Can I maintain my own light-sport aircraft (LSA)?

No matter where you buy your light-sport aircraft you must consider service after the sale. Mechanical devices will have parts that can, and do, fail. There is also the reality that as part of your learning curve you may damage something. This is not uncommon. Where the parts will come from, how much they cost, and how long it will take to get them may play a big role in your purchase decision. So will the actual work of replacing them.

S-LSA (Special-LSA) must be maintained by FAA certified mechanics, with the exception of some preventative maintenance such as adding oil, cooling fluid, air to tires, and minor maintenance. For a S-LSA, owner/operator preventative maintenance is determined by the manfacturer in the specific operations handbooks for the aircraft.

E-LSA (Experimental-LSA) is completely different. Any one can do maintenance on an E-LSA. This may be a reason to get an E-LSA if you want to do your own maintenance. If you are sufficiently mechanically adept that you can, with training, do many of the maintenance and repairs yourself. You may also have all the tools necessary to do the job. If you are not comfortable with this type of work you will need to consider how you will get this service and maintenance accomplished if needed. When you buy a new light-sport aircraft you can usually have this work performed by the dealer. When you buy a used light-sport aircraft you may be on your own as warranties are seldom transferable and the original dealer usually has no obligation to support you. All light-sport aircraft (LSA) require an Annual Condition Inspection every year by FAA certified repairman. For E-LSA, you can do this yourself if you take a 16 hour class for your category of aircraft (airplane, weight-shift control trike, or powered parachute). If you elect NOT to take the class, then you'll need to find someone qualified to do this annual inspection, such as: An appropriately rated A&P mechanic An appropriately rated repair station A Light Sport Aircraft repairman with a maintenance rating The two new FAA LSA Repairman Certificate ratings are Inspection and Maintenance. Inspection (16 hours) rating allows you to conduct the annual condition inspection on your own PPC E-LSA. It requires the successful completion of an FAA accepted 16-hour course for the specific class of LSA. Maintenance (120 hour) rating is a commercial rating allowing the annual condition inspection on the owner's or others PPC S-LSA and E-LSA. It requires successful completion of a 120 hour course on maintenance for LSA.