BECOME AN ULTRALIGHT PILOT
While there’s a great deal of freedom, as ultralight pilots aren’t licensed in any way. There are no written or practical tests, and no specific medical requirements. However, there are a few restrictions on flying an ultralight – you can’t carry passengers and your aircraft can’t go over certain speeds or weigh more than 254 pounds, etc.
Because ultralight pilots aren’t licensed, this means there’s no legal requirement for training. But this doesn’t mean you can just jump into an ultralight and fly. You have to get some training first.
In the U.S., flying an ultralight doesn’t require a license or a medical certificate of any kind, provided the aircraft meets the Federal Aviation Regulation called Part 103. Part 103 defines an ultralight as an aircraft that meets the following criteria:
- Seats: 1
- Max. Empty Weight (Powered Aircraft): 254 lbs
- Max. Empty Weight (Unpowered Aircraft): 155 lbs
- Max. Fuel Capacity: 5 Gallons
- Max. Speed @ Full Power: 55 knots
- Max. Stall Speed (Power Off) 24 knots
If the aircraft has more than 1-seat or exceeds any of the above criteria, is not an ultralight, and thus not eligible for operation under Part 103.
These are the legal rules by which you and I fly. They are the most lenient in the world. These privileges, however, carry responsibilities: while there are no specific legal requirements, ultralight pilots must be trained just like any other pilot.
ULTRALIGHT PILOT TRAINING
So, the most important thing to understand before flying an ultralight is that, no matter what the law says, you have to get pilot training, period. This is true, of course, for new pilots, but it’s also true for existing pilots transitioning into ultralight aircraft for the first time.
- Find a Flight Instructor Find flight training centers and flight instructors who are willing to teach ultralight pilot students.
- Fixed Wing Pilot Training An informative guide for people interested in flying ultralight airplanes.
- Weight Shift Control Trike Pilot Training An informative guide for people interested in flying weight-shift control trike ultralights.