Introduction to Ultralight Aviation

Do You Want a Helicopter? Get an Ultralight!

You did not really think only the airplanes can be ultralight, did you? There are microlight and experimental helicopters, just like it is with the airplanes.

The helicopters have many advantages over the airplanes, especially for personal use. You don't need an airport or a runway - the helicopter can land and take off almost anywhere. Helicopters are fun and offer greater views than the airplanes.

But they are so much more expensive. A light helicopter can cost several hundred thousands of dollars and it's maintenance will exhaust your budget - unless you are very very rich.

Then, you have to look for ultralight helicopter

Usually ultralight helicopters are small and bare bones - built without a protective shell (which is normally available on choppers). Like everything in ultralight and microlight aviation, there is hardly a consolidated definition of the weight and speed that an ultralight helicopter should have.

Murray Model T Homebuilt Helicopter

Most of these vehicles do not exceed 80kg weight and allow one or two pilots with total weight of 125kg. Unlike their bigger brothers, the ultralight (microlight) helicopters usually burn only 15 litters (4 gallons) or less fuel per hour. You can't expect them to fly too fast however - at best they can reach 85mph (70 knots), thought I have heard for a few 100mph ones (but never seen them). But high speed is not what you look for, is it?

The costs - plain and simple

The price of an ultralight helicopter may vary hugely depending on the model and its characteristics. But after doing a lot of research, I was very happy to find that there are used helicopters for about $10,000 - a really affordable price. But to be honest, these are usually quite experimental and quite unusual ones.

For ordinary looking ultralight helicopter you will have to spend $20,000+ for a two seater or $12,000+ for a single seater. Still, this is affordable way to achieve your dream to own a helicopter. If you are really willing to research more, you can check the classifieds on this or this site (you will also find gyroplanes and other strange stuff).

Of course, the better choppers will cost you $50,000 and more.

Building ultralight helicopter from a kit

And of course there are kits. In fact most ultralight helicopters are experimental, homebuilt or built from kits. The kits are a bit cheaper than buying a ready-to-fly one (lowest prices are $4,000 - $8,000 and that often means a gyroplane kit), but require time to be built. [Check the article on aircraft kits]. The timings and requirements are similar.

Want an example site? Here you are: http://www.indianhelicopters.com/. [Check the resource center for more]

The licensing...

... is one of the things which certainly tickles your curiosity. Most countries now require an ultralight aircraft license and pilot's license. In some cases though (example: see here) pilot's license is not required.

Licensing is not required for some gliders and gyrocopters, but it is required for standard helicopters. At least in most countries! In some - not. You see the situation is not clear at all. You'll have to ask in your country for the exact model or helicopter you want to buy or build.

Owning an ultralight helicopter has never been so easy and so much fun that it is now.



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User comments:

roberot c at May, 10 '09 23:42


what great idea thanh you for writed me
Reply to this comment

Pop Emil at Aug, 15 '09 21:58
You can build an helicopter with some car mechanics, car engine (or motorcycle, at least 100 Hp) and pipes, lexan, and fabric, if you can weld, drill, thread.

Important is to know what you are doing, how to draw, calculate and test your work.

So my little friend, take my advice and start studying hard aerodynamics, rotordynamics, balances, eliminating vibrations, safety mesures, etc.

Is worthwhile.

For more detailes click on my name on top of my coment to go to Plaxo group where I posted some pictures, get plaxo membership and than subscribe to my group, it's all free.

Emil.

Reply to this comment

chris at Jan, 01 '10 21:32
I'm interested in building my own 2 seat ultralight helicopter, I'm very good with mech and welding, I'v built several cars, motorcycles etc...what I'm looking for is a reliable set of plans so I can build my ultralight as time/money permits, so please! any help from anyone oh, i would perfer a enclosed cabin!!!
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