Introduction to Ultralight Aviation

Database Of Ultralight, Homebuilt, and Experimental Aircraft

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Affordaplane

Affordaplane is one of the simplest in construction ultralight Part 103 airplanes. It's a fixed0wing aircraft weigting 254 pounds.

Presumingly this is the official site where you can buy complete building plans for only $4.95.

A couple of facts to note:

  • It's known also as A-Plane so when you see it on a forum or website, have in mind they talk about the same thing.
  • Due to the simple construction is't easy to build even from first-time builders.

Estimated cost for building this airplane without engine and tools is only $2,000! (more info here) So it well deserves its name.

CGS Hawk

The CGS Hawk is a family of ultralight and experimental aircraft produced by CGS Aviation. The assets of the company were sold to Short Aircraft Services in 2016 so we have to see whether production continues. CGS Hawk is available in several modifications:

  • Single Seat Classic with empty weight of 310 lbs and 55-75 mph cruise speed.
  • Hawk Arrow Single Seat with empty weight of 330 lbs and 55-75 mph cruise speed.
  • Hawk Arrow II which is a two-seater with empty weight of 550 lbs.
  • Hawk Plus Single Seat with empty weight of 350 lbs and 60-80 mph cruise speed.
  • Hawk Sport Single Seat with empty weight of 310 lbs and 55-75 mph cruise speed.
  • CGS Hawk Ultra which is a legal Part 103 ultralight aircraft with cruise speed of 50-60 mph.

You can find full details of all CGS Hawk aricraft at the official site of CGS Aviation. There you will also find the contact details of the new owners.

J-3 Kitten

Hipp's Superbirds J-3 Kitten is an ultralight Part 103 compatible fixed wing aircraft. The Hipp's Superbirds family also includes some heavier models which fall into experimental / homebuilt category. But we'll focus on J-3 here, because it's ultralight:

  • Its empty weight is 250 lb (113 kg).
  • The maximum speed is 63 mph (101 km/h; 55 kn).
  • Its cruise speed is 60 mph (52 kn; 97 km/h)
  • Available as kits or plans for enthusiast builders.

Unfortunately the company does not seem to have any active website. You'll have to seek for information on sites like Wikipedia or in various discussion groups. This page has some more detailed information about the plane. The plane can be found for sale at about $10,000 or even as low as $2,500 without engine.

Quad City Challenger

Challenger Ultralight is one of the most beloved simplest in construction Part 103 compatible homebuilt airplanes. Developed first in 1983 it's still our personal favorite.

  • Available in several modifications - as Part 103 compatible ultralight and as Light Sport Aircraft ("E" Series and "X" Series).
  • Still in active development and available for sale.
  • For comparison between the different series and modifications click here.
  • Available also as amphibian aircraft.

Instead of listing the characteristics of the different models here, we suggest you to visit the official site which is well maintained and full of up to date information. Check also the 10 best reasons to buy Challenger.

Snedden M7

Snedden M7 is a new Part 103 compatible ultralight. It's fixed wing and qualifies as homebuilt. Often criticized for its odd design. The price is not yet determined but it looks like affordable airplane.

  • Its empty weight is 277 pounds but that includes 24 lbs parachute allowance (so without that it's legal).
  • The maximum speed is 63 mph (101 km/h; 55 kn).
  • Its cruise speed is about 35 mph

It's unclear whether this airplane can be currently purchased. If you are interested in it, we suggest that you contact directly the creator through his official site.

The Cri-Cri

The Cri Cri is one of the most beloved homebuilt ultralight airplanes. It's often used for aerobatics as you'll see from this builder site.

The airplane fuselage and wings have a metal construction. The weight of the lightest MC-10 Cri-Cri is only 63 kg(!) so this definitely classifies as ultralight by all standards. The maximum speed is between 200 and 250 km/h.

If you want to build your own you can buy plans from this site.

This aircraft is not officially sold as kit or ready-to-fly anywhere. You can probably try your luck to buy one from a hobby builder if you wish.