Ultralights for Dummies?

Discussion in 'Home Builders and Sport Pilots' started by lancie00, Aug 10, 2016.

  1. lancie00

    lancie00 Pre-Flight

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    I'm a VFR pilot with a couple hundred hours. I've been trying to do more flying lately but I just can't seem to afford it. I've been toying with the idea of building/buying an ultralight and keeping it at home just to "scratch the itch". I have the space for a runway, a building to keep one in, and the mechanical background for maintenance (no I'm not an A&P).

    What I'm really wondering about are the requirements. I know very little about ultralights and am not sure where to start. Licensing, inspections, maintaining a "runway". Is there an "Ultralight for Dummies" somewhere that would be a good place to start. It seems like all of the forums are already way above my head or only talking maintenance.

    As always, safety is the main concern but money is an issue too.

    Any advice would be appreciated.

    Thanks!
     
  2. N659HB

    N659HB Line Up and Wait

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    EAA.org has a section devoted to UL. Should be a good place to start. Check out Branstormers.com for some for sale.
     
  3. SkyDog58

    SkyDog58 En-Route

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    Have you read Part 103 or AC 103-7?
     
  4. lancie00

    lancie00 Pre-Flight

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    Not entirely. As I do more research, I'm finding that I'm probably more interested in Light Sport that ultralight. (2 seats, larger fuel tanks, etc.) That said, it looks like everyone involved has tried to make that as complicated as possible too.
     
  5. Acrodustertoo

    Acrodustertoo Ejection Handle Pulled

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    really pretty simple. Keep it as close to the weight limit as possible and withing the other requirements like 5 gallons of fuel and you are good to go.
    The FAA has been pretty lenient on them as far as inspections go, if it looks like an ultralight it is an ultralight is pretty much how it works. It is considered and experimental so inspections, repairs and maintenance is all up to you.
    I have been seriously considering an UL just to have a toy to play with while I build my AD2. You can pick up a nice Ul for well under 5k any day of the week. For me I am looking at the Phantom/spitfire with a Rotax 503. Nice looking and built better than most since they are aerobatic.
    Spend some time on EAA forums and there are plenty of other forums and Yahoo groups to ask around on different designs.
     
  6. Ryanb

    Ryanb Pattern Altitude

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    The Maverick Trikes are pretty neat, but they're way overpriced imo. :frown2:
     
  7. vontresc

    vontresc En-Route

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    For a True part 103 UL there are really not that many regs other than one seat and max gross weight. Have fun. Just remember that it's not if the engine quits, but when un the UL world.
     
  8. James331

    James331 Touchdown! Greaser!

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  9. Capt. Geoffrey Thorpe

    Capt. Geoffrey Thorpe Final Approach

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    Part 103 does not involve FAA registration or certificates but you only get 1 seat.

    For 2 seats, a homebuilt E-AB might be more the ticket if you want to do your own maintenance on a low budget ride that can fit into reasonably small spaces. (You have to pay an A&P for a condition inspection every year if you are not the original builder, and a transponder check every 2). A LSA E-AB such as an Avid Flyer gets you away from the FAA medical nonsense and is a pretty low budget ride. My big expenses are hangar and insurance.

    A RV anything gets expensive to buy because it's an RV... Older designs are much more reasonable.
     
  10. N659HB

    N659HB Line Up and Wait

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    I second the Avid Flyer/Kitfox options. I was looking at the Kitfox before I decided on the Luscombe.
     
  11. German guy

    German guy Line Up and Wait

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    +1

    SO much more utility and comfort than a ultralight for not much higher costs. Kitfox, Rans are newer but still reasonably priced options, Sonex and Zenith would also come to mind. Older 2 seat experimentals can even be had for even less. Just browse the experimental section on barnstormers.com.
     
  12. German guy

    German guy Line Up and Wait

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  13. Acrodustertoo

    Acrodustertoo Ejection Handle Pulled

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    For some reason I have always thought the avid Catalina was a gorgeous airplane, three seat amphib with a basketball stuck in the nose. So I routinely look at the avid designs on barnstormers and there are very nice speedwing and heavy haulers etc for less that twenty grand. Same as a kitfox but half the price. Many are around fifteen thousand with a trailer to haul around too.
     
  14. zaitcev

    zaitcev Pattern Altitude

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    Look for a local UL chapter. It may be a group affiliated with USUA, or may be not. Getting along with the local chapter of EAA may be a good idea too.