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LSA and VLA (merged)

I have some questions regarding the two EASA certifications CS-LSA and CS-VLA

  • Are they already effective or is it a legislative work in progress ?
  • Can you go in any airspace and land at any airport ?
  • Is it possible to fly NVFR and IFR ?

CS-VLA is in force since 2003.

SEP up to 750kg, 2 seats, 45kt may stall speed, VFR day only and no aerobatics.

CS-LSA since 2009

SEP 600kg, 2 seats, 45kt, VFR day only, non-turbine

SSEA 650kg

See EASA

All airspaces to B, no A as this is IFR only.

EGBE - Coventry

My questions are as follows, please help me to understand VLA.

  1. According to regulations, LSA is lighter than VLA.
  2. It seems to VLA is from Part23 class in Europe and LSA is from ASTM F2245 in USA.
  3. I don’t know the merits of VLA althouth high cost to get the Type certificate(TC).
  4. How much does it cost to get TC issues normally in Europe.
  5. All flight instrument should be TSO certified?
  6. VLA airplane can land on the airport?
I have a lot of questions about the concept of VLA like the needs, technologies, future plans, and so on.

Thanks for your reply in advance.

Last Edited by Peter at 05 Dec 11:07

If you are really interrested you will have more questions after these. I would recommend you to read through the rules and regulations. For EASA CS-LSA and CS-VLA you can find them online:

CS-LSA:
http://www.easa.europa.eu/agency-measures/docs/certification-specifications/CS-LSA/CS-LSA%20-%20Initial%20Issue.pdf

CS-VLA:
http://www.easa.europa.eu/agency-measures/docs/certification-specifications/CS-VLA/CS-VLA%20%20Amdt%201%20combined.pdf

JP-Avionics
EHMZ

Following on from here here is the stuff from the US AOPA mag, Mike Busch who definitely knows what he’s talking about. I can’t post the whole article but quoting a few bits is OK:






The article explains the “escape clause” to the US Exp category but that option is not available in Europe.

I can see why LSA is a failure in the USA. The owner is over a barrel. The Q is whether this is such a big issue in Europe, where the regulatory regime, varying anyway on a per-country basis, demands complicance with a lot of the MM anyway.

The IMC flight issue is probably not going to worry the vast majority of European pilots whose permits ban IFR anyway, but it does make it a dead end for many.

Administrator
Shoreham EGKA, United Kingdom

Peter wrote:

The IMC flight issue is probably not going to worry the vast majority of European pilots whose permits ban IFR anyway, but it does make it a dead end for many.

CS-LSA is different from the US-LSA in many ways. In a CS-LSA there is no IFR, no NVFR, no aerobatics. On the other hand the US-LSA has a speed limit of 120 mph, no retract, no CS prop. For the rest of it the CS-LSA is very much like any other aircraft regarding maintenance and pilot rating, hence pretty much useless as a cheaper or easier plane than an ordinary C-152 (except glass and carbon is way cooler).

I really do not understand the LSA thing when we have microlights that do the same, only with zero bureaucracy and owner maintenance, and experimentals that do everything under the sun that an aircraft is capable of, with the same owner maintenance and relaxed bureaucracy.

LeSving wrote:

I really do not understand the LSA thing when we have microlights that do the same, only with zero bureaucracy and owner maintenance, and experimentals that do everything under the sun that an aircraft is capable of, with the same owner maintenance and relaxed bureaucracy.

LSA are allowed to use uncertified parts and certify these in accordance with the airframe. And it has less bureaucracy over (at least German) ULM, especially for the European pilot. But that one manufacturer has to go through the certification process just once and not separately for any nation they want to sell it, saves much bureaucracy. And then there is the advantage of a sensible useful load. I expect many “advanced ULM” to become LSA within the next few years and microlights going back to the intended class.

Experimental, on the other hand, demands a much, much more tech savvy owner / operator / pilot, than any LSA. Or a very great deal of blind faith. That’s not everyone’s piece of cake.

mh
Inside the sky.
EDXE, EDXF, Germany
I expect many “advanced ULM” to become LSA within the next few years and microlights going back to the intended class.

That makes sense. But I rather expect manufacturers, once they have a technically valid design, i.e. a plane basically safe to fly, will try to sell as many as they can with the least possible hassle – which might well mean they go on offering the same design with either a certificate for LSA or for the various ultralight requirements. The last point being left to “local” importers or distributors.

As for “the intended class”: I always understood the reasoning behind European ultralight regulations was “make it light, make it slow, and if ever things go wrong the damage to yourself will be much much worse than any damage to third parties so we reckon you’ll apply your own common sense” so yes, the 450 kg MTOW and 65 km/h stall speed make some sense, too. Whether these limitations are implemented in a trike or in a closed cockpit side by side two seater is less relevant, but why all European authorities turn a blind eye to the vast majority being flown overweight is beyond me. As long as nothing changes there, EU-LSA has no reason to exist.

Last Edited by at 25 Apr 19:40
EBZH Kiewit, Belgium

mh wrote:

LSA are allowed to use uncertified parts and certify these in accordance with the airframe

Which means the manufacturer has the owner over a barrel as Peter put it, and can charge anything he wants for “certified” parts. Certification is for the authority to deal with, not the manufacturer. For instance, the aircraft manufacturer has a deal with Garmin. If you want something better, something else, this cannot be done by anyone except the manufacturer who got this super-deal with Garmin and has no intentions of changing that. What happens when the plane gets 10-15 years old and the manufacturer goes bankrupt? What if Garmin also goes bankrupt?

If the above is wrong, and anyone can certify new stuff for the aircraft through EASA, then it is a different scenario of course.

mh wrote:

Experimental, on the other hand, demands a much, much more tech savvy owner / operator / pilot, than any LSA. Or a very great deal of blind faith. That’s not everyone’s piece of cake.

There exist no statistics showing experimentals falling down more often than certified AC due to technical issues. They are equal in that respect. The matter is that some experimentals tends to be more difficult to fly and operate than certified aircraft, or has much higher performance. You have to remember that the average certified GA aircraft is a C-172, while the average experimental is a Lancair or RV and may have certain knobs and dials placed in “odd” positions.It is not the technical issues that are difficult, you can get a mechanic to do everything on an experimental. It’s the piloting skills that often needs to be better on an experimental, or at least you have to get some transition training. This is not any different than going from a C-172 and to a high performance Cirrus for instance, and few people do that without what? 10 hours of practice?. There has been lots of focus on that lately by the EAA. You have a similar issue with microlights. Microlights are so light that they lose energy considerably faster than the average certified GA or glider, and this can come as a surprise. It’s the same all over really. What kills are lack of pilot skills and lack of airmanship. Put some focus there instead of making up all kinds of rules, regulations and restrictions and “life saving” gadgets, and we will see the number of fatal accidents go down.

There exist no statistics showing experimentals falling down more often than certified AC due to technical issues

This is off topic for LSA but I cannot possibly believe that.

I’ve read loads of pretty horrible and unusual homebuilt (in Europe, “experimental” is basically homebuilt) accident reports e.g. in-flight fires due to a fuel hose made of the wrong material. And this was from the UK, where some LAA inspector supposedly inspects and flight tests the plane every year. In most registrations nobody checks anything so you are relying totally on the builder (or whoever bought it from him) being technically savvy. Hence the additional restrictions on a non-builder owner. Plus a load of stories which never made any forum…

What happens when the plane gets 10-15 years old and the manufacturer goes bankrupt? What if Garmin also goes bankrupt?

There is an alternative POV on this: a business model where an aircraft mfg makes a plane and then doesn’t get a nice juicy parts and upgrades business, is likely to lead to the mfg going bankrupt Which is pretty well what has happened…

It will also lead to the maintenance business going bankrupt, or being reduced to a load of companies which make a living by scraping out the bottom of the barrel, employing low grade workforce which is paid 50% of the people who “fix” your VW. Which is pretty well what has happened, too…

Lycoming has been reduced to a company which is a small fraction of it’s former size, partly because GA has shrunk massively but also because there is a vast number of independent engine shops (and history has showed that most of them do a better job than Lyco).

Whether this is a good deal for the customer depends. For technically savvy people like e.g. @Silvaire, operating one of the 50-70 year old rag-and-tube designs, it doesn’t matter if the mfg goes bust because the aircraft contains no special parts except a widely used traditional engine. And sure enough all of those mfgs have gone bust a long time ago. On something like a TB20 it would be a huge problem unless it was operated under a very free regime.

This all leads to horrid airport politics, where some based maintenance company gets p1ssed off at people doing their own 50hr checks, so the airport bans it, and then most of the based pilots fly away for maintenance to somewhere where they can rent a hangar for the day, or a few days for the Annual.

So maybe the LSA system was an attempt to set up a long term viable supply chain?

I wonder if this thread should be under Non Certified

Administrator
Shoreham EGKA, United Kingdom
31 Posts
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