Introduction to Ultralight Aviation

How To Fly An Ultralight Aircraft Even When You Do Not Own Any

Ultralight Flying

Photo by udannlin at Flickr
On this site we have published some articles showing how affordable owning an ultralight airplane is. Indeed this depends on where you live - but in general you can own an ultralight airplane at the price of a decent car.

Unfortunately not every one of us can afford even so much when it's just for a hobby and leisure. But this is not a reason to forfeith your dream of flying on an ultralight airplane. There are options for you to experience this wonderful activity even without owning an airplane.


Here are they:

Buying a share


This is a very popular option within the pilots of light airplanes and light sport aircrafts. Usually 3, 4 or 6 people buy one plane together and share not only the purchase price but the ongoing costs. This otion can drastically reduce the costs of owning an ultralight aircraft. Of course you won't really own all of it, but still will be able to fly frequently and enjoy it.




Few things to consider:

  • You need reliable partners. You have to find pilots that will care about the airplane as good as you would care for it. They have to be serious people and to keep the agreement regarding the time of flying and the ongoing costs.

  • You need to find people near you. If you have to travel few thousands milles each time when you want to pick up your ultralight, you won't save any costs and will lose time. In such sense, if you are from UK or USA you have much better chances to find good partners, because these countries have traditions in sharing airplanes.

  • It's hard to agree on the exact airplane. Unfortunately it is not easy to find other people who want to buy exactly the ultralight or microlight that you want to buy. Some will want a Challenger, other will look for Colb Ultralight etc. You may have to make a compromise with the model and make


Participating in a club


There are various flying clubs where aviation enthusiasts go together, discuss, make competitions and fly. The clubs allow you to share airplanes with others, to attend cheaper training etc. In most clubs the members can also trade or rent airplanes to each other or from the club.

While talking about renting, let's see the next option:

Renting an ultralight airplane


What do people do when they can't afford buying a home? They rent one! Of course you can do the same with an airplane. But with the ultralights it's not that easy. Many owners would be fairly concerned about your pilot skills and the potential damages you could bring to their airplane and your health.

The best way to find an ultralight airplane for renting is to contact training companies and clubs and inquiry them. Some may refuse you, but some won't mind. Typically the flying schools will allow you to rent an airplane for $75 - $125 per hour. It's pretty expensive indeed!

If you plan to fly more often, you can consider membership in some club or company. For example Ultralight Adventures will let you use their airplane for only $35 per hour if you pay $100 monthly fee.

Paying for a piloted flight


This option is good if you don't even own a pilot license. Many companies offer piloted ultralight flights for amateurs. The flights are usually short, 20-30 minutes or so and start from $70 - $80. That's not cheap either, but it gives you the oportunity to experience your dream for less than $100 - even if only once.

If you are not from UK or USA, it may be harder to find such companies, but recently they started popping up even in much smaller countries with less aviation traditions. (For example here in Bulgaria you can purchase a 15 minutes ultralight flight as a gift to someone).

Attending pilot's education


This is a way to combine the pleasure with a practical use. If you dream of owning an ultralight airplane, why not start with the education? The pilot education is not cheap at all (see more details here), but will give you enough hours of guided and even solo-flights.

Especially if you really plan to own an airplane sooner or later, it's much better to start with pilot training rather than spending money on paid flights. Of course this option is not useful for people who already can fly.

From all the options above, I would consider best buying a share if you are already a pilot. Renting is too expensive and is ok only if you want to fly very few times. Joining a club or company which gives their airplanes for lower price plus a fixed monthly fee is a good option too, but you should very well calculate the expenses depending on how often you plan to fly.

Whichever option you choose, you see it's possible to fly on an ultralight airplane even if you don't have much money. There are very few dreams that can be achieved for less than $100 and ultralight flying is one of them - even if done just for 30 minutes.

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Post Your Comment

User comments:

Bruce Bush at Oct, 29 '08 23:33
I really enjoyed looking at your web site. Anyone who has never flown in an ultralight airplane does not know what they are missing. I had the opertunity once to fly in a P51 mustang trainer and I thought it could not be beat, that is untill a friend took me up in a two place ultralight. Feeling the wind and going slow is the best way to view the great earth. some day I would like to own one but I dont see it happening due to the lack of smarts when it comes to the maintenence and upkeep, ( I DONT TRUST MYSELF )
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Bob at Nov, 14 '08 18:45
Thanks for the comment, Bruce :-) I hope you'll manage to own one if you really want it
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Kyle O'Glee at May, 11 '09 02:06
I took a flight with a friend who has his light sport certificate, and I became hooked the instant the wheels left the runway! I now am going to get my own bird, and get up there with the rest of you.....asap!
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Stefanos Petsas at Oct, 02 '09 04:26
to Kyle O'Glee: Hi, nice of you to offer your contact on www.ultralight-airplanes.info. I am looking for ways that could help me start learning how to fly ultra light amphibian airplanes. Maybe your advise could count towards my objective? If you could share your experience with me and point me to the right direction, it would be very much appreciated. Thank you Kyle and have a wonderful day.
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Bill at Apr, 10 '10 17:54
Hi Bruce...according to the F.A.A., if an aircraft has more than 1 seat it cannot be classified as an Ultralight.
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Al Lockhart at Apr, 14 '10 12:49
Maybe I can help someone as I have been in the past. I have been very lucky in that I now find myself with two ultralights (and only enough room for one). I have an Aerolite 103 for sale. But I'm not willing to ship out of the country. I am selling either just the plane, or plane and trailer (trailer is a new 20ft Carson fully enclosed with rear ramp). If anyone is interested, please contact me at flybear13@gmail.com for pricing and details. Thanks! Al
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Eric Shannon at Apr, 30 '10 21:54
Hi Al,

Is the Aerolite still for sale? Price? Where are you loctaed?

Thanks,
Eric
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Anders at Oct, 16 '12 03:32
If you've learned how to fly an airplane, does that translate pretty directly to an Ultralight? Are the controls different at all?
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J.Reynolds at Oct, 27 '15 16:11
I just got a chance to buy 4 ultralight quicksilvers .I have never flown on but have got 18hr in a single engine 152, that was a few years ago. this post was informing and helpful thanks.
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edward at Oct, 05 '17 01:08
this is wensday
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