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Thread: Learning to transition into ultralights

  1. #1

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    Learning to transition into ultralights

    I've had my PPL for many years, flown various airplanes, most of my training was in a 152. Now i'm interested in buying an ultralight because of the cost and lack of red tape. I am looking at either a Challenger single, or an Aerolite 103. What i would like, is to hear a detailed, step by step description of a little flight in either one of those aircraft, or maybe a similiar type. I'm just trying to figure out what the main differences are between a 152 and a UL when it comes to actually taking to the sky with one. Also, i heard that a 4 stroke will be an available option for the Aerolite in about a year.. has anyone heard anything about this? I'd rather go with a 4 stroke if at all possible, but if not, has anyone had good/bad experiences with the F33? Any information will be greatly appreciated!

  2. #2
    Sam Buchanan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jrees View Post
    I've had my PPL for many years, flown various airplanes, most of my training was in a 152. Now i'm interested in buying an ultralight because of the cost and lack of red tape. I am looking at either a Challenger single, or an Aerolite 103. What i would like, is to hear a detailed, step by step description of a little flight in either one of those aircraft, or maybe a similiar type. I'm just trying to figure out what the main differences are between a 152 and a UL when it comes to actually taking to the sky with one. Also, i heard that a 4 stroke will be an available option for the Aerolite in about a year.. has anyone heard anything about this? I'd rather go with a 4 stroke if at all possible, but if not, has anyone had good/bad experiences with the F33? Any information will be greatly appreciated!
    C'mon...let's go flying in my Legal Eagle!

    http://www.youtube.com/user/EagleXL58?feature=mhee
    Sam Buchanan
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  3. #3

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    I was a GA pilot for about 30 years when I flew my first ultralight-a Fisher 505. I did as much research as I could before flying and spoke with experienced U/L pilots. The major difference I noticed is the airplane didn't retain energy nearly as well as a standard category simply because it was so light. It was a little fat at 280lbs so even with me and fuel your looking at 510lbs. When you pull the power, be ready to make a pitch change. Also, it was affected by the slightest turbulence dramatically. Things seem to happen quicker as well; i.e. takeoff, pitch/roll changes induced by gusts. Other than that, she flew great. I'll never forget my first early winter, late afternoon flight in it-cool, clear and, smooth. They are lots of fun under the right conditions.

  4. #4

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    One big difference is the speed between stall and cruise is very short or slight. This is one of the hardest for most flying bigger crafts to over come at first. Some have stalled and spun these smaller crafts in because of this.

    Tony

  5. #5

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    Your experience resembles mine. I had a total of about 90 hours in a variety of aircraft including C150/152. I also had about 4 hours in a Aeronca Champ. Flying my Starflight (like the Aerolite) was a lot like flying an entire flight in the Cessna with the flaps at full deflection. The time in the Champ made the stick control seem natural. For me the hardest part was the landings as I had to learn to keep quite a bit of power on and it felt like landing a go kart.... you get much closer to the ground before the flare or you will drop it in hard from stalling about 5 feet too high. When you lift the nose without power an ultralight will immediately bleed off speed. I have been flying mine for over 2 years now and finally feel fully competent landing without power but it is amazing how steep the decent can be... almost shuttle like but at 40 mph.

  6. #6

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    I fly my down wind leg at about 700-800'. Look over left and the runway will be almost below you. You are off to the side slightly. Then once the thrush hold of the runway is over my left shoulder I turn for Base, making this turn, I lower the nose as I make this turn also lower the throttle to idle. As you state you are pointing the nose down at a good angle keeping the speed at your landing speed. Need to loose speed raise the nose some, not much though for speed drops fast.

    With these little airplane if you have trees or homes at the end of the runway and you have at least 2000' runway do not cross the end of the runway. Now this is in these small light aircraft that are either ultralights or really close like what I fly.

    These things will not glide and you do not want to be 200' above a tree line and find yourself with an engine out. Instead as you climb out start moving off to one side of the runway and do not fly a center line down the middle. Stay within glide distance from the side, so you are holding it tight in so to speak. Then as you get ready to come to the end of the runway, lower the nose and bank back across to the other side of the runway.

    Now you are on the down wind leg moving farther out to the side as you climb. As you come to the other end of the runway you come back across again and now you are flying on the otherside or where you started from after takeoff but moving out farther as you climb. Once you reach 700- or 800' you can exit the pattern and have some fun.

    This is how I do it. I have a line of tree's at one end of the runway running the center line of the runway. In other words once you take off you are over tree's, then corn and beans on each side. This is the west end. The east end has homes and tree's. I avoid these area's even when landing. I do not fly over homes nor will I fly down the center line of those tree's.

    Doing my takeoff's like this has saved my butt once. Today I would not have an airplane and just maybe may not be typing this if I did not fly my takeoff's like this. I had a part break on takeoff and because I just turned back across the runway and was off to the side I just slipped her back onto the runway and landed. If I would not have done this I was either in the tree's or the corn and beans. All bad choices.

    Tony

  7. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sam Buchanan View Post
    C'mon...let's go flying in my Legal Eagle!

    http://www.youtube.com/user/EagleXL58?feature=mhee
    Nice series of videos!
    I like the "Why we fly" one.
    Says it all.

  8. #8

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    This is exactly the kind of info i was looking for. Please keep the flying stories coming.

  9. #9

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    Tony, you mentioned that you put your throttle to "idle" as you turn to base. I read somewhere that 2 stroke engines do not like to idle and will frequently stop running in idle position. That has been one of my concerns, which is why i am hoping for a light 4 stroke to come available soon. What kind of aircraft and engine do you fly (ultralight)? I really appreciated hearing about your departure technique, it makes a LOT of sense to me, staying close to the runway until you get to safe altitude. Everyone has great information on this site, and i would like to hear more about other's experiences with 2 stroke engines, the good and the bad of them, which engine has the longest TBO, etc.

  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by jrees View Post
    Tony, you mentioned that you put your throttle to "idle" as you turn to base. I read somewhere that 2 stroke engines do not like to idle and will frequently stop running in idle position. That has been one of my concerns, which is why i am hoping for a light 4 stroke to come available soon. What kind of aircraft and engine do you fly (ultralight)? I really appreciated hearing about your departure technique, it makes a LOT of sense to me, staying close to the runway until you get to safe altitude. Everyone has great information on this site, and i would like to hear more about other's experiences with 2 stroke engines, the good and the bad of them, which engine has the longest TBO, etc.
    I fly behind a VW engine. Using a two stroke you should never let her idle and windmill the prop. My airplane is what I call a step above an ultralight but flies like an ultralight. Meaning the speeds are real close to that of an MXL Quicksilver just maybe a step above it or just a few MPH faster in all aspects of the speed envelope. I do not fly under the 103 rule. My airplane has an N number.

    Some fly behind a two stroke and never have one problem. Then there are some like myself whom just have bad luck behind one. When I first started flying I thought a two stroke would work if you knew how to take care of them. But the problem runs deeper so to speak. What I found is that these are not certified aviation for a reason and if you fly them as such they are not to bad.

    Example of what I am talking about: I will condense this to keep it short, others I am sure have read this before for I have posted this other places.

    Stator went out of my little 447 rotax. I called and ordered one of these for a good heft price and waiting for my package to arrive. I put my new stator on and one hr worth of ground running with my airplane tied down. I would run her for a little shut down, start up run a little shut down. I did this for an hr. I then untie her and taxi her for about 45 mins. I am known as Taxi Man here by the rc club for the say all I did was taxi.
    After this taxi session I take her to the end of the runway and am ready to take flight. I throttle into her and she is running better then ever, I just get ready to leave or break free from gravity when all went quiet.
    You can not buy a new single ignition stators for all New parts are for dual Ignition. I climb out of my airplane and unplug the coil from the stator and plug the coil into the other side of the stator. I gave her a pull on the cord and she started right up.
    I taxied her to the hangar and gave up on two strokes that day. I will not fly behind one. I have many more stories like this 7 in all. All before I had logged 75 hrs as a pilot.

    Tony

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