Aeromarine LSA is managed by Chip W. Erwin, a serial entrepreneur with 35 years’ experience in bringing affordable aircraft to the market. His previous company, Czech Aircraft Works, built over 750 aircraft and aircraft kits plus created 3 LSA models: The SportCruiser/PiperSport, the Mermaid, and the Parrot. His focus now is developing and promoting the new class of ‘Personal Sport Aircraft’ which means bringing aircraft to the market than a lot more people can actually afford to buy an fly.
Aeromarine-LSA has established a base of operations at the South Lakeland Airport which has a perfect location in central Florida near all the famous amusement parks and close to both Tampa and Orlando International airports. This location was chosen primarily because the airport is very light aircraft friendly and perfectly suitable location to operate a builders-assistance center but also because it has excellent year-round flying weather, has ports nearby for importing aircraft and not too far from a hockey rink.
The build center is part of the plan to be able to offer the E-AB Merlin PSA. Perhaps it is best to briefly explain the FAA rules that we are operating under:
1. ULTRALIGHT AIRCRAFT RULES (PART 103)
2. SINGLE SEAT DEREGULATED (SSDR)
3. EXPERIMENTAL AMATEUR-BUILT (E-AB)
4. SPECIAL LIGHT SPORT AIRCRAFT (SLSA)
PART 103 is the USA FAA rule that allows ‘ultralight’ aircraft to fly without any certification, registration, pilots’ license or medical. It has a strict empty weight limit of 254 lbs and speed range of 24 to 55 knots. This UL rule has been adapted by many other countries that mirror the FAA regulations including China. Thousands of ultralights are already flying in USA and in China.
The Zigolo fits Part 103 perfectly. Furthermore, the Zigolo is the only conventional UL aircraft that is light enough to legally accommodate the electric power option!
SINGLE SEAT DEREGULATED (SSDR) is a new rule recently published in the United Kingdom. This rule is similar to the FAA rule in that it is only for a single seat aircraft and has strict weight and speed limits. However the weight limit is much higher at 300 kg gross and it has a maximum stall speed of 35 knots and no limitation on maximum speed. The certification documentation for a SSDR is only one page!
The Stinger and Merlin PSA aircraft are designed specifically to the limits of this rule. We will be able to offer a ‘personal airplane’ that can cruise at over 100 mph, land on grass strips, easy to hanger or transport, and viable with gasoline, electric, or hybrid power!
EXPERIMENTAL AMATEUR-BUILT (E-AB)
This rule is widely accepted in many countries including the USA and in the EU. The customer must assemble or fabricate at least 51% of the aircraft. The FAA inspects and approves aircraft and publishes an approved list. The Zigolo has already been inspected and approved by the FAA. The Stinger and Merlin PSA will also meet this rule. E-AB provides us a path to the market immediately and prior to any future certifications.
Both aircraft will be offered in quick-build form which means the majority of the difficult work is done and the customer only has 50-100 hours to finish the aircraft. Furthermore, a customer build center is established in Florida which will provide a place, tools, and assistance for customers that wish to complete their aircraft in one week without needing any special skills or tools themselves.
SPECIAL LIGHT SPORT AIRCRAFT (SLSA)
This category has spread around the world and offers an inexpensive path to certification which allows us to sell finished aircraft. There is a provision in the LSA rules for a single-seat aircraft. As the cost of the engine and airframe is much less we can offer a finished SLSA for only $35,000! However the SLSA option will not be available for 1-2 years as electric power is not allowed in the LSA class. The FAA intended to allow electric power but when they wrote the final rule they specified ‘reciprocating engines only’ in an effort to preclude the use of turbine and jet propulsion in the LSA class but that effectively eliminated electric power also. There will be strong efforts to revise this part of the rule with companies such as Siemens. Boeing and Airbus getting involved in electric-powered aircraft.
CHIP W. ERWIN BIO
Established and managed a $14mm annual sales aircraft manufacturing company (Czech Aircraft Works) with global sales and >250 employees.
Successfully petitioned the FAA to modify the LSA rules to allow retractable gear on seaplanes thereby creating the opportunity for amphibious aircraft.
Intensively studied seaplane design including rebuilding and flying a Lake Buccaneer amphib.
Designed and LSA-certified the Mermaid amphibious flying boat and collected some 350 orders. Built hundreds of light aircraft floats.
Established an aircraft manufacturing company in Zhuhai, China (ongoing).
4 + years’ experience doing aviation business in China. Currently creating one of China’s first private seaplane bases.
BS in General Business from Arizona State University and MBA in Entrepreneurship from the University of North Dakota (completed MBA in school record 9 months with 4.0 GPA).
Test pilot & amphibious aircraft pilot experience. Seaplane pilot for 35 years.
3-time winner of Piccolo Schneider Cup seaplane race (Italy).
Invited to Olympic trials in sailing (twice).
Past Greek National UL aircraft champion.
Takes credit for the work of all those that contribute to his wild ideas.