51 votes
Accepted

What is this object in the cockpit of an ultralight?

It's an airspeed indicator for ultralights. The pitot inlet is at the bottom and the pitot air pushes a little red plastic disc up and down on a central rod, with a calibrated clearance between the ...
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  • 103k
48 votes

What is it exactly about flying a Flyboard across the English channel that made Zapata's thighs burn?

He's using the angle of his legs to control the attitude of the platform (and as a result, the direction he's flying in). So he can't take a relaxed pose, he's standing with his knees slightly bent ...
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  • 10.1k
46 votes

Why does Canada recommend a minimum rate of climb for ultralights of 300 ft/min?

When you fly gliders you discover it's quite common to run into air that's descending at 1-200 fpm, or "sink" in soaring-talk. Descending air next to a thermal, or air descending due to downsloping ...
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  • 103k
41 votes
Accepted

What is it exactly about flying a Flyboard across the English channel that made Zapata's thighs burn?

This is what he said after the 1st attempt "When you fly with your body, even your hands affect the direction you want to go in. You feel the turbulence and the air through your fingers," Zapata ...
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  • 8,689
27 votes
Accepted

Could I use a powered parachute to fly around New York City?

Pretty simple, powered parachutes fall under the ultralight vehicle category, which is 14 CFR 103: 14 CFR 103.15 Operations over congested areas.: No person may operate an ultralight vehicle over ...
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  • 35.1k
24 votes

What is it exactly about flying a Flyboard across the English channel that made Zapata's thighs burn?

There is another bit of information worth mentioning in the CNN link in CrossRoads' answer The flyboard looks like a chunky skateboard and is powered by five small engines. It is fueled by ...
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  • 909
23 votes

What is wrong with a high-speed landing for an ultralight or GA aircraft?

Keeping too much speed in an approach in any airplane can be risky depending on how much runway you have as it all has to bleed off before you can stop. It's a great way to end up in a hedge. Extra ...
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  • 49.1k
23 votes

Why do tail dragging seaplanes not exist?

It's been tried before (there isn't all that much in aviation that hadn't already been tried by WWII). The tail float means the aircraft CG is aft of the hydrodynamic center of the main floats, and ...
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  • 103k
22 votes
Accepted

What is the rationale behind "One engine - Two propellers" configuration?

It looks as if they rotate in opposite directions. This eliminates prop torque, which should improve handling, especially at low speeds. On the other hand, you are right with your impression that it ...
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21 votes
Accepted

What are the disadvantages of using just rudder to roll an airplane?

It works in a half-assed way but the key word is half-assed. You'll always be skidding around the sky since sideslip is required to obtain and maintain any rolling moment. Control response can be ...
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  • 103k
21 votes

Did the twin engined Lazair ultralight have a throttle for each engine?

I've examined a Lazair, and actually taxied one around on the ground once, and yes there are two throttles. Two reasons: In any twin engine airplane you want to minimize or eliminate single-points-...
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  • 103k
20 votes
Accepted

How does the FAA define fuel capacity for ultralights?

FAA Advisory Circular AC 103-7, Paragraph 19 has this to say: MAXIMUM FUEL CAPACITY OF A POWERED ULTRALIGHT VEHICLE. The maximum fuel capacity for a powered ultralight vehicle is 5 U.S. ...
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18 votes
Accepted

Why do fabric skin constructions not show up much in larger single engine piston aircraft?

This answer assumes that "GA" means "little piston planes." Aluminum (or non-fabric) aircraft tend to "hold up" better against the elements. I would not store a Stinson 108 outdoors but would not ...
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  • 5,888
18 votes

Is a VW Beetle engine a good choice for a light two-seat aircraft build?

The resemblance between the air-cooled engines sold in Volkswagens for more than three decades and a conventional light aircraft engine is no coincidence -- Volkswagen chose this engine type because ...
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  • 14.3k
17 votes
Accepted

What is a biplane propeller and how efficient is it?

It is essentially two propellers stack on top of each other. You can see it in this picture of a Lazair. As for why they were chosen for the Lazair, Many have asked why Ultraflight opted for ...
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  • 95.9k
17 votes
Accepted

In the United States, are ultralights legally considered aircraft?

Yes, under FAA regulations, ultralight vehicles are considered to be aircraft. 14 CFR 1.1 states: Aircraft means a device that is used or intended to be used for flight in the air. Ultralights ...
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  • 5,597
16 votes
Accepted

What is wrong with a high-speed landing for an ultralight or GA aircraft?

You can, in theory, fly a faster landing speed than the default Vref of 1.3*Vso. But it’s wasteful in the round out and potentially very dangerous on short field landings. When an airplane lands, ...
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15 votes

Did the twin engined Lazair ultralight have a throttle for each engine?

This image would suggest it had two throttles, located in the usual position on the pilot's left side:
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14 votes
Accepted

Does the weight of the battery count as "fuel" in a battery powered ultralight?

The jury (i.e. FAA) is still out on this question as of early June 2014. FAA has indicated it will not give a gasoline "fuel allowance" to be credited against weight for batteries. Given that fuel ...
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  • 156
14 votes
Accepted

What callsign should an ultralight use?

One of the suggested communication strategies for uncontrolled airports is to announce the type of aircraft and color. e.g. “Brown and white Cherokee entering downwind”. Rather than using your ...
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  • 7,087
14 votes

What is this object in the cockpit of an ultralight?

It's indeed an airspeed indicator. Here's one at Oshkosh 2018, with me blowing about 27 knots into it.
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13 votes
Accepted

Is it safe to fly ultralights at 6-7 weeks pregnancy?

Ultimately the decision of whether or not a pregnant woman should be piloting an aircraft is between her and her doctor, and you shouldn't take the commentary of strangers on the internet as medical ...
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  • 67.2k
13 votes
Accepted

What is meant by a "congested area of a city/town/settlement" in FAR 103?

I could not find a definite definition of congested area. As mentioned here: [...] neither the FAA nor the NTSB has ever provided [...] a precise definition of [...] a "congested area." Rather, ...
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  • 29.1k
13 votes

Why do gliders have bungee cords in the control systems and what do they do? Are they on all control surfaces? What about ultralights?

The bungee is just a bidirectional spring that tends to hold the elevator at position x, and if you move the stick you are stretching the spring in one direction or the other. They are used in the ...
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  • 103k
12 votes

What is the rationale behind "One engine - Two propellers" configuration?

Basically it allows the benefits of multiple propellers with a single engine. At low powers increasing the number of engines decreases power-to-mass ratio. Additionally, the builder might simply have ...
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12 votes

What callsign should an ultralight use?

I fly a Part 103 Ultralight. I simply use "Ultralight" when announcing my position and intentions. If there are any other ultralights in the area, I will add the color for a more descriptive ...
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12 votes

What is this object in the cockpit of an ultralight?

I don't see an ASI in the panel. I am unable to confirm this guess, but it could be an airspeed indicator (ASI). Google Dwyer Wind Speed Indicator. The Dwyer is plastic, wider at the bottom, and ...
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  • 10.1k
11 votes
Accepted

What is this extension/device on top of the wing of this ultralight?

Those are wing fences and they prevent airflow perpendicular to the direction of travel. This isolates the portions of the wing and allows the inner wing to stall independently of the outer wing. ...
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11 votes

How can filling a tube with foam help prevent buckling?

A simplified analysis of column buckling shows that the axial load required for buckling is directly proportional to the second moment of area of the column's cross section: $F=\pi^2EI/(KL)^2`$`, ...
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  • 3,541
10 votes

Which parts of class E airspace can an ultralight (part 103) fly in without prior ATC authorization?

NOTE: This answer was originally given based on a conservative interpretation of available interpretations of the regulations. New guidance may shed new light on the issue. The interpretation ...
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