What is an Airplane S-LSA, Special Light-Sport Aircraft?

An airplane S-LSA (Special Light-Sport Aircraft is a factory-built, ready-to-fly fixed-wing aircraft that is FAA-approved to meet industry ASTM* consensus standards for aircraft design, production, and airworthiness. This is a new certification process performed by industry rather than FAA inspections.

In addition to recreational flying, you can rent out your S-LSA and use it for flight instruction. It must be maintained and inspected by a certification repairman with an LSA maintenance rating, a standard FAA aircraft maintenance rating, known as an airframe and powerplant (A&P) rating, or at an FAA authorized repair station. You can perform preventive maintenance on your S-LSA as allowed by the manufacturer.

If you own an S-LSA, you may change the airworthiness certificate to experimental light-sport aircraft status (E-LSA). This will allow you, as the owner to perform the annual condition inspection after attending a 16-hour course to obtain a light-sport aircraft repairman’s certificate with an inspection rating. However, once your airplane S-LSA is certificated as an E-LSA, it can no longer be used for rental or commercial flight training.

If you fly a foreign aircraft that you purchased in the United States as S-LSA, it must be eligible to operate in its country of origin, which must have a bi-lateral agreement with the FAA.

*ASTM Consensus Standards

The National Technology Transfer and Advancement Act of 1995 mandates that federal agencies “shall use technical standards that are developed or adopted by voluntary consensus standards bodies” as opposed to rules established by the government. The United States Congress, in a 1996 Federal Law (Public Law 104), further stated, “Federal agencies shall consult with private sector consensus bodies when such participation is in the public interest“.

Accordingly, the FAA mandated in the sport pilot/light-sport aircraft rule, that consensus standards be developed to govern the production of light-sport aircraft (LSA) and engaged ASTM International to assist the light-sport aircraft community in the development of those standards.

For more information about the ASTM standards for light-sport aircraft, visit www.astm.org and search for “Light-Sport Aircraft”.

Use the Sport Pilot Locator to find aircraft sales and rental facilities near you.