Could this be the year of the plansbuilt aircraft? Few methods of getting into the air are more economical, at least from the cash-outlay standpoint. Typically the province of the pure tinkerer, the builder for whom the journey is as good as the destination, plansbuilt designs remain an enticing avenue into home aircraft construction.
We have changes for this years buyers guide. A number of designs are no longer included. We could not make contact with Acro Sport, so its six designs were removed from our listing. The Classic Aero aircraft, the H-2 Honey Bee and the H-3 Pegasus, are no longer being offered. The Hipps business, with the J-3 Kitten, J-4 Sportster and Reliant, has also been sunsetted. Finally, the Emile Lucas designs are not currently available, nor is the Siers Barracuda. We do have additions in the form of the Zenith 601 XL, formerly a kit aircraft that is now offered only as plans, and the York Enterprises Laser Z-2300.
We continue to list those aircraft that meet the LSA requirements as LSA compliant. But there is always a bit of ambiguity. The basic outlines are well understood: Two seats, piston powered, fixed gear, 1320 pounds maximum gross weight, clean stall at 45 knots CAS or less, and maximum speed at sea level on maximum-continuous power of 138 mph (120 knots) or less. The vast majority of those designs not listed as LSA compliant in this buyers guide are so marked for good reason: far too fast, stall speed over the limit, too heavy, retractable gear…you get the idea. However, there are several designs right on the edge-they meet most of the critical limitations, but their sea-level max speed is unknown. Depending on how you determine max-continuous power, it is possible to have a design that cruises a little faster than the limit but still meets the rule. Where we have data that says any given design meets the LSA rules for sea-level speed, we mark it as LSA compliant; where we don’t have the data, we leave that field empty. Before starting any project, its important to contact the plans seller to determine whether the design, as you intend to build it, still meets the rules.