Many people are scared to death of flying, especially in small planes. To calm your fears, here are some Frequently Asked Questions of Ultralights and Light Sport Aircraft.
Q: Is flying safe?
A: As with most things in life, anything that is fun to do has some risks. Flying is no exception. With quality flight instruction and a safe well maintained aircraft, flying is no more dangerous than driving down the freeway in your car. According to the National Traffic Safety Board (NTSB) most aviation accidents are caused due to pilot error. Is that enough reason to get quality ground instruction and flight training? Many Ultralights and Light Sport Aircraft are equipped with a Ballistic Recovery Parachute (BRS) system that when activated will bring the entire aircraft and occupants down safely.
Q: What is an ultralight?
A: Ultralights are aircraft that meet requirements under FAR (Federal Aviation Regulations) Part 103. They must have a max weight of 254 lbs. and a fuel capacity of no more than 5 gallons. There may only be one occupant, and the aircraft may not travel faster than 55 knots (63 mph).
Q: What is a Light Sport Aircraft?
A: Light Sport Aircraft must have a maximum gross take-off weight of no more that 1320 lbs., no more than two seats, maximum speed of 120 knots (138 mph), stall speed of 45 knots or less and a few other requirements. There are different categories such as Airplane, Weight-Shift, etc. For a detailed description, visit the EAA Sport Pilot website listed on the Links page.
Q: If you only have a one seat Ultralight, how do I get training?
A: Most companies who build single seat Ultralights, have also built a two seat training version. The FAA exemption for flying a two seat ultralight trainer by ultralight instructors, expired in Jan/2008. All two seat ultralight trainers had to be certified as an experimental light sport aircraft by that date and a Sport Pilot License is now required to operate any aircraft that does not meet Part 103. These aircraft can still be used to train pilots until Jan/2010, however training must be conducted by a FAA Certified Flight Instructor. After Jan/2010, all training must be conducted in a factory built aircraft unless the student owns the aircraft. EAA and others are working with FAA to get an exemption so Light Sport Experimentals can be used for training after the Jan/2010 deadline. It looks promising but if no exemption is allowed, several companies will come out with a factory built ultralight trainer that can be used by flight schools. Find one similar to your single seat and get some quality instruction.
Q: What is a Sport Pilot License?
A: Because of the popularity of ultralights and other light sport aircraft, FAA created a new license in 2004, the Sport Pilot. As a licensed sport pilot, you may operate aircraft not exceeding 1,320 lbs, have a top speed of 120 knots (138 mph) and may carry one passenger. Sport Pilots are limited to flying during the daylight hours, must have 3 miles visibility and have a 10,000 ft. MSL limit. With additional training, Sport Pilots can fly into tower controlled airspace. Have medical issues? Sport pilots do not need a class 3 medical as long as they have a valid driver’s license. For further information on the privileges and limitations of a Sport Pilot, go to the EAA sport pilot website listed on the Links page.
Q: What instruction does Flying 4 Fun give?
A: Terry Miller is a Sport Pilot Certified Flight Instructor (CFI), and can provide training in any light sport single engine land airplane (ASEL). Terry can provide the flight training needed and then put you in contact with a Designated Flight Examiner when you are ready to take your practical flight test to obtain your Sport Pilot’s License.