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Terrafugia seeks exemptions to LSA rules

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bmcj

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Following the FAA's granting of LSA exceptions to ICON Aircraft, Terrafugia now seeks their own FAA exemptions to the LSA rules. They have already received road exemptions from the DOT, yet they still need FAA leniency to meet the LSA standard. This is not a minor adjustment they are asking for... they want a significant adjustment of the weight and stall speed requirements.

Now, I am not necessarily a fan of the LSA category. Eliminate the third class medical, and LSA becomes pointless (though certification requirements for LSA vs old school Certified are different). Still, I say that if you are going to have an LSA category, at least keep it pure by not allowing exceptions except where it makes a huge difference in flight safety. At least ICON's exemption was a flightworthy (stall-spin) improvement change, but Terrafugia's request appears to be for convenience because they cannot get the job done under the existing rules. Well, I say that it's time for them to either hang it up and get out of the market, or bite the bullet and move out from under the LSA umbrella.

Terrafugia Seeks Exemptions For Weight, Stall Speed - AVweb flash Article
 

TFF

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No cheating please. Private and LSA both require licenses just different levels, barely. Why not start selling for PPL until they can get it right, or is only LSA fliers interested in it? I think the people who are dreaming of this will find out regular airplanes dont fly like pigs.
 

Apollo

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While I'm not a fan of the Terrafugia, my vote would be to let them have the exemptions. Blurring the line between LSA and certified aircraft seems beneficial as a whole. More exemptions provide further justification for eliminating the 3rd class medical altogether. If LSA pilots fly faster/heavier LSAs with no apparent increase in accidents, that's also a tangible argument for expanding the weight and performance limits of LSAs, which might allow the C150/152 and other older aircraft to meet the standards.

From a new technology standpoint, strict enforcement of the LSA rules (ie; no exemptions) could prevent some future electrical aircraft from meeting LSA requirements due to the weight of the batteries. Bottom line: I don't see the downside of allowing exceptions, except that might result in some ugly flying cars in the sky.

PS: I recall the current LSA rules don't allow for electric aircraft anyways, but that limitation will be removed eventually. Hopefully, the updated rules will allow a weight increase for battery powered aircraft, similar to the weight increase allowed for LSA amphibians/seaplanes.
 

bmcj

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I agree with that to a point, but I don't know if single point exemptions can generate enough of a statistical sample to lead the FAA to the conclusion you hope for. On the flip side of the coin, what if mishaps prompt the FAA to increase restrictions on all of us?


Bottom line: I don't see the downside of allowing exceptions, except that might result in some ugly flying cars in the sky.
:roll:
 

Nickathome

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Sounds to me like Terrafutilgia is trying anything to remain viable. I think they realize their product is so niche specific that they need to try anything to gain interest. Personally I think they're pink elephant will be about as successful as the Moeller sky car....How many of those have you seen at your local aerodrome? Exactly my point.....Zero....
 

Dana

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I have doubts whether Terrafugia will ever actually produce an aircraft for sale. Their business model seems to be similar to Moller's (collect money from investors, lots of splashy press, with production Real Soon Now). Just when interest fizzles, grab some free publicity with a request for an exemption.

Dana
 

BBerson

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Does anyone think 1800 pounds and 100hp and a short span, high drag airframe is safe?
No excemptions from the laws of physics.
I think this is just a delay tactic. Perpetual development is more glamorous and less risk than actual manufacture of real airplanes for actual sale.
 

BJC

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Does anyone think 1800 pounds and 100hp and a short span, high drag airframe is safe?
No excemptions from the laws of physics.
I saw it "fly." Marginal performance would be a huge overstatement. I would never stand under one, much less get in it.


BJC
 

BJC

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Sounds to me like Terrafutilgia is trying anything to remain viable. I think they realize their product is so niche specific that they need to try anything to gain interest. Personally I think they're pink elephant will be about as successful as the Moeller sky car....How many of those have you seen at your local aerodrome? Exactly my point.....Zero....
I think that there is a market for three or four, not to pilots, but to the ultra wealthy who must have the latest, unique toy.


BJC
 

BBerson

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I saw it "fly." Marginal performance would be a huge overstatement. I would never stand under one, much less get in it.


BJC
I also saw it fly in 2013 with marginal performance (with only a small test pilot)
Even Mac (EAA Director of Publications) commented about this.

Apparently it has since flown with a very light pilot and a very light passenger. But I couldn't get any direct answers about actual weights.
 

Nickathome

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Their slogan will mirror Moeller's..."We're on the threshold of great advancements. Please send us more money to continue our advancements".......40 years from now....."We're on the threshold of great advancements. Please send us more money to continue our advancements"....

I've been reading about Moeller's abomination since I was a kid. I'm 50 now and we still have not seen his machine other than in the occasional offbeat news story. 30 years from now we'll still be reading about Moeller and Terrafugia and they will have not gotten any farther along.
 

fly2kads

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I saw it "fly." Marginal performance would be a huge overstatement. I would never stand under one, much less get in it.
And how is it going to perform once it is bloated all the way up to 1800 lbs.? Unless part of that huge jump in weight includes a more powerful engine (and the fuel to run it), I would think it would be increasingly difficult to acheive an acceptable level of performance.
 

SVSUSteve

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Does anyone think 1800 pounds and 100hp and a short span, high drag airframe is safe?
No excemptions from the laws of physics.
I think this is just a delay tactic. Perpetual development is more glamorous and less risk than actual manufacture of real airplanes for actual sale.
I have money riding with a friend who is an investigator for PWC that if they keep flying that pointless monstrosity for another eighteen months, I will have a file about it crashing on my desk. It's a safe concept the same way that Pinto/Cessna 337 chimera was back in the 1970s.
 

bmcj

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Unless part of that huge jump in weight includes a more powerful engine (and the fuel to run it).
Not so. According to the article, the extra weight is due to road weight, not flight safety enhancements.

The added weight is necessary to meet national highway standards, Dietrich said, and those features add safety to the airplane, not only by making it more crashworthy, but also making it more likely that pilots will land in marginal weather and choose to drive instead of pushing forward to their destination.

The higher stall speed, Dietrich said, is a function of the higher weight. He added that in practice, Transition pilots tend to fly the pattern at a speed fast enough to provide a comfortable margin above stall speed.
 

fly2kads

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Not so. According to the article, the extra weight is due to road weight, not flight safety enhancements.
A large increase in weight, with no corresponding increase in power, is going have to have a rather large impact on takeoff and climb performance. Not to be Captain Obvious, here, but that would be the inescapable conclusion.

The higher stall speed, Dietrich said, is a function of the higher weight. He added that in practice, Transition pilots tend to fly the pattern at a speed fast enough to provide a comfortable margin above stall speed.
So approach and landing speeds are going to go up even higher, then. I got a bit of a laugh out of that statement. I don't know that the Transition, with its rear wheels well aft of the c.g., can even reach anything close to a full stall angle of attack in proximity to the ground. If it did, I would expect a pretty hard "slap" down on the front wheels. So the pilot may not have any choice but to takeoff and land well above stall speed. The video of the Oshkosh flight demonstration certainly show a pretty flat attitude.
 

BBerson

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A large increase in weight, with no corresponding increase in power, is going have to have a rather large impact on takeoff and climb performance. Not to be Captain Obvious, here, but that would be the inescapable conclusion.



So approach and landing speeds are going to go up even higher, then. I got a bit of a laugh out of that statement. I don't know that the Transition, with its rear wheels well aft of the c.g., can even reach anything close to a full stall angle of attack in proximity to the ground. If it did, I would expect a pretty hard "slap" down on the front wheels. So the pilot may not have any choice but to takeoff and land well above stall speed. The video of the Oshkosh flight demonstration certainly show a pretty flat attitude.
No problem, an extra 2-3000 feet of runway should be fine. :gig:
Just fly it like a Lear Jet.
I wonder if the excemption will require some additional pilot training?
 

Nickathome

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Terrafugia's montra is to take advantage of those 5000 underutilized airports. Well if they keep increasing the gross weight then their premise of being able to use those airports is thus negated. Their craft won't be able to take off and land at many small airfields.. They've just shot themselves in the foot then because now their product is less useful than simply owning or renting an aircraft with better performance. Landing, folding the wings, and taking to the roads now seems like a fruitless proposition on their part. Talk about cutting your nose off to spite your face.
 

Dana

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... even as the Feds try to prohibit "through the fence" operations at airports... :confused:

Dana
 
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