PDA

View Full Version : An Ultralight Beginner



Ultralight 007
08-01-2012, 12:01 PM
Hello Everyone,

I have always been interested in flying and after this year attending the EAA Air Venture in Oshkosh I have chosen to find out how to being flying so I have a few questions that I need answered so that I can start flying. Here are my questions:

1. Where can I start learning to fly an Ultralight? (I live in Milwaukee, Wisconsin)

2. What license is required?

3. How much am I looking to spend?

4. What should I know before I start getting into Ultralight flight?

Thanks,
Ultralight 007

Ken Finney
08-01-2012, 12:36 PM
There is at least one webinar on here, watch it!

To answer your questions:

1. Contrary to what you'll read in a lot of places (largely because they are out of date), there are no 2-seat "ultralight trainers". There are 2 seat LSAs (light sport aircraft) that can be used to get training that will fly very similar to ultralights that are of the same family. Also, some ultralights (hereafter called ULs) that fly like certified aircraft. The Belite, for example, is supposed to fly a lot like the Cessna 152, so getting training in a 152 would be a good idea (and a lot more available since LSAs are few and far between in flight schools).

2. No license what-so-ever for a true UL.

3. Most new ULs are in the $20K to $35K range. Used are LOTs less. I routinely see used ULs for 1/10 of the new price.

4. Everything, which unfortunately, isn't a possibility. I'd try to find a local UL club, and hang out with them. As has been said many times: aviation isn't particularly dangerous, but it is very unforgiving.

Timm Bogenhagen
08-01-2012, 04:20 PM
EAA Ultralight Chapter 1, The Microlite Flyers has many members from the Milwaukee area. You should consider attending their meetings and joining their chapter, you will learn alot from the members. Here is a link to their web site, http://www.eaaul1.org

jamesofthenorthwest
08-02-2012, 12:48 PM
It appears that the UL club recommended has an 1984 Pterodactyl Ascender available for $3200. I don't know why you would spend $13,500 when you could spend much less and have as much fun. Regarding the age of the plane, I built Pterodactyl in 1979 and it flew extremely well and was in good condition until I sold it a couple of years ago (and it was not always stored indoors). If you have aspirations of becoming a "real" pilot another plane may be more suitable, but if you just want to spend time in the sky like I did, a Pterodactyl will get you there with enough money left in your pocket to buy the beer when you get back. Most true ultralights (part 103 legal) will fly for hours on a few bucks of regular auto gas, are transportable using your family car (I used a Toyota Supra), and you can store them by hanging them from the ceiling in your family garage (because they fold up).

Or you can spend $13,000 on the plane, $200 each month on a hanger, and then $8000 more for your pilots license. It was a no brainer for me, but real pilots don't give us UL pilots any credit for brains anyway. Perhaps they are right? Flying a true ultralight in calm air can be as peaceful and pleasant as watching a hawk soar on the thermals. On a not so calm day it is like trying to fly a tissue paper in a hurricane.

Buzz
08-09-2012, 10:22 AM
I've been a "real" pilot for 40 years and flying ultralights for 35 years. I was an ultralight instructor under the old rule.

I live 25 miles west of Milwaukee in Pewaukee. I'd be happy to talk with you about your aviation aspirations and share whatever knowledge I have.

I have a 2-place Quicksilver Sprint II that was an ultralight trainer and is now N-numbered. I also have two single place Quicksilver MXs ultralights which I'd be willing to sell if you are interested in either of them. Both have Rotax engines. That model was the entry level ultralight for thousands of new ultralight pilots. It could be a very affordable first ultralight for you. They are relatively easy to learn to fly and very docile. You'd have little trouble selling it if you wanted to move up at some point.

Unfortunately, all my aircraft are stored right now because of a lack of local hangar space. However, if you were interested in one of the MXs, I could probably provide you some basic training in the 2-place Sprint II and then help you transition to the MX. [I can't just give you training if you are interested in a different ultralight. I am not able to charge you for training because I am no longer a current instructor under the new FAA rules.]

Whether you just want to meet and pick my brain or are interested in one of the entry level ultralights I have, I'd be happy to help in any way I can. All of us in aviation have depended on the help and encouragement of another along the way. It's not an activity that is easy to enter without some help.

-Buzz

rosiejerryrosie
08-09-2012, 11:31 AM
Buzz, Let me thank you for your generous offer. Aviation needs more folks like you (too many htese days are concerned about the liability issues....) I hope Ultralight007 can take you up on your offer.

WeaverJ3Cub
08-09-2012, 02:26 PM
I agree. Kudos, Buzz.

Buzz
08-10-2012, 11:37 AM
Thanks guys.

Talking about the MX got me thinking about another subject that involves the basic ultralight designs. I've started a new thread on that.

-Buzz

taylorcraftbc65
08-10-2012, 11:11 PM
Pilots like you are few and far between Buzz, Thank you for offering to help this young pilot reach for the sky.
Brie

Buzz
08-11-2012, 10:52 AM
Pilots like you are few and far between Buzz, Thank you for offering to help this young pilot reach for the sky.
BrieBrie, on my other thread I shifted the conversation to the potential of basic ultralight designs to get teens into aviating and helping build the next generation of aviation enthusiasts.

However Ultralight007 never indicated his age. I figured he was probably an adult. [His age doesn't make any difference to me. I got started at an early age and I don't see age as any barrier.] He may be "young" only in his aviation experience. :)

Ultralight007, how old are you if I may ask?

-Buzz

Brian247028
08-11-2012, 04:56 PM
Buzz on track with this topic where around the Milw area can you fly/store an ultralight? I live up by Holy Hill and see some flying time to time but can't locate where they are flying out of.

Buzz
08-12-2012, 08:08 AM
Brian,
You have struck on the #1 problem with flying ultralights near a major metropolitan area likeMilwaukee. The shortage of ultralight hangar space. In the early 1980s the local UL club addressed the problem by arranging to build a 10-12 hangar space complex for ultralights at a now closed grass airfield caller Aeropark near Brookfield. That airfield was really the center of UL activity for a longtime and was the club's home field. After the airfield was closed and put back into corn, the club dispersed to a number of different airfields. Some fly out of the Hartford airport, some have used a little airstrip and hangars in Oconomowoc. Hartford is probably the best site because it is the biggest airport in Holy Hill area that welcomes ultralights and there are a number on the field. The problem, however, is that open hangar space at Hartford is a rarity. There is a pretty good waiting list.
One can fly ultralights at Capitol Drive in Brookfield but they will not rent a hangar to one. They took state money to upgrade the runway and are required to keep x number of N-Numbered aircraft on the field by the state. They don't want ultralights taking up the hangar spaces because they don't count towards the number required by the state.
The advantage of ultralights is that they can use just about any airfield. If you go on-line and look at the State airport list, you might find some other grass airfields in the area listed. They may have hangar space.
-Buzz

James C
09-06-2012, 12:48 PM
EAA Ultralight Chapter 1, The Microlite Flyers has many members from the Milwaukee area. You should consider attending their meetings and joining their chapter, you will learn alot from the members. Here is a link to their web site, http://www.eaaul1.org

007: We'd be more than happy to have you drop in at the next meeting of the Microlite Flyers, scheduled for 10:00 am, Saturday, September 15 at the Hartford Airport Pilot's Lounge. Hope to see you there.

jedi
09-07-2012, 09:53 PM
It will be a long winter in WI. There is plenty to read on the internet. I suggest you Goggle "See&nbsp;How It Flies" for starters. Do not spend $200 on books as most FBOs will tell you is necessary. All the FAA handbooks are available on line. <BR>If you go the MX route get a solo sign off from a CFI so that all your N numbered time will count towards a pilot certificate.

Malpal_mikey21
09-13-2012, 03:16 PM
New to the site and hoping for some insight.....I just began my ultralight lessons. I've been reading everything I can and am getting great, I mean great, instruction from a great instructor. He came highly recommended. I initially set out just to get ultralight time and I thought that that would suffice. Of course not. I have had so much fun and love it so much, I am thinking about going for my light sport instead. Question....Can my ultralight hours be used for my light sport license? Is it smart to do? Do I have to start over? I live in the northwoods and drive 1 hour and 15 min to get to my instructor and fly once a week. I am thinking of purchasing next spring/summer and figure I should decide now. I also thought of asking my instructor if he would change and start instructing my for light sport, but wanted to ask if I could up the time. I mean, go down to him and spend more time with him than just an hour flight a week. Any advice would be great, as I said, I'm in the beginning and the last thing I want to do is upset my instructor. info....I am training in a Quicksilver 2 place. 503 dual ignition.


Thanks in advance.

Dana
09-13-2012, 05:45 PM
Ultralight hours can't be used toward any pilot certificate, and you can't get instruction toward a certificate in an experimental (like the Quicksilver) unless you own it yourself. However, the flight experience is always worthwhile, and may reduce the number of logged hours you need to be proficient enough to get your SP certificate (since almost nobody does it in the minimum time)

Only you can decide of going for a SP ticket is worth it, based on the kind of flying you want to do.

Buzz
09-14-2012, 03:15 AM
New to the site and hoping for some insight.....I just began my ultralight lessons. I've been reading everything I can and am getting great, I mean great, instruction from a great instructor. He came highly recommended. I also thought of asking my instructor if he would change and start instructing my for light sport, but wanted to ask if I could up the time. I mean, go down to him and spend more time with him than just an hour flight a week. Any advice would be great, as I said, I'm in the beginning and the last thing I want to do is upset my instructor. info....I am training in a Quicksilver 2 place. 503 dual ignition. Thanks in advance.

Hi-
Because you are new to ultralights and the Sport license, you may find the way the laws have written regarding them to be confusing.

First, as Dana has said, if you are getting training in a 2-place Quicksilver, your instructor can't give you training that you can log towards the Sport license. One can GET logable Sport Pilot instruction in an ELSA they own [Experimental LSA] but one can't GIVE logable instruction in an ELSA [unless it's the student's].

Second, my recommendation is to keep working with him towards the goal of getting a single place ultralight. It will be the least expensive step into flying that you can make. Keep in mind that research has shown 80% of people who start towards an entry level license never get it. Like driving a car, the thrill of learning to fly that will have you driving 90 minutes for instruction will diminish. [Did you ever think the thrill of driving would diminish when you first got your driver's license? I didn't. It did.] The thrill of chasing a license does wear off enough for so many that the time and expense finally doesn't seem worth it to finish the license.

However, you can have a TON of fun flying a single seat ultralight on a beer budget and with a small training commitment required than the Sport License. And you can log a lot of flying experience very inexpensively. You will also be in a better position to understand exactly what adding the Sport license contributes to the flying experience. You may find you decide never to move beyond a single place ultralight after all.

My personal experience is I was so enamored with flying that I got my Private license when I was a junior in high school. I have often said that if ultralights had been around back then, I probably would not have a Private today. I would have put the cost of that into buying an ultralight. Owning and flying one of the single place Quicksilvers has been the most fun I've ever had flying. The people I've met, the places I've landed with it, etc. [I so prefer ultralights over heavier stuff that I owned a small twin engine airplane for business and never even bothered getting checked out in it.]

It's my experience that ultralights are the best return you can have in aviation for the time and money invested. Start there and then decide later if a Sport license is worth the additional time and expense of chasing the license.

One last story. I once laid off 12 years from flying Cessnas. Flew nothing but a 254lb Quicksilver during those years. When I went back to get current again in a 4-place Cessna I found I could make landings many times better than I have ever been able to do so when I was doing a lot of Cessna flying. [The landings were so good that the instructor said there's no way he would have believed I hadn't flown any General Aviation airplane in 12 years.]

I believe someone thinking about a Sport license should seriously consider first being taught to fly an ultralight, then getting one and building flying experience with it. It may actually prove to be the most direct and least expensive path to the Sport license. I do know it will be a very fun one.

My experiences and thoughts.

-Buzz

malexander
09-14-2012, 04:38 AM
I've had my PPL since 1977. I've always been interested in U/Ls. After reading all this info Buzz puts here, I'm really starting to want an ultralight. I live in a private airpark community, own a C150 and am building a Rans S19, my brohter keeps his RV9A in my hangar also. But I still think an ultralight would be soooooooo fun.

BTW, Buzz, I really enjoy reading your posts. They're so positive, realistic, and informative.

Buzz
09-14-2012, 09:16 AM
Thanks Malexander.

I've been fortunate to be around people that have shared their experiences with me. I've also had some real fun experiences in aviation. I'll post a picture of one my most fun ones..

The back of the head in the photo is Chuck Yeager. This was taken from the backseat of his P-51 at EAA in '96. In the back of the other Mustang is Rusty Wallace [the NASCAR driver]. They are flying formation with my Cessna Skymaster being flown by a friend of mine [as I mentioned in a previous post, I owned the 337 for business but never checked out in it]. You can see there is a ball on the side of the Skymaster. That's a $400K TV camera I had mounted on it. We were shooting a segment for ESPN. Yeager formed up under our tail right after this shot. We were looking down in his canopy and one could watch him move the stick and watch him actually flying the airplane.

Watching him fly through the TV monitor in our plane was a treat. It was like his P-51 was on a rail off the bottom of the Skymaster. You could see the unbelievable touch he had. There were 3 other P-51s in trail below us at the time all trying to hold position on him and the others were bouncing all over the place in comparison.

I really got a chance to talk with him a lot that year and heard some of his stories. [Miller sponsored the plane and we did a TON of aerial coverage for the 5 networks on NASCAR, Indycar, MLB, NFL, etc. We were talking to Chuck for several months after EAA about flying the plane during coverage of a World Series game and then putting a lipstick camera on the dash and have him chat with the guys doing the game coverage. The network doing the Series that year had already committed the aerial coverage duties to someone else, so it never materialized.]

I love ultralight flying. It's still the best form of aviation out there for the pure experience in my opinion.


24382439

Buzz
09-14-2012, 09:39 AM
I live in the northwoods and drive 1 hour and 15 min to get to my instructor and fly once a week. I am thinking of purchasing next spring/summer and figure I should decide now. I also thought of asking my instructor if he would change and start instructing my for light sport, but wanted to ask if I could up the time. I mean, go down to him and spend more time with him than just an hour flight a week. Any advice would be great, as I said, I'm in the beginning and the last thing I want to do is upset my instructor. info....I am training in a Quicksilver 2 place. 503 dual ignition. Thanks in advance.
One other idea for you. Buy a 2-place "N" numbered Quicksilver and hangar it at or near where he is. Have him give you instruction in that. All that instruction would be Sport Pilot instruction [meaning it counts towards the license requirements].

I don't know all the details of the rules, but once you solo, you can fly your airplane alone with his endorsement. I've heard of people in GA that were "permanent" student pilots. They loved flying, wanted to do some for recreation, were ok doing it alone and just never kept the instruction process going to finish the license.

Once you have a solo endorsement, you can fly your 2-place alone and really have some fun with it. There will be restrictions you'll have with it flying it with the Sport Pilot - Student Pilot endorsement that you would not have with a single seat ultralight I believe. [Like distance and maybe what kind of airport you can operate in and out of. I think you need an instructor endorsement for some class of airports whereas an ultralight only needs to get on the radio and ask for permission to enter the airspace. But I may be wrong about that.]

But if you are planning on buying something in the future anyway and he's already instructing you in a 2-place QS, maybe buy one if you like that kind of flight experience ["open" cockpit :cool:, etc.]

Also, look into the Sport Pilot Repairman Certificate. If you are in WI, the EAA provides courses to get it. Lets you do all your own maintenance on your ELSA. I did the course a couple years ago and really learned a lot even though I was going to be maintaining the same 2-place QS I'd been maintaining as a UL instructor under the old exemption.

BTW, can I ask what city your instructor is in? If "north woods" means Wisconsin, I know a lot of them there that used QSs and may know your instructor.

-Buzz

malexander
09-14-2012, 01:40 PM
Thanks Malexander.

I've been fortunate to be around people that have shared their experiences with me. I've also had some real fun experiences in aviation. I'll post a picture of one my most fun ones..

The back of the head in the photo is Chuck Yeager. This was taken from the backseat of his P-51 at EAA in '96. In the back of the other Mustang is Rusty Wallace [the NASCAR driver]. They are flying formation with my Cessna Skymaster being flown by a friend of mine [as I mentioned in a previous post, I owned the 337 for business but never checked out in it]. You can see there is a ball on the side of the Skymaster. That's a $400K TV camera I had mounted on it. We were shooting a segment for ESPN. Yeager formed up under our tail right after this shot. We were looking down in his canopy and one could watch him move the stick and watch him actually flying the airplane.

Watching him fly through the TV monitor in our plane was a treat. It was like his P-51 was on a rail off the bottom of the Skymaster. You could see the unbelievable touch he had. There were 3 other P-51s in trail below us at the time all trying to hold position on him and the others were bouncing all over the place in comparison.

I really got a chance to talk with him a lot that year and heard some of his stories. [Miller sponsored the plane and we did a TON of aerial coverage for the 5 networks on NASCAR, Indycar, MLB, NFL, etc. We were talking to Chuck for several months after EAA about flying the plane during coverage of a World Series game and then putting a lipstick camera on the dash and have him chat with the guys doing the game coverage. The network doing the Series that year had already committed the aerial coverage duties to someone else, so it never materialized.]

I love ultralight flying. It's still the best form of aviation out there for the pure experience in my opinion.


24382439


Cool stuff.
Thanks

Malpal_mikey21
09-14-2012, 03:00 PM
Thanks for all the insight. I believe I am going to stick with the task at hand, get into a single Quicksilver. I will do that for now and if the bug never goes away, maybe I will go after the LSA.

Thanks again,

M & M

Buzz
09-14-2012, 09:08 PM
I think that's a good plan. If you do get into a QS, there is a yahoo group "Quicksilveraircraftowners" which is a good forum on Quicksilvers. Lots of sharing on there.

Malpal_mikey21
09-15-2012, 08:47 AM
Buzz, I sent you a private message.

jedi
09-15-2012, 01:20 PM
First, as Dana has said, if you are getting training in a 2-place Quicksilver, your instructor can't give you training that you can log towards the Sport license. One can GET logable Sport Pilot instruction in an ELSA they own [Experimental LSA] but one can't GIVE logable instruction in an ELSA [unless it's the student's].-Buzz

Buzz - I think you are wrong here. Presumablly the 2 - place Quicksilver would be an N numbered E LSA (Experimental Llight Sport Aircraft) and the instructor would be either a Light Sport Instructor or CFI qualified to teach for a Private Pilot certificate. If the instructor is Light Sport he can GIVE instruction towards the Light Sport pilot certificate but he can not charge for that flight instruction. If the instructor is qualified for PPL instruction the instruction will count towards a PPL. However, he can not charge for the instruction given in an experimental aircraft.

Buzz
09-16-2012, 06:59 AM
Hi Jedi-

I have a friend that is a SP-CFI. I have several ultralight friends that want to get a SP and a 2-place ELSA I've been thinking of selling. I asked him if he could instruct them in it toward the SP if we made it a club airplane. I would retain a share so I could continue having access to it. The other club members would use it to get their SPs.

He checked with the local FSDO. They confirmed that it is no problem to give compensated flight instruction in a group owned ELSA aircraft. [Which should mean there is no problem giving it in a single student's ELSA.]

The specific reference the FSDO said covers it is paragraph 3-292 of FAA order 8900-1 Volume 3. [They said where it gets a little fuzzy is if there is a majority shareholder in the aircraft. That majority shareholder cannot receive any compensation for other owners flying the aircraft. The club members CAN pay club dues for the use of the aircraft, but it couldn't go into the majority shareholder's pocket. Probably to prevent a SP-CFI from giving instruction for compensation in his own ELSA by selling $1 shares to each student. He retains complete control of the ELSA and each student is "an owner".

BTW, this SP-CFI will not be a shareholder and the FSDO knew that. So, there is no requirement for the SP-CFI to be a partner in the ESLA.

I haven't looked up the referenced reg myself yet, but that's what the SP-CFI reported back to me on my inquiry when he went over it with our local FSDO.

-Buzz

Dana
09-17-2012, 07:43 PM
Buzz - I think you are wrong here. Presumablly the 2 - place Quicksilver would be an N numbered E LSA (Experimental Llight Sport Aircraft) and the instructor would be either a Light Sport Instructor or CFI qualified to teach for a Private Pilot certificate. If the instructor is Light Sport he can GIVE instruction towards the Light Sport pilot certificate but he can not charge for that flight instruction. If the instructor is qualified for PPL instruction the instruction will count towards a PPL. However, he can not charge for the instruction given in an experimental aircraft.

Not quite. An instructor can charge for instruction in an ELSA (or any experimental) but he can't charge for the use of the aircraft (i.e. if the student owns the aircraft, no problem, but the instructor can't rent it to the student). With a FSDO issued LODA, the instructor can rent the aircraft to the student, but there are a lot of hoops to jump through to get the LODA. The LODA will exclude instruction counting toward any certificate but again, if the student owns the aircraft the hours will count.

dirt_mover
08-09-2013, 05:15 PM
just joined this forum. I am looking for an ultralight and would like some training . If you can train me i would be interested in buying 1 of yours. Thanks.
I've been a "real" pilot for 40 years and flying ultralights for 35 years. I was an ultralight instructor under the old rule.

I live 25 miles west of Milwaukee in Pewaukee. I'd be happy to talk with you about your aviation aspirations and share whatever knowledge I have.

I have a 2-place Quicksilver Sprint II that was an ultralight trainer and is now N-numbered. I also have two single place Quicksilver MXs ultralights which I'd be willing to sell if you are interested in either of them. Both have Rotax engines. That model was the entry level ultralight for thousands of new ultralight pilots. It could be a very affordable first ultralight for you. They are relatively easy to learn to fly and very docile. You'd have little trouble selling it if you wanted to move up at some point.

Unfortunately, all my aircraft are stored right now because of a lack of local hangar space. However, if you were interested in one of the MXs, I could probably provide you some basic training in the 2-place Sprint II and then help you transition to the MX. [I can't just give you training if you are interested in a different ultralight. I am not able to charge you for training because I am no longer a current instructor under the new FAA rules.]

Whether you just want to meet and pick my brain or are interested in one of the entry level ultralights I have, I'd be happy to help in any way I can. All of us in aviation have depended on the help and encouragement of another along the way. It's not an activity that is easy to enter without some help.

-Buzz