What is a Weight-Shift Control Trike LSA, Light Sport Aircraft?

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A Weight-Shift Control Trike LSA (Light Sport Aircraft), also known simply as a WSC Trike, is a tri-gear under-carriage with an aircraft engine, and a hang glider-style triangular wing attached.

It is also known as a “Powered Hang Glider” because that is essentially what it is and where it came from.

This aircraft can be safely flown and requires minimal training by aviation standards.


The FAA definition of a Weight-Shift Control Trike:

Weight-shift-control aircraft means a powered aircraft with a framed pivoting wing and a fuselage controllable only in pitch and roll by the pilot’s ability to change the aircraft’s center of gravity with respect to the wing. Flight control of the aircraft depends on the wing’s ability to flexibly deform rather than the use of control surfaces.

Light-Sport Aircraft Summary

A two person Weight-Shift-Control Trike is a Light Sport Aircraft which meets the following FAA definition:
  • weigh less than 1320 lbs
  • two people only (pilot and passanger)
  • fly slower than 138 mph (120 kts) full power level flight or stall slower than 45 knots
  • have a fixed landing gear, single engine and a fixed propeller


The exact and complete definition by the FAA is: Light-sport aircraft means an aircraft, other than a helicopter or powered-lift that, since its original certification, has continued to meet the following:

  1. A maximum takeoff weight of not more than—(i) 1,320 pounds (600 kilograms) for aircraft not intended for operation on water; or(ii) 1,430 pounds (650 kilograms) for an aircraft intended for operation on water.
  2. A maximum airspeed in level flight with maximum continuous power (VH) of not more than 120 knots CAS under standard atmospheric conditions at sea level.
  3. A maximum never-exceed speed (VNE) of not more than 120 knots CAS for a glider.
  4. A maximum stalling speed or minimum steady flight speed without the use of lift-enhancing devices (VS1) of not more than 45 knots CAS at the aircraft’s maximum certificated takeoff weight and most critical center of gravity.
  5. A maximum seating capacity of no more than two persons, including the pilot.
  6. A single, reciprocating engine, if powered.
  7. A fixed or ground-adjustable propeller if a powered aircraft other than a powered glider.
  8. A fixed or auto-feathering propeller system if a powered glider.
  9. A fixed-pitch, semi-rigid, teetering, two-blade rotor system, if a gyroplane.
  10. A non-pressurized cabin, if equipped with a cabin.
  11. Fixed landing gear, except for an aircraft intended for operation on water or a glider.
  12. Fixed or retractable landing gear, or a hull, for an aircraft intended for operation on water.
  13. Fixed or retractable landing gear for a glider.

Trikes are not new. They have been around for many years. The new sport pilot and light-sport aircraft rule has brought trikes to the attention of the masses.

Ultralight Weight-Shift Control Trikes It should also be understood that there is an Ultralight Trike that is a one person (one occupant) that is similar to the larger two place Light-Sport Aircraft except it is not regulated by the FAA, no training or pilot license is required.

Details for an Ultralight can be found at Ultralights.


There are two types of weight-shift control trike light-sport aircraft to choose from. To choose the one that is right for you, you will consider the difference in cost; who can maintain it, whether or not you want to use it for training, and if it can be rented.

Two types of Weight-Shift Control LSA to choose from: