By Norm Goyer
I would like to thank Wikipedia for the technical information regarding both aircraft. NG
Hopefully you have read this week’s Under the Radar where we explain Piper has opted out of their arrangement with CSA Sport Cruiser. These are basically the same aircraft and are rated high in the LSA category as good airplanes and a good price. True? Could be, could not be. Let’s look at the press and flight reviews that these Czech designs have received. We will start with the Czech Sport Aircraft Sport Cruiser which has been available from 2006 until 2010. Then it was rebranded as a Piper Sport which was available from 2010 to 2011. Neither aircraft are currently available.
The CZAW (CAS) Sport Cruiser is a fixed wing aircraft with side-by-side seating, single engine, tricycle landing gear, aircraft. The construction is all aluminum with a low wing configuration. It can be powered with either a 100 hp Rotax 912ULS or a 120 hp Jabiru 3300 engine. A variety of approved propellers include: Woodcomp SR3000 2 and 3 blade, Woodcomp Classic 3 blade and Sensenich 2 blade with nickel leading edge.
The SportCruiser was initially (optional) available with a Ballistic Recovery Systems parachute, auto pilot and Dynon or TruTrak EFIS. The aircraft is capable of cruise at 133 mph (115 knots) with a range of 630 statute miles. On a no wind day, gross weight takeoff is achieved in 350 ft and landing in 400 ft. The Sport Cruiser fits either an ultralight or microlight category in several countries as well as the USA‘s Light-Sport Aircraft category. Between 2006 and 2010 it was available either as a kit, or as a fully built production model. The Sport Cruiser is accepted as a US, FAA LSA, an FAA homebuilt kit and accepted as home-built kit in the Netherlands, Switzerland, and the U.K.
Piper Aircraft needed an LSA to compete with the new Cessna 162. On January 21, 2010 Piper Aircraft announced that they had licensed a version of the Sport Cruiser and will market it as the Piper Sport. Piper’s CEO, Kevin Gould, said: “The Piper Sport is an amazing entry-level aircraft that will bring new customers into Piper and lead the way for those customers to step up into more sophisticated and higher performance aircraft within our line over time.” Many top aircraft writers and editors flew the new Piper Sport and found that it was a decent airplane, some loved it, others approved of its quality, a few had minor complaints about some aspects of its handling.
In January of 2010 Piper announced that the Sport is a minimally modified version of the existing CZAW Sport Cruiser and will continue to be manufactured by Czech Sport Aircraft, with Piper’s manufacturing operation playing no part in the construction, although Piper will distribute parts. The changes to the aircraft are stronger nose gear, an optional Ballistic Recovery Systems parachute and leather interior, both as standard equipment. The sport Cruiser also includes a cockpit sunshade and modified pitch controls, plus a custom paint scheme. Previously the Sport Cruiser was available as a completed aircraft or a kit, but Piper will offer it only as a completed aircraft, sold as a Special Light-sport aircraft (LSA) in the USA. It will be distributed by the Piper dealer network worldwide. Deliveries under the Piper name commenced with the initial customer receiving their aircraft on April 13, 2010 at Sun ‘n Fun. The aircraft is offered in three different trim and avionics configurations, with higher end models offering the Dynon D100 glass cockpit and autopilot. All models will be equipped with the Rotax 912S engine of 100 hp. I also believe that Cessna’s use of a Continental 100-hp engine is a far better choice than the Rotax. The Rotax is an excellent engine but the 100-hp Continental certainly has a well deserved reputation as well. Incidentally, Continental was recently bought out by the Chinese government.
At the time of this report, neither aircraft is available, as all production has ceased as of January 2011. Its future is in question. It is always a loss when a viable quality aircraft is taken from the market place and the Sport Cruiser was indeed a very nice aircraft, being a CZAW or a Piper. Fortunately, the LSA marketplace is over populated. Maybe the expected shake out of LSAs has commenced.
Specifications: CZAW Sport Cruiser & Piper Sport LSA
- Crew: one pilot
- Capacity: one passenger
- Length: 23.3 feet
- Wingspan: 28.1 feet
- Wing area: 131.3 sq ft
- Empty weight: 740 lb
- Loaded weight: 1320 lb
- Useful load: 580 lb
- Max takeoff weight: 1320 lb
- Powerplant: 1× Rotax 912ULS fixed pitch, 100 hp