This regular posting was last revised March 31, 1998. It answers frequently asked questions about ultralight and microlight aircraft, and was written by Daniel Grunloh (grunloh@uiuc.edu) with much helpful input from other netters. The author takes full responsibility for any omissions or errors. Use of this posting in flight is prohibited. :-)

This document attempts to answer the most common questions from *newcomers* about the sport of ultralight flying. Questions about the best engine, prop, oil, etc. are not considered. The answers are short generalizations, especially in regards to federal regulations, and are not intended to be the complete definitive reference. Changes since the last posting are marked by a vertical bar ("|") in the left margin. Caution; all new or changed text is more likely to contain errors. Please send comments and corrections to grunloh@uiuc.edu.

| The most recent copy of this FAQ is always available on my
| website at http://www.staff.uiuc.edu/~grunloh.  Hypertext
| versions for easy reading with a web browser are available from
| http://www.cs.fredonia.edu/~stei0302/WWW/ULTRA/ultralight.html
| and from http://rio.atlantic.net/~av8r/index.html.  The original
| text version is also available on Usenet in rec.aviation.answers.
| Permission is given to convert or translate this text into any
| format or language provided the content is unchanged.

The questions which are answered include:

Q201: What is an ultralight (or microlight)?
Q202: Are there any regulations on these things?
Q203: How can I locate ultralights flying in my area?
Q204: Are ultralights more dangerous than other aircraft?
Q205: What does it cost to build, buy, learn, fly?
Q206: Don't most ultralights in the USA exceed the allowable legal weight and speed limits?
Q207: Why would anyone want to fly these marginal machines when they could be flying *real* airplanes?
Q208: I fly regular airplanes so why should I need any training to fly these simple machines?
Q209: Who can fly 2-seat ultralights?
Q210: Are there any ultralight gyroplanes and helicopters?
Q211: I need information about powered paragliders. (or other non-fixed wing air vehicles)
Q212: How do I contact the ultralight mailing list?
Q213: How do I contact the hang-gliding mailing list?
Q214: How do I contact the FAA Safety BBS?
Q215: When is Oshkosh?
Q216: What are the ultralight regulations in Canada?
Q217: Where can I get a copy of the regulations for the USA?
Q218: What magazines cover ultralights and microlights?
Q219: How high can you go in an ultralight?
Q220: What is rec.aviation.ultralight?
Q221: Is there an Ultralight Home page on the Web?
Q222: What is a ballistic parachute?
Q223: What are "trikes"?
Q224: Are there any ultralight balloons?
Q225: What is a 2 axis ultralight?
Q226: Is there ultralight chat on the internet?

If your viewing software has a search function, you can jump to the desired answer by searching for the question number as in "Q201:". Or, you can browse forward by searching for the "Subject:" line which precedes each answer. The style and format of this document is intended to comply with preferred Usenet conventions.

Subject: Ultralights and Microlights

Q201: What is an ultralight (or microlight)?

In the U.S.A. an ultralight is defined in Federal aviation regulations FAR Part 103 (and subsequent advisory circulars) as a *single* seat powered flying machine which weighs less than 254 lbs, has a top speed of 55 knots (63 mph), stalls at 24 knots (28 mph) or less and carries no more than 5 gal. of fuel. Excluded from the empty weight are floats for water landings and safety devices intended for deployment in an emergency. The weight allowance for an emergency parachute is 24 lbs. so an ultralight with a parachute could weigh 278 lbs.

There are strict operating limitations (see question Q202:), but no mandatory license or registration. Special 2-seat exemptions are granted to instructors for training purposes only. These training aircraft can weigh 496 lbs and carry 10 gal. of fuel. All single seat ultralights which exceed the above limits and any 2-seater not used solely for instruction must be registered as an Amateur built aircraft and must be flown by a licensed pilot. Regulations vary outside the USA, but many nations allow more weight, speed, fuel, and 2-seat operations at the expense of more safety requirements. Some call them microlights.

The Canadian Ultralight is defined in Question: Q216

In Australia, the vehicle definition is......
| Less than 300Kg Max takeoff weight for uncertificated
| single seaters and 480 KG for certificated single seat
| and 2-seat ultralight aircraft.  
Aussie ultralighters should check out the Aerial Pursuits web page at: http://www.ozemail.com.au/~aerial

| If you are located in Australia you will want to contact the;
| Australian Ultralight Federation
| PO BOX 1265
| Fyshwick ACT 2609
| Ph (+61) 06 2804700.
| Fx (+61) 06 2804775.

| See the AUF Home Page at http://www.ozemail.com.au/~aufadmin/
| for more details about the Australian regulations.

Subject: Ultralight Regulations

Q202: Are there any regulations on these things?

Yes! Aside from the vehicle definition (see question 201) there are strict operating limitations (USA) designed to limit the dangers to the non-participant. (You are permitted to risk your own neck.)

1. No passengers allowed
2 No flying over towns or settlements
3. No flying at night or above (or in) the clouds
4. No flying in airspace around airports with control towers and certain other airspace without prior permission.
5. No commercial operations (for hire) except instruction.
6. Ultralights must yield right-of-way to ALL OTHER AIRCRAFT.
7. No! You don't have to have a pilots license (yet).

Subject: Where can I find Ultralights?

Q203: How can I locate ultralights flying in my area?

There are several pilot organizations which can help.

The U.S. Ultralight Association is an organization of ultralight pilots and flying clubs in the USA. They administer an ultralight instructor program and voluntary pilot and vehicle registrations. A monthly magazine _Ultralight Flying_ is included with membership in USUA. The magazine is the oldest and largest ultralight publication. It is available only by subscription. You can contact the magazine directly at Ultralight Flying, P.O. Box 6009, Chattanooga, TN 37401. Phone: (423) 629-5375 / Fax: (423) 629-5379. Subscriptions are $30 (US) for 12 issues. (The January issue is the annual buyers guide.)

Contact the U.S. Ultralight Assn at P.O. Box 667, Frederick, MD 21705. Phone (301) 695-9100 or fax (301) 695-0763. Membership is $39.95 (US). The USUA can give you information about flying clubs, instructors,
| and flight parks in your area.  http://www.usua.com/

The Experimental Aircraft Assn. (EAA) is an organization for all types of homebuilt, antique, warbirds, rotorcraft, and ultralight aircraft. They have a very large network of local chapters. Several magazines are available with membership in EAA. Ultralight enthusiasts should chose _EAA_Experimenter_ magazine at the $28 per year membership. Their flagship publication, _Sport_Aviation_ covers all the different types of sport aircraft with emphasis on the homebuilts for $35 per year. A week-long annual convention and airshow is held in Oshkosh,
| Wisconsin each summer. The next convention is July 30-August 5, 1997.
| Write to EAA Aviation Center, P.O. Box 3086, Oshkosh, WI 54903 or
| phone (920) 426-4800 or go to their web page at www.eaa.org.  A large
| fly-in with ultralights is also held each spring in Lakeland, FL.
| The next Sun-N-Fun Fly-In is April 19-25, 1998.  Phone (813)644-2431.
| http://www.sun-n-fun.com/

Aero Sports Connection is a new organization for ultralights pilots. In addition to conventional ultralights, ASC is attempting to serve the powered parachute, rotorcraft, and balloon pilots etc. They also have instructor, pilot, and vehicle registration programs. A monthly magazine _ULTRAFLIGHT_ is included with the $40 annual membership. Write to Aero Sports Connection. P.O. Box 589, Marshall, MI 49068 or call (616) 781-4021 evenings. Email KIMOjim@aol.com.
| The ASC web page is at http://www.paraflight.com/ASC/

Finally, you can go to a small airport in your area (not a major hub), and ask around. There are independent clubs and airparks that are not part of the above organizations. Make every possible effort to locate a flying club near you because a group of pilots can provide invaluable help choosing an ultralight and finding a place to keep it.

Subject: Ultralight Safety
Q204: Are Ultralights more dangerous than other aircraft?

No. Not necessarily. They have a tremendous advantage over regular aircraft due to their low weight and speed. Minor accidents cause little damage and major accidents are less often fatal. As with hang gliders, when they were first being invented, there were many poorly designed ultralights being flown by untrained pilots. Hang gliders and ultralights are now well understood and we know how they should be built and flown.

Is engine reliability a factor? Gliders have no engine and the operators do not consider that a safety factor. Hot air balloons can only barely control their direction. Skydivers go mostly down! Each type of aviation activity must be conducted within its design limits. Accident statistics are difficult to evaluate. Should it be expressed as accidents or fatalities. Do you want it per mile, per hour, per flight, or per pilot. Airlines use seat-miles to get the best possible numbers. All the various types of *established* recreational flying are reasonably safe if you follow good practices.

Subject: Costs of building, buying, learning, flying

Q205: What does it cost to build, buy, learn, fly?

You can build a variety of safe very serviceable ultralights costing from $3000 to $6000. A raw materials kit or construction kit less engine is the cheapest way to start. Plan on spending at least 6 months to 2 years on the project. An assembly kit has all the parts prebuilt and you just bolt it together in a few weekends. Cost of these kits starts at about $6000. You can buy a used or new machine ready to fly for anywhere from $2000 to $15,000. Older models must definitely be inspected by a knowledgeable friend. If you build one yourself, you will naturally be better qualified to maintain it.

There are many ways to learn to fly ultralights. Formal flight training in a 2-seat ultralight from a real instructor can cost $600 to $1200 or more. You could take a few lessons from an instructor or a friend in a conventional aircraft but the speeds and handling characteristics are quite different. It's better than the third option which is no training at all. In the USA it is legal but very stupid to attempt flight with no training whatsoever. Any experience in regular aircraft, sailplanes, hang gliding, or even RC-models is helpful. Much of the ground school such as weather, navigation, engines, safety, and regulations can be learned on your own by reading and study.

Actually flying the ultralight is usually very inexpensive. The engines burn only 2 to 3 gal per hour. Routine maintenance and even a complete engine rebuild is minimal. You could damage a prop ($150) or wipe out your landing gear ($300). Almost all ultralights must be stored under a roof protected from sun and weather. Direct sunlight will destroy some types of fabric coverings ($1000) in as little as 2 years! If you cannot disassemble the ultralight or fold the wings and trailer it home, you will need to rent hangar space if you can find it. Hangar rent can be the largest single operating expense at $30 to $90 per month.

Subject: Weight limits

Q206: Don't most ultralights in the USA exceed the allowable legal weight and speed limits?

Many ultralights do exceed the limits though most of them are only a little heavy or fast. Manufacturers design ultralights which just barely qualify so they can offer the most performance and features possible. Some owners then add bigger engines, more streamlining and other options which take it over the limit. The government relies on more or less voluntary compliance because they will never have the resources to hunt down every ultralight that is slightly over the limit. They realize that a little extra weight or speed does not significantly increase the risks involved. However, if you violate the operating limitations (see question 2), and someone reports it, you WILL be fined $1000 for each occurrence. Exceeding those operating limitations very greatly compromises safety.

Subject: Ultralights vs. "real" airplanes

Q207: Why would anyone want to fly these marginal machines when they could be flying *real* airplanes?

First they are not marginal. Ultralights are designed to have the same structural strength as regular normal category aircraft. A major reason people fly them is the lower cost. In spite of what critics might say by comparing the cost of an old worn out conventional aircraft with a new ultralight, the average cost of owning and flying an ultralight is much less than conventional aircraft. Also, some people can never fly *real* airplanes because they can't pass the medical requirements. The most important reason people fly ultralights is because they are FUN ! The slow flight, often open cockpit, and light responsive handling make them more like a motorcycle of the air than car in the sky. One final reason (in the USA) is freedom from excessive regulations.
Subject: Ultralight training for pilots of certificated aircraft

Q208: I fly regular aircraft so why should I need any training to fly these simple machines?

Conventional pilot training is a tremendous asset when learning to fly ultralights but some habits will have to be changed. They have much less mass and inertia and thus do not retain airspeed as long as other aircraft. Control response time is often quicker so the regular pilot may tend to flare for the landing much to early. Also, headwinds and crosswinds have a much greater effect and can more easily spoil your navigation and use up all your fuel. Ultralights really should always be flown such that there is a safe emergency landing area within gliding distance. The pilot should be comfortable making power-off landings. You should get at least a few flights in a 2-seat ultralight and some ground school covering 2-strokes engines and ultralight regulations.

Subject: Pilot requirements for 2-seat ultralights.

Q209: Who can fly a 2-place ultralight?
All 2-place ultralights in the USA fall under special categories. The normal ultralight pilot cannot fly a 2-place ultralight. An FAA certificated pilot can fly a 2-place ultralight provided it is registered with the FAA, displays an N-number marking. and meets all the other requirements of an AIRCRAFT (See type #1 and #2 below). A type of 2-place ultralight training craft can be flown only by designated ultralight instructors (type #3 below). Except for these 2-place trainers, all 2-seat ultralights are considered AIRCRAFT and are subject to all the pertinent FAA regulations about registration, airworthiness, and pilot certification.

1.) Probably the most common 2-seat ultralight-type AIRCRAFT is the 51% Amateur-built, registered in the experimental category. These aircraft will have the FAA "N-number" marking on the fuselage or tail, and will have the word "EXPERIMENTAL" near the cockpit where it can be seen by passengers as they enter. The pilot must hold a FAA Private or Recreational license or better. An FAA student pilot could fly such a machine SOLO ONLY, if under the direct supervision of a CFI.

2.) A new type is the 2-seat ultralight-type AIRCRAFT registered in the new Primary category as a "Sportplane". These are FAA certified kitplanes which will have FAA "N-number" markings but do not have the EXPERIMENTAL placard. The Quicksilver GT-500 was the first to qualify. Pilot requirements are the same as above.

3.) The 2-seat exempted ultralight trainer is a special type that can only be used for instruction. It is exempted from the normal pilot and vehicle requirements, provided the pilot qualifies as an official ultralight instructor. The pilot must carry documentation that he has such an exemption, available from the USUA or the ASC as part of their instructor program, or from the EAA, which has a program for CFI's. The instructor is not supposed to use this 2-place machine as his personal recreational vehicle. Finally, the aircraft must be marked "FOR INSTRUCTIONAL USE ONLY".

4.) Lastly, there is the illegal 2-seat ultralight-type AIRCRAFT. If there are no markings on the aircraft of any kind, and it's flying, it is most certainly illegal. If it has two seats, you must see "N-number" markings, or the placard for "INSTRUCTIONAL" use. FAA certificated pilots should avoid flying illegal 2-seat aircraft (even only solo), because they risk losing their license and paying stiff fines. Unlicensed pilots face the same fines, usually multiple $1000 fines for each flight. Passengers are strongly advised to avoid riding in unregistered, 2-seat ultralight-type AIRCRAFT which are flown by unlicensed pilots.

And now one final point. It is not possible to have a convertible or dual purpose vehicle which can be used both as a single seat ultralight and as a 2-seat N-numbered experimental homebuilt depending on it's configuration. While it's theoretically possible to make such a conversion, you must surrender the original aircraft registration and cannot change back and forth at will.
Subject: Ultralight rotorcraft

Q210: Are there any ultralight gyroplanes and helicopters?

Yes, there are indeed ultralight gyrocopters which meet all the requirements of weight and speed (USA) to qualify as an ultralight. For more information, contact the Popular Rotorcraft Association, P.O. Box 8756-UF, Clinton, Louisiana, 70722 or phone (504) 683-3545


You absolutely *MUST* obtain instruction to pilot a gyrocopter regardless of your experience in regular aircraft or ultralights. Numerous skilled pilots have learned the hard way that the controls are very much different.

For more information also try these sources:

Sportcopters Inc.
34012 North Honeyman Rd.
Scappoose Oregon 97056
503-286-5462 (voice) 503-285-6222 (FAX)

Sport Int'l Inc., home of the Vortex Gyro,
email to zlinak Milan zlinak@teleport.com

Helicraft Inc., P.O. Box 50, Riderwood, MD 21139 phone (410) 583-6366 fax (410) 692-5902 offers plans, information ($10), and kits for all kinds of rotary wing aircraft. Most are too heavy or fast to qualify as an ultralight but they do have one ultralight gyrocopter. Plans for a tiny helicopter with jet engines on the rotor tips are available but this craft has never been widely built presumably because of it's VERY high noise level, and probable high fuel consumption. Incomplete plans for an unproven 2-stroke powered UL helicopter are available.

Until recently, It could be said there are a no PROVEN ultralight helicopters in the USA. The weight limit of 254 lbs has been the barrier with the current technology. In 1993, a true ultralight helicopter built using modern composite construction was introduced as a tested, ready to fly helicopter. It has lots of custom built hardware and is powered with a Rotax 503. The price was estimated at $30,000. Contact: American Sportcopter Inc., 812 Middle Ground Blvd., Newport News, Virginia, 23606. Phone: (804) 873-4914 /Fax: (804) 873-3711.

Subject: Powered paragliders and other types

Q211: I need information about powered paragliders (or other non-fixed wing air vehicles)

Ultralight powered parachutes (parafoils, paragliders) occur in two types. The original "Paraplane (TM)" and it's clones have a tricycle landing gear, with seat and pusher prop suspended below a high performance rectangular parachute. Controls are very simple with foot controls for turning and a throttle to go up or down. You can learn to fly in one day! And, your hands are free for taking pictures and waving to the amazed spectators.

The second type is a foot launched version of the above. The pilot has a small backpack engine with prop mounted in a wire cage. The legs are acting as landing gear so the control lines for turning are activated with the arms just like skydivers.

Foot-launched paragliders can be launched from mountain sites like a hangglider. Or you can use the motor to gain altitude, shut it off, and make use of natural lift to stay aloft. High performance paragliders are elliptical in shape and require more training than the simple square type powered parachute. A certified training program has been approved through the U.S Hang Gliding Assn. P.O. Box 8300 Colorado Springs, Co. 80933 (719) 632-8300, (719) 632-6417

For more information on Paragliding contact:
Paragliding The Magazine, 8901 Rogue River Hwy.
Grants Pass, Or. 97527 (503) 582-1467

| The best website and starting point for anyone interested in the
| parawings is provided by Gary RJ Miller, Editor The Mid-Atlantic
| Powered Parachuting Club Newsletter. Information and Links Web Site 
| http://members.aol.com/PwrdChuter

Both types of powered parawings are slow flying (20-30 mph), and are limited to light wind and minimal turbulence. Takeoff is very short but must be DIRECTLY into the wind. The takeoff roll (or run) is begun with the chute spread out on the ground though it's possible to start with the chute in a bag for some models. The cost of these craft is not much less than other ultralights due in part to the cost of the chutes. Wear and tear can be a factor if you drag your chute trough the brambles and bounce your landings a lot. No other flying machine ever invented can pack down as small as the foot launched powered paraglider.

For information on foot-launched powered paragliders contact:
  1.  Pagojet USA, P.O. Box 50382, Henderson, NV 89016
      Phone: (702) 436-0633 / Fax: (702) 436-0634.
      http://www.skylink.net/~patrick or email psugrue@aol.com

  2.  ParaPower International,  21051 Oxnard St. #32, Woodland Hills,
      Ca. 91367  (805)264-3249  or send email to  Rick Davids at
      parpowr@qnet.com  for information on the French made Defi-210
      powered paraglider and USHGA approved training program.
      His web site is http://cello.qnet.com:80/~parpowr/

  3.  Paramarketing Inc.  Phone: 516-922-1032  Fax:   516-922-2437
      or check out their web site at the URL;
For information on powered parachutes with landing gear:
     1.  Buckeye Powered Parachutes, 16111 LInden Rd., Argos, IN 46501
         Phone (219) 892-5566 /Fax (219) 892-5624 Buckchute@aol.com
     2.  Parascender Technologies Inc. 828 N. Hoagland,
         Kissimmee, FL 34741. Phone (407) 935-0775 /Fax: (407)935-0778.
         http://www.iag.net/~para or email para@iag.net
     3.  Paraplane Corp. 5801 Magnolia Ave., Pennsauken, NJ 08109
         Phone (609) 663-2234 /Fax (609) 663-5830 para4fun@aol.com
     4.  Six Chuter Inc., 2925 South Wiley Rd. Yakima, WA 98903
         Phone: (509) 966-8211 / Fax: (509) 966-4284

What about those other non fixed-wing types I promised?

You may build and fly *ANY* powered aircraft which meets the (USA) ultralight vehicle definition. _ANYTHING_. One-man free balloons are considered unpowered ultralights (like hang gliders and other one-seat gliders) and must weigh 155 lbs. or less to qualify. An Easy Riser ultralight has flown with solar/electric power. A legal ultralight powered blimp has been built and flown. A full size rubber-band powered ultralight was demonstrated at Oshkosh '92, but did not achieve flight. It HAS lifted off, for a time, on smooth pavement,....going downhill.

Subject: Ultralight mailing list

Q212: How do I contact the ultralight mailing list?

| An ultralight mailing list is maintained by Robert Comperini.
| To subscribe send an email message to MAJORDOMO@HUGHES.NET with
| the following line as the first line in the BODY of the message.
subscribe fly-ul

You will begin to receive about 100 messages per day in your mailbox every day. There are about 400 subscribers including beginners, experts, designers, dealers, instructors and pilots from around the world. This is the place to be if you interested in more _in_depth_ discussions about ultralights/microlights/lightplanes.

You can also retrieve many helpful documents about ultralights from the list server. Send the word HELP to fly-ul-docs@perim.com. If you have problems, write to Robert Comperini at robertc@perim.com
| or contact him through his website at http://www.qnet.com/~robertc/

| You can also contact the listserver through the URL.....
| http://www.cs.fredonia.edu/~stei0302/WWW/ULTRA/internet.html
| Archives of the mailing list posts are available from
| http://www.cs.fredonia.edu/~stei0302/WWW/ULTRA/ultralight.html
| Once there, select "FTP sites, Mailing Lists, and Newsgroups" from the
| options provided.

| An email mailing list has also been set up for trike enthusiasts.
| To subscribe send any message to Trikes-subscribe@lists.kz .
| To unsubscribe send any message to Trikes-unsubscribe@lists.kz
| To post to the list send your message to trikes@lists.kz .
| A live human is available at Trikes-owner@lists.kz .
| Archives are available at www.escribe.com/aviation/trikes .

Subject: hang-gliding mailing list

Q213: How do I contact the hang-gliding mailing list?

There is a hang-gliding mailing list which is also available in digest form. You can subscribe to the list by sending a request to hang-gliding-request@lists.utah.edu. The SUBJECT line should be:

subscribe hang-gliding list or.....
subscribe hang-gliding digest

For further information, send mail to hang-gliding@lists.utah.edu.

Additional hang-gliding information, and an archive of the digest is available on the web at the address:

Subject: The FAA Safety BBS

Q214: How do I contact the FAA Safety BBS?

| The experimental FAA Safety database is no longer a modem BBS.
| Since the retirement of Ben Owen (the founder) from the FAA, it
| has been moved to a website which is sponsored by the EAA.  You
| can find it at http://www.safetydata.com.

| For information on accidents involving N-numbered "ultralight type"
| aircraft in the USA, http://www.ntsb.gov/aviation/Accident.htm

Subject: Oshkosh convention dates

Q215: When is Oshkosh?

| The next annual Experimental Aircraft Assn. Convention and airshow
| at Oshkosh Wisconsin will be July 29 through August 4th, 1998.
| For more information phone (920) 426-4800 or go to their webpage at
| http://www.eaa.org

Subject: Ultralight regulations in Canada

Q216: What are the ultralight regulations in Canada?

The vehicle definitions are as follows:

Power-driven aircraft designed to carry not more than ONE person and having a 'launch weight' not exceeding 165 kg (363.8 lbs) and a wing area of not less than the 'launch weight' minus 15 divided by 10, but in no case less than 10 sq. meters (107.6 sq. ft.).

Power-driven aircraft designed to carry not more than TWO persons and having a 'launch weight' not exceeding 195 kg (429.9 lbs) and a wing area not less than 10 sq.meters (107.6 sq. ft.) and a 'Wing Loading' not greater than 25 kg/sq meter, calculated using the 'launch weight' plus the occupant weight of 80 kg (176.4 lbs).

Propeller-driven aeroplane designed to carry a max. of TWO Persons, including the pilot, and having:
1. In the case of a land-plane, a max. take-off weight of
     a. 285 kg (628.3 lbs) for a single-place aeroplane.
     b. 480 kg (1058.2 lbs) for a two-place aeroplane.

2. In the case of a Seaplane, an additional weight allowance of:
     a. 35 kg (77.2 lbs) for a single-place aeroplane.
     b. 70 kg (154.4 lbs) for a two-place aeroplane.

3. A max. STALL SPEED at max. take-off weight not exceeding 72 kmh
   (45 mph)  indicated airspeed.
The aircraft construction has to also comply with the "Design Standards for Advanced Ultralights" (TP 10141), issued by Transport Canada. Among other things, this states that only "Aircraft Quality" materials and construction techniques are to be used.

An aeroplane built and inspected in accordance with the Airworthiness Manual that also meets the Stall Speed and Max. weight criteria published in the "Design Standards for Advanced Ultralight Aeroplanes", TP 10141.

The 'launch weight' is the total weight of the aeroplane when it is ready for flight, including any equipment, instruments, and max. fuel and oil, but not including: floats (up to 34KG/75 lbs), the occupant, and any ballistic parachute installation.

The pilot requirements are as follows:

The minimum requirement to get a Private Pilot License - Ultralight Category is 10 hours. Of which not less than 5 hours Dual and not less than 2 hours Solo time are required. Also, within these times no fewer than 30 takeoffs and landings, including no fewer than 10 as sole occupant of the aircraft must be obtained. The actual time required for the average person works out to be about 18-20 hours. "NO PASSENGERS" allowed with this license.

The only way you can legally carry a passenger would be if you held a Commercial Ultralight License. Then the passenger is supposed to be a student or a prospective student on an "Intro Ride".

With the new Advanced Ultralight category, a Private Pilot-Airplane (Certified) can carry a passenger and a Private Pilot - Ultralight can carry a passenger if the passenger also holds an Ultralight or higher License.

Information above kindly provided by Canadian ultralight instructor Munden Critch (ecritch@dragger.ifmt.nf.ca)

Kathy and Ed Lubitz (elubitz@ionline.net) maintain the following web page with the information about ultralight regulations in Canada. Q217: Where can I get a copy of the regulations for the USA?

An unofficial electronic copy of Federal Aviation Regulations Part 103 pertaining to ultralights is available on the web from Jon Steiger's Ultralight Home page at; http://www.cs.fredonia.edu/~stei0302/WWW/ULTRA/ultralight.html
Subject: Ultralight magazines

Q218: What magazines cover ultralights and microlights?

_ULTRALIGHT_FLYING_ is the oldest and longest running magazine devoted to ultralights. It's a large format, newspaper tabloid size monthly publication with reviews, stories, and how-to articles. It has more commercial and classified advertisers than most of the other magazines. There are typically 80 oversize pages. Subscriptions are $30 for 12 issues or it is included with a membership in the U.S. Ultralight Assn. (which is $39.00). Write to: 1085 Bailey Avenue, Chattanooga,TN 37404. Phone (423) 629-5375. The magazine has a web page at http:/www.ulflyingmag.com

_EXPERIMENTER_ is a glossy monthly magazine of about 45 pages with lots of color, devoted to ultralights and light planes. It is for members of the EAA (Experimental Aircraft Assn). See Question Q203. The content of the magazine leans more toward technical articles about the building aspect of ultralights as might be expected from the parent organization. The cost is $28.00 for new EAA members or $18.00 if you are already receiving the magazine Sport Aviation. Phone (800) 843-3612 or http://www.eaa.org/

_ULTRAFLIGHT_ is a new "grass-roots" monthly magazine devoted almost exclusively to ultralights. It runs 65 pages on newsprint mostly not in color. They say they cover ALL types of ultralights including powered parachutes, rotory, balloons, trikes, gliders etc. No one is left out. Subscriptions are $30.00. Write to:

  Ultraflight Magazine
  2167 14th Circle N.
  St. Petersburg, Fl 33713
| (813)894-4636 or Fax (813)327-1451
| Email to Jim Byers jbyers468@aol.com

Subject: Maximum altitude for ultralights

Q219: How high can you go in an ultralight?

Answer: Higher than you will probably ever want. Many ultralights can probably reach or exceed 10,000 ft. MSL. The record for a USA type FAR part103 ultralight is over 23,000 ft. The record for the higher performance microlight type is about 33,000 ft. Many ultralight pilots seldom go above even 5000 ft. It gets cold, the scenery below you is too small to make out, and it's not very exciting because the landmarks go by VERY slowly at the typical ultralight speeds. Here in the USA, numerous limits and restrictions apply to ultralights. In certain airspace such as around controlled airports, the maximum altitude is ZERO. You can't fly there at all without permission. The largest airports have an overhanging shelf of airspace which also must be avoided. Ultralights are NOT required to have a radio and transponder but, prior permission may be needed in some airspace where a transponder would otherwise be required. FAA regulations require aircraft to have supplemental oxygen at and above the 12,000 to 14,000 range to prevent hypoxia. Ultralight pilots are not immune to hypoxia. All flights which exceed 18,000 MSL require prior permission and an IFR flight plan.
Subject: The ultralight newsgroup on Usenet

Q220: What is rec.aviation ultralight?

Rec.aviation.ultralight is the name of one of several thousand public bulletin board discussion areas on the internet. There are a total of 18 different newsgroups devoted to various aspects of aviation. (The "rec" stands for recreation.) Check with your internet provider to see if they carry the USENET newsgroups. The newsgroups work much like a computer BBS except they are world-wide. Each host stores it's own copy of the messages. Whenever a user posts a new message, it is automatically copied to all the other systems which are participating in the Usenet. If you only have email access it's still possible to access the Usenet and many other Internet services. To learn how, send email to... mail-server@rtfm.mit.edu with the following line in the body of your message; send usenet/news.answers/internet-services/access-via-email.
Subject: The Ultralight Home Page on the Web

Q221: Is there an Ultralight home page on the Web?

Jon N. Steiger (stei0302@cs.fredonia.edu) maintains an excellent Ultralight Homepage with helpful references, and many pictures. Go to http://www.cs.fredonia.edu/~stei0302/WWW/ULTRA/ultralight.html The Ultralight Home Page has classified ads, calendar of events, jump points to other aviation servers including ftp and email gateway to the Ultralight Mailing List. Also available are extensive lists of Manufacturers, instructors, and flight parks..... And More! Also try these great sites:

http://ul-flyer.com/gindex.html (Ultralight Flyer Online)
http://www.web-search.com/ultra.html (Sky Adventures)
http://www.cyberst.com/mike/ultra/video.html (a beginners video)

The British Microlight Aircraft Association has a web site.

For Dutch ULV Pilots:
| Here's the Italian Ultralight Homepage:
| http://www.ulm.it/default_en.htm

| For information about ultralight-flying in Germany see 
| http://dulv.backnang.milliways.de

Subject: Ballistic parachutes for ultralights

Q222: What is a ballistic parachute?

Ultralight and hang glider pilots have long used emergency parachutes which are attached to the aircraft instead of the pilot. You don't have to bail out. Instead the pilot and the aircraft float down together. The early "hand-deployed" designs required you to throw a 6-10 lbs package containing the chute out into the airstream and you hoped that it inflated in time. Ballistic parachutes have a mechanical device to very quickly "fire" the chute into the airstream which allows for MUCH faster deployment. Manufacturers have claimed a deployment in only 2 seconds which allows for a possible successful deployment as low as 100 ft. AGL. Some designs pack the chute very tightly inside a canister. The earliest versions used an explosive charge to fire a projectile which then pulled out the chute. Later designs have gone to a chemical rocket (no recoil). A new design uses compressed air or gas. The term "ballistic" is often loosely used to describe all types of rapid deployment schemes although the newer rocket types are not actually "ballistic". The cost of these units can be $1200-$1600. The only USA supplier is:

BRS, 1845 Henry Ave., South St.Paul, MN 55075 phone (612) 457-7491 http://users.aol.com/BRSchute/BRS.HTML
| A new chute supplier is A.K.S. Inc. which imports the GRS
| system (Galaxy Rocket System) from Europe.  They can be found
| at the website http://www.teleport.com/~trikes/

Subject: Hang glider trike type ultralights and microlights

Question 223: What are "trikes"?

A hang glider trike is a powered ultralight based on a hang glider type wing but with a tricycle geared undercarriage incorporating the pilot seating and pusher propeller and engine. The pilot controls the craft by pushing and pulling on the horizontal control bar just as in an unpowered hang glider. The term "trike" may describe just the undercarraige or it can refer to the entire unit.

The trikes are much more common outside the USA, are well suited for beginners, and are easily adapted for 2-seat training. These craft are bolt together kits, or completely assembled ready to fly. The hang glider wing is often specially designed for powered use and would likely not be also used for unpowered flight without the trike. Because the wings fold like a hang glider and the trike may also fold up partially, they are easily transported.

Regardless of you experience in other aircraft or even in hang gliders, you really MUST get some training to fly these machines. While any experience will help, you must be trained in their unique handling and takeoff characteristics or you will likely crash. :-)

Here are some sources for trikes in the USA.

Air America: Air Creation 84 Boxborough Rd, Stow MA 01775
phone 508-897-5220 /fax 508-897-4231
http://www.tiac.net/users/yelbir email yelbir@tiac.net

Tukan Trikes (also Cosmos and Air Creation trikes)
Kemmeries Aviation
8710 W.Carefree Highway
Peoria, AZ 85382
phone 602-566-8026
Sabre Aircraft Inc.
1300 S. Litchfield Rd Bld #2
Goodyear, AZ 85338
phone: 602-925-6685
FAX: 602-925-6686

| Rollison Airplane Co. (distributor for Aerotrike)
| phone 812-384-4972 fax: 812-384-0518 http://www.aerotrike.com

| Jetwing trikes http://ar-business.com/jetwingtrikes.
For additional information about trikes, especially in the USA, contact Chuck Goodrum" (cgoodrum@kscmail.kennesaw.edu). He publishes a quarterly magazine "TRIKES R US", 2009 Jebs Court, Kennesaw, GA 30144, phone: 770-426-7294 , or you can find him on the web at http://www.mindspring.com/~trikes

Other good sources of trike information include:
http://www.ozemail.com.au/~aerial (Aerial Pursuits)
| An email mailing list has also been set up for trike enthusiasts.
| To subscribe send any message to Trikes-subscribe@lists.kz .
| To unsubscribe send any message to Trikes-unsubscribe@lists.kz
| To post to the list send your message to trikes@lists.kz .
| A live human is available at Trikes-owner@lists.kz .
| Archives are available at www.escribe.com/aviation/trikes .

Subject: Ultralight hot air balloons

Q224: Are there any ultralight balloons?

Yes. Ultralight hot air balloons are quite feasible though they are uncommon. In the USA they are considered to be _unpowered_ ultralights (like hang gliders) and must weight less than 155 lbs. Ultralight helium balloons are also possible but the cost to fill the balloon would be too high for most users.

Several experimenters have reported excellent success with one man hot air balloons and at least on manufacturer offers kits which qualify for operation under FAR103. Write to:

Brian Boland
PO Box 51
Post Mills Airport
Post Mills, VT 05058
Telephone: (802) 333-9254
| Also check out the Airship and Blimp Resources Homepage found at
| http://www.hotairship.com/index.html and the homepage of the
| Experimental Balloon and Airship Association at the address:
| http://www.hotairship.com/ebaa/index.html .
A powered blimp would have to be under 254 lbs to fly as an ultralight. There have been experiments, but I believe there is no operational FAR103 legal ultralight blimp at this time.
Subject: 2-axis versus 3-axis ultralights.

Q225: What is a 2 axis ultralight?

In simple terms, a 2-axis ultralight is one which does not have any ailerons. Conventional fixed wing aircraft have three axis of control; pitch (up-down), yaw (left-right), and the roll or banking function which is provided by ailerons. When the pilot properly coordinates the yaw and roll controls, a balanced turn results. The 2-axis ultralight has yaw and roll control combined into a single "turn" control. The two axis are pitch and turn, with turning induced by rudder(s) on a fixed wing, weight shift on trikes, or in the case of a powered parachute, by control lines. A hot air balloon would be a 1-axis aircraft. :-)

Eliminating ailerons saves weight, cost, complexity, and simplifies training, and breakdown for trailering. The 2-axis ultralight adds an element of safety because they are inherently spin proof. However, in the area of crosswind landings and flying in turbulence, the 3-axis aircraft is usually superior. Some 2-axis types cannot take any crosswind on landing but others can accommodate a modest crosswind by landing at an angle to the runway. Pilots who are already trained in conventional 3-axis aircraft, will likely feel most comfortable with the familiar controls of a 3-axis ultralight.

Some fixed wing ultralights and motorglider types have differential wing spoilers, instead of ailerons, for roll control. Though they help in turning, they do not provide the rapid response or the crosswind capability of ailerons. Such craft (e.g.the venerable Quicksilver MX) are still often functionally 2-axis airplanes.
Subject: Ultralight chat

Q226: Is there ultralight chat on the internet?

A channel for ultralight enthusiasts has been set up on the Internet Relay Chat (IRC) system. Almost everyone with internet access should be able to use it but you must have IRC software for your operating system. For MS Windows users the shareware program "mIRC" is suggested. Check your favorite shareware archive or go to:

http://www.mirc.co.uk/ ......or

After installation, go to the setup and add the Q-net server at: washington.dc.us.irc.q.net (port 6667) ......or the server at: irc.mcs.net (port 4444) if connecting from AOL. Once you are connected to the server, type /join #ultrafly and you are there. The channel is active mostly in the evenings USA time. If you have questions write to STINSON@GANDIAC.COM.

Subscribers to America Online also have access to their own chat area. To get to the AOL Ultralight chat, you go to a chat room, then click on the "private room" icon, then type in Flying People in the box and click "go". That will take you right to it. The time for UL chat is at 10 East, 9pm central. The Formal ultralight chat is on Monday nights. The other nights during the week are just kind of casual get togethers. For questions about AOL chat write to Flyweed@aol.com.
---End of FAQ about Ultralights.
---Send comments or corrections to Daniel Grunloh (grunloh@uiuc.edu)