Introduction to Ultralight Aviation

Database Of Ultralight, Homebuilt, and Experimental Aircraft

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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.

Air Creation Ultralights

This French company produces light sport aircraft and ultralight airplanes. The company is most popular for their trikes:

  • Tanarg 912 is a powerful flex wing aircraft with Rotax 582 or Rotax 912 engine. The weight of the different modifications is around 185kg / 410 lbs. Maximum speed 140 km/h - 160 km/h. Qualifies as light sport aircraft.
  • Sypper 582 and Skypper 912 are lighter trikes that can handle more payload than the Tanarg series. The maximum speed of the different modifications is between 100 km/h and 160 km/h.
  • iFun Pixel uses a Polini Thor 250 engine. With its weight of 90 - 95 kg and maixmum speed of 11o km/h (68 mph) it qualitifes as ultralight Part 103 aircraft.

Prices are unfortunately not listed on the site so you'll need to contact the company or its distributors.

AirScooter II

The Airscooter is an amphibian helicopter with pontones which allow you to land in water.

Airscooter II is a single-seat Part 103 compatible ultralight aircraft.

This model unfortunately is not yet on the market. The expected price is around $50,000 if the product ever hits the market.

The project has been featured on many popular tech sites including Engadged.

AMD Zodiac

AMD Zodiac is a light sport aircraft from the Zodiac series built by Zenit Aircraft Company.

This aircraft comes in many variants one of which is ultralight - the Zenair CH 601 UL model. The airplane is usually offered in kit form.

It's a rather popular 2-seat aircraft with more than 1,000 Zodiacs flying in the world.

For more information about the Zodiac series and pictures have a look at the official page.

Aviad MG-12 Zigolo

Aviad MG-12 Zigolo is a typical ultralight airplanes - with that real ultralight design we like so much. Officialy it's marketed as SSDR motor glider. Zigolo is built in Italy.

General characteristics:

  • Offered as quick-build kit for roughly $12,000 or $20,000 if with electric engines.
  • Its empty weight is 102 kg / 225 lbs
  • The cruise speed is 68 km/h / 42 mph
  • Its maximum speed is 95 km/h / 58 mph
  • Its fuel consumption is 6 ltr / 1.6 gallons per hour

This is a very economical and contemporary motor glider. More information at the official site.

Belite Aircraft

Belite Aircraft is one of the really active ultralight manufacturing companies out there.

The aircraft flies under Part 103 and is offered in ready to fly and kit form, and several modifications.

Kit prices start at just about $8,000 while ready to fly airplanes are between $16k and $30k. The weight of the different configurations is between 230lbs and 280lbs. Maximum speed of all modes is 80mph.

Unlike many others, this airplane can be bought directly from the official company website.

I suggest you also to visit James Wiebe's Belite Aircraft Blog

Belite Skydock

The Belite Skydock is one of the most affordable and easiest to build modern ultralights. It's offered as airframe kit but if you are a real enthusiast you can try to build from scratch and buy only the blueprints.

  • Qualifies as ultralight, Part 103.
  • The cruise speed is 50 to 62mph depending on engine.
  • The price is about $4,000 to $6,000.
  • The altitude range is 10,000 feet

You can find the full specs at the Belite official Skydock page. Belite is one of the few companies that produce modern and affordable kits and it's well worth to have a look at their site.

Birdman Chinook

Birdman Chinook is relatively modern high-wing ultralight produced by Birdman Enterprises. Production started in 1983 and continues today.

Some important things to say about this airplane:

  • The plane is available as single seater and two-seater.
  • Chinook 1S is Part 103 compatible ultralight with empty weight of 250 lbs.
  • Its cruise speed is 50 mph and maximum speed is 60 mph

Oddly enough, even in 2016 there are companies without a website. So the best place to look for semi-official information remains Wikipedia.

Calidus 09 Gyrcopter

Calidus 09 is a new and modern gyrocopter with a closed cockpit suitable for various weather conditions:

  • Two-seat autogyro
  • Ultralight certified so it can be flown under Part 103.
  • Cruise speed: 100 knots
  • Fuel consumption: 4 gallons per hour

Calidus 09 is a German autogyro built with the latest technologies and with modern design. More detailed info about is available here. Price is not listed.

Carlson Sparrow

Carlson Sparrow is a high-wing ultralight airplane compatible with Part 103. The aircraft is manufactured by Carlson Aircraft Inc. The site is very much out of date so it's hard to say whether this company is still active.

General characteristics:

  • Its empty weight is 254 lb (115 kg) so it qualifies as ultralight.
  • Its maximum speed is 63 mph (101 km/h).
  • Its cruise speed is 58 mph (93 km/h; 50 kn).
  • Its fuel capacity is 5 US gallons (19 litres) and range is 230 mi.
  • The wingspan is 30 ft 3 in (9.22 m).

Carlson Sparrow is available in several variations: Sparrow Ultralight, Sparrow II which is a two-seater, Sparrow Sport Special, and Sparrow II XTC. The plane is first built in 1987 and its current status is unfortunately out of production.

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.

Eipper Quicksilver

The Eipper Quicksilver by Quicksilver Manufacturing are several ultralight aircraft models. Its development started in 1970s and the airplanes gained a lot of popularity because of the light and affordable construction.

  • Its empty weight is 250 lb (113 kg).
  • The maximum speed is 54 mph (87 km/h; 47 kn) and the cruise speed is 50 mph.
  • This is a single engine aircraft.

There are multuple variations of the Quicksilver: Quicksilver C, Quicksilver E, MX Sprint, MX Sport, and more. The airplane is offered as ready to fly and as a kit. The best place to learn more about it is its official site:

FreeBird 103

FreeBird 103 is a single-sear aircraft that falls under Part 103 (i.e. no license required). The aircraft is built by Freebird Aviation Australia.

Most important characteristics:

  • 3 axis control
  • Only 254 lbs weight
  • Black Max hydraulic brake system
  • 60 mph cruise speed

The average build time is 125 hours if you use a kit and 250 hours if you build by plans.

FreeBird 103 is a variation of a family aircraft including itself, Freebird I, Sportlite 103, and LiteSport Ultra. More info at Wikipedia.

More good pictures and info about this airplane can be found at this page.

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.

Kolb Ultralight

Kolb Aircraft is a company founded by Horner Kolb in USA. The history of the company is really inreresting so you may want to have a look at it here.

You can't talk about Kolb as about a single aircraft. It's a family of several interesting models:

  • Kolb FireFly is their Part 103 ultralight airplane. The basic kits cost only a bit more than five thousand dollars.
  • Kolb FireStar is loved by many experimental pilots because of its great visibility and high performance. It doesn't fit Part 103 though. It has a side-by-side modification called FireStart II SS.
  • Kolb SlighShot is a two-seater with cruise speed of 85mph - 100mph depending on the Rotax engine used.
  • Kolb Kolbra is two seater tandem aircraft often used for Part 103 training courses. Technically it's experimental airplane and you'll need Sport Pilot License to fly it.
  • Mark III Classic is a STOL aircraft. It's experimental LSA and you'll need LSA license to fly it. Cruise speed between 69 mph and 80 mph.

Besides the official site you can check many aviation classifieds site for used Kolbs. You can find offers for fully equiped ultralights at $7 - $8 thousands.

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.

Sadler Vampire

The Sadler Vampire is a family of several USA-developed ultralight and light sport aircraft:

  • Sadler SV-1 Vampire is the first ultralight single-seater made in early 1980s
  • The Vampire
  • SV-1, SV-2, SV-2A, SV-3 which all qualify under Part 103
  • Vampire-2 which is a two-seat light sport aircraft

The ultralight Vampire has maximum speed of 63 mph, empty weight of 250 lb and 300 miles range.

Vampire-2 comes with cruise speed of 125 mph and fuel consumption 4 - 5 gph. Its max speed is 138 mph.

The official site is not very informative but at least you can obtain contact information.

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.

Sorrell Hiperlight

Experimental ultralight aircraft in two versions - single-seat and double-seat.

Full specs and information can be found at Wikipedia.

This airplane is offered by Thinderbird Aviation and is still in production. Kits for the current versions of the Hiperlight can be bought for around $20,000.

If you want to build a model, here are some plans.

Spitfire Ultralight

Worldwide Ultralite Spitfire, also known as Spitfire Ultralight, is amateur / homebuilt experimental aircraft that is sold as kit. Main characteristics:

  • Spitfire is a single-seat aircraft while Spitfire II allows a pilot and a passenger.
  • Uses Rotax 447 or Rotax 582 engines.
  • Fuel consumption is 3 gallons per hour for Spitfire and 4.5 gal / hr for Spitfire II.
  • Standard empty weight is 254 Lbs. for Spitfire and 477 Lbs. for Spitfire II.

There are full characteristics on this page. The kit prices shown there are $6,050 Spitfire / $7,500 Spitfire 2 for kit and $11,500 / $16,000 for complete aircraft.

T Bird Tierra

T Bird Tierra is one of the easiest ultralight aircraft for home builders and takes only about 100 hours to build from a kit.

The most important characteristics:

  • Rotax engine airctaft
  • 70 mph / 113 kph cruise speed
  • 259 kg / 572 lbs empty weight

Such planes can be found second hand (sometimes unfinished kits) for less than $20,000 or even less than $10,000. I saw an ad for T Bird I selling for $6,000. It's lovely affordable experimental airplane.

T Bird is produced by Indy Aircaft Ltd. Check their official site for current product info and if you want to purchase a new kit. Price information is not available.

Taurus Electro

Taurus Electro is a 3-axis ultralight electric aircraft by Pipistel Aircraft. It has 2 seats, 15m wing span, and weights 306kg with batteries.

Moreover, Pipistel have developed a Solar Trailer that can charge your airplane from the sun for 5 hours. For more information about this amazing product just check their site.

Full technical specifications are available here.

Unfortunately the price of €90,000 makes it a bit expensive for the regular aviation fan.

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.

The Fisher Fleet

This company sells a lot of excellent ultralight aircraft. Here is what they offer at this time:

  • Two seat monoplanes: Dakota Hawk, Super Koala, Horizon 1 and Horizon 2.
  • Biplanes: R-80 Tiger Moth, Celebrity, Classic, FP-404, Youngster.
  • Single seat monoplanes: Avenger, FP-202 Koala, FP-303, FP-505 Skeeter, FP-606 Sky Baby.

See the full list with pictures.

The airplanes are offered in quick kit form which is said to reduce the building time with about 200 hours. But there are more options too: airframe kits, wing kits, fuselage kits, hardware kits, or even just plans.

The prices for the plans are between $300 and $400. The complete aircraft package is $8,500 for FP 303 and goes to $14,100 for the Sky Baby.

These airplanes seem quite affordable and good. Here is the official company site:

The Weedhopper

The Weedhopper is a single-seat ultralight that was very popular in the 1970s and 1980s because of its really low cost. Kits were costing only about $2,000 when they were available. Unfortunately kits are no longer on sale.

  • Its empty weight is 250 lb (113 kg) and the gross weight is 550 lb (249 kg).
  • The cruise speed is 55 mph.
  • The price is about $8,500 (actual to 2011).

This excelent ultralight airplane is still one of the most affordable option for ultralight enthusiasts. Unfortunately the official site is no longer available but construction plans can be found on several sites online for about $30 - $40. The most comprehensive information about this airplane is currently available here.

Tucano Ultralight

Tucano Ultralight

Tucano is another Italian ultralight aircraft. It's very popular in Italy, and not only, and is widely used among flight schools. Tucano is a two-seat aircraft with empty weight of 220kg. Its maximum speed is 140 km/h and the cruise speed is 100 km/h.

There are several other modifications of the Tucano:

  • TUCANO Delta3 VTW which is slightly faster with cruise speed of 120km/h.
  • TUCANO HV - amphibian ultralight
  • TUCANO Delta3 TW - a twin engine aircraft with cruise speed of 100 km/h
  • TUCANO V - advertised for its reliability and easiness
  • NEW TUCANO DELTA3 with open cockpit and costing only €13,000

For more information about this excellent aircraft visit the official site of Flylab.

UFM Easy Riser

The UFM Easy Riser is a biplane hang-glider powered in USA in 1975. This makes it the first ultralight aircraft. The Easy Riser is not currently produced as aircraft but only as unpowered hang glider.

The most important specifications of the powered version are:

  • Cruise speed of 22mph
  • Maximum speed of 40 mph
  • Empty weight of 120lb
  • Single-seater (pilot only)

The Easy Riser kit can currently be purchased from Pioneer Flyer here. Note the "How to Order" and "Order Form" links at right. The price is $3,600 and shipping costs add to this. Note this is the unpowered hang-glider kit, not an ultralight aircraft.

An interesting story with this hang glider is available on this site.