Introduction to Ultralight Airplanes

Ultralight Aircrafts - As Safe As The Birds?

Why are birds safe? Because they are physically engineered for flying safely and have evolved into a creatures who know just what to do and how to survive in an emergency. So, if you want to emulate the birds, you need to acquire an airworthy ultralight aircraft and the instinctive flight control that the birds have achieved. While airworthiness of the craft is a matter of judgment, certification and maintenance, mental perfection can be achieved only through excellent training and sustained airmanship. You can be safe as the birds if you desire so!

Ultralight Airplane Safety Sertification

Strangely, ultralight aircrafts do not have to be certified for airworthiness. Most countries categorize ultralight aircraft as recreation or acrobatic aircraft and are only concerned about weight in the context of categorization. The rules stipulate that the aircraft should be manned by single occupant; used for recreation purposes; should not have an airworthiness certificate; unpowered aircrafts should weigh less than 155 pounds and powered ones should weigh 254 pounds or less. They also state that the fuel capacity should not exceed 5 U.S gallons or 19 liters and have a calibrated speed of 55 knots. The power off stall speed should not exceed 24 knots calibrated airspeed. The ultralight aircraft too, do not have to be registered or to bear any markings of any type.

Safety Requirements

However, most countries have rules prescribed for the types of persons who are authorized to maintain the ultralight aircraft. The details of qualifications of such mechanics are available in their update Air Directives, Advisories, Service Manual, and Air Worthiness of the Ultralight documentation. The mechanic who maintains the aircraft must have rights in accordance with the qualifications required for de-assembly, assembly, repair and maintenance. He must be able to certify that the repairs will not change the characteristics of the ultralight and the performance features. He must make sure that there are no issues under the skin and engine. He must certify that the frame and wing of the ultralight aircraft is in good working order. Even amateur ultralight enthusiasts who have built their own ultralight aircraft must acquire the certification if they want to maintain their aircrafts themselves.

As per these extant rules, the airmen too are not required to meet any aeronautical knowledge, age or experience requirements or any medical certifications. However, it must be emphasized that the aircraft is only as safe as its pilot makes it so. In reality, good airmanship is not definable. The predominant characteristics could be listed as a measure of awareness of the aircraft, its flight environment, his own capabilities and limitations and his behavior under stress. Self discipline and good judgment are integral to the concept. The pilot can fly only in good flying whether and must maintain his aircraft himself. He should ensure his physical safety by wearing helmet and keeping handing the emergency parachute.

Ultralight aircrafts are safe or unsafe depending on the time and effort devoted by the pilot to maintenance it and the awareness and airmanship with which he handles the aircraft.

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User comments:

Pop Emil at Aug, 15 '09 23:54
Who says the birds fly safe?

With all those liners that crush into their families while doing their afternoon walk, sorry, I ment flight, and all those gunners that shoot at them, is no more safe to be a bird, believe me!

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