I am looking into the possibly of getting my pilots license and I noticed that it says you don't need a license for "ultralight vehicles".

What are ultralight vehicles?

I am located in the USA, and I am particularly interested in details for the states Utah and Washington.

  • $\begingroup$ Hi. Welcome to Aviation.SE. What country are you asking about? The definition varies, as you can see here. $\endgroup$
    – Simon
    Jun 9 '17 at 7:12
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ Just because you don't need one doesn't mean you shouldn't get one. Jumping into an ultralight without training is a good way to remove yourself from the gene pool. $\endgroup$
    – Ron Beyer
    Jun 9 '17 at 10:59

A typical ultralight looks like this, although there are plenty of different designs:

enter image description here

Source: wikimedia.org

Ultralights in the US are defined and regulated by 14 CFR 103. The definition in 103.1 is:

For the purposes of this part, an ultralight vehicle is a vehicle that:

(a) Is used or intended to be used for manned operation in the air by a single occupant;

(b) Is used or intended to be used for recreation or sport purposes only;

(c) Does not have any U.S. or foreign airworthiness certificate; and

(d) If unpowered, weighs less than 155 pounds; or

(e) If powered:

(1) Weighs less than 254 pounds empty weight, excluding floats and safety devices which are intended for deployment in a potentially catastrophic situation;

(2) Has a fuel capacity not exceeding 5 U.S. gallons;

(3) Is not capable of more than 55 knots calibrated airspeed at full power in level flight; and

(4) Has a power-off stall speed which does not exceed 24 knots calibrated airspeed.

And 103.7(b) says:

(b) Notwithstanding any other section pertaining to airman certification, operators of ultralight vehicles are not required to meet any aeronautical knowledge, age, or experience requirements to operate those vehicles or to have airman or medical certificates.

But, just because you can fly an ultralight without any license or training doesn't mean it's a good idea! You should definitely look into local ultralight clubs to help get you started safely. For example, the EAA has a lot of members who fly (and sometimes build) ultralights and they have some useful information on getting started.


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