Temecula, CALIFORNIA / April 29, 2014 — Quicksilver Aeronautics was informed by FAA that their audit to produce the Sport 2S model as a Special Light-Sport Aircraft has been satisfactorily concluded. The model will officially be known as the Sport L-S2S and marketed as the Sport S2SE.
“We are very pleased about this accomplishment,” said Quicksilver Aeronautics President, Will Escutia. “Daniel Perez, our chief of operations, did an outstanding job leading the team to this goal.” The company also retained an outside engineering firm, Streamline Design, which is a leading expert on the ASTM industry consensus standards that are used to gain Federal Aviation Administration acceptance.
Escutia noted that the California company used “L-S2S” as the model name during the certification process. “We selected this name relatively early in the process in the understanding that we could market it with any other name we selected later.” For retail buyers and company dealers, the Sport 2S model now approved to be fully manufactured, the model will be called S2SE to be in line with their Fly-and-Enjoy concept for fully assembled planes and to differentiate it from the experimental kits the company will continue to manufacture and market. Other SLSA models are also in progress.
FAA Aviation Safety Inspector Bob Franklin, working out of the agency’s Washington DC office wrote in an email, “The FAA accepts your corrective actions to the ... [audit] findings and now considers the audit closed. Quicksilver may now make application for Special Airworthiness in the Light-Sport category for the L-S2S.” Franklin clarified that his email served as “informal” notice and that Quicksilver can expect to receive a formal letter stating the same message in early May 2014. “Thank you again for your cooperation and professionalism,” closed Franklin in his email.
“We are prepared to swiftly put the Sport S2SE into production as a fully-built aircraft,” stated Escutia. As the company begins manufacturing of the Sport S2SE, Quicksilver has embarked on a new method for the LSA industry.
According to Light-Sport Aircraft regulations, a manufacturer such as Quicksilver Aeronautics may create “extensions,” which are manufacturing locations other than the headquarters factory. A manufacturer is charged with maintaining full quality control over these extensions but such remote operations put manufacturing much closer to customers. While any LSA manufacturer can pursue this method no other company has yet opened multiple extension facilities making Quicksilver a pioneer in this regard.
The two locations where full manufacturing of the S2SE besides the Temecula California factory are in Reserve, Louisiana at the St. John airport under the direction of longtime dealer Gene “Bever” Borne. Air-Tech Inc., will become an assembly center for Special LSA and will serve southern states in the Eastern half of the country. A second location will be in Rochester, Minnesota under the direction of former sales manager, Todd Ellefson. The Minnesota-based extension will also be certified as an assembly center for the Sport 2S Special LSA in order to better serve customers in North-Central USA. Additional assembly centers are under consideration and will be established as demand requires.
The Quicksilver Sport S2SE is offered at the retail price of $39,999, making it one of the lowest priced SLSA models available. Amateur-built kits remain available at even lower cost as do kit LSA, known as Experimental LSA or ELSA. Ten years ago when the Sport Pilot/Light-Sport Aircraft rule was announced, many people expected prices of SLSA to be about $50-60,000. Comparing 2004 dollars to 2014 dollars those values would be $63-75,000 today making the fully built Sport S2SE one of the great values in all of aviation at 50 or 60% of the once-expected price for a Light-Sport Aircraft.
FACTS ABOUT QUICKSILVER AERONAUTICS
Quicksilver Aeronautics, under new ownership since 2012, is the most prolific builder of light aircraft kits in the world, with more than 15,000 units flying. Quicksilver builds the MX series including the Sprint, Sprint II, Sport, Sport II, Sport 2S and the GT series including the single seat GT 400 and the two place GT 500. All aircraft models have successfully been included on FAA’s approved-kit list. The GT 500 is the first aircraft approved by FAA under the Primary Aircraft category (1993) and work is underway to gain FAA acceptance of the Sport 2S and GT 500 as Special Light-Sport Aircraft. Quicksilver has dealers throughout the USA and the world with thousands flying in nearly 100 countries. The brand has an enviably good safety record owing significantly to exceptional ease of flight, thorough engineering, and long experience dating to the early 1970s.