normally takes around seven hours. And get this, for about the price of a nice dinner. The average LSA burns around 4.5 gallons an hour. To Jacksonville from Miami: that's about 10.12 gallons. Can you drive your car to Jacksonville from Miami on less than eleven gallons of gasoline?

The best part is there is no traffic. The airplanes are comfortable and affordable. It's no wonder they are drawing so much attention. With the price of fuel I suspect more people will be flying in the future than ever. Affordability has finally come to the general public, especially to those who travel away from home on a regular basis.

For more information on LSA aircraft and how to get involved, go to http:// www.sportpilot.org/ .

If nothing else you might simply want to fly for the fun of it, which is why they call it a sport in the first place.