Introduction to Ultralight Aviation

Touch The Sky With An Affordable Microlight Airplane

Almost everyone has seen and flied by a light airplane or a helicopter. These aircraft are cool and fast - but when you fly you are enclosed in the cabin and can't feel the air. And sadly, if you want to own such airplane you need really a lot of money.

Now imagine you could have all the following at once:

  • Your own aircraft for cheap
  • Staying in your garage
  • Flying for the nearly same price as driving your car
  • Flying like a bird and feeling the wind surrounding your face

All of this is achievable with a microlight! This is flying in the way it has to be and the best of all - it's affordable.

PH-1J6 Eipper Quicksilver MX 2

So what exactly is a microlight?

It's an aircraft. Some microlights look exactly like regular airplane - these are known as fixed wing aircraft. Some of them have enclosed cabin just like any other airplane, while others are open and you can fly like the Wright Brothers.

Others, called flex wing aircraft - also known as ultralight trikes - look more like a motorcycle with wings or a "motodeltaplan" (which actually they are). Their cabins are always open.

By definition - which varies in different countries - a microlight aircraft is considered an airplane whose weight does not exceed 390kg including pilot's and fuel weight. Often the definition is confused with the ultralights [more about the ultralight airplanes], but in general ultralight airplanes are heavier.

So cool... and safe

The statistical data is pretty clear - considering the number of hours they fly, microlights are among the safest airplanes. Flying a microlight is not riskier than driving your car.

And affordable

Affordable? Some of the new microlights are not as cheap actually - they may cost more than $20,000. But if you look at used aircraft offered in various classifieds sites, you can find airplanes sold for just $5,000 - $6,000. That's really cheap!

The flex-wing airplanes and the various hybrids can be even cheaper. A new one is often sold for about $10,000 - $12,000 and you can find a second hand aircraft for as low as $3,000.

Microlight airplanes use standard motorcycle or car fuel - 2-3 gallons per hour at cruising speed. So they can be even more economical than your car.

Storage fees? Do you have a garage? It's a perfect place for your flex-wing. A fixed wings aircraft may need more space though. If your garage isn't very large you may need to pay for hangar.

There are some additional fees for licensing and various club fees - which depend on where you live - but rarely exceed $100 - $200 per year.

The requirements

In the old days of the microlight aviation microlights were unregulated. Nowadays you need to have your plane registered and you have to obtain sport pilot license.

Licensing of a microlight is much cheaper and easier in USA than in Europe. But everywhere it's easier than getting an ordinary airplane license. See for example what it takes to license in the UK.

Building one yourself

Well, there are a lot of kits for ultralights and some for microlights [read more about the aircraft kits]. You can even find microlight helicopter kits. If you are an engineer you can build one yourself from scratch. The possibilities are limited only by your imagination.

Microlight aviation is the most exciting and affordable way to fly - for the ordinary people.

Continue reading about microlight aircraft.

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User comments:

gorgan at Feb, 19 '07 21:03
i need pictures
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Steven Fernando at Jan, 08 '10 20:05
Hello Sir,
Where can I find second hand microlight airplane which is under 5000$

Thanks
Steve
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suvir at Jan, 09 '10 13:47
held a ppl for a few years.have not flown for 28 years but have always dreamed about it.
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alex kakucs at Feb, 20 '10 14:59
Help, I allways wanted to fly.I don't think you have to be engineere, a good mechanic works too.In my country, in my financial situation, second hand, of course.Alex
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Sean Scott at Apr, 21 '11 22:24
Your link to microlights in the USA!
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Latrice at Dec, 12 '12 16:55
Walking in the presence of gitans here. Cool thinking all around!
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