So I've been watching videos and thinking about getting into ultra-light aviation. Flying in a personal air-trike or paramotor looks like a lot of fun. Being new to the aviation arena I had a couple questions:

  • How do the airspace restrictions work?
  • Do you have to file a flight plan like any typical aircraft/pilot at an airport?

For example, say I wanted to take my paramotor to a large park and take off from there? How would that work with the FAA, talking to ATC and other traffic in the area so they know I'm there? Does it work the same as flying in a Cessna?

  • $\begingroup$ I edited your question to clarify some terminology. An ultralight isn't the same as a light sport aircraft, and they operate under very different regulations. You mentioned paramotors and trikes so I assume you're asking about ultralights but please roll back or edit again if I got that wrong. $\endgroup$ – Pondlife Jun 11 '18 at 15:42
  • $\begingroup$ @fooot I'm not sure what lighting has to do with this question? $\endgroup$ – Pondlife Jun 11 '18 at 15:43
  • $\begingroup$ @fooot Not a dupe. That question is about lighting. $\endgroup$ – TomMcW Jun 11 '18 at 15:43
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    $\begingroup$ Might be a dupe of This question though $\endgroup$ – TomMcW Jun 11 '18 at 15:46
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    $\begingroup$ @fooot That regulation about lighting has only one short sentence about airspace. The answers to the other question are much more specific $\endgroup$ – TomMcW Jun 11 '18 at 15:54

Ultralights are regulated under 14 CFR 103. There are very few regulations that apply to them, but there are specific rules on airspace in 103.17:

ยง103.17 Operations in certain airspace.

No person may operate an ultralight vehicle within Class A, Class B, Class C, or Class D airspace or within the lateral boundaries of the surface area of Class E airspace designated for an airport unless that person has prior authorization from the ATC facility having jurisdiction over that airspace.

That means, you can fly in (most) class E airspace and all class G airspace. You can find more information about those airspace classes in this question.

As for your other questions:

  • A flight plan isn't required even for aircraft, and ultralights aren't subject to the regulations that would require them anyway
  • Ultralights aren't required to have radios or talk to anyone; you usually fly so low that you aren't in anyone's way
  • It's not at all the same as flying a Cessna; in fact, you don't even need a pilot's license to fly an ultralight
  • See this question for information about launching from national parks; state parks would be subject to state law instead but the principles are probably the same

You might want to look through all our ultralight questions for more information.

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  • $\begingroup$ Thank you, Pondlife. Like I said, I'm very new to this area. I've flown commercially plenty of times, and mess around on a flight sim at home; but am just now getting interested in personal flight of the ultralight variety. $\endgroup$ – Jon Jun 11 '18 at 16:16
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    $\begingroup$ I would also suggest finding a local EAA chapter at www.eaa.org $\endgroup$ – CrossRoads Jun 11 '18 at 16:39

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