Manned Lightsport Aircraft

The arena of gliders and ultralight aircraft, rich with experimentation since the 1960s, has evolved into lightsport aircraft (LSA). For innovative pilots, mechanics, and photographers, LSA has become the successor of earlier Cessna, Piper, and other small airplanes of the mid-twentieth century. LSA is defined by the U.S. Federal Aviation Agency (FAA) according to these criteria, which apply to both powered and unpowered vehicles.

Small-Format Aerial Photography

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• Maximum takeoff weight of not more than: (a) 660 pounds (300 kg) for lighter-than-air aircraft, (b) 1320 pounds (600 kg) for aircraft not intended for operation on water, or (c) 1430 pounds (650 kg) for an aircraft intended for operation on water.

• Maximum airspeed in level flight with maximum continuous power (VH) of not more than 120 knots CAS under standard atmospheric conditions at sea level.

• Maximum never-exceed speed (VNE) of not more than 120 knots CAS for a glider.

• 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.

• Maximum seating capacity of no more than two persons, including the pilot.

• Single, reciprocating engine, if powered.

• Fixed or ground-adjustable propeller if a powered aircraft other than a powered glider.

• Fixed or autofeathering propeller system if a powered glider.

• Fixed-pitch, semi-rigid, teetering, two-blade rotor system, if a gyroplane.

• Non-pressurized cabin, if equipped with a cabin.

• Fixed landing gear, except for an aircraft intended for operation on water or a glider.

• Fixed or repositionable landing gear, or a hull, for an aircraft intended for operation on water.

• Fixed or retractable landing gear for a glider.

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