What is an Ultralight?
What is a Light-sport aircraft?
What is required to be an Ultralight pilot?
What is required to be a Light-sport pilot?

What is an Ultralight?
  • Single seat only
  • 5 gallons of fuel maximum
  • Maximum level flight speed of 55 knots calibrated airspeed
  • Maximum power-off stall speed of 24 knots calibrated airspeed
  • Maximum empty aircraft weight of 254 lbs.

While most people look at a single seat "ultralight" and call it an ultralight, over 90 percent of those "ultralights" are actually overweight or too much fuel and cannot be flown legally. It is very difficult to keep an aircraft light enough to stay in the ultralight category and still equip it the way we'd like. So the answer is to either use it for a yard ornament or try to register it in another category, usually the experimental category. Unfortunately, that is a very difficult task and may not be possible for some of those "fat ultralights".For many years there were what were commonly called "two seat ultralights". Actually there was never a category for two seat ultralights. The FAA had a program that allowed two-seat trainers to be used for instruction only by licensed instructors in the ultralight category. These trainers held an exemption that allowed them to be flown without conventional certification and had weight, speed and fuel limitations also. That exemption process is no longer being used. Now any aircraft exceeding the actual ultralight category must be registered with the FAA and must have a licensed pilot on board whether it is single place or two place. Most of that type would be what is called "light-sport" aircraft.

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What is a Light-sport aircraft?
  • Single or two place only
  • No fuel limits
  • Maximum level flight speed of 120 knots (138 mph) calibrated airspeed at maximum continuous power
  • Maximum power-off stall speed of 45 knots (52 mph) calibrated airspeed
  • Maximum gross weight of 1320 lbs.-1430 lbs. for amphibious aircraft
  • Single engine only-no inflight adjustable prop
  • Fixed gear only (unless amphibious)

A couple years ago the FAA in cooperation with the Experimental Aircraft Association, and the ultralight organizations came together and created what is called the Light-sport category. Most of the ultralights that people think of are actually in the light-sport category because they exceed at least one of the criteria of the ultralight rule. The light-sport category helped to round up a lot of these "fat" ultralights and bring them into a legal flying status. Another plus for the light-sport category is the medical issue. A pilot can either use a minimum of a third class medical or a valid U.S. drivers license for their statement of fitness for flight. For a lot of pilots that was a God-send. Often pilots would be denied a medical for certain medical conditions that really would not cause any problems for them flying safely. Sport pilots are restricted from flying at night and cannot exceed 10,000 ft. above sea level unless clearing an obstacle. For just knocking around the sky and having fun, the light-sport and ultralight categories can't be beat.

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What is required to be an Ultralight pilot?
Well.....nothing. To fly a legal ultralight (one that meets all of the criteria for an ultralight) there is no restrictions or licensing of any kind. That doesn't mean that you shouldn't have flight instruction. Obviously one should get as much instruction as needed to proficiently act as pilot in command of that aircraft. We can get you through that instruction to make you a safe pilot. Think about it.....Gravity is cannot escape it. Do you really want to get up there and not really know what to do??? Remember an old saying-It is better to be down here wishing you were up there than up there wishing you were down here.

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What is required to be a Light-sport pilot?
  • Minimum of 17 years old.
  • Have a third-class medical or better, or have a valid U.S. drivers license
  • Be able to read, write, and understand English
  • You must pass a written knowledge test
  • You must complete a minimum of 15 hours dual instruction with a qualified instructor
  • Included in those 15 hours of dual, you must receive a minimum of 2 hours cross country instruction
  • 10 takeoffs and landings to a full stop at an airport
  • Minimum of 5 hours solo including a cross country flight of at least 75 nautical miles with one segment of the flight consisting of a straight line distance of at least 25 nautical miles with a full-stop landing at a minimum of 2 points.
  • 2 hours of flight training within 60 days of your Practical test in preparation for your Practical test
  • Complete a Practical test with a flight examiner including both oral and flight testing

There are other criteria to be met if the Sport pilot wishes to obtain endorsements for different speed limitations, controlled airspace, tail wheel, etc.

We offer a complete training program for the Light-sport certification. Everything from introductory flights through ground school, dual instruction and checkride. Give us a call to set up your flight.

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