LightSportGyroplanes.comThursday September 24, 2020
Shedding Light on
“Special Light-Sport” is not the Same Thing as “Light-Sport”
When the FAA created the Light-Sport/Sport Pilot regulations, it not only added the designation “light-sport” for aircraft that met the requirements of Part 1, it also added a new category of airworthiness certificate for aircraft that not only satisfied the provisions of Part 1, but also met other requirements. Specifically, the new “Special Light-Sport” category applies to light-sport aircraft that are factory-built according to industry-consensus standards accepted by the FAA, and these factory-built light-sport aircraft that are issued a Special Light-Sport airworthiness certificate are referred to as “SLSA” for short.
Although an SLSA aircraft is a light-sport aircraft, a light-sport aircraft isn’t necessarily an SLSA; just as a Beagle is a dog, but a dog isn’t necessarily a Beagle.
Currently in the US, gyroplanes aren’t allowed to be certificated as Special Light-Sport, and there are no SLSA gyroplanes. If you question why there aren’t any SLSA gyroplanes, you can learn more about that state of affairs in this Rambling:
For that story, read "SLSA Gyroplanes: A Disparity" at this web site.
“Experimental Light-Sport” is not the Same Thing as “Light-Sport”
In conjunction with factory-built light-sport aircraft, (that is, SLSA), the FAA also allows an SLSA manufacturer to provide the aircraft in kit form, one whose parts are produced by the manufacturer and whose assembly can be made by a builder other than the factory. A kit derived from an SLSA aircraft is eligible for a airworthiness certificate, but one of a different category: “Experimental Light-Sport” or ELSA for short.
Today, before a manufacturer may offer an ELSA version of an aircraft, it must first have produced a fully factory-built SLSA. Although an SLSA manufacturer isn’t required to offer a kit-built version of an aircraft, an SLSA manufacturer cannot offer ELSA offspring unless it has produced at least one SLSA parent. That’s true today, but there’s a “however.”
page 6 of 7 pages