Frequently Asked Questions
Q: What is an "Ultralight Aircraft"?
A:An Ultralight Aircraft is defined by FAA rules as a single seat, powered flying machine which weighs less than 254 lbs., has a top speed of 55 knots (63 mph) or less, stalls at 24 knots (28 mph) or less (for slow, safe landings), and carries no more than 5 gallons of fuel. An added weight allowance is given for floats for water landings, and safety devices (parachutes).
Q: What is a "Light Sport Aircraft"?
A: Light Sport Aircraft must have a maximum gross take-off weight of no more that 1320 lbs., no more than two seats, maximum speed of 120 knots (138 mph), stall speed of 45 knots or less and a few other requirements. There are different categories such as Airplane, Weight-Shift, etc. For a detailed description, visit the EAA Sport Pilot website listed on the Links page.
Q: If you only have a one seat Ultralight, how do I get training?
A: Most companies who build single seat Ultralights, have also built a two seat training version. The FAA exemption for flying a two seat ultralight trainer by ultralight instructors, expired in Jan/2008. All two seat ultralight trainers had to be certified as an experimental light sport aircraft by that date and a Sport Pilot License is now required to operate any aircraft that does not meet Part 103. These aircraft can still be used to train pilots until Jan/2010, however training must be conducted by a FAA Certified Flight Instructor. After Jan/2010, all training must be conducted in a factory built aircraft unless the student owns the aircraft. Several companies will be coming out with a factory built ultralight trainer that can be used by flight schools. Find one similar to your single seat and get some quality instruction.
Q: What is a Sport Pilot License?
A: Because of the popularity of Ultralights and Light Sport aircraft, FAA created a new license in 2004, the Sport Pilot. As a licensed sport pilot, you may operate aircraft not exceeding 1,320 lbs, have a top speed of 120 knots (138 mph) and may carry one passenger. Sport Pilots are limited to flying during the daylight hours, must have 3 miles visibility and have a 10,000 ft. MSL limit. With additional training, Sport Pilots can fly into controlled airspace. Have medical issues? Sport pilots do not need a class 3 medical as long as they have a valid driverís license. For further information on the privileges and limitations of a Sport Pilot, go to the EAA's sportpilot.org website.
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