Introduction to Ultralight Airplanes

Light Sport Aircraft - The Poor Man's Chance to Soar

The reasons for their surging popularity are myriad, but one of the most compelling is the lower cost associated with owning and operating light sport aircraft. The cheapest new light sport aircraft cost around $40,000, opposed to the price tags of $150,000 and above attached to entry-level FAA-certified small aircraft.

But the affordability of light sport aircraft extends beyond their price tags. Learning to fly one of these small wonders will cost only 30 to 50% as much as being certified for a private pilot's license, and can be accomplished in half the time.

Add to that the elimination of there required medical examination and certifications, and flying your own light sport aircraft will free you of thousands of dollars in expenses over the years! The cost for light sport aircraft flight training usually runs between $3000 and $3500. Mastering a powered parachute is less than $1000.

Soaring Statue

photo by DARRIN170

Pilots with light sport aircraft licenses are actually qualified to fly a wide number of aircraft. These include both factory-assembled and amateur-built fixed-wing models, powered parachutes, and gliders. The increased demand for all them means that light sport aircraft costs are being kept down by more efficient manufacturing procedures, which require less government oversight.

Have you felt the pinch from having to fly the commercial airlines with their fuel costs causing your ticket prices to balloon? A fuel-efficient LSA plane will average 20 MPG, outperforming many automobiles!

There's a final way to lower the costs of owning a light sport aircraft. You can qualify for the FAA's Light Sport Aircraft Repairman certificate, which has both Inspection and Maintenance rating. Having the Inspection certification will permit you to perform the required annual condition inspection on any experimental (kit or plans-built) light sport aircraft you own.

The Maintenance rating will let you to be paid to inspect and maintain any special (factory built) or light sport aircraft. These aircraft can be used for rentals and flight instruction, as well as for sport and recreation. A maintenance rating also covers experimental aircraft.

Being qualified to inspect and maintain your aircraft will save you significant amounts of money over its lifetime. You can receive an Inspection rating certification by successfully completing an FAA-approved sixteen hour course on your class of LSA.

The Maintenance rating certification offers separate courses for each LSA class, with the airplane course lasting 120 hours.

To qualify for either Repairman Certificate, you must:

  • Be a US citizen or permanent legal resident over the age of 18;

  • Be able to speak, read, write, and understand English; and

  • Have the skill necessary to determine the airworthiness of an LSA.

If the only thing that's been preventing your from taking to the skies has been your wallet, wait no more. Why not find the nearest light sport aircraft training center, start your engine, and see the world of aviation from an entirely new perspective?

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User comments:

Chuck at Nov, 16 '08 21:49
All I would like to point out is that the LSA license can be attained cheaper if the pilot being trained has their own aircraft. Any 2-place ultralight can be used during the flight training time. As long as all FAA requirements are met, you as the pilot trainee can be trained in your own aircraft. The LSA CFI will only charge a nominal fee for their service to train you in your own aircraft. Most of the CFI's charge between $15.00-$50.00/hr and require a 2-4 hour minimal time. Remember that 30 hours of flight time will be required but at this lesser price the price of training comes down. 30 hours at $25.00/hr works out to be $750.00. Even at $50.00/hr its $1500.00. There are ultralights on ebay that are flying at a good price and these aircraft qualify for your pilot needs. You don't need a $40,00.00 mistake when you're just starting out. Learn to fly a little cheaper at first, then graduate to your dream aircraft when you can get to that point. You can always sell the aircraft afterwards. I personally used the title to my pickup as collateral at my credit union to purchase my ultralight. This way you can make payments like the rest of us and afford your lessons to become a pilot. Consider this options as your sky car. Gas prices today are coming down, so now's the time. Get off the couch and get going. Also, after you have 150+ hours of flight time you yourself can become a licensed LSA CFI. Call 877-359-1232 for giving or receiving LSA instruction.
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Bob at Dec, 02 '08 23:57
Thanks for the info, Chuck!
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Dickson Kidd at Dec, 25 '10 23:56
I read your commenton ultralites and I was very interesred in the falcon-2 but after trying to look and check on their operation, the more confused I got. They are just starting up, & with a man that has been in a couple of other deals so help me on what kind of ultralite to look at. I used to fly in the 60es but only got 34 hours and got boarda cessna150 . I have a good deal of money but don't want to get screwed. I like the shape of the falcon so what would you look at. thanks for all your help. Dickson Kidd my cell call me if you have time 205-369-9657
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ed at Jan, 04 '11 09:31
Leave the flying alone!! It will most likely turn out like you racing experience, not very successful and expensive. Remember that there is no room for shade tree antics in aviation this sport will kill you.
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