Aircraft ultralight , microlight or light recreational as well are called, they have achieved significant progress since its emergence occurred in the decade of the 1970s , a development that went from aircraft fabric and basic wire to the elegant aircraft of different types of composite materials we see today. The performance of modern light recreational aircraft easily matches, and in many cases improves, the spectrum of the aircraft used for general aviation . Recreational pilots increasingly use this type of aircraft for long tripsof crossing for recreational activities and for activities such light sports .

What is an ultralight?

An ultralight or ULM as it is usually known is an aircraft or an airplane, gyroplane , or pendulum that has a maximum take-off weight, together with that of its load and that of its crew, of less than 450 kg and that are of one or Double bed.

  • Definition
  • What is an ultralight for?
  • Types of ultralight
  • Characteristics
  • Story
  • Parties
  • How an ultralight works
  • Autonomy


An ultralight or ULM as it is also known is a type of aircraft that has a maximum take-off weight including cargo and crew of less than 450 kg.  It is actually a very complete aircraft with which you can fly really far.


What is an ultralight for?

Ultralight aircraft are responsible for transporting people from one place to another. They are most often used as recreational flights as they cannot carry a lot of cargo. In some places, its use to irrigate crops with fertilizer is also valued, as well as as a means of transportation to reach places that are not easily accessible on foot.

Types of ultralight

The different types of ultralight aircraft that have existed in the world are the following:

  • Pendulars : they were born in the late 70s as an advanced version of delta wings that had an engine in the rear and a car to carry one or two passengers. The movement is achieved in two axes of rotation, shifting the center of gravity of the occupants as in the wings.
  • Tube and Fabric Aircraft : built with duralumin tubes and dacron synthetic fabric on the control and lift surfaces . The two-stroke engine has little flight autonomy and low speed.
  • Autogyros : simple and low weight , with a drive motor and rotary wings or propellers that generate lift, with directional and depth control surfaces . Although its mechanics are complex, its safety and maneuverability is high, avoiding loss.
  • 2nd Generation ultralight: these are the ultralights that are more advanced than the tube and fabric ones , they incorporate fuselages and cockpits to protect the pilots, incorporate basic engine and flight instrumentation . They have more autonomy and their engines can be two or four times.
  • 3rd Generation Ultralight : with features, autonomy and equipment very similar to those of conventional light aircraft, and may even be better than them.


The main characteristics of ultralights are the following

  • Flights can be made at a height ranging from 150 to 200 meters
  • The ultralight has a built-in parachute that opens in 0.4 seconds and is effective from 50 meters high.
  • Your calibrated landing stall speed must be less than 65 km / h and last.
  • The maximum authorized weight must be less than 300 kg for single-seater land aircraft.
  • The Ultralight Flight is carried out in uncontrolled areas , and in areas that are below 300 m above ground level.
  • They can only be maneuvered between sunrise and sunset if the atmospheric conditions are really favorable.
  • They do not have to fill out a flight plan nor do they have to contact a control tower .
  • It does not need too many permissions but at the same time it is more restricted in its operation.


The appearance and development of ultralight aircraft arises as a necessity to fight against the high cost of general aviation . In the late  1970s and early 1980s , recreational aviation enthusiasts sought a cheaper way to fly . As a result of this situation, many companies designed a large number of aircraft that were given the name of ultralight , slow-flying aircraft that could be subject to minimal regulation.


The parts of an ultralight are very similar to those of a regular airplane and we have among them the following:

  • Fuselage : it is the main structure and is where the cabin, empennage, wing and engine are housed. They exist of different designs and construction. They can be lattice , lattice , monocoque and semi- monocoque .
  • Empennage : located at the back of the fuselage in it is the tail and stabilizers .
  • The wing : the main element that supports the plane and has different configurations . There may be a low, medium or high wing.
  • Landing gear : device used for travel by land, for takeoff and landing . There are the conventional and the tricycle train.
  • The car : also called a trike and is made up of a structure similar to a tricycle where the seats , the engine and the fuel tank are placed , as well as the landing gear and some other auxiliary elements.
  • Engine : are so generally reciprocating engines of explosion with a small displacement.

How an ultralight works

The ultralight aircraft engine is the main system that makes it propelled. It is the force necessary to produce the power that will keep the aircraft flying. The engine produces the traction so that the necessary lift can be given so that the aircraft stays in the air.

The traction is generated when dragged backward air mass sufficient for the aircraft to advance through the propeller , which is driven by the engine . It is based on the law of action and reaction of Newton . The chemical energy of the fuel stored by the wings is transformed into mechanical energy .


Many changes have been made to improve the autonomy of ultralights. Some of them can fly less than 100 kilometers per hour and some of them manage to fly up to 500 kilometers without having to rest . They are easy to maintain and simple to acquire in price.

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