If you are interested in flying an ultralight/microlight aircraft, the first thing you will need to do is to find a certified instructor in your area. If you can’t find one in your area, you might consider locating one out of state, and make a trip to the area for an express-style instruction – 20 hours in 5 days.
Formal flight training in a two-place aircraft can cost about $3,000. Instruction will include ground school and in-flight training. Much the instruction given in ground school includes information about weather, navigation, engines, safety, and regulations which you can certainly acquire by picking up a book on ultralight aviation. If you are only interested in flying a one-place ultralight/microlight aircraft you won’t need a license in the United States. Your instructor will guide you during your 20 hours of instruction, send you off on your solo flight and then give you an unofficial oky-doky. From there you’re on your own. If you are interested in taking things further, you can obtain a sports pilot license.
Ultralight/Microlight Cost of Operation
Flying an ultralight/microlight aircraft is quite inexpensive. Though engines are built differently, the average engine burns only 2 to 3 gallons per hour. Aircraft fuel is a bit more expensive than gasoline for your car, but it won’t set you back too much.
Routine maintenance of an ultralight aircraft is also quite reasonable. You will need to change the oil in the engine, replace the filter, etc. everything you do for your car. The biggest single expense that ultralight aircraft owners may encounter is the cost of replacing the fabric coverings on the wings. Direct sunlight can destroy this cover in less than 2 years if left in direct sunlight. If you are able to find hanger space for your aircraft you will greatly delay the need for replacing this covering.
The largest single expense, cost of the aircraft aside, is the monthly hanger cost. If you are fortunate to have space around your house to store your ultralight aircraft, you will save big. Fees will vary depending on where you live. In some areas you may be fortunate to spend as little as $20 per month in hanger fees. If you live is Southern California, you may find yourself spending up to $300 a month, and consider yourself fortunate to have a hanger at all.