The biggest changes to the LSA regulations since 2004 are out early for AirVenture 2023 and can be read here. For those that don't have the time to read the lengthy proposed rules, here are the exciting highlights from Jim Ruttler, co-founder of Aithre, also a licensed patent attorney and EAB RV-10 builder/pilot with an instrument rating.
NO WEIGHT LIMIT
The old rules required LSAs to be under 1320 lbs. The new rules remove the weight limits.
UP TO 4 SEATS
The old rules required LSAs to be up to 2 seats. The new rules would permit up to 4 seats. Sport pilots could fly a 4 seat under the proposed rules, but could only carry 1 passenger. Private pilots could fly a 4 seat LSA with all seats filled.
REMOVAL OF FIXED PITCH AND FIXED LANDING GEAR
The old rules prevented constant speed props and retractable landing gear. The new rules will eliminate these restrictions - retractable and constant speed props are in. Automatic prop control is in.
MAX CRUISE SPEED 250 KTS
The old rules had a max 120 knot cruise speed, while the new rules all but eliminated top end speed restrictions at 250 knots.
INCREASED STALL SPEED
Old VS1 was 45 knots, while the new rule proposes a 54 knot stall speed with no flaps. The FAA believes this will support aircraft weights up to 3000 lbs.
NO MOTOR LIMITATION
The old rules limited motors to 1 reciprocating motor. The new proposed rules would eliminate this and allow for any number or type of motors. Twins are in. Electric is in.
New proposed rules encourage and allow for IFR operations so long as the aircraft is properly equipped.
Overall, my sense is that the FAA is looking to shift pilots and aircraft owners over to the LSA market and out of the EAB market. They are clear that the safety record of LSAs has been very high and that higher limits of LSAs would sweep more owners into factory built LSAs.