Does EAA "do" ultralights?

Discussion in 'Home Builders and Sport Pilots' started by Mistake Not..., Mar 14, 2017.

  1. Mistake Not...

    Mistake Not... Cleared for Takeoff

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    I'm googling as fast as I can, but ultralights have been a multi decade blind spot for me. When I had the "I'm gonna build" bug, it was always fiberglass (glasair), then when I realized I just wanted to fly, I bought one. But I never thought to look at ultralights until I owned a "real" (sorry) airplane. Now, I think it'd be a ton of fun, but I'm completely out of my element here...

    Where do I start? Ideally, I'd like to find a group semi-locally I could go talk to real carbon units about this. But web sites, organizations, etc. would be great, too.

    There's a local EAA chapter, but I was wondering how likely an EAA club is to be doing ultralights rather than larger homebuilts.
     
  2. kyleb

    kyleb En-Route

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    EAA is very enthusiastic about Ultralights and LSA types. Unfortunately, the FAA's decision a decade or so ago to try and enforce the rules around ultralights resulted in the collapse of the ultralight market. As it turned out, not a lot of people really wanted a "legal" ultralight, and besides, there were very few designs which could be built within the legal spec's. Mini-Maxes and Legal Eagles being a couple of designs which can be built to fit the UL rules.

    That said, EAA had a publication called "The Experimenter" which largely catered to the UL and LSA market. That publication has been rolled into the EAA's flagship magazine "Sport Aviation".

    If I was looking to find UL builders/flyers, I'd ask around at the local airport and the local EAA meetings and find out if there is a core group of UL enthusiasts locally, and how to hook up with them.
     
  3. Frogs97

    Frogs97 Pre-takeoff checklist

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  4. zaitcev

    zaitcev En-Route

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    My local Ultralight Association used to be under the umbrella of USUA, but recently the membership was declined and we folded into a local EAA chapter. I would say that in most EAA chapters, ultralight pilots are in a minority, but they are out there.

    Getting in touch with USUA and asking if they know someone in town may work, but I suspect it's a long shot nowadays. Your best bet is to run a web search with Bing/Google/Yahoo and identify any minuscule web presence of ultralight pilots. Also, talk to trike and gyro guys, they often buddy together with ultralight people.
     
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  5. Cap'n Jack

    Cap'n Jack Final Approach

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    It seems that different chapters have different interests. I haven't been to the local EAA for a while, but back then, it seemed the majority (or the ones that attended meetings and seemed to run things) were flying powered parachutes. I suspect other chapters also have varied interests.
     
  6. RJM62

    RJM62 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Very true, partly because most of the "fat ultralights" that were successfully "upgraded" to two-place LSA were non-airplane ULs. That was because the ASTM consensus standards for trikes, autogyros, and powered parachutes were closer to the way those "vehicles" had traditionally been built as ULs than was the case for airplane-type ULs, of which very few met the standards or could feasibly be upgraded to meet them.

    In addition, a lot of UL enthusiasts weren't all that happy with EAA and the SP rule because they tended to be cowboy types to begin with and couldn't care less about the opportunity to attain an FAA ticket or paste N-numbers on their ULs. As far as they were concerned, all the SP rule did was make their fat ULs illegal, and impose additional bureaucratic requirements on them even if they could upgrade them.

    USUA is probably a better bet, although still a long shot. You can also try searching for hang glider training. There's a lot of overlap between the remaining powered UL community and the hang gliding community (as well as the respective machines themselves: Most UL trikes are basically just hang glider sails with powered gondolas).

    Airports that host a lot of (certificated) glider operations are also good places to look for UL enthusiasts. There's always been some overlap in those two communities, as well.

    Rich
     
  7. Dana

    Dana Pre-takeoff checklist

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    EAA gives some lip service to ultralights but they really aren't interested any more. The way the Sport Pilot / LSA rule turned out (with EAA's support) left many ultralight pilots unhappy with EAA. USUA, as far as I can tell, does little anymore but sell insurance. ASC (Aero Sports Connection) is a little more active, at least on the competition end.

    The ultralight scene is alive and well only in some isolated pockets where people still fly them. Best place to look is the smallest airports, look on Airnav for the usage statistics; it'll tell you if there are ultralights based on the field.

    The most active part of ultralighting nowadays is powered paragliders and powered parachutes (not the same thing at all, though there is some overlap among the people who fly them) and weightshift trikes, though most of the trikes (and most PPCs) are two seat and thus LSA, not 103. PPGSs are mostly single seat and 103 (and for many, the most fun you can ever have in the air).
     
  8. TreeDude

    TreeDude Filing Flight Plan

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    so what do you do with a Fat and Fast ultra lite .I want to sell . Bigger planes on the horizon .
     
  9. DutchRoller

    DutchRoller Pre-takeoff checklist

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    What airworthiness certificate does it have if any?
     
  10. John221us

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    OP, I am not sure where you are located, but we have both an active group of UL flyers (they share a large hangar) and an active group of powered parachute flyers (they have a dedicated runway) at our field (KLHM) in Lincoln, CA.
     
  11. citizen5000

    citizen5000 Ejection Handle Pulled

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    Where is 'local?'
     
  12. TreeDude

    TreeDude Filing Flight Plan

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    No certificates. Nice enclosed trailer built lite and easy to pull
     
  13. DutchRoller

    DutchRoller Pre-takeoff checklist

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    You referred to it as fat & fast. By that I take it that it exceeds Part 103 weight and airspeed restrictions. In that case if it doesn't have a certificate, i.e. LSA, EAB, etc., then it is basically worthless.
     
  14. choppergirl

    choppergirl Ejection Handle Pulled

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    Ultralights are just that... ULTRA LIGHT. Originally hang gliders that people started strapping chainsaw motors and propellors to so they could take off from the flat ground without always having to trek their plane to a ridge to jump off of.

    Once you start trying to enclose your cockpits and put big Rotax 503 engines on them or half VW's and fly them like a GA airplane on $100 burger runs as a way to skirt all those idiotic GA rules, you're no longer really an ultralight pilot in spirit, you're a borderline GA pilot straddling the line whose probably never done a dead stick hang glider landing in your life. Yeah, Kolb Firestar pilots, I'm talking about you. :) And Hummel Ultracruisers and Legal Eagles and the like. Squeezing the most little GA like airplane into the weight limits of 103 so you can flip off a medical while wearing your bifocals.

    If you want an N number and all that licence crap, build an LSA or experimental homebuilt enclosed metal or wooden plane, and leave the hang gliders and flying lawn chairs with chainsaw motor category to us cowboys and cowgirls, or in my case cowgirl wannabes, because I haven't done a dead stick landing myself yet... but I plan to...all the time.

    Me, personally, I don't think you need a licence to do anything. If you can do it, do it. If you can't, take up some other pursuit that better fits your aptitude and talent.

    Obviously licencing fails, because people with all sorts of licences crash cars, or get hit with malpractice suits, or lose legal cases, do shoddy electrical work, or kill the patient... among other things.
     
    Last edited: Jul 23, 2017
  15. Capt. Geoffrey Thorpe

    Capt. Geoffrey Thorpe Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Part it out.
     
  16. tinerj

    tinerj Cleared for Takeoff

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    Oshkosh (aka Airventure) does have an ultralight landing strip. Here in St Louis MO, a very active ultralight group (Gateway Ultralight) is asociated with an EAA chapter.
     
  17. brian]

    brian] Cleared for Takeoff

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    Not sure where you are at, but our local EAA chapter is an ultralight chapter. Still the minority, it is not uncommon to see something fly in that barely carries cone and there are several guys that really understand the ins and outs of ultralights.
     
  18. Stan Cooper

    Stan Cooper Pre-takeoff checklist

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    I just received my September issue of EAA Sport Aviation pdf email, and there's a five page article on the Aerolite 103 ultralight, so EAA is clearly supportive of ultralight aviation.

    Out of curiosity, I went to the Aerolite 103 website at http://www.uflyit.com/aerolite103main.htm, and sure enough they have a Kawasaki 340 powered ready-to-fly airplane for $15,000. The Sport Aviation article is enthusiastic.
     
  19. zaitcev

    zaitcev En-Route

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    The Aerolite 103 is a real deal, well proven since Terry Raber developed it in the early 90s. The sale to U-Fly-It in 2012 went quite well, Dennis Carley runs a good business. It is, however, a very real, almost classic ultraight: open cockpit, draggy, slow, and with no range. Uses Bowden cables for controls. Also, wings are not folding.