Dan Johnson has written a detailed article for General Aviation News comparing LSAs to Cessna 150s that is well worth reading by anyone considering learning how to fly or by existing pilots who are looking for a cheaper flying option. To begin with, Dan emphasized that the best way to answer a question about whether or not LSA’s are hard to fly is to simply say that they are “different.”
Dan then mentioned the qualities about LSAs that tend to be disadvantages. Specifically:
- They are Lighter – meaning they can be more impacted by the wind compared with heavier aircraft.
- They tend to have more responsive handling meaning there is a chance a pilot can “overcontrol” them.
- Can be lighter in pitch than a Cessna 150. This can cause pilot-induced oscillation (PIO).
- Not as well known by mechanics.
- Cost more because they are new.
In all likelihood, extra time will be needed to convert from a Cessna 150 or any other type of GA aircraft to a LSA. However, Dan noted several advantages with LSAs which include:
- LSAs are newer than most Cessna 150s and 152s – which were manufactured nearly 30 years ago at the latest. In other words, Cessna aircraft are often older than the pilots while the oldest LSAs are only several years old.
- Nearly all LSAs have modern avionics such as glass cockpits.
- LSAs tend to be much quieter, roomier, have better visibility and use less fuel than Cessnas.
- Many LSAs have airframe parachutes.
Finally, Dan commented that Cessna 150s tend to be a “tried and true workhorse” with many having over 10,000 hours while LSAs have not been around long enough to prove their ability to last. Nevertheless, Dan mentioned several examples of LSAs having more than 3,500 hours on them and that these aircraft seem to be holding up just fine.
However, we would like to ask you our readers what you think of LSAs verses Cessna 150s. In other words, have we left out any important advantages or disadvantages?
I own a nice 1971 Cessna 150 and my neighbor owns an experimental homebuilt that qualifies as a LSA. The Cessna is heavier and it climbs slower than the experimental but in cruise flight the Cessna with the O-200 Continental will flat outrun the Rotax powered experimental. The Cessna is a little bigger which is better for crosswind control plus the fusilage is longer (not short coupled) as his experimental is. If the Cessna has a disadvantage it is that you must be careful when adding a passenger with full fuel tanks because it just won’t climb in hot weather if you are close to maximum gross weight. All considered though, with the prices for new LSA easily topping $140K, the value of older Cessnas will skyrocket, especially if the FAA goes ahead and raises the gross weight limit to include the older trainers like the 150/152’s. I’m sure the manufacturers of the new LSAs cringe when they think of this possibility.