ELSA—Weight Matters!

I read your helpful piece in the June 2014 issue about ELSAs [Born Again] and was wondering if you have any idea why the LSA weight limit was put at 1320 pounds when there are thousands of Cessna 120s, 140s, and 150s rotting all over the United States, along with hundreds of Ercoupes, Taylorcrafts, Luscombes, and others.

When I learned to fly in 1966, there were around a million private pilots—now much less! These planes meet every qualification of the LSA rules with the exception of gross weight. I notice that Cessna announced a few months ago that they are no longer going to sell their $150,000 C-162 Skycatcher LSA; does that not tell us something about the stupidity of the 1320-pound gross weight rule?

–George Miller

For right or wrong, 1320 pounds came in an attempt to sync the U.S. Light Sport rules with those of Europe (a large source for Light Sport Aircraft). The Europeans already had a category of aircraft with a maximum gross weight of 600 kilograms, and if you do the math, that comes out to 1320 pounds. We agree with you that it is a shame that many existing aircraft and designs were excluded by this rule.—Ed.

Test First, Lesson Later

I just re-read the article about a loose screw that appeared in the February 2014 issue of Kitplanes® [Error Chain]. Thanks very much for sharing. It had to take some guts to reveal such a classic screw-up to the masses—no offense intended.

John King recently wrote about Mother Nature being a harsh teacher, giving the test first, then the lesson. So, test given and passed because of outstanding planning and preparation, lesson learned and passed along.

This article should be required reading for anyone building and planning to fly their own airplane. We all need to understand that, in spite of all the care taken during construction, such a simple thing can bring an aircraft down. Nobody is immune. Once again, thanks for sharing.

–Jeff Gorss

You’re right Jeff—no one is immune, and those with the most experience are likely to have many of these stories to tell. We encourage all of our readers to share their experiences with those who are trying to become more experienced through our regular feature, “Error Chain.” We might as well help others learn from our bad experiences—no one will ever have the time to experience them all on their own.—Ed.

More from AKIA!

Dick VanGrunsven’s “Advice to Designers” [June 2014] is yet another thoughtful and wise essay by one of the sanest and most honest voices in sport and Experimental aviation. Thank you for providing him a podium. I hope he will have additional opportunities to share his wisdom with your readers.

–Hunter Heath III

As a member of AKIA, KITPLANES® is happy to feature such pieces by the leaders of the Experimental and kit-building world. We hope to share the views of many of the leaders of the kit industry in future issues. —Ed.

Write to [email protected].

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