The development of a light sport category in Europe has led to a permanent presence for the sector's lead trade group. Jo Konrad, president of the German Ultralight Association, on 24 July joined the board of directors of the Light Aircraft Manufacturers Association and will head LAMA's new European office.

Cessna chief executive Jack Pelton also joined the board, two days after he unveiled the 162 Skycatcher, Cessna's sport aircraft and trainer that accumulated more than 400 sales in those two days.

Cessna joins a sector dominated by European manufacturers. One out of five LAMA member companies are European and they manufacture the majority of the light sport aircraft sold in the USA.

The European Aviation Safety Agency continues shaping its own version of the LSA, and Konrad is at the fore of that effort on the MDM.032 working group. "We're getting a lot of support," he says. "This is going to be a very important step forward for Europe."

Konrad's appointment to the LAMA board is the culmination of four years of planned co-operation. A LAMA-Europe was considered, but LAMA chairman Dan Johnson says this arrangement is best.

"He operates autonomously in that we don't share funds," Johnson says. "Cultural differences, time differences and languages differences make it tough for us to do a good job for them."