Ultralight Flying | GTAMotorcycle.com

Ultralight Flying

VifferFun

Well-known member
Site Supporter
Hey Guys,

Just wondering if anyone else on the board has their license to fly ultralights (or are in the process of getting one)? I've done four lessons so far, and it's REALLY fun (and quite challenging)! Nothing is more awesome than riding my bike to the airfield and then hopping directly into a plane (with the doors off for a nice breeze on a hot day) :D
 

rmemedic

Well-known member
I got my license started at the age of 14.
First few flights were in an aeronca champ (basically the same as a piper cub).
My training flights were on a Zenith CH-701 STOL.
This was 14 years ago back when we were just trying to get the passenger certificate up, and the "advanced" ultralight class was still relatively new.
I've flown some cool stuff, and plan on some day building an RV-4 (not an ultralight, the gross weight is pushing the limit and the stall speed is too high).

I haven't flown in a while, but I'm positive it wouldn't take me long to get my wings back under me.
I had a natural ability for it. My first flight I was 13 with a friend (owner of the champ I flew in) and in my first flight I was already flying approaches to a grass runway with some "obstacles".

I did my first full unassisted landing in flight 3 of my training, it was just something I was good at, despite the fact I needed a cushion on my seat to see properly and could just barely reach the rudder pedals lol. My instructor was pretty happy, I was his youngest student ever so he was concerned at first, but I picked it up faster than almost anyone else he had taught. But, it was likely because I was that young, and I'm sure playing flight simulator helped to understand the physics of it all.

My intentions were to be a full on airline pilot one day, and just as I was ready to go to Canadore college to follow my dream, 9-11 happened so I had to take another career choice.

Eventually, if I ever get tired of motocross, I'll start building my RV-4, but keep it just an experimental VFR aircraft to go up and rip around in or some leisure cross country flying on the nice days.

I had a really lucky few teenage years spent on a grass strip, and I've seen some really amazing aircraft up close. Favourite flight however has been in a WWII Harvard... And it wasn't the touristy flight you could get at the Hamilton Warplane museum :D

What are you doing your training in? I'm going to assume a beaver or a chinook? I had a quick jaunt once in a totally open beaver that was basically a seat bolted to that main chassis tube and nothing below you... It was cool, but I like some form of a cockpit lol.
 
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CruiserGoneSport

Well-known member
Kudos and well met.

I was lucky enough to grow up around aircraft, cut my teeth working on (and flying) J3s, Super cubs (on floats), Chipmunks etc. I got my ticket in a Cessna 152 "pop can" at Oshawa when the flying club was still active (sad). I've also been very much into RC scale models all my life (http://scalebuilder.org).

I had a false start at homebuilding (having kids changed my plans for a while) and hope to get back to it when the kids are off to school in a few years.

I love the open cockpits, my favourite flight was learning aerobatics in a Pitts Special and "front seating" (passenger) in a Waco for an aerobatic performance at an an airshow in Florida.
 

Scudzo_2

Well-known member
Where are you flying ultralights out of?

I've got probably 10,000 simulated hours since the mid 80's (computer flight sims get me through the winter, I've even got a yoke and rudder pedals!), and I'd love to try real ultralights.
 

suprPHREAK

Well-known member
OP, where and what kind of ultralight? I've been looking into learning on a Challenger, but I have been told over and over, that I am better off to buy the plane first, then take lessons. Any thoughts on that?
 

VifferFun

Well-known member
Site Supporter
It sounds like there are a few seasoned pilots on the board :) At this point, I've learned the basic manoeuvres and did my first take-off last night (although I think the instructor helped me on the rudder pedals!). I have also done the landing approach a couple of times. I have no experience with flight simulators, so this is all very new to me. Being a biker, I find it weird to push forward on the throttle as opposed to pulling back to give more power :p

To respond to a few questions:

1.) I'm flying out of Juergensen Field with a Training School called "Lift-Off Aviation". It's a maintained 2200ft grass strip located about 5 kms north of Fergus, ON. I'll do ground school in the winter, but started flight training about four weeks ago. The instructor books appointments for week nights and weekends.



2.) Lift-Off charges $170 per lesson, which includes an hour of ground instruction and an hour of flight. This seems quite reasonable, given that he has to maintain the plane, pay for fuel, travel to the field, and spend two hours there with me. It's more of a hobby for him, since he has a day job. I think he has about 8 students at the moment, so he keeps really busy! The instructor is VERY good at explaining things, and is very patient with me. The minimum hours required by Transport Canada is 10, but they suggest at least 16. There is also aground school that runs over a single weekend and costs about $300 I think. In the end, it costs about $3000 to get your license, but if you want to upgrade to carry passengers in an Advanced Ultralight you would need to put in another 10 hours or so.

3.) The plane is a 2004 Chinook Advanced Ultralight with a 503 Rotax. It's a taildragger so it is apparently more difficult to learn take-offs (compared to trike gear), but I guess it's good to learn on the more difficult setup so that trike gear will be a breeze.



4.) suprPHREAK, I have heard from some people who suggested buying a plane first, but I'm not taking that route. The instructor I'm with always uses his own plane, but I'm sure there are other schools that will let you use your own and reduce the lesson fee. It's not simply buying the plane that you need to worry about, but storage can be an issue too. These planes take up a lot of room, and hangar space even in the rural areas runs at about $150-$300/mo. The cheapest I have found so far is a field in Ayr where the owner will lease a plot of land to you for $50/mo and then you can build your own hangar. Apparently these hangars come up for sale from time to time.
 
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VifferFun

Well-known member
Site Supporter
I got my license started at the age of 14.
First few flights were in an aeronca champ (basically the same as a piper cub).
My training flights were on a Zenith CH-701 STOL.
This was 14 years ago back when we were just trying to get the passenger certificate up, and the "advanced" ultralight class was still relatively new.
I've flown some cool stuff, and plan on some day building an RV-4 (not an ultralight, the gross weight is pushing the limit and the stall speed is too high).

I haven't flown in a while, but I'm positive it wouldn't take me long to get my wings back under me.
I had a natural ability for it. My first flight I was 13 with a friend (owner of the champ I flew in) and in my first flight I was already flying approaches to a grass runway with some "obstacles".

I did my first full unassisted landing in flight 3 of my training, it was just something I was good at, despite the fact I needed a cushion on my seat to see properly and could just barely reach the rudder pedals lol. My instructor was pretty happy, I was his youngest student ever so he was concerned at first, but I picked it up faster than almost anyone else he had taught. But, it was likely because I was that young, and I'm sure playing flight simulator helped to understand the physics of it all.

My intentions were to be a full on airline pilot one day, and just as I was ready to go to Canadore college to follow my dream, 9-11 happened so I had to take another career choice.

Eventually, if I ever get tired of motocross, I'll start building my RV-4, but keep it just an experimental VFR aircraft to go up and rip around in or some leisure cross country flying on the nice days.

I had a really lucky few teenage years spent on a grass strip, and I've seen some really amazing aircraft up close. Favourite flight however has been in a WWII Harvard... And it wasn't the touristy flight you could get at the Hamilton Warplane museum :D

What are you doing your training in? I'm going to assume a beaver or a chinook? I had a quick jaunt once in a totally open beaver that was basically a seat bolted to that main chassis tube and nothing below you... It was cool, but I like some form of a cockpit lol.
There's an RV-4 that just came up for sale the other day in Québec . . . nice looking plane! I wonder why they post it on the UPAC website if it isn't registered as an Ultralight?

http://upac.ca/classifieds/ads/vans-rv-4-for-sale-or-exchange-for-citabria-7kcab/







 

Motorcycle Mike

Well-known member
I've got a 'restricted' ultra-light pilot license for powered-paraglider only... I sold all my equipment, but man that was fun to fly!
 

VifferFun

Well-known member
Site Supporter
Dammit that is close to me and cheap! I always wanted to try flying now I have no excuse.
I don't know what other schools charge, but $170/less ($85/hr) seems pretty cheap to me, considering the 1hr flight alone uses about 15L of fuel and the instructor has to drive there from Guelph. It's definitely fun, and the instructor is great!

If you're interested, you could do a 1hr demo flight for $170 to see what it's like. This "demo flight" is actually lesson #1 of the lesson plan, so if you continue to get your license, you will only have 15 more lessons to go! It might be a little late this year to get your license all in one season, since he's booked pretty heavy. There's already time pressure for me, and I've already completed the first four lessons.
 

VifferFun

Well-known member
Site Supporter
do these things crash often?
According to the instructor, Ultralights got a bad rep back in the early days, but now they're considered to be much safer. Before you get into the plane, you spend a good amount of time going over every surface, nut, bolt, wire, etc. so this should help minimize your likelihood of a problem. You will practice forced landings as part of the lesson plan, and around the Fergus area there are lots of nice fields to land a plane in should an emergency occur. I don't have the experience yet to say, but I'm guessing an engine failure is not the worse thing that could happen mid flight . . . I think it would be more scary if somehow your flight controls malfunctioned (which makes the pre-inspection even more important).
 

suprPHREAK

Well-known member
Back when UL aircraft required no training, and no checkups, things went bad. Literally anything with wings could be flyable. TC fixed it by requiring training and a permit to fly, along with ground school. Still looks like the best way to just fly for cheap, but limits you to UL aircraft.

The thing that does appeal to me, is that all UL and AUL aircraft are "uncertified", meaning I can do my own maintenance. I find a certain joy from that, so I'd hate to always rely on a 3rd party.
 

vince492

Well-known member
I'm actually looking to do my full pilot license, the only problem, I still don't know if I go plane or helicopter. I'm looking to get a job out of it. If I go plane, I will clearly take my seaplane (is it the right word?) license also. I want to go up north for hunting and fishing :p I've been fixing aircraft for the last 6 years, so now I'm going for the next step, flying them!

EDIT: Superfreak, you are saying that UL and AUL are uncertified? I didn't know that....I need to check this!
 
3000 is pretty good. When I was looking into this it was about 4000 plus. Ultralight license is about as useful as an m1 license. You are heavily restricted. Also in the United States all you need to fly ultralights is a drivers license. I was geared up to build a gyrocopter and was in the process of sourcing parts when my circumstance took a turn. Things are starting to improve and this is definately something I will be looking into once again.
 

172Driver

Well-known member
I was flying (172's not ultralights... hence the name!) up to a few years ago... never did anything with it but I really really miss it... I also rode the bike to the airport (CYKF), jumped off the bike and into the plane... loved every minute of it!

Flying will be in my life again, its just not in the budget right now.
 

jc100

Well-known member
You guys really should give powered paragliding a try... cheap to get into ($10000 for a whole set of gear), fly and land in any field/rural spot, and very safe... run out of gas - just land.

http://imgur.com/a/K67fO#0
Where do you learn to do that? I've done a bunch of flying before as a cadet years ago. Mainly chipmunks and three or four different styles of gliders. Aerobatics etc. all great fun. Was told I had natural aptitude too by a fast jet pilot so that helps. Always had an interest to go further but never had the cash to do it.
 

rmemedic

Well-known member
You can also get a decent ultralight for the same amount of cash.

Vince, I know the bush pilot thing sounds awesome, and I REALLY wanted to do it, but it's just not worth it. Pay is crap, you're either working all the time or not at all, and you do a lot of ***** chores for the company you're with.

Today, I calculated how much I've spent on racing these last few years, and realized I could have built my nicely optioned RV-4 in this time span... I could be out pulling 6G loops and buzzing the pretty girls at 320 km/hr by now...
 

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