LightSportGyroplanes.comThursday September 24, 2020
SLSA Gyroplanes: A Disparity
Greater availability of gyroplanes
The regulatory disparity in FAR 21.190(a) that prevents Sport Pilots from flying factory-built gyroplanes also effectively prevents them from renting gyroplanes.
Few student pilots own the aircraft they train in, including for solo training. Many other pilots don’t own the aircraft they fly; they choose to rent one instead. Gyroplane Sport Pilots, however, don’t have that choice.
With the availability of SLSA gyroplanes, which are allowed to be rented, a Sport Pilot wouldn’t have to buy a gyroplane to fly one. Consequently, SLSA gyroplanes would greatly reduce the cost barrier to flying gyroplanes, especially for persons just entering the sport, making gyroplanes more widely available to a larger number of persons.
A greater availability of light-sport gyroplanes would grow the sport, but of greater importance, that growth would consist largely of a greater number of factory-built gyroplanes, ones engineered and manufactured in accordance with industry consensus standards and with consistently demonstrated stability—in short, safer gyroplanes.
Economic benefit of SLSA gyroplanes
As a result of the LSA/SP regulations, light-sport aircraft have proliferated. There are over a hundred and fifty different models of Light-Sport-certificated aircraft available in the US and thousands of Sport Pilots. The Light-Sport segment has been a relative bright spot in an otherwise dim general aviation industry. The manufacturing, employment and maintenance services associated with factory-built LSA contribute to the US economy. Also, the sales, rental, and services associated with the pilots who fly Light-Sport certificated aircraft are a boon to the economy.
Other countries with regulations similar to those of the US have seen similar economic success, yet the US falls short of those countries when it comes to light-sport gyroplanes. In other parts of the world, factory-built gyroplanes are becoming increasingly popular, a growth that’s reflected not only by the increasing number of aircraft and the number of persons attracted to these unique aircraft but also by the economic impact of this still small, but emerging, segment of the aviation industry within those countries. In those countries, this growth is fostered by regulations favorable to that growth. The US, however, is missing a greater opportunity to participate in this segment of aviation and its economic benefit.
Factory-built gyroplanes are thriving in other countries. To allow US Sport Pilots to have access to these gyroplanes, some of those manufacturers offer kits in the US, even to the extent of re-engineering factory-built aircraft so they can be kit-built. A larger number of manufacturers, however, are holding off entering the US market because of the regulatory disparity preventing factory-built, certificated SLSA gyroplanes in the US. Allowing SLSA gyroplanes would be an economic benefit to general aviation as well as the greater US economy.
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