Dan Johnson, the president of the Light Aircraft Manufacturers Association and an expert on light sport aircraft, has written an interesting article for General Aviation News about whether or not there are too many LSAs. To first put things in perspective: Dan noted that there are now more than 114 FAA approved LSA models in the USA. Moreover, he noted that when one LSA maker fails, another importer can easily come in and fill the void. In addition, a failed LSA manufacturer can be purchased by someone else or their employees can form a whole new company and manufacture a similar model. Hence, Dan pointed out that such “scrappy” entrepreneurship is rarely seen in the general aviation industry but a high level of regulations still present a high barriers to entry into the industry.
However, Dan believes that not all of the current LSA manufacturers will survive and he expects that the top dozen or so will continue to sell the most aircraft. On the other hand, Dan also believes that many of the small niche industry players will also survive but the “me-too” companies who hope to sell in larger quantities may be in jeopardy.
Dan then posed the question of just how many LSAs are too many but then he quickly added:
The riddle has no answer unless you’d like to have your choices limited. I say that if a new company wants to offer you a neat, new flying machine, you should do your homework of checking it out, but having done so, enjoy the wide number of choices the LSA industry can provide.
After all, who has a crystal ball to know the next one isn’t going to be a big success story? Me? I like choices…lots of them, and the LSA industry has something for nearly everyone.
Hence, we want to ask you our readers, especially any LSA pilots out there, what you think of the current state of the LSA industry. Are there too many LSAs on the market right now? Moreover, what LSA manufacturers do you think will survive any coming industry shakeout?