Microlight Aircraft Explained-What is a Microlight and What Training is Needed
Here we break down what it is that is different about microlight aircraft compared to a conventional aircraft. What training is required and the differences between the training requirements for the two type of aircraft.
Before starting to learn to fly a microlight you should understand just what a microlight aircraft is. Microlights are powered aircraft which may have one or two seats but no more. The maximum take-off weight is limited to 300 kilograms for a single seat microlight and 450 kilograms for two seat aircraft. If a BRS (a whole aircraft parachute) is installed in the aircraft this weight limit is increased by 5%. So the single seat microlight limit will be 315 kilograms and the two seat limit will be 472.5 kilograms. To ensure a low inertia, microlights must by design have a wing loading not exceeding 25 kilograms per square meter or be able to demonstrate a stalling speed at maximum weight not exceeding 35 knots airspeed.
In the United States no license or training is required by law, but training is highly advisable. In other countries such as Ireland a license is mandatory and is regulated by a delegated pilot's organization. In Ireland's case it is the National Microlight Association of Ireland that has been appointed by the Irish Aviation Authority. A common misconception is that microlight pilots are poorly trained, whereas in reality the quality of microlight pilots is easily the equal of "traditional"
Across Europe the minimum training hours range from 25 to 45 hours. In Ireland the required minimum is 30 hours. The general aviation training requirements of 5 hours of instrument and 5 hours of radio navigation training are not needed due to microlight aircraft been used for recreational flying in VFR conditions.
Microlight or Ultralight
Microlight aircraft are generally called microlight aircraft in Ireland, the UK and New Zealand, and ULMs in France and Italy. Some countries differentiate between weight shift and 3-axis aircraft calling the former microlight and the latter microlight. In the States they are generally referred to as microlight aircraft. Check your own countries preferred name.
The cost of running the authors Pipistrel Sinus http://www.pipistrelaircraft.com motor glider is incredible low compared to conventional aircraft. With fuel currently around €1.50 a litre and flying approximately 125 hours a year the fuel cost is about €1,500. Add in 2 services at €32 each and an engine fund of €8 a hour, insurance and permit at €730. This all equates to less than €27 an hour.
Microlight Pilots Can't Fly
In years gone by 'normal' pilots general opinion about their microlight colleagues was not too good. They believed microlight pilots would not to be capable of piloting such a high-performance aircraft that resembled a glider. The idea of producing a microlight aircraft with a 'glider soul' seemed rather bold, but as it turned out the owner of Pipistrel and co-constructor of the Sinus, Ivo Boscarol was right; proving this are 500 Pipistrel aircraft that now successfully and safely fly on each and every of the Worlds continents. The Sinus, the world’s first microlight motor glider and her younger sister Virus have launched the name of Pipistrel and Slovenia into the world markets and are now synonymous for exceptional flight characteristics and unparalleled quality of finish.
See the full range of Pipistrel aircraft, microlights and kit built aircraft we have for sale. See overview, specifications and prices. Book a test flight
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Pipistrel Aircraft are the appointed distributors for the range of Pipistrel microlight aircraft. This includes the Pipistrel Sinus motor glider, the Virus touring motor glider, the Virus Short Wing and the Taurus self launching motor glider.