Light-sport aircraft (LSA) manufacturers have agreed to design and build their planes using a new set of LSA-specific standards published by ASTM International. These are called consensus airworthiness standards, meaning that everyone agrees to use specific grades and types of materials as well as construction standards when building their aircraft. The manufacturers then give owners standards for how to maintain these craft to keep them airworthy. Visit www.SportFlying.aero for more information on LSAs.
As you can imagine, the cost of manufacturing airplanes to these new consensus standards is much lower than for FAA certification. That's one of the great benefits of the new SP/LSA rulings: Aircraft are about half as expensive to make. And, as more planes are made, costs will come down even further. You might soon see assembly lines of airplanes just like you see of cars. But are they safe? Yes! They still are much safer than the pilots who fly them! Even awkward-looking aircraft become efficient flying machines when airborne and in their own element. There still are rules and regulations for maintaining light-sport aircraft. The rules just aren't as stringent as for an aircraft that takes 500 people to 35,000 ft. MSL (mean sea level). They are safe enough!Wing Tips
If you'd like to see it, ASTM standard WK627, "Specifications for Airworthiness of Light-Sport Aircraft" is available at www.astm.org. It's an engineer's bedtime story!
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