Are light sport aircraft overhyped and over priced?

The Aviation Consumer Magazine has recently made an interesting observation about light sport aircraft (LSAs) and their prices in particular. According to them:

Some think the combination of lighter, cheaper airframes and simpler pilot certification will yield a boom in private flying. We think it’s reasonable to say that almost everyone thought this, but if you now think the boom sounds more like a faint squeak, you aren’t alone. The LSA groundswell has yet to form and judging by comments from our readers and video viewers, the cost of the airplanes has something to do with it. Maybe a lot to do with it.

It was further noted that would-be buyers say as much (We would further add that much of the world has just gone through the worst recession in generations). However, Aviation Consumer Magazine also noted that real buyers want “tricked out cockpits and big-airplane options.” Hence, US$120,000 is about average for an LSA.

Thus, we would like to ask our readers what they think of LSAs. Are LSAs overhyped and overpriced? Or perhaps its the recession that has prevented their takeoff? We would love to hear what LSA and general aviation pilots think.

LSA

5 Responses to Are light sport aircraft overhyped and over priced?

  1. Foo May 5, 2010 at 14:25 #

    As a private there are a few LSAs I would be interested in purchasing, but I can't justify the cost relative to the rest of the market.

    I like some aspects of them (operating costs in particular), but the lack of IFR certification on most of them is the biggest killer for me. When I can buy a reasonably well equipped aircraft for the same cost that is larger and certified for IFR, there is no reason for me to invest that much in a new aircraft.

  2. Brad May 5, 2010 at 15:02 #

    I don't think they're over-hyped, but I do think that there's an argument to be made that getting a PPL is actually cheaper when you consider the cost of the aircraft you can get buy. Yes I know there are Legacy LSAs, but the price of those seems to be skyrocketing as guys give up on their medicals and don't want to drop $120K on a plane they won't fly much longer. I'm glad I went the PPL route.

  3. Julien May 6, 2010 at 05:07 #

    LSA manufacturers need to address the portion of the pilot population who fly purely for fun: VFR by day, not very far from their home airport, with maybe some aerobatics thrown in.

    AOPA Online recently mentioned a Piper Cub LSA lookalike under $100,000. This is going in the right direction.

    We need to get this type of airplane within the same price range as the average midlife-crisis car. At $50,000 + $5,000 per annum for repairs, service, insurance and hangar space, I would (start saving for eventually being able to) buy one.

    Or maybe the addressable market is not as large as we pilots like to think? Maybe the limiting factor is not price, but something else, such as the commute to the airport? Are too many pilots living in cities while most LSA-friendly airfields are located in rural areas? Would the situation be different if we had LSA helicopters with a comparable price tag to fixed-wing aircraft?
    .-= Julien

  4. clay August 5, 2010 at 02:43 #

    If the cost of a motor boat or motorcycle was over $100,000, you would have about as many participants as you do in LSA/Small Plane Aviation.

  5. Paul Gilman October 4, 2014 at 23:16 #

    I am a long time private pilot flying LSA. I own a 25, 000 dollar Ercoupe which performs like most 120, 000 Lsa composites. The solution is to build new ercoupes with a 50, 000 pricetag, and leave off the tv screen instruments. USE YOUR Ipad.

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