Proud Manufacturer of the Lightning Line of Aircraft

Frequently Asked Questions

What does the 3rd class medical exemption mean for the Lightning?

It means you don't have to wait around for the FAA to pass it. If you don't have a medical, then build your plane to LSA standards and get flying now. When the exemption passes, spend a few weeks fitting up new fairings and a prop swap and you can take full advantage of the 140 kts capability of the plane.


How long has the Lightning design been flying?

The prototype Lightning flew for the first time on March 3, 2006.


How many Lightning's are flying?

At last count there are over 115 Lightning's flying world wide, with over 10,000 hours on the fleet.


Does the Lightning EAB meet the 51% rule?

Yes, the Lightning kit meets the 51% rule. Although not on the 51% list yet, the kit complies with the intent and scope of the rule. If a kit is not on the list, it is up to the builder to prove that they have done the work. Each of the over 90 flying EAB Lightning's have been individually checked for compliance with the 51% rule, with none having any issues.


Can I build this kit at home?

Yes you can. Many builders are building and completing the Lightning kit at home. There are no special tools required. Only basic mechanical knowledge and the ability to read some simple CAD drawings is needed.


If I don’t have the space at home, can Arion Aircraft help me build it?

Yes we can. Arion Aircraft, and many of its dealers offer comprehensive builder assistance programs to help you realize your dream of building and flying your own plane.


What engine choices do I have?

The Lightning was specifically designed around the 120 hp Jabiru 3300, but the great thing about experimental aircraft is the builder can do just about anything he or she wants. If the engine is similar in weight and horsepower to the Jabiru, then the builder might expect the same performance. The Lightning XS introduced at EAA 2013 is designed for larger horsepower engines. Engines such as the Superior XP320 (Lycoming) 160 hp or UL Power 390is 160 hp. Most recently we have installed the Titan XIO340 180hp engine for ballistic performance. 


What if I just want to fly, and not build?

The SLSA Lighting LS-1 is the perfect choice for you, a ready to fly version of the Lightning kit with all the same great qualities.


Where can I fly the Lightning?

Any of the dealers listed on the website can help you get a demo ride, just call and set one up.


What does the Lighting typically weigh empty?

A basic Lightning can weigh as little as 800 lbs empty. But most aircraft equipped with full EFIS systems, auto pilots, steps, and leather interiors can weigh in the 850 lbs range.


What is the Gross weight?

The experimental Lightning CLassic has a gross weight of 1525 lbs and load limits of +4 -2. the XS gets a boost to 1650 with bigger brakes and airframe changes for the larger engines. 


Can a sport pilot fly it?

Yes, a sport pilot can fly the S-LSA LS-1 Lightning, or a builder can build the experimental version to meet the Light Sport rule.


What are the differences between the EAB and LSA version?

The prop is different in size and design, wing tip extensions are added to increase area and span, and the speed fairing kit is eliminated and replaced by simpler wheel pants only--no leg fairings at all.


How much does it cost?

The Classic kit is $39,900. The XS kit is $36,900.  The Jabiru engine cost is $19,900, the UL 390 is roughly $30,200 and the Lycoming cost depends on whether you want new or used.  After that it depends on paint, avionics, interior, and other items you want to add. A builder at home can finish one for $75,000. Most that are built at an assist facility will cost in the $105,000 range. The factory built LS-1 starts at $120k and will top out fully equipped around $135k.