Build Easy to Assemble Low-Cost Ultralight Aircraft From Kits

Building light, low-cost ultralight aircraft that are easy to fly and assemble from a kit. Includes ultralight history, aircraft information and ultralight photos.

| February/March 1997

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    Twin-powered parachutes such as this Paracenter ($6,300) are used for training.
    KIT KITTLE
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    What any aspiring ultralight pilot wants is precisely what manufacturers have tried to give him: a rugged, dependable, safe aircraft . . . and here, strangely enough, is where FAA regulations hamper progress.
    PHOTO: KIT KITTLE
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    Team's "Air Bike" is among the less expensive rigid-wing single-seaters at $5,995.
    KIT KITTLE
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    Another Team model with more conventional looks is the "Max 103" at $3,645.
    KIT KITTLE
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    A recently completed ultralight kit ready for the skies, complete with a Rotax 503 engine (top left) mounted on the front of the aircraft. The sailcloth on the wings of this kit has been coated with polyurethane to reduce porousness of the wings and the resulting drag. Cruising speed of the Flightstar is approximately 70 mph. (top right) Airspeed indicator, altitude, and basic engine temperature gauges are all the information an ultralight pilot needs. (PHOTOS: KIT KITTLE)
    KIT KITTLE
  • Ultralight looks like conventional aircraft
    Though officially classified as ultralight, many models more closely resemble conventional aircraft in their styling and aerodynamics.
    KIT KITTLE
  • Ultralight landing gear
    Landing gear can range from classic tricycle gear to amphibious floats.
    KIT KITTLE
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    1. Assembling an Ultralight kit.
    KIT KITTLE
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    2. Assembling an Ultralight kit.
    KIT KITTLE

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  • Ultralight looks like conventional aircraft
  • Ultralight landing gear
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Low-cost ultralight aircraft are cheap, easy to fly and assemble . . . and you don't have to be a pilot to own one. 

It starts with a gentle rumbling in the seat of your pants, and a sudden burst of wind and speed that causes the skin on the back of your neck to tighten and your hand to firm on the stick. Tires pitch and shake for a moment over clumps arid irregularities in the grass strip and any local dogs come bounding. The small engine mounted just ahead of the pilot's seat winds up and sends vibrations through the cab as the ground, barely a foot from your shoes, gradually and then suddenly fades away. The same engine that appeared so small on .the ground, pulls you into the sky with amazing certainty. Nerves quickly ease, replaced by a spreading grin . . . whether it's your first flight or fiftieth. Almost impossibly, it seems, local cornfields and pumpkin patches that you've only seen from the stunted view of the highways suddenly become a mosaic of colors and details. Once you get to just over a thousand feet from the fields, the kid in you takes over and you throw the aircraft into some tight turns and steep descents over the pine trees.

Ultralight aircraft just shouldn't exist in a country in which you are no longer permitted to go without a seatbelt, in which insurance costs for an average car regularly exceed $2,000 a year. The freedom to fly an airplane that you build yourself, maintain yourself, and take absolute personal responsibility for is so redolent of the visions we had for this country in the first place . . . that it is simply too good to be true.

The Private Pilot Maze

There is arguably no industry in the world as heavily regulated as powered flight. Becoming a private pilot typically requires 50-60 hours of flight instruction as well as ground school, which combined take five to seven months to complete. Lesson expenses vary, but graduating with a license for less than $4,000 would constitute a miracle. Completing a Class-3 medical exam is also mandatory, which weeds out, of course, any candidates with major health problems or those who've had procedures such as by-pass surgery. Vision acuity of no worse than 20/40 is also required. Of course, costs of the licensing procedure are dwarfed by the daunting prospect of actually affording a plane. Recently, Cessna announced that they were re-releasing their venerable 172-class small airplane, at the industry-shattering cost of just $170,000. Burn 40 or 50 gallons of "av-gas" (aviation fuel) a crack and see the lifetime costs escalate further, both for yourself and the environment you pour the exhaust into.



Once in the air, much of a private pilot's time is spent adhering to the rules of the road. Takeoff, landing, and flight path patterns must be rigidly adhered to, meaning that significant amounts of time must be spent simply plotting position and correcting course, speed, and altitude.

It's difficult to fault the government for these regulations; they are all intended to keep planes safely in the air, but many pilots have suggested to me that somewhere along the endless line of well-intentioned, sensible rules, all the fun has been taken out of flying. The industry is and always will be at odds with itself. Flight is freedom, a temporary compromise with air and gravity, and the more we weigh it down with earthly considerations, the less enjoyable it becomes. My dream of flying ended when an eye exam revealed, even with corrective lenses, that my vision was 20/60 or thereabouts. After a lifetime of dreaming of model planes, graduating to casual study and then to endless hours hanging around at the local airport in Burlington, VT, I was forced to turn tail and move on. There has been an alternative to this dilemma, though much maligned, for over a generation, however.

DPISS
2/8/2018 5:42:22 PM

This is a test.


DPISS
2/8/2018 4:13:27 PM

Dear Kumarkirasani, The date of this comment is on O7/l9/2Ol7 at O5:44:l8 A.M. The date of this comment which is my comment is January l8, 2Ol8. Yes, I would be very interested in building a solar kit aircraft too. There is an aircraft or aircraft kit at auction on Ebay.com now that also runs on electricity. Umfortunately, as described in my file, I live in Australia. This story is a ********** story. Thanks Everyone This comment has now been taken over because that it is now being written by a different person. ToolmanOus and something else is part of ToolmanOus name for his name on Ebay.com but I cannot remember what that attachment to this same name is but it might be 23. Now I am pretty sure that I remember that the attachment to his name is 32. Thus, he is only human and I do not hate him but he possibly was or possibly is in a crazy state of mind. I was the winning bidder of an Easy Rider McCullough 101D utralight aircraft with floats but this seller never even contacted me even after repeated request for him to contact me and he relisted this ítem so I was in the process of being the winning bidder again when he cancelled my bid and he then did not let me rebid so that I lost this auction. He probably did not sell this aircaft because that it probably did not meet his reserve because that the aircraft sold for $349.OO less than this same aircraft at the time when I won the bid to this same aircraft. Now, I will sound crazy for mentioning this but there is a bounty reward for this Ebay.com seller and his aircraft which aire probably in Anderson, Indiana. Finally, I mentioned this story that is about an untrue subject in a number of comments and/or shares which is I travel the world which will make it possible that I will shoot down this aircraft if I see it. That above subject also does not make sense because that why would I shoot down an aircraft that I want. Right 555453525lscheiroffgmai5l52535455 >>>>>>>>This message was sent from a completely borrowed device awhile someone is doing the night shift and is not here so please do not block the IP address that this message is coming from.????????<<<<<<<< THANK YOU


DPISS
2/8/2018 4:13:24 PM

**********







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