A weight-shift control (WSC) special light-sport aircraft (S-LSA) is a factory-built, ready-to-fly sport trike 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. This is built by the manufacturer and test flown for production acceptance before you buy it.
In addition to recreational flying, you can rent out your trike S-LSA and use it for flight instruction. It must be maintained and inspected by a certification repairman with a trike 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, as the pilot, can perform preventive maintenance on your S-LSA.
If you own a trike 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 trike light-sport aircraft repairman’s certificate with an inspection rating. However, once your 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 manufactured trike 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 weight-shift control light-sport aircraft, visit www.astm.org and search for “Light-Sport Aircraft”.