Aren't all RAAus aircraft Light Sport Aircraft?

LSA is the result of other National Airworthiness Authorities (NAA) adopting similar rules to address advances in sport and recreational aviation technology. LSA aims to allow the manufacture of safe and economical light sport aircraft, to be operated for the purpose of sport and recreation, to carry a passenger, to be used for hire, and to conduct flight training and glider towing.

What is a Light Sport Aircraft?

LSA is a category of aircraft that does not replace any existing category. It is not intended for existing aircraft already operating under a different airworthiness category. It is a small, simple to operate aircraft. It can be a ready-to-fly production aircraft or it can be a kit built aircraft of the same make and model as the production aircraft.

With regard to the requirements of the regulations, a light sport aircraft is an aircraft, other than a helicopter, that has:

  • A maximum takeoff weight of 600 kg or 650 kg for an aircraft intended and configured for operation on water

  • A maximum stall speed in the landing configuration (Vso) of 45 knots CAS.

  • Maximum two person, including the pilot.

  • A fixed landing gear.

  • A single, non-turbine engine fitted with a propeller.

  • A non-pressurised cabin.

  • A variable pitch – constant speed, fixed pitch or ground adjustable propeller (ASTM F2506-13 came into effect 2013). The ASTM doesn’t cover Props that are able to reverse pitch i.e. on amphibian aircraft.

The types of aircraft that may satisfy these criteria are 3-axis aeroplanes, powered parachutes, weight-shift control aeroplanes (trikes), gliders, balloons, airships and gyroplanes.

An LSA may operate under either a sport and recreational aviation organisation such as RA-Aus, or under CASA.

 RAAus currently register LSA aircraft with the 23 prefix. Prior to 2016 RAAus registered both Type Certified and LSA using the 24 prefix. All LSA aircraft are required to have been issued a Special Certificate of Airworthiness in order to be registered with RAAus.

Certificate of Airworthiness for LSA

There are two types of Certificates of Airworthiness for LSA. These are Special Certificate of Airworthiness and Experimental Certificates.

The Special Certificate of Airworthiness for LSA is for production ready-to-fly aircraft. These aircraft may be used for hire, flying training and towing gliders. The Special Certificate of Airworthiness remains valid provided the aircraft is maintained in accordance with the requirements of the manufacturer and the aircraft has not been modified unless approved by the manufacturer.

However, if the aircraft is not maintained in accordance with the manufacturer, or the manufacturer can no longer provide the continuing airworthiness, or the aircraft is modified without the manufacturer’s approval, the Special Certificate of Airworthiness will no longer be in force and the owner will need to apply for an Experimental Certificate to operate the aircraft. The registration prefix would then become E23 and the operation limited, for example no flight training use.