The freedom of soaring above the ground with the birds is something that most of us has imagined at some point. Getting an ultralight and learning to fly is one of the least expensive ways to experience individual flight. Flight is a great way to travel, and flying to your destination gives you a great sense of adventure.
Learning to fly an ultralight takes about 10 to 15 hours of dual flight instruction and a similar amount of ground instruction. Completing the course may take a couple of months if you fly every weekend.
Ultralight pilots tend to be pampered in their everyday life. So menial tasks such as changing the oil or antifreeze in the car, gaping spark plugs, changing tires or adjusting fan belts are all things that if not completed, prior to a flight can cause, serious injury or death. A good flight school will cover these basics.
The cost for licensing should be between $1000 to $1500. The average charge for dual flight instruction is $60 to $90 per hour and $10 to $25 per hour for ground instruction. The cost of instruction should include a pilot training manual of your choice (airplane or trike) pilot knowledge and proficiency checklists, pilot practical test, pilot and vehicle logbook, airmen and vehicle program ultralight experience guide.
When searching for a training facility you should look for a location with a runway between 1500 feet and 2000 feet long. It should be wide enough that you can turn your ultralight around on the field. This will allow the instructor to give you ground handling experience and instruction.
The school should offer training between dusk and dawn 7 days a week. This is important because Monday to Friday 9-5 doesn’t work for the average individual, though that will depend on you somewhat.
There are major differences between classes of ultralights for which specific training should be sought. Airplanes or aerodynamic control, trikes or weightshift and land and sea classes are all areas were specific training is required. Each ultralight class or plane designation allows you to tailor your training for your personal requirements. Weightshift is identified by a control bar that effectively changes the position of the wing, relative to the pilot’s position. This is the entry level of Trikes, and may be your initial experience with ultralights as they are the most popular ultralight in the world.
The majority of flight instructors fly traditionally controlled planes such as the Quickilver sprint, Quad city challenger, flightstar, and Rans S-12. You can expect to learn the basics of flight and the general basics of ultralight flight in any of these aircraft.
Make sure that the school you’re using has quality headgear for communication and stocks replacement parts for their planes. The newer the equipment, the better the school. Obviously training equipment gets more frequent use, than an average ultralight so they need more frequent maintenance and repair so keep this in mind when selecting a school.
Each student will have there own particular needs and requirements depending on the intended use of their ultralight. Potential ultralight travelers will benefit from the training and experience acquired during pilot training. So whether you are looking to access a secluded lake or travel to a traditional landing strip location ultralight travel can be your gateway to individual flight.