Prasad Sundararajan has been an active member of AIAA since 1992 and is a member of the Economics Technical Committee. He was elected as an Associate Fellow of AIAA in January 2010. He has been involved in aerospace and AIAA related activities for the past 16 years both at the regional and national levels. He is the founder and research director at aerospaceinindia.org, an independent open access network on Indian space activities. He holds a Master’s degree in Mechanical Engineering from Concordia University, Montreal, Canada and an MBA from Crummer Gradual School of Business, Rollins College, Florida. He also earned an Advanced Project Management Certificate from Stanford University School of Engineering, California. He is a FAA certificated Sport Pilot based in North Carolina. * His primary areas of interest and expertise are in space strategy and policy studies of emerging space powers, comparative economic and technology analysis, and the practical application of internet technologies for knowledge management and disbursement of aerospace related information.
- Fewer certificated Private Pilots leads to a decrease in demand for light piston aircraft. - An increasing average age of pilots across the system demonstrates a pilot base that is not being replaced by younger generations. (Age: 40 (1991) to 48 (2009)) - High flight training drop-out rate before pilot certificate completion (~80% per AOPA).
FAA introduced the Light Sport Aircraft category and the Sport Pilot certificate in 2004 – the most significant change enacted by FAA in 50 years. Aim - allow for easier access/ entry-level and lower cost means to the privilege of enjoying the benefits of flying. LSA includes fixed-wing airplanes, weight-shift control (trikes), powered parachutes, gliders, gyroplanes, and lighter-than-air (balloons and airships).
Sport Pilot certificate requires only a minimum of 20 hours of flight training as opposed to 40 hours for Private pilot certificate. A sport pilot must hold at least a current and valid U.S. driver's license in order to exercise this privilege (instead of the third class medical certificate requirement for the private pilot). Airmen who currently hold a recreational, private, commercial, or airline transport pilot certificate and a valid medical will be able to fly light sport aircraft and aircraft that meet the definition of light sport aircraft provided they have the appropriate category and class ratings.
Special Light-Sport Aircraft or S-LSA, are 100% factory built light aircraft that may be used commercially for flight training instruction and rental. These aircrafts are certified using industry consensus standards created with guidance from the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) International and approved by the FAA. Instead of the FAA certificating that a manufacturer meets the standards, it relies on a declarative system whereby a manufacturer presents documentation to the FAA showing that it has complied with FAA regulations and the consensus standards specific to LSA. Top S-LSA manufacturers, list price and the no. of sport pilots are shown.
According to the FAA, there were 2,385 SLSAs registered through July 2012. The top S-LSA manufacturers are the following companies: Flight Design, Cessna Skycatcher, CubCrafters, Czech Sport Aircraft, American Legend, Tecnam and Remos. These seven manufacturers accounted for 60% while the rest accounted for 40%. FAA is currently developing criteria for inspecting the new LSA model of a manufacturer and airworthiness certificates will not be issued until after both the audit and inspection are successfully completed.
Innovation and fuel-efficiency are two primary drivers of S-LSA development. The all-composite Flight Design CTLS has a 850 nm range at 115 knots cruise using only 5 gph. Many S-LSA engines such as Rotax models can run on auto gas that contain less lead content, as well as on avgas. Terrafugia is an S-LSA that is in development – roadable airplane. (foldable wings) Icon aircraft A5 model is an amphibious S-LSA under development with a spin resistant airframe and modeled on a luxury car interior. (foldable wings and retractable wheels) Yuneec e430 is an electric aircraft that is certified as S-LSA.
Allegro LSA – the 3 rd LSA certified by FAA since introduction of the LSA category in 2004. Originally designed and manufactured in the Czech republic. LSA America, Inc based in Littleton, NC now manufactures them in the US. All-aluminum wings and kevlar composite fuselage with aluminum T-tail. Wings made at the facility while the composite fuselage is currently being imported from Czech Republic.
The Sport Pilot certificate has reduced the cost and time required to obtain an entry level certificate for new aspiring aviators by fifty percent. It also allows individuals with higher-level pilot certificates (e.g., private, commercial) to operate under sport pilot privileges without any new certificate, endorsement or test. Many established avionics players such as Garmin with certified avionics background, and Dynon with vast experimental aircraft avionics before the advent of SP/ LSA, are able to develop and market technical innovations such as glass cockpit synthetic vision for far less cost and time. There is currently an ASTM F37 task group working on developing design and performance standards for flight instruments, avionics and supporting equipment in LSA. The experience gained from the LSA/ SP regulation is driving changes in the GA rules & regulation: (a) FAA is currently evaluating allowing Private Pilots to operate GA airplanes with a driver’s license in lieu of a medical certificate under VFR conditions. (b) FAA is working with the industry in simplifying the Part 23 – Small Airplane Certification Process. Now, the Part 23 is complex that is evolved from the entry level jet airplanes.
The Light-Sport Aircraft (LSA) certification category and the Sport Pilot license promise to revitalize American aviation. It is being adopted by many nations and agencies. Allows for faster innovation in avionics, collision avoidance systems, fuel-efficiency and electric/ solar aircrafts given the simpler FAA regulations/ certification requirements.
Credit: AOPAAIAA Aerospace Sciences Meeting 2013ByPrasad SundararajanA Case Study of Design, Performance andEconomic Analysis of Light Sport Airplanes
A Case Study of Light Sport AirplanesGeneral Aviation Industry The GA Marketplace U.S Civil Pilot PopulationLight Sport Aircraft FAA – LSA/ Sport Pilot Regulation Special-Light Sport AirplanesSpecial-Light Sport Airplane DesignCharacteristics Comparison of S-LSA Models Allegro LSA Design/ ManufacturingSystems Architecture based Design StructureMatrixFindings & Trends
A Case Study of Light Sport AirplanesSport Pilot CertificatePrivileges Limitations• Daytime Visual Flight Rules • Prohibited from Class A airspace.• Cross-country flying anywhere in the country • Prohibited from flying in Class B, C,or D airspace until receiving trainingand a logbook endorsement from aninstructor.• Fly solo or with one passenger • No flights outside the U.S. withoutprior permission from the foreignaviation authority.• Fly in Class E and G airspace (and B, C, and D airspacewith appropriate training).• No flights while carrying a passengeror property for compensation, hire, or• for furtherance of a business.• Fly up to 10,000 feet above mean sea level (MSL) or2,000 above ground level (AGL) over mountains.• May not tow any object.• Allows sport pilots to fly production (standardairworthiness certificate) and experimental amateur-builtaircraft that meet the definition of a light-sport aircraft.Allows rental of special light-sport aircraft (S-LSA).• Maximum speeds up to 138 mph in aone or two seat capable aircraft with amaximum stall speed of 51 mph.Source: EAA Sport Pilot Sourcebook, FAA Regulatory Brief
The introduction of Sport Pilot/ Light Sport Aircraft (SP/ LSA) regulations in2004 by the FAA heralded a new aviation horizon in the United States.The SP/ LSA regulation created a new category of aircrafts: Special-LightSport Aircrafts (S-LSA). An S-LSA is a factory-built, ready-to-fly aircraft thathas met ASTM consensus standards for design, production, qualityassurance, maintenance, and continuing airworthiness.Light Sport Airplanes account for 20-25% of all General Aviation pistonairplanes sold since 2009. According to industry analysts, LSA along withbusiness jets are forecast to be the two primary growth markets in GA.In the next five years, LSA market share is expected to be between 33-50% of piston airplane sales (FAA Forecast)Special-Light Sport Airplanes (S-LSA) manufacturers are utilizing the fastdeveloping state-of-the-art digital avionics given that a FAA certification is nota requirement for this category.Systems Engineering plays a vital role in LSA production. This paper presented oneof the first systems architecture based DSM for Allegro LSAFindings/ TrendsA Case Study of Light Sport Airplanes