What is a Light-Sport Aircraft
A light sport aircraft is a factory-built, ready-to-fly aircraft designed and constructed in accordance with the ASTM consensus standards for light sport aircraft (LSA).

Under CASA regulations, an LSA 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, or 560 kg for a lighter-than-air aircraft.
  • A maximum stall speed in the landing configuration (Vso) of 45 knots CAS.
  • Maximum two person, including the pilot.
  • A fixed landing gear. A glider may have retractable landing gear. (For an aircraft intended for operation on water, a fixed or repositionable landing gear)
  • A single, non-turbine engine fitted with a propeller (propellers may be in-flight adjustable).
  • A non-pressurised cabin.

An LSA aircraft
must be imported as an LSA aircraft. Some LSA aircraft can be imported as either LSA or ultralight aircraft. If imported as an ultralight aircraft you will be limited to a maximum take-off weight of 545-kg and you will prevented from ever registering the aircraft as an LSA aircraft. The main advantage of importing the aircraft as an LSA aircraft is that you can operate at the higher maximum take-off weight of 600-kg and can register the aircraft on the CASA civil register.

Upon completion of the necessary certification requirements including the issue of a Special Certificate of Airworthiness the aircraft owner can elect to either register the aircraft on the RA-Aus register (24-XXXX) or the CASA civil register (VH-XXX).

In addition to recreational flying, LSA's can be rented and used for flight instruction. If rented or used for flight instruction they must be maintained and inspected by either a Level 2 if operated on the RA-Aus register or a CASA authorised maintenance facility (LAME) if operated on the CASA civil register.

Pilots can perform preventive maintenance on their LSA if registered on the RA-Aus register and used solely for private operations. Maintenance on CASA registered aircraft is more restrictive with minimal work by the pilot being permitted.

Light Sport Aircraft are fuel efficient (circa 18 to 20-litres per hour) and exceptionally economical to operate with cost effective components including propellers, engine maintenance and effective overhaul costs. They offer generally excellent range and good performance with true airspeeds (KTAS) generally between 105 and 125.