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Flight Training in LSA’s – Just What the Doctored Ordered

The following is an excerpt from an article authored by P. Jerry Lee, Mach1 Consultants.
Entire article can be viewed at:
*Active links and pictures added by GA

Earlier this month, we had the chance to visit with the folks at Guidance Aviation in Prescott, AZ about their newly minted LSA program.  President John Stonecipher shared with us how he arrived in the LSA training marketplace and some other key points of the Guidance LSA program:
“For us, the transition was easy. Because of our experience with rotary wing training, in particular the R22, the utilization of a very light, robust, and simple airframe for primary training was an easy and familiar choice. New students seem to really like the sleek lines and relatively low cost of our Piper Sport LSA.”

Do you accomplish instrument training in your LSA? If so, how much?

Instrument panel, Piper Sport LSA
“Instrument training? Absolutely. Again, for us there were a lot of analogies to the standard rotary wing training model. Many helo training operators may not have a ship that is certified to fly into actual IMC, but do have one that is well equipped to conduct instrument training in (with the student utilizing a view limiting device.) So, for us, it was apples to apples with the LSA program rollout. To date, we’ve had a number of students conduct their entire Instrument Rating course (as well as the checkride itself) in our LSA. Because our LSA has a coupled autopilot, they actually shoot one approach on the Instrument checkride with the autopilot coupled up. It’s a really great training tool for us.”

What about scheduled and unscheduled maintenance costs with the LSA?

Jason Kidd, Guidance’s Director of Maintenance, answered this question for us. “100 hour inspections/annuals typically take 50% of the time that a conventionally certificated airplane takes, allowing the airplane to get back into service very quickly, and reducing maintenance overhead costs per hour flown. Almost everything on the LSA airplane costs less, and the overall maintenance thus far has been straightforward and predictable for us.”

What advice do you have for other schools who are not sure about evolving to an LSA training model?

“We firmly believe that LSA training is the future of GA flight training, and that now is the time to get into it. Many flight school owners have airplanes in their fleet that have realized  a significant devaluation in the past few years. These owners tend to hope that airframe values will climb back up to where they once were.” (He went on to add that this hope may take several years to become realized in actual dollars and cents, if at all.) “If you can embark into an LSA program, the marketplace is ready. It’s already paying dividends for us, and we feel that for many schools it would do the same.” We agree with Mr. Stonecipher. The question for many schools now seems to be their willingness and determination to make this shift happen within their organization, and to become part of the early majority for LSA utilization.

Entire article can be viewed at:
*Active links and pictures added by GA
Guidance Aviation provides high altitude helicopter and fixed wing flight training utilizing the newest aircraft and best equipment available. For more information, go to or

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