This past weekend I had the chance to do a little flying in what some consider to be the best light sport aircraft on the market. I’m talking about the Flight Design CTLS. I logged 0.8 and 4 landings to be exact.
Locally there is a flight school that offers light sport rentals and flight training. As a private pilot, I never really thought about flying the CTLS’s because I have access to Cessna 172’s. However, my friend who flight trains with them mentioned to me about an opportunity to become a Sport Flight Instructor for their flight school. This I had never even thought about before. Turns out, to be a Sport Flight Instructor your total time only needs to be 150 hours with 15 of those in an LSA, 25 hours XC and other requirements. You can take a flight examination along with the oral and written and be a CFI-Sport without even holding a commercial or private pilot license. Crazy!
When this opportunity knocked, I thought it would be a perfect segway to build my time without having to shell out an arm and a leg for a few years.
So I met with the owner and the next day he texted me asking if I would like to go flying in the airplane that I potentially could be instructing out of in about 50 hours. I obviously said yes!
He showed me around the airplane during preflight. An all composite airplane with a BRS Parachute system made for a few things I’m not used to. The 100hp Rotax engine runs off of the same gas I put in my car and the composite prop looks pretty sweet.
In the cockpit was a Dynon glass panel setup which made me feel spoiled being in a “light sport” and all. I even think the airplane has autopilot… really?
We started it up, taxied out and departed for some evening and night flying.
I grabbed that killer sunset shot above while on this flight, if anything that was worth the whole evening.
Anyway, on departure this thing just wants to fly and climb. So I let it. It was like I added full throttle and the airplane was already airborne (light sport adjustment #1). Perhaps this is why they consider it the best light sport aircraft who knows.
Response on the control inputs, I would say not how I was expecting. I know this may sound silly, but I felt like the controls were much heavier than I expected. Perhaps because it’s all direct rod (I believe), but the rudder pedals were especially difficult.
We cruised on over to KTZR to do some landings and practice so I could get the feel of this thing. Abeam the numbers, you just go idle and throw in 15 degrees of flaps and you are literally done coming in. Looking for 63 knots on final I had to get used to the throttle in the center console. A bit of a windy night, this airplane will toss around in the wind so stay on the ball and keep your speed up.
The landings were anything but pretty (by my standard), but I’ll blame it on being new to this airplane. Once we murdered the runway enough over there we departed and did some flying and then headed on back to KOSU where we ended the night.
Landed 27L, taxied back to the hangar and put her away for the night.
So do I think it is the best light sport aircraft out there?
It wasn’t anything like I had flown before. Not saying it’s a bad thing but it isn’t an airplane you just hop in and take around without an hour or two figuring out how this thing acts. To consider it the best light sport aircraft out there would be a stretch but then again I only have experience with that or a Piper Cub (and that’s not even technically a light sport aircraft). I mean there are negative flaps people… what’s that all about!?
Anyway, we shall see. I am excited though for the opportunity to potentially be a CFI-Sport so early on in my flying life. This could be a huge opportunity!