Since 1982 FAA’s Part 103 for “ultralight vehicles” has been one of the most intriguing sections in the lengthy Federal Aviation Regulations. Why? Because you can fly one of these aircraft without a pilot license (though all sellers will require training or proof of skills), without FAA registration to obtain an N-number (none need be displayed), and the pilot requires no medical. It is one of the ways to fly an aircraft in America — and some other countries like Germany*, under similar rules — with hardly any interference from authorities. No wonder it has remained popular for more than three decades. The entire regulation for Part 103 can be printed on the front and back of a single page of paper. Remarkable!
* U-Fly-It's European dealer is Vierwerk.
You can also buy an ultralight vehicle ready-to-fly ... and that brings us to U-Fly-It’s terrific Aerolite 103. By any measure this is a singular aircraft (oops, FAA calls them a “vehicle” because they do not have to meet the hundreds of pages of regulation that apply to certified aircraft). Deland, Florida producer U-Fly-It offers a ready to fly Aerolite 103 for the modest sum of just $15,900. Yes, that surprisingly low price is good right now, and yes, the company can earn a profit on that so you know they can stay in business to serve your needs in the future. If you prefer an aircraft with an electric start option, Aerolite is available with the Hirth F-33 for just $16,700. No, those figures are not typos!|
So, surely that means you get some super stripped-down aircraft with no features, both to save money and to stay within FAR Part 103’s demanding weight and flight envelope parameters ...right? Wrong! Aerolite 103 is surprisingly well equipped: Flaps, trim, conventional three-axis control with a yoke and rudder pedals, windscreen and nose fairing, steerable nose wheel with sturdy shock-absorbing main gear, four-point seat belts, 5-gallon aluminum fuel tank, Azusa brakes, fully anodized aluminum airframe and all basic instruments including airspeed, altimeter, slip indicator, tachometer, exhaust gas, and cylinder head temperature gauges. And, if you want, you can add a whole-airplane parachute (which itself will allow a few more pounds for other accessories or perhaps a more powerful engine). Is this for real ... at these prices? YES!
Listen, modern airplanes have become quite expensive. They may have every bell and whistle but if you can’t afford it, what’s the benefit? However, Aerolite lacks for nothing to give you a good time in the air and it won’t break your budget. Plus it flies so nicely that the smile you’ll have after your first landing may last you the rest of your life. Wonderful!
UPDATE 1/14/21 — Regretfully, I must announce that DeLand has cancelled its Flyway to Highway event “due to Covid-19.” —DJ
After a year of great uncertainty, the earliest airshows of 2021 are feeling the pressure.
In about one week, it all ends. Before then, DeLand Showcase 2019 is set to begin!
Splog: Flying Into Oshkosh — An Eye-Opener, but What If You Were Really Young, and in an Ultralight Aircraft?
Happening right now as this is written …a young pilot, with impressive support from his father and sister, is flying to Oshkosh.
Splog: Super Affordability: U-Fly-It’s Aerolite 103 Ultralight Aircraft Will Be a One-Week Super Wonder
Super affordability. Super Wonder. “Super?“ — surely, I exaggerate, right? Hmmm, I don’t think so.
The second year of the DeLand Showcase is over.
Video review: U-Fly-It — Aerolite 103 (2013)
For years Aerolite 103 has been a charmer of the Part 103 class of aircaft.
Video review: U-Fly-It — Aerolite 103 (2011)
Terry Raber has returned with his charming Aerolite 103. He left the business for a time and another man tried to replicate the creation.
Aerolite 103 from U-Fly-It has been on a tear for the last couple years, producing at capacity and stretching to produce even more for 2016.
Part 103 ultralight activity was not the news I expected to report from Sun ‘n Fun 2015, certainly not as my first report.
Some people have long believed that Part 103-legal weight shift trikes or single place powered parachutes may be possible but I’ve often heard the pronouncement, “You cannot make a legal three axis Part 103 airplane.” I wonder if those folks are ready to admit their error?
Evidently, a magic number exists to authorities in various civil aviation agencies around the developed world.
It depended on whom you asked. As in the United States some were skeptical at Aero.
Splog: March 2013 LSA News Wrap
Several news items in our March 2013 LSA News Wrap and we’ll get to it … right after this: We’re thrilled to tell you that — for the second month in a row — ByDanJohnson.com achieved another record.
In the near future, we’ll present fuller stories of some of the following short bits from Oshkosh 2012.
Pilot report: Aero-lite 103
[UPDATE spring 2014] — The Aerolite 103 is now manufacturered in Deland, Florida by U-Fly-It, the contact info for which is located at the end of this article.
Many pilots speak of airplanes they cannot afford. Indeed, $150,000 Light-Sport Aircraft are priced beyond common budgets.
Pilot report: Aero-Lite 103
Manufacturers in the ultralight industry believe they know what pilots want or what they will buy, anyway.