In the 50´s and 60´s NASA was looking for a safer way to get back their space capsules than the traditional parachutes and they remembered that in 1948 one of their engineers called Francis Rogallo and his wife Gertrude had invented the delta wing, they tried it and even though they wernt toally convinced by this technology, the trials that they did made it more popular and from then on a lot more people started to soar through the sky with delta wings.
The delta wings became very popular, small manufacturers started to appear and the flight clubs flourished all around the world, at some point a light bulb came on in someones head and they thought: What if we put a small motor in this?
And that’s how everything started.
The motorized delta wings evolved, new machines such as the Eipper Quicksilver, the Chotia Weedhopped or the Rotec Rally appeared, models that were more similar to conventional planes, even though they were still totally made of tubes of aluminium and a lot of decron to keep the weight very low, the technology wasn’t there yet. The benefits were more and more and these machines were propelled by not very trustworthy small two-stroke engines.
As technology advanced it was made possible to use other materials without increasing the weight too much, this and an amazing mind made the Catto Goldwing or the fantastic American Aerolights Falcon, both “canard” structures.
But the plane that began the start of the future development was the Avid Flyer, a small machine with totally classic structure, with a conventional remote with three axles and built of wood, a steel tube and a cloth coating like the small classic planes. The technological advances have allowed these small machines although heavier than the primitive motorized delta wings, still light enough to keep the original spirit of the category of the ultralight aircrafts. From Avid Flyer, lots of excellent models appeared, some of which are available now a days, for example the KitFox or the Just Escapade.
Years went by and they evolved until what we have nowadays, small machines similar to the small airplanes, with flight features that couldn’t even be dreamt of. Only a few years ago, machines were made completely of metal or materials made of carbon fibre or kevlar. The primitive two-stroke engines gave way to modern and enormously trustworthy four-stroke engines with a lot more power than the old ones.
The ultralight aircraft have turned into an excellent starting point for aviation, more economic and simple than a conventional plane. Now they are not simple delta wings with an engine but very light planes propelled by advanced four-stroke engines.
In the beginning these small aircrafts were completely against the rules, they were totally new; they didn’t have what was needed to follow the strict rules that the rest of the aviation had in those days. Of course this evolution made it be regulated but always keeping the initial spirit of the flying system but with less restrictions and costs than the rest of the aviation but with operational limits that other aircrafts don’t have.
Right now the demand is enormous as you can discover, from very similar machines to the primitive motorized delta wings called “tube and fabric” (more and more scarce), to small planes with excellent flying features, as well as single-seater planes and two-seater planes, thought of for short journeys or even prepared for travelling and some models that allow even basic acrobatic maneuvers. The universe of the ultralight aircraft is enormous at the moment and given their relatively low price, compared with a conventional plane, and less requirements that other aircraft have made multitude of manufacturers to build absolutely innovative models.
These small aircraft have a series of limitations when it comes to the amount of people that it can transport, two maximum in weight, flying features and others. To be able to pilot these aircraft you need a ULM Pilot Licence, more simple and economical than a Private Pilot title thats use is mainly recreational.
Flying in ultralight aircraft is for pleasure, not professional. You can go for a short flight or even go on a trip. There are hundreds of aerodromes for this type of aircraft in all of Spain where you can land. It’s a perfect way to enjoy aviation without lots of requirements, costs or commitment, and because of this it is one of the branches of General Aviation that has grown the most in the last few years.
According to the current rules to be considered an ultralight aircraft they can only hold up to 2 people including the pilot, when lifting off it cant go over 450kg if its a two-seater plane and 350kg if its a single-seater plane. It´s stall speed, the minimum speed they can fly at has to always be under 65km/h and can only fly legally up to a maximum of 300m about floor level.They cant fly at night time and always have to be in visual flying conditions (technically VFR). An ultralight aircraft can´t fly over restricted areas, urban areas or concentration of people. Even though these restrictions can vary in the future as Spain adapts to the European laws in this ambit.
The ultralight aircraft have less technical restrictions than the rest of the aircrafts so their spare parts and mantenence are a lot more economical. The training is also cheaper and requires less hours for the exam than the private piloting of planes (PPL/A)
Given the eminent creational focus of this licence, its important to highlight that if your objective is to develop a professional career in aviation you should choose the Private Pilot (PPL), instead of this one.
Would you like to know more? Have a try flight to know how it feels?
Or would you like to get your Pilot licence ULM. For all this Alicante Aeroclub are at your predisposition and you will have complete advice and of course the best theory and practical training.
In the Real Alicante Aeroclub you can get your ultralight pilot licence ULM. Here we will explain everything.
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