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What Exactly Defines an LSA? (Light-Sport Aircraft)
Tue, Mar 14, 2017 at 12:05PM

Light-sport aircraft are a favorite of many pilots and aviation enthusiasts—but have you ever wondered what sets it apart, specifically, from its larger counterparts?

In today’s blog, we will be exploring the ins and outs of an LSA—what it is, how it works, and who can use it! Take a look.

A historic change
In 2004, something exciting happened for pilots and pilot hopefuls. A new rule by the Federal Aviation Administration, or FAA, opened up more accessible ways to attain a pilot’s license specifically for light-sport aircraft. Not only did the Sport Pilot and Light Sport Aircraft Rule lead to the creation of a new category of aircraft—now commonly known as light-sport aircraft, or LSA—but it also created a unique sport pilot license. Since then, pilots interested in flying smaller, lighter aircraft have not needed to attain traditional private pilot license in order to enjoy time in the sky.

That change, of course, makes sense—light-aircraft and traditional pilots don’t have the same needs, nor are they operating the same kind of machine. This 2004 rule removed unnecessary obstacles for those pilots who wanted the light, simple, “fun” style of flying that light aircraft provide.

The LSA rule
So what exactly is a light-sport aircraft? There are a few requirements that the FAA has laid out, a few of which include…
• Two occupants maximum
• 1230 lbs. max gross weight (1430 lbs. for seaplanes)
• Single engine (non-turbine)
• Unpressurized cabin
This, of course, is only a brief look at the specifics behind an LSA designation. Furthermore, not every LSA is an actual plane—the rule covers powered parachutes, gliders, balloons and more. For a more comprehensive idea of what makes an LSA, visit FAA.gov!

Who can fly an LSA?

The only thing standing between light-sport pilot hopefuls and the wide open sky is, of course, a sport pilot license. Fortunately, this is relatively easy to attain! Anyone 17 or older with a valid driver’s license and 3rd-clss FAA medical certificate (or license as evidence of medical eligibility) can get started. If you are proficient in the English language and have successfully completed the FAA practical test (which you can start practicing for at 16), you’re ready to receive your license.

Can’t wait to fly? A license can be attained in as little as four to five days, so it’s perfect for those who are itching to experience the great outdoors like never before.

The cost, weight, and overall simplicity of a light-sport aircraft is sure to make any pilot swoon. Now that you know how easy it is to make your piloting dream a reality, it’s time to get started!


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