Greetings from The Aero Experience Team


The Aero Experience is a celebration of Midwest aviation and aerospace achievement. We invite you to join us as we explore the treasures of Midwest aviation through first-hand experiences. Our contributors take turns flying lead, and we are always looking for new destinations. Check in with The Aero Experience frequently to see where we will land today, and then go out and have your own aero experiences!

Blue skies,

Carmelo Turdo, Mark Nankivil and Fred Harl - The Aero Experience Team

Monday, August 18, 2014

Air Associates of Missouri Announces Fleet and Service Expansion with Addition of TL-3000 Sirius LSA and Cirrus SR22

By Carmelo Turdo Associates of Missouri, the St. Louis area's premier Cessna Pilot Center, has announced a fleet and service expansion initiative to better serve Midwest Aviation customers.  The fleet has traditionally included late-model Cessna 172 Skyhawk aircraft that serve reliably along with an advanced Redbird MCX full-motion flight simulator and Cessna Skycatcher Light Sport Aircraft.  Recently, Air Associates of Missouri rolled out the newest additions to the fleet: TL-3000 Sirius Light Sport Aircraft and Cirrus SR22.  These aircraft will enhance the customer experience by providing additional choices of aircraft in the Light Sport and Advanced General Aviation categories.

The Light Sport Aircraft (LSA) category has been in existence for ten years and offers an opportunity for pilots who may not meet Third Class Airman's Medical standards to fly this category of aircraft.  A new pilot may present a driver's license or current Third Class Airman's Medical as proof of medical fitness, and current pilots can use unexpired/unrevoked Third Class Airman's Medical to fly in the LSA.  Of course there are also limitations on aircraft size and performance as well as use of the aircraft.  Generally, the pilot can fly for non-business reasons in aircraft limited to two seats, 120kt. airspeed and 1320lb. gross weight.  A pilot can train for a Private Pilot Certificate and build flying experience in an LSA, and many flight schools like Air Associates of Missouri offer the LSA for flight training and rental for another good reason: low operating costs.  Most LSAs use 4-5 gallons of fuel per hour on automotive gas and have Rotax engines that function up to 2,000 hours between overhaul.  
The TL-3000 Sirius LSA (foreground) will replace the Skycatcher
Air Associates of Missouri is working with Matt Swanson of Swan Air in Bethalto, IL to introduce the TL-3000 Sirius LSA to the St. Louis area.  The aircraft is manufactured in the Czech Republic by TL Ultralight (ultralight is the European equivalent term for light sport).  It uses carbon composite materials and it is powered by a Rotax 912 series engine.  Described by Air Associates of Missouri Chief Flight Instructor Scott Thompson as a "Baby Cessna 182,"  the TL-3000 Sirius offers impressive performance and interior room compared to other LSAs. 

Two occupants sit comfortably in the 46 inch-wide cabin in front of the cargo compartment rated to 75lbs.  A variety of advanced avionics can be installed in the cockpit, with extra room for iPad clips if desired.  Advanced features like nose-wheel steering, differential braking and ballistic aircraft recovery system (aircraft parachute) are standard.  Flights up to 650nm are possible at cruise speed with a fuel burn rate of 5 gallons per hour.  Perhaps the most eye-opening performance standard is the 17kt. wind gust rating that allows the TL-3000 Sirius to be the only LSA aloft some days.   

Air Associates of Missouri presented the current TL-3000 Sirius to the public August 9 at its Spirit of St. Louis Airport facility and plans to put it to use immediately.  Matt Swanson of Swan Air was also present to demonstrate the aircraft's features and pre-flight inspection procedures.  Air Associates of Missouri will fly Discovery Flights for new pilot candidates in the TL-3000, and a sister ship will soon be arriving based on projected demand for the aircraft.  Both TL-3000s will then be integrated into the flight training and rental aircraft fleet, so now is a good time to inquire about availability of the aircraft for a demonstration flight.  

Rotax 912 series engine

Flexible glass cockpit layout offers the latest options
The TL-3000 Sirius aircraft was also on display at the TL Ultralight exhibit at EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2014 a few weeks ago.  Special thanks to Air Associates of Missouri and Air Associates of Kansas for sponsoring The Aero Experience coverage of that great event. 

During the TL-3000 Sirius rollout event, Chief Flight Instructor Scott Thompson also announced the intention of Air Associates of Missouri to begin conversion flight training in the Cirrus SR22.  There is great demand for Cirrus training programs in the St. Louis area, and Air Associates of Missouri is preparing to add the Cirrus high-performance SR22 aircraft to its stable.  An aircraft was available for inspection August 9, and attendees could not resist getting a close look.  More about this development in a future feature story. 

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