Bob H., an ultralight aviation fan who writes about ultralights and microlights, has written a great post for the Planegrazy blog about ultralights/microlights and light sport aircraft (LSA) that is well worth reading by a would-be pilot who has concerns about the high costs associated with learning how to fly and flying in general. Bob began his post by noting that so-called ultralight experimental aircraft have different names in different regions. Specifically, they tend to be known as ultralights or light sport aircraft (LSAs) in the USA and as microlights in Europe.
However, Bob added that it doesn’t really matter where you are located, what you call these aircraft and just what the exact specifications are because these “toy” aircraft offer the following key advantages:
- Regulations are relaxed. In fact, they are usually much more relaxed than the rules and regulations for flying either light aircraft or private jets.
- Prices are lower. Some ultralight/microlight aircraft prices start in the US$20,000 range for a brand new one and can be even cheaper for a second hand aircraft.
- Fuel consumption is lower. More importantly, most ultralight/microlight aircraft will use regular car gas and consume only 3 to 5 gallons per hour. In contrast, light aircraft fuel consumption will start at 8 gallons for a 4-seater.
- Training is easier. Less flying hours will be required. Hence, getting a sport pilot or an experimental pilot license will be easier and cheaper.
- Storage or hangar fees are lower. Since the aircraft are smaller, associated airport costs will be lower. Moreover, an ultralight/microlight trike can even be kept in your garage.
Bob went on to write about some specific types of aircraft such as fixed wing airplanes, flex wing aircraft, ultralight helicopter, Amphibians, floats, seaplanes and powered paragliders.
Finally, Bob ended his post by noting that if the cost of flying ultralights/microlights and LSAs are still to high, you could always consider joining a flying club. Moreover, an ultralight/microlight can be rented for a day or two – so long as you have a license to fly it. Hence and if you really want to fly, there is nothing to stop you.
Andy Fling says
Thanks for the info, and for the recommendation of Bob's Planegrazy blog. Useful stuff.