Aircraft categories include:

  • Airplane
  • Rotorcraft
  • Glider
  • Lighter than air
  • Powered lift
  • Powered parachute
  • Weight-shift-control

I'm familiar with all of these except for weight-shift-control. What are they??


1 Answer 1


Basically, it's a powered hang glider.

enter image description here

Weight-shift control (WSC) aircraft means a powered aircraft with a framed pivoting wing and a fuselage controllable only in pitch and roll by the pilot’s ability to change the aircraft’s center of gravity (CG) with respect to the wing. Flight control of the aircraft depends on the wing’s ability to deform flexibly rather than on the use of control surfaces.

FAA H-8083-5 Weight Shift Control Aircraft Flying Handbook

They're commonly called "trikes" and are literally big delta-wing hang gliders with a lot more structure and an engine. Check out a cockpit video of one in flight!

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ And they are superb fun to fly. $\endgroup$
    – Paul Leigh
    Jan 20, 2014 at 8:21
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    $\begingroup$ But a non-powered hangglider still is cg-controlled, no? $\endgroup$
    – yankeekilo
    Jan 20, 2014 at 10:31
  • $\begingroup$ How do they shift the cg? Are there flight controls? $\endgroup$
    – Lnafziger
    Jan 20, 2014 at 12:32
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    $\begingroup$ @Lnafziger they shift the CG by moving the entire wing structure. That giant bar the front guy is holding on to moves the wing on a pivot. So you're moving the CG around the center of lift and changing the angle of attack all at the same time. $\endgroup$
    – StallSpin
    Jan 20, 2014 at 15:55
  • $\begingroup$ @StallSpin Cool! It's really hard to tell that from the small picture. It looks like part of the frame and he is just holding on! $\endgroup$
    – Lnafziger
    Jan 20, 2014 at 16:40

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