Introduction to Ultralight Airplanes

How To Fly Easier With Flex Wing Ultralight Aircrafts (Ultralight Trikes)

When I first learned about the microlight airplanes, I was very excited. The idea to buy my own aircraft for less than $10,000 was really very tempting. But then I started thinking about the related expenses - hangar, airport taxes, support of the plane, license costs... And the things were not so great anymore.

Sometimes (and especially when we talk about ultralight aviation) the cost and troubles of buying the aircraft itself is nothing compared to the related expenses. That's it, the airplane is not a car, you can just drive it on the streets or keep it in your garage. Or at least this is valid about the fixed wing ultralights.




The Flex Wings...


The flex wing microlights and ultralights came on the scene in 1970s as a solution to many of these troubles. If you choose to own a flex wing microlight instead of ordinary ultralight airplane, you won't have to think about many or all of the following troubles:

  • Hangar

  • Airport taxes

  • Runway

  • Licensing


And most often you'll get even the aircraft itself for cheaper.

Flex Wings Aircraft
Photo from http://www.start-flying.com


So what is a Flex Wing Aircraft? (Also known as Ultralight Trike)


Most flex wings consist of a delta bar, similar to the hang gliders, an engine and a place for one or two pilots. Usually there is no cabin and during the fly the pilots are able to feel the air.

Easy to guess by the name, the wing of the trikes is flexible to some extent and often can be taken off. Because of it's form, the entire aircraft dimensions are smaller than these of a fixed wing. This means if you have a large garage, you can hangar the trike there.

The ultralight trikes can get off the ground from the automobile road and can land almost everywhere - so you save another huge expense and trouble, because you don't need an airport and runway.

The engines of the ultralight trikes are generally four or two strokes with 25 to 75 Horsepower. The speed is traditionally lower than with the fixed wings - 30-60mph cruise speed is something normal.

Control of Ultralight Trikes


If you have not yet flown on a fixed wing aircraft, controlling your flex wing airplane will be easy. The trikes have two axes—roll and pitch, that are controlled by a bar connected directly to the wing. The trike warps the wing to the one or the other side when the pilot shifts his own weights. Controlling the flex wing ultralight is intuitive.

Safety and Licensing


At the beginning the flex wing airplanes did not require license at all. As a result of that everyone was building trikes themselves and was flying with or without experience. The ultralight trikes were known as very unsafe flying vehicles.

Today, in USA, UK and Canada and for most other countries a sport pilot license is required to fly your ultralight trike. This has turned the things on the other side and we can stay assured that the modern flex wing aircrafts are one of the safest planes for leisure aviation.

... And the Costs


As mentioned above, the flex wing microlights and ultralights are generally cheaper than their fixed wing "brothers". The brand new ones still cost $10,000 - $30,000, but you can own a safe and ready to fly second hand one for as low as $5,000.

The associated costs of owning such one are often compared to the costs of owning a second car - it's definitely affordable.

The extreme simplicity - powered paragliders


Do you think you have seen everything that people do to fly easy and for cheap? Maybe. But not if you think that the ultralight trikes are the simplest way to fly with engine.

Flex Wings Aircraft
Photo from http://www.paramotor.us/


Some pilots have gone further in simplifying the flying process and making it cheaper. Why not fly with paraglider? The ordinary paragliders have some disadvantages, because you need to go at some high place (mountain) and jump from there. And of course flying without engine has some limits.

That's why there are people who invented the motorized paragliders - a very simple aircrafts, which can be built for less than $2,000! These microlight aircrafts contain a propeller, a seat a simple control. They require no license at all. Of course you can't feel like an airplane pilot in such a vehicle, but if you are on budget, that is for you - it's nearly free!

Whatever of the options you choose, the flex wing ultralight airplanes will provide you with exciting low cost way to fly. They are one of the best options for amateurs who are not interested into mastering pilot skills and managing complex machines. The others of course will still prefer the fixed wing airplanes.

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Post Your Comment

User comments:

donnie at Dec, 24 '07 11:29
i build custom choppers and can build or desighn anyhing i see with eas. and love its my life. and now so are ultralightsi just recieved my plans for the afordable plane called the A-plane its the best fixtwing i found in design the kawi 440 is on the way and im thinking of going to thr trike flexwing! aspecialy since i will fly it for the first time with no training but have flown a cessna 152.
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Patrick Cote at Mar, 16 '08 00:35
We could feel your enthusiasm for your subject, that makes it enjoyable to read. Thanx...

I just heard of an electric powered trike... is that something you can comment on? Sounds a little unreliable... but then I know nothng about it. Your thoughts...
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JFare at Mar, 27 '08 04:08
I am looking for someone who is handy and mechanical, like you. I want to collaborate with someone on designing a lightweight, carbon-fiber ultralight airplane trike. I have some good ideas but no C.A.D. software, to help in the design. Please reply to the following number: 202 239-0977.
P.S: Do you have an updated URL, to your website. I wish to visit your site.
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JFare at Mar, 27 '08 04:11
As a follow-up to my previous post, my reply was for donnie, who posted on December 24, 2007. (Or, if anyone else has extensive design abilities and/or capabilities, please get back with me.)
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Bob at Apr, 17 '08 15:50
I am sorry for my late reply, Patrick. I should watch the comments more carefully :)
Electric trike sounds cool, but I can hardly imagine how will you be able to load it with enough energy (judging by the hard time the electric cars have).
But I'll research on the subject and if I find something useful, will share it
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Bob at Apr, 17 '08 15:52
Good luck with your venture, JFare. I hope you'll find someone to collaborate. I am thinking about adding a forum to this site which will help people like you find each other.
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Saruni bin Sapeeon at Jul, 16 '09 06:58
I am living in Johor Bahru Malaysia and I did not know if I can just learn to fly a microlight without owning one. I have no flying experience as such buying will be considered later.
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Primo Brillantes III at Sep, 04 '09 10:40
I want an ultralight aircraft built for my self can some help me.
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robert weaver at Oct, 03 '09 23:52
Hello. My name is Robert and i am wondering how much one of those magnificent flex wing microlight aircrafts and/or the Aventura Amphibious ultralight aircrafts cost and how and where can i purchace one.
Thank you very much. You can contact me buy e-mail or tellophone.my email adress is greezzy666@yahoo.com. My cellphone number is 1774-454-9337. And my home phone number is 1508-224-8282. Again thank you very much and i cant wait till i hear from you.till then god bless and take care.

sincerly,
Robert weaver
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Vij at Jun, 06 '10 09:40
hey robert, did u get any info on that?? id like to buy some of these trikes too .. !!
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James at Jun, 08 '11 15:23
To Donnie,
Are you still alive? If you are, I would strongly advise you to stop flying until you get formal training. If you don't get formal training, you will die, maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow but it will happen.
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