An Ultralight aircraft (technically “vehicle”) is any kind of flying contraption that meets FAR part 103. Basically, to meet part 103 it must weigh 254 lbs. or less, have a max level speed of 63 mph, not hold more than 5 gallons of gas, and have only one seat. There are a few other criteria as well. If an aircraft meets these criteria, it may be flown as an ultralight and there is no pilots license or training required. Furthermore, there are no certification, registration, or maintenance requirements for the aircraft. Keep in mind, however, that the intent of FAR part 103 is not to keep you from getting hurt, it is to keep you from hurting anyone else! The FAA figures that if you can’t take anyone with you and you have very low speed and low weight, you are not likely to hurt anyone on the ground. If you want to kill yourself, well, it’s a free country! (somewhat anyway…) All that to say that although no training is required to fly ultralights, good training is very necessary to keep one from getting hurt.
We offer specialized ultralight training in our SLSA Quicksilver Sport 2 SE. The Quicksilver is a low-speed, high-drag aircraft that flies very much like most ultralights. It is very easy to fly and can be learned quickly. For best results, you can buy a new Quicksilver ultralight and it will handle nearly identical to what we train in. However, it will be good training for the Aerolite 103 as well or just about any other type of ultralight. Ultralight training will be focused on teaching you how to safely maneuver the airplane, avoid dangerous situations, and safely take off and land. On the ground we will train you on the regulations that you need to follow, as well as how to maintain this type of aircraft. It also recommended that you allow us to train you in cross country navigation so you don’t get lost up there. With part 103, since no training is required, all we can do is recommend what training you should have and hope that you will follow our recommendations.
Keep in mind that when you train with us, all training counts toward the minimum training hours for a Sport Pilot license as well, should you ever choose to pursue that. If your ultimate plan is to pursue a Sport Pilot rating, please let us know as soon as possible in the training process so we can focus on those requirements and keep your overall training time to a minimum.
With ultralight training we are focused on simply teaching you to handle the aircraft safely. With Sport Pilot training we are focused on teaching you in a systematic process toward passing your written and practical exams. There are many similarities, but in ultralight training we focus on the essentials to keep you from getting hurt with the reality that you may stop training and start flying at anytime. In Sport Pilot training, we will teach you systematically through all of the subject material required to meet the Sport Pilot requirements. For more information, please contact us. If you would like to take a demo flight in our Quicksilver and/or our Challenger to help you decide, well, we are always looking for an excuse to go flying!