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I am going to buy a light sport aircraft in next couple of months and trying to make a decision between Flight Design CTSW and Cessna 162. I have some budget within 50K and want inexpensive plane.

Flight Design CTSW (not CTLS) pros and cons: I like its design and I like Rotax 912, but I am afraid of maintenance cost of rotax, parts and mechanics availability.

Cessna 162 pros and cons: Looks like a little bit cheaper to buy. I like parts availability and mechanics. I don't care about that it burns more fuel and heavier.

Does anyone have some experience with one of these planes or would recommend a different make and model? (LSA only in USA). Thanks.

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  • $\begingroup$ Is there a reason not to go with a Cessna 150/152? $\endgroup$ – acpilot Dec 3 '19 at 20:46
  • $\begingroup$ Sport Pilot License $\endgroup$ – Igor Levashov Dec 3 '19 at 20:49
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Don't have any personal experience, but having been around GA since the mid 70s, and looking them over, the CSTW wins hands down.

To have any kind of utility a 2 seater must have more than a 500lb useful load and the CSTW is over 600lbs based on a 701lb empty, although airplanes you find used will always be heavier, probably around 725 to 750lbs empty. Still that's a pretty impressive useful load. Even if you don't care too much about the useful load because you fly by yourself all the time, at some point you will.

Any Skycatcher you find is going to be 875 lbs empty or more, with more or less the same gross (just about any airplane you buy used is quite a lot heavier than the published factor number as they pick up a pound here and a pound there from this and that over time).

Carbon structure, so no metal. Made in Europe. And the 912 family has proven to be a very reliable engine line.

So between the two, the Flight Design. I wouldn't touch a Skycatcher, which has had structural issues where Cessna had to go out modifying wings, and it kind of has that taint of failure to it due to Cessna just kind of abandoning the program even though they had a fat order book (Almost certainly because they discovered they were losing money on them even with production in China). Which is why they're cheaper.

Bottom line though is you must go for a ride in each to make an informed decision.

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  • $\begingroup$ Thanks for detailed answer. Never heard about structural issues on skycatcher. Any thoughts on jabiru j230 with jabiru engine? $\endgroup$ – Igor Levashov Dec 3 '19 at 5:08
  • $\begingroup$ I like the Jab but it has had its own issues and older versions had serious problems. Google "Jabiru reliability". I'm not a huge fan of geared engines, but the Rotax is so widely used that doesn't seem to be an issue. The other problem with Skycatcher is the production in China means quality control is a real unknown and the airplane is becoming a bit of an orphan aopa.org/community/flying-clubs/flying-club-newsletter/2017/… $\endgroup$ – John K Dec 3 '19 at 13:29

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