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Thread: Non-pilot getting started in ultralights

  1. #11
    zaitcev's Avatar
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    I met 2 kinds of people who do ultralights nowadays.

    #1 is start with hang gliders, then graduate to Quicksilver, PIG (glider), or other 2-axis aircraft, and finally perhaps a Kolb. This is cheaper, but you will survive crashes. I know one local pilot who crashed 10 times, a couple of times with complete write-off of his aircraft. He flies an old Quick MXL now. This is a true barnstorming way, you almost repeat the history of early aviators this way.

    #2 is go up into conventional aviation, then downsize the best you can. That's basically what I am doing. In our ultralight club, the recommended legal instruction is with a local guy who has a Cessna 120. That's as slow as it goes with a CFI. Then a member takes you up in RANS S-12XL or similar E-AB (we don't have anyone with ELSA). You cannot obtain instruction and you are supposed to stay off the controls, but at least you get the sight picture and know how steep the glide is. After that, check yourself out like you would in any GA single-seater like FlyBaby.

    Road #1 is dangerous and road #2 is expensive.

  2. #12
    Jim Heffelfinger's Avatar
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    There were some good questions noted. Is your desire based on UP ? and just happen to note fixed wing part 103? Is it the lack of registration, license, property tax, low(er) cost and low federal oversight?
    Up is Up. If it's wanting to be UP then there are many options that can be operated from the trunk of your car and stored in a small apartment.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Powered_paragliding
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paragliding
    http://www.apexballoons.com/ultralights/

    There a number of kits that can be built in a vary small space and final assembled in a small hangar. Building, for some, is as much fun as flying
    My recommendations ... put some $ aside. Research what flying options you have in your area including flying clubs, ( remember Up is UP) connect with those groups , take intro flights, find what suits your interest and budget, Find and invest in a compatible instructor. Expect to invest in your training; ~ these are very broad numbers. Ultralight - 2-3K, Sport pilot 3-4K, private pilot 7-10K, I have no training $ info on balloons, or paragliders but expect them to be in the 1-3K range.
    Connect with your local eaa chapter(s). Visit AirVenture this year - invest in your education.

  3. #13

    Here is the Quick Silver web site: http://quicksilveraircraft.com/

    Quote Originally Posted by arrowheadHD View Post
    I've been fighting the urge to write this, hoping that I could "wing it" on my own, but apparently the time has come to man up and ask for help from the masses.

    After weeks of research on the new-to-me subject of part 103 ultralights, I have narrowed my choices down to a Quicksilver Sport or Spirit. I sent an email to Ultralight of Iowa requesting information on said aircraft, but have yet to hear back (hopefully they're staying busy.)

    Really hoping someone here can help me out with a "this is what ya gotta do"... From ordering an aircraft, and getting it home, to finding general flight instructions (no UL flyers that I know of in the area).

    The whole ordeal has become slightly overwhelming (to the point of hardly knowing what questions to ask), and I really don't want that to deter me from my goal of flight.

    Any help you knowledgeable folks could offer up would be greatly appreciated.



    Bryan
    You said nothing about contacting the Quick Silver dealers. I've provided a link to their site which lists "New Flyer Info, Dealer Locations etc." There is lots of good advice here but coming up with "YOUR" answers for the many excellent questions posed are key. I recently gave up flying my Ultralight after nearly 30 years because I moved so a place where finding a safe place to fly was just too difficult, or to be more specific all the emergency landing areas are filled with alligators (The Everglades). One question I didn't see was about what you want to do in the air and where you may want to go when you do get into the air. Doing much of anything fun in the air or getting anywhere quick is pretty much out of the question with paragliders.

  4. #14

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    I appreciate all the responses, but rather than waste anyone else's time, we could probably let this thread die.

    I've run into a few road blocks, and at this point it would not be practical for me to move forward with any plan of getting off the ground.

    Take care, and fly safe.

  5. #15

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    Quote Originally Posted by arrowheadHD View Post
    I appreciate all the responses, but rather than waste anyone else's time, we could probably let this thread die. I've run into a few road blocks, and at this point it would not be practical for me to move forward with any plan of getting off the ground.

    Take care, and fly safe.
    Arrowhead-
    For the sake of others wanting to get into flying an ultralight, what were the biggest roadblocks that you ran into [other than budget]?

    I suspect the title of your thread will have others coming to it to learn from your experience in their efforts to get off the ground. Knowing what roadblocks they might face will be helpful to them.

    Thanks!

    -Buzz

  6. #16

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    I think in the end, just about anything can be boiled down to finances... but, between finding a plane that I could afford, a trailer, hangar, and training, I realized I'm not as prepared for this as I need to be.

    Not giving up; not by a long shot... Just taking my time to do things right, rather than jumping in head first.
    I found myself getting overwhelmed by the situation, and really needed to step back.




    I do have to give a public shout-out to Buzz, who has been beyond helpful with this whole thing. It's rare to meet someone so willing to put themselves out there to help a complete stranger.

  7. #17
    Jim Heffelfinger's Avatar
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    Arrowhead,
    I understand. Like most reading this $ is always an issue. It is THE biggest obstacle to flight. I offered in my prior posting a paradigm shift and an opportunity. The latter first: Make AirVenture a priority visit for you this year. You are not that far away. Spend time in the UL section and see what might be there. Consider a paradigm shift from your fixed wing aircraft view. There are so many options that are reasonably priced and easily transported in a mid sized car. As I have said before - UP is UP. There are so many ways to be UP. Including muiti ownership and clubs. If there is fire in the belly there is a way... UP

  8. #18

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    Quote Originally Posted by arrowheadHD View Post
    I think in the end, just about anything can be boiled down to finances... but, between finding a plane that I could afford, a trailer, hangar, and training, I realized I'm not as prepared for this as I need to be.

    Not giving up; not by a long shot... Just taking my time to do things right, rather than jumping in head first.
    I found myself getting overwhelmed by the situation, and really needed to step back.
    You came to the right place to get advice on how to approach getting into the sport. It's sometimes more involved than just picking out what ultralight to fly.
    Quote Originally Posted by arrowheadHD View Post
    I do have to give a public shout-out to Buzz, who has been beyond helpful with this whole thing. It's rare to meet someone so willing to put themselves out there to help a complete stranger.
    Just trying to help keep the "Association" in EAA!

    -Buzz

  9. #19

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    Quote Originally Posted by jamesofthenorthwest View Post
    ........ Doing much of anything fun in the air or getting anywhere quick is pretty much out of the question with paragliders.
    OK - not "getting anywhere quick" in a paraglider is true but not fun ----- NO WAY ----- Paragliders are one of the most fun aircrft I have flown.

    AeroheadHD -
    Don't give up to quickly. Read "See How It Flies" online and keep up the interest. You will find there are some very reasonable oppertunities if you are patient and persistant and ready when the oppertunity presents itself.

  10. #20

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    Keep looking and researching, some day we might pass in the sky! Don't let your dream die just yet.

    You might want to look at the Affordaplane site. Very simple construction. Electronic plans and manual are downloaded for $7. http://affordaplane.com/

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