LightSportGyroplanes.comThursday September 24, 2020
Shedding Light on
What Light-Sport Is
Part 103, defining ultralights, was put in place in 1982. From the beginning and as time went on, there was a persistent cry from ultralight flyers for the weight limit of their craft to be increased. Doing so would allow them to fly craft of greater size, with bigger engines, and having greater performance.
The FAA’s answer to that cry was not to raise the weight limit of ultralights, but instead, the FAA established a new designation of aircraft: light-sport. That was in 2004 when it created the Light-Sport and Sport Pilot regulations, and at that time, the agency defined the term “light-sport” precisely. That definition is found in FAR Part 1 “General Definitions” and it reads as follows.
Light-sport aircraft means an aircraft, other than a helicopter or powered-lift that, since its original certification, has continued to meet the following:
(1) A maximum takeoff weight of not more than—
(i) 1,320 pounds (600 kilograms) for aircraft not intended for operation on water; or(2) A maximum airspeed in level flight with maximum continuous power (VH) of not more than 120 knots CAS under standard atmospheric conditions at sea level.
(ii) 1,430 pounds (650 kilograms) for an aircraft intended for operation on water.
(3) A maximum never-exceed speed (VNE) of not more than 120 knots CAS for a glider.
(4) A maximum stalling speed or minimum steady flight speed without the use of lift-enhancing devices (VS1) of not more than 45 knots CAS at the aircraft's maximum certificated takeoff weight and most critical center of gravity.
(5) A maximum seating capacity of no more than two persons, including the pilot.
(6) A single, reciprocating engine, if powered.
(7) A fixed or ground-adjustable propeller if a powered aircraft other than a powered glider.
(8) A fixed or feathering propeller system if a powered glider.
(9) A fixed-pitch, semi-rigid, teetering, two-blade rotor system, if a gyroplane.
(10) A nonpressurized cabin, if equipped with a cabin.
(11) Fixed landing gear, except for an aircraft intended for operation on water or a glider.
(12) Fixed or retractable landing gear, or a hull, for an aircraft intended for operation on water.
(13) Fixed or retractable landing gear for a glider.
page 4 of 7 pages