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Thread: Where is UL growing?

  1. #1

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    Where is UL growing?

    Our airport has had a lot of ultralights in the past. However, most of the pilot's in the group have transitioned through the years to LSA or GA, and nobody is back-filling the void. I get questions all the time about how someone can get into ultralights, but my standard answer is you basically have to get LSA training and then buy a used UL and train yourself in the single seat. There is one CFI in the area who spent the money to buy a SLSA powered parachute to train people, but for fixed wing it is pretty much cub/champ or plastic LSA training because the SLSA aircraft are so expensive.

    So, it just makes me wonder where in the country UL flying is growing, and what is the secret?

  2. #2

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    ULs are not dead, they're on life support. Two-placed ULs merged into LSA as converted E-LSA up until 2008 I think. But single seat true ultralights are still being developed as evidenced by this legal Part 103 "flying float" called the Connie, an amphibious UL still in the flying prototype stage. So for those that want to legally operate and fly with no licence and no medical, this could be the one. But you'll still have to learn in a 2 place LSA.

    http://youtu.be/VMjLR_cktZo

  3. #3

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    Still no answers on where UL flying is actually growing, but there is lots of good info in the "Learning to fly ultralights" thread. http://eaaforums.org/showthread.php?...ly-Ultralights Single seat training may be the answer.

    An ultralight that has been in planning for 6 years and based on a rotax engine no longer in production, doesn't seem like much life support. However, if we can get the training figured out I think there will be a market again for Part 103 and a reason for manufacturers to design new products.

  4. #4

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    There is one area of ULs that if not red hot, is pretty close: powered paragliding. Lots of the same excitement there as there was is ULs 30 years ago.
    www.footflyer.com

  5. #5
    steveinindy's Avatar
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    Still no answers on where UL flying is actually growing
    I think the answer, unpleasant as it might be, is simply to say "nowhere". Even as someone with a lot of ultralight time myself, I am hard pressed to think of any "new" ultralight pilots I have met as I travel for my work. Most of the guys I know who used to fly ultralights have either died (from reasons other than crashes; most of our de facto local group were old pilots who had lost their medicals for one reason or another), retired from flying or moved up to something like an LSA. The effective death knell of the UL world was the end of the two seat option. I just don't know many folks who are looking to put up with all of the restrictions in terms of weight and performance inherent with Part 103. If you can't easily do a hamburger run with your friend or your wife....even the speed restrictions of LSA are a bit oppressive honestly.

    Maybe not as many of us fly for the pure "love of flying" as we like to claim otherwise it would stand to reason that Part 103 would probably be a little more widely used.
    Last edited by steveinindy; 03-02-2013 at 12:55 AM.
    Unfortunately in science what you believe is irrelevant.

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  6. #6
    Norman Langlois's Avatar
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    I have to agree the UL is in a bad way. I am a late comer to the UL class .I made it through even though in a very controversial way. I tried to put a spark into the UL I am growing old fast and even if my plane has a desirable element. I can no longer see it going into production. Because of the reasons Stevenindy has stated and my own experience with the opposition to the single seat methodology.
    The plane is a success if still needing refinement. It flew extensively on the labor day week end as seen here in my recently posted videos and
    I had hoped to put into kit production .I have been informed VIA opinion that they wont do the work [implying that potential buyer /builder wont]

  7. #7
    Norman Langlois's Avatar
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    I had hoped that by building a desirable looking plane and using the water , would help since there are no airport restrictions and in my case in NH no use restrictions no registration boat or other wise. The training locations are spacious and if the aircraft is well behaved as is mine with one exception. That is static not moving with wind.[needs improvement]. Otherwise with a boat and communications the training would go pretty well. for a reasonable UL training program. Water to air needs a well behaved trainer, I believe mine is.

  8. #8
    steveinindy's Avatar
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    Nice job and well said Norman. Can I fly her some time?
    Unfortunately in science what you believe is irrelevant.

    "I'm an old-fashioned Southern Gentleman. Which means I can be a cast-iron son-of-a-***** when I want to be."- Robert A. Heinlein.



  9. #9

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    Nice video.
    I like the outrigger sponsons. They provide both lateral and longitudinal water stability. Almost like a tricycle gear seaplane. Much better than the typical Lake/Goose configuration with wing tip floats, I think.

    Not much can be done about getting older, at least you will always know you did it!

  10. #10
    steveinindy's Avatar
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    I like the outrigger sponsons. They provide both lateral and longitudinal water stability. Almost like a tricycle gear seaplane. Much better than the typical Lake/Goose configuration with wing tip floats, I think.
    With my amphibian LSA project, I have been kicking around the idea of "removable" sponsons/floats and possibly a detachable lower hull (or at least the minimal drag and weight profile I can pull off and still operate safely). The advantage would be that you would not be hauling around the extra weight when you aren't looking to do water based operations. Basically one could relatively quickly transition between the two if you have a desire to go somewhere water based operations are feasible/desirable. If I were going to the Bahamas or Florida, a flying boat would be a great option. In the Midwest, not so much.
    Unfortunately in science what you believe is irrelevant.

    "I'm an old-fashioned Southern Gentleman. Which means I can be a cast-iron son-of-a-***** when I want to be."- Robert A. Heinlein.



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