Learning to fly Light Sport Aircraft when transitioning from higher ratings often catches many pilots by surprise. The Light Sport Aircraft (LSAs) are much lighter and have more adverse yaw then their heavier GA counterparts. Most flight instructors that are proficient in both GA and LSA would agree the LSA’s are more challenging to fly, especially for the transitioning older pilot. Although few, the accident statistic will support these findings.

Our transition to the Sport Pilot rating focuses on energy management and a review of good ‘ole basic stick-and-rudder skills. Many General Aviation pilots have lost the ‘feel’ of basic seat-of-the-pants flying that was taught when the Piper J3 and the Aeronca Champ were the trainers of the day. Many GA pilots learned to fly in a Cessna 150 or 172 series or a Piper Cherokee. These pilots may not have had the opportunity to truly master the rudder due to these common training aircraft posing little demands for good rudder skills, by design, leaving these pilots vulnerable to accidents when flying LSA.

There is no one flying skill more important when transitioning to Light Sport Aircraft (LSA) than rock-solid stick and rudder coordination. These fundamental skills simply can not be adequately learned in a Cherokee or a Skyhawk as most of the adverse yaw has been designed out of these ships.

The Light Sport airplanes have much more pronounced adverse yaw and their lighter weight and resultant lower mass creates very different handling and requires a more polished (and somewhat different) skill set to fly safely. As a result Light Sport aircraft are less tolerant of less than ‘spot-on’ rudder skills and may unpleasantly surprise the transitioning GA pilot.

Most of the LSAs don’t retain energy into the round out and flare like their larger GA cousins, leaving the untrained pilot bouncing down the runway as their aircraft unexpectedly ‘drops out’ under them to the pilot’s chagrin. The point at which you ‘pull out’ the power may be surprisingly different from one aircraft to the next, with some requiring power right to the runway surface.

Don’t be one of the transitioning pilots caught off guard! Let us provide the transition guidance you need to be a safe Sport Pilot and help you keep your insurance rates as low as possible.

We have experience in many of the popular LSA including many former Ultralight Trainer aircraft, making us uniquely equipped to assist you in your transition to the ‘lighter side’ of aviation.

Please call Russ at 231-620-0082 to schedule a flight or discuss your needs.

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