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Getting Into Ultralight Flying

Posted by Mr. Hachis | On: Dec 04 2012

Who hasn't at one point or another, felt the need to just reach out into the sky –a nd to fly by whatever means is available to them? Well, to most of us, the only available way to take control and to fly up there, is to take up ultralight flying.

There are a number of reasons why that's the only thing to go with. To begin with, you need to train no more than 12 hours – which should be about a week's work. And then, it's about the cheapest way to go. There's just one thing you need to consider – ultralight flying can also be quite dangerous if you don't really take care to learn to buy a good craft.

Okay, you're probably wondering at this point – what exactly does ultralight flying look like? What is it?

Well, an ultralight aircraft is a tiny little thing that looks like a pod attached to the bottom of a hang glider. In the US, the legal definition is of a single seater aircraft that weighs less than 254 pounds, and that flies at not more than 55 kn. You don't even need a license to fly such an airplane. You don't even need an airport or an airstrip. All you need to do is to haul your ultralight out of your garage, haul it into your car, and drive it over to wherever you think there is a little open space, and then to go.

Every town in the country has an ultralight flying club. And they are are bunch of really friendly people who really like to see new people come in. You'll find a lot of information with them.

Now ultralight flying is not the safest thing, of course. Which is why the law requires that you only fly during daylight hours and over unpopulated areas. Next to how well you learn to fly, your safety does depend on the aircraft that you will be buying.

Usually, most first timers will buy either from a local dealer or from the Internet. eBay has quite a selection. Here's what you need to know about buying an ultralight craft.

If you're buying used, never buy something that's been in any kind of crash. Even if it looks perfect when they show it to you, you have to remember that stress can work in strange and very insidious ways.

Pay close attention to every metal part that you can see on the craft. You don't want to see any rust anywhere. As you look at every joint and every part, try to check to see if there is strength in the bracing used everywhere. These are aircraft that are landed on rough, grassy fields. There are usually a lot of bumps in the life of an ultralight aircraft. You want strength in reconstruction.

Remember – just anyone can make build and sell ultralight craft. They don't certify these things. It's up to you to make sure that the craft you buy will keep you flying.

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