This is not an ultralight trike

The aircraft pictured here is familiar to many but do you know what it is? At first glance many would respond, “well it’s an ultralight trike“. But according to the FAA it is a weight shift control light sport aircraft. At this point those who have been flying trikes sneer and say bull, it’s an ultralight, has been always will be. But that is incorrect, the aircraft pictured below does not meet the definition of an ultralight. To be an ultralight and therefore require no training or license it must meet the requirements of FAR 103, that is:

1. Weight less than 254 lbs.
2. Hold no more than 5 gal. of gas.
3. Its top speed at full power in straight and level flight must be no more than 58 knots (65 mph).
4. Its stall speed must be no more than 24 knots (28 mph).
5. Has a single seat.

If it meets these requirements then it can be called an ultralight (and is considered a “vehicle” in the regulations). If it busts any of the requirements listed above it is considered an aircraft. Under the old FAA exemption the 2 seat aircraft were permitted to fly under a training exemption but were not considered ultra lights and the pilot in command would have held at least a basic flight instructor rating so they could have a student on board. The rising popularity of the larger faster aircraft was one of the reasons for the Sport Pilot rule.

So where does this particular aircraft fall short of being a vehicle?

1. It has 2 seats, front and rear (the rear seat is covered in the photo).
2. It carries 10 gal of gas.
3. It has a top speed above 65 mph, in fact the VNE is 87 mph on this single surface wing.
4. It weighs over 300 lbs.

So the aircraft pictured does not qualify as an ultralight vehicle but is instead an aircraft and to legally fly it requires training and testing under the supervision of the FAA.

1 comment:

  1. dear sir
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    Can you help me.
    best regards