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Ultralight Aviation

Updated on July 30, 2008

Introduction to Ultralight Aviation

Are the private airplanes only for the richest? So many people dream to fly but can't even imagine owning a private jet. Besides that flying with some of these machines rare gives really fulfilling experience.

It seems that too many people didn't agree just to dream flying so the ultralight aviation was invented. The ultralight flying machines are a lot more affordable than the other aircraft. They are smaller, cheaper, cutier, spend less fuel, fly slower and often give you the opportunity to feel the air around you.

This hub is a short introduction to ultralight aviation. Read below to learn what kinds of ultralight airplanes are available, how much does owning one cost and how can you actually start flying.

Ultralight Airplanes

The ultralight airplanes are just like the normal airplanes, but much lighter. The light weight and cost saving are achieved by removing a lot of the "extras" that normal airplanes have. Sometimes this would mean even that there is no cockpit - this is often the case with the so called "ultralight trikes".

The ultralight airplanes usually are created for one or two people only. They don't fly as fast as the light airplanes - usually their cruise speed is 100 - 200km/h.

There are two major types of ultralight airplanes:

  • Fixed wing ultralight aircraft. These look exactly like you would expect an airplane to look.

  • Flex wing ultralight aircraft. The flex wings are even lighter, their delta wing is flexible and they take much less space.

Some popular ultralight airplanes are Challenger, Colb Ultralight and Rans Coyote.

Sometimes people refer to ultralight airplanes as light sport aircraft but there are some thin differences like you can read in the linked article.

The prices of ultralight airplanes are usually $20,000 and above. However you can have one even cheaper if you build it yourself with a kit or just plans. Another money saving option is to buy a second hand one or a share. A decent second hand ultralight trike may cost just $5k.

Here is a video of some nice ultralight airplanes

Ultralight Helicopters

To many it sounds surprising that anyone would want to make an ultralight helicopter. But the ordinary helicopters are extremely complex and expensive that the flying enthusiasts who loved helicopters needed a solution for that and found it.

The ultralight helicopters have very simple construction,often no cockpit and in many cases are just built by their owners. Of course, most builders don't do everything in their own, but purchase helicopter kits.

The price of an ultralight helicopter can go as low as $8,000 or at least this what the Indian Ultralight helicopter creators claim.

A lovely Ultralight Helicopter

Ultralight Aircraft Kits

Like mentioned above, many people choose to build their ultralight aircraft on their own. Going completely from scratch is possible if you purchase engineering plans. It's a very tough job and takes a lot of time but some enthusiasts do it.

For many building an ultralight airplane with a kit will be much better option. Here are its advantages:

  • Building from kit is relatively easy. Don't expect it to be a cake, but it's much better than trying to build all parts yourself. And the possibilities to go wrong are less.
  • Using kit you have better choice of airplanes. That's true because many ultralights are sold only in kit form. Besides that transporting a kit is cheaper and easier than transporting a completed aircraft.
  • Using kit is cheaper.

  • It's a great learning experience. You will see all the parts of your ultralight airplane and will know where is each one of them. This makes support easier and flying safer.

The prices of ultralight kits vary hugely depending on the models. Some airplane kits can be bought for less than $10,000 while other cost more than $100,000. Before buying, make sure to check the airplane buyer guide.


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      KARLHEINZ BAYER 8 years ago




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      TonyB 8 years ago

      This is probably the more realistic alternative to the flying car.

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      Charlie Clark 7 years ago

      Moody was not the inventor of the first true ultralight (powered hang glider! The "Clark Box", "Thrust Machine" was the first powered attachment with 125 lbs. of thrust to allow the powered hang glider to take off on flat ground without assistance of wind or typical launch used by hang gliders such as off a cliff or off a hill or mountain. The "Clark Box" was invented by Charlie Clark, a southern California hang glider pilot who saw the need for powered hang gliding and produced many of these power units with reduction and prop. The "Clark Prop" the first wood prop used on any powered hang glider was 39 inches in length and the engine used was a 10 HP go cart engine. At the time (1975) there were no other engines available. The "Clark Box" was featured in hang glider magazines all over the world. Many units were shipped to other countries which helped further the sport of powered hang gliding. The name "Ultralight" was adapted as the name stands today by Charlie Clark, Jack Britton, Okana and Brad Prit all hang glider pilots at Lake Elsinore in 1976 at a meeting to discuss a name for the sport other than "Powered Hang Glider". Out of that meeting the name "Ultralight" was born.

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      Lisa 7 years ago

      I'm most interested in finding a two-seat ultralight trike. So far I haven't been able to find a two-seater for a good price. Does anyone know any sites for used trike aircraft?

      Also, what would a two-seater ultralight trike normally cost? I need to know what sort of prices to expect as "normal."

      Thank you for your help!


    • activewriter profile image

      activewriter 7 years ago from Heber Springs, Ar

      Remember the Weedhopper? I was a dealer back in the 1980's. Lots of fun for the money but reliability was poor. Great article, thanks.

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      Juan Valarezo 6 years ago

      Im interested to import the helicopter to Ecuador, please give me the fob price and i want import first one and maybe more to sale it. My mail is

    • profile image

      Neil Goodwin 6 years ago

      The video showed a Piper Cherokee taxiing which is a light aircraft not an ultra light?

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      Butchikins 6 years ago

      a few years back, i saw an ad on t.v. showing a gyro-copter pilot landing on a picket fence. does anybody rememer this demo, and, what was the name of the kit?

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      Soaring Community 6 years ago

      If one knows how to build a ultralight aircraft, then one can easily built it and can have the pleasure of using it.

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      Charlie Clark 5 years ago

      Correction as to who named the Ultralight name. At the meeting in Lake Elsinore, California, it was not Brad Prit but Brad White that was at that meeting with Charlie Clark of Power Up Systems and the "Clark Box" (the first power on hang gliders able to take off on flat ground with no wind) Jack Britton the greatest aerobatic pilot of ultralights ever was and the first to do an "OUTSIDE LOOP" in an ultralight and Ted Okana. Those three people named the powered powered hang glider the "ULTRALIGHT". See you tube "WHO REALLY INVENTED THE ULTRALIGHT".

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      Randall Anderson 5 years ago

      I am interested in purchasing the Ultralight Helicopter kit.

      Please reply with the information concerning purchase.

      Frankly, it is disturbing that you don't post a link to purchasing the kit for that particular aircraft.

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      Louis Leclair 4 years ago

      Just starting our research and will deside which ultalight to assemble. We are living on a quiet lake and wondering if we cah set up on small pontoons instead of wheel? And if so, what are the constraints. Thanks for your help.

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      voyo 4 years ago

      Yep, those are called seaplanes! Check out this info here:

      For regulations however you have to check locally

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      Jennifer Arnett 3 years ago from California

      I love that helicopter. it's like a Power Wheels version of a chopper.

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