Sure took the OMB and FAA long enough.
July 20, 2004 - The complete sport pilot/light-sport aircraft rule has been posted by the Federal Aviation Administration. The rule is scheduled to be published on Wednesday, July 21, in the Federal Register
● Maximum gross takeoff weight-1,320 lbs (599 kg.), 1,430 lbs. if float equipped.
● Lighter-than-air light-sport aircraft maximum gross weight-660 lbs (300 kg.)
● Maximum stall speed-51 mph (45 knots)
● Maximum speed in level flight with maximum continuous power (Vh)-138 mph (120 knots)
● Two-place maximum (pilot and one passenger)
● Day VFR operation only (unless the aircraft is equipped per FAR 91.209 and the pilot holds at least a Private Pilot certificate).
● Single, non-turbine engine only
● Fixed or ground adjustable propeller
● Unpressurized cabin
● Fixed landing gear
● Repositionable landing gear for seaplanes allowing the wheels to be rotated for amphibious operation.
● Can be manufactured and sold ready-to-fly under a new Special Light-Sport aircraft certification without FAR Part 23 compliance. Aircraft must meet ASTM (American Society of Testing and Materials, Int'l) consensus standards. Aircraft under this certification may be used for sport and recreation, flight training, and aircraft rental.
● Will have FAA registration-"N" number.
The Sport Pilot Rule:
A sport pilot may exercise flight privileges in one or more of the following aircraft categories:
● Airplane (single-engine only)
● Lighter-than-air (airship or balloon)
● Rotorcraft (gyroplane only)
● Powered Parachute
● Weight-Shift controlled (e.g. Trikes)
The sport pilot rule:
Creates a new student sport pilot certificate for operating any aircraft that meet the definition of a light-sport aircraft.
● Creates a new sport pilot certificate for operating any aircraft that meet the definition of a light-sport aircraft.
● Creates a new sport pilot instructor certificate.
● Requires FAA knowledge (written) and practical (flight) test.
● Credits ultralight training and experience toward a sport pilot certificate.
● Credits sport pilot flight time toward more advanced pilot ratings.
● Requires either a 3rd class FAA medical certificate or a current and valid U.S. driver's license as evidence of medical eligibility (provided the individual does not have an official denial or revocation of medical eligibility on file with FAA).
● Does not allow carrying passengers for compensation or hire
● Allows sharing ("pro-rata") operating expenses with another pilot.
● Allows day VFR flight only.
● Allow sport pilots to fly vintage and production aircraft (standard airworthiness certificate) that meet the definition of a light-sport aircraft.
I'm know there are many people on this website who consider a CRJ to be a piddly little airplane and these aircraft to be jokes, but I for one am excited about this ruling. Now I have a choice (most likely) of whether to build my Searey or buy one. And the getting a sport pilot license isn't going to cost $4,000 to obtain, either.
Examples of likely aircraft to be offered as Light Sport Aircraft:
Progressive Aerodyne Searey
Rans S-7S Courier
There will also likely be a flood of European designs into the American market, since many European countries already have LSA-type regs on the books.