PB-U ultralight aircraft, Poor Boy Ultralight Aviation PB U ultralight aircraft kit, Poor Boy PB-U ultra lite plane, Ultralight News newsmagazine.

Single place Part 103 ultralights in the United States are defined as single place ultralight aircraft that weigh 254 lbs or less, have a stall speed not more than 24 knots, a top speed of 55 knots, and carry no more than 5 gallons of fuel. To fly a legal Part 103 ultralight aircraft in the United States the pilot does not require a pilot license. Single place aircraft weighing more than 254 lbs. in the U.S. require a pilots license and must be built as experimental, amateur built, homebuilt aircraft. These include weight shift aircraft, more commonly known as trikes, powered parachutes, and powered para-gliders. Single place ultralights in Canada can weigh up to 1200 lbs. and an ultralight pilots license is required to fly them.

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Ultralight type planes have gone through continued development starting somewhere in the 1970’s. A rediscovery of the basic fun and experimentation produced a transitional progression of development that the law of the land didn’t quite know how to keep up with, that led to a mess as the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) tried to regulate the airspace.

People were soaring down hillsides with hang gliders, small engines on the hang gliders appeared and the FAA came up with the 155 lb foot launch rule. Next came the hang glider with a seat and wheels, larger engines and a accompanied weight increase of airframe and the part 103 254-lb rule came into effect to cover this basic level of machine.

The developmental progression didn’t stop or even slow down but the FAA did, the FAA seemed unwilling to allow further development and the part 254 lb rule held for about the next 20 years. Other countries (Canada, England, France, Germany, etc.) progressed in the 1980’s and 90’s with Micro- light categories in their laws allowing for the additional development of the Ultralight movement, the US rules didn’t change until October of 2004 and finally gave a new breath of life to aviation with the Sport Pilot Category. The Sport Pilot License and associated Light Sport Aircraft (LSA) is the current rule.

The Ultralight rule was fortunately saved (thank God) and the FAA left the 103 rule in place. This is my quick and probably narrow description of what has taken place on the Ultralight scene in the last 30 years and is not inclusive nor exactly accurate. I offer this description in order to introduce the different models of the PoorBoy.   Most single place fixed wing Ultralight aircraft in the past 20 years (probably greater than 95%) were overweight but otherwise would meet the Part 103 rule. The obvious reason for this is airframe strength, most designers were unwilling to cut the airframe formula that close to the safety margin of the 254 lb weight limit. There are 254 lb. Legal Ultralights that have had reasonable  safety history’s build in the past and still offered in the present but it is difficult to keep them that way.

Some designers break the rule or give false information, try to find ways around it by not having niceties like breaks or windshields etc., and others simply refuse to offer a claimed 254 lb. 103 legal model. It should be obvious that if you plan on building a 103 legal “254 lb.” Ultralight that you cannot let its weight grow with additions or you miss the point of the 103 legal effort in the first place.   The PB-U 103 legal PoorBoy single seat aircraft is being revisited, in the past I have explained how to keep the current pusher 103 legal but did not supply proof in the form of a flying prototype. I hoped to release a flying 103 legal ultralight called the Penny Piper, it would be built with the sole intent of demonstrating a part 103 legal set of plans, it should fly in the 24 knot min stall and 55 knot top speed envelope.

I am not sure I can even do a 103 254lb. version, or that I am willing to put out that much effort, so please don’t hold me too it. We would like to offer a PB-U that is 254 lb. legal by limiting airframe weight and of course engine choices, you should limit the engine when the airframe is lighter to keep the speed and total weight down and therefore limit stress on the airframe, hopefully this prototype could be available in the future and the Penny Piper may turn out well. I personally don’t like 103 Ultralights because I prefer the standard model PB-1’s safer airframe and I don’t recommend the PB-U unless you are determined to build a 254 lb. 103 legal model.

As I see 103 254 lb. planes they usually miss the mark in weight or soon do after someone adds anything like windshield, brakes, or instruments. Once you miss the weight goal then the exercise of shooting for strict 254 is pointless and you may then have a limited strength airframe structure. The PB-U is not a real plane, please ignore the PB-U references that you see imbedded in the plans.   090708 Pg-6   The PB-1 is the standard model and will come out heavy by the 254 lb. rule, the PB-1 can fly in the 103 envelope in every other part 103 requirement.  

The Poorboy project: We have designed, built and flown the time off the PB-1 prototype. It costs a good bit of money and effort to bring a version of the plane into existence, I explain this so that those of you who are interested in Poorboy’s will understand additional prototype models are limited in the real world of time and money.       

Performance: The range of performance is going to be similar to most of the Ultralights you see on the market varying of course by the amount of power applied.

A few planes like Titan are meant to be clean and fast by design, the Poorboy is not one of those. Poorboys have a low aspect wing and are meant to perform in the Ultralight flight envelope, they will go faster but fuel economy and engine life are matched to the best overall function without excessive effort on streamlining, we keep it in the Part 103 flight envelope. Wing tip choice will effect stall speeds and so will aileron rigging. The PB-1 prototype w/droop tips and a 200 lb. pilot stalls at 26 to 27mph. (28mph is max stall speed for Ultralight). Wing Tip Options. There are four wing tip configurations you could use. 1. Cut tip. This is the wing just ending flat with no “tip”. The Cut tip is a bit faster for speed due to less lift, it has a higher stall speed also. . 2. Rounded tip. 16” to 18” rounded bow, adds 2.5 ft to wing span.     

The rounded tip adds to lift by decreasing spill around the end of the airfoil and increases the wing span, the rounded tip is a common type of wing tip. 3. Droop tip. Nice looking, adds 1 ft to span. The droop tip adds to the lift a good bit, decreases the stall as well as increase lift, increases drag and may slows the upper end speed some (looks cool).  4. Flat plate tip. Attached to “cut End” and is oversize to the airfoil and adds to lift performance. The flat plate tip adds to lift by damning the wing end and limiting air migration around the tip, it adds lift similar to a droop tip because it is larger than airfoil size, it is inexpensive and does not increase the wingspan. The flat plate tip is easily removed and re-attach if you wanted to fly in the cut tip configuration.  

PoorBoy uses a USA 35B airfoil (but significantly modified in application), attached baton style rib on 8” rib spacing (to limit scalloping on dope and fabric wing), cable linkage on rudder and elevator, push/pull torque tubes for aileron control.   The Prototype PB-1 uses a Rotax 503DC and the information about the PB-1 is based on that configuration. Performance numbers on any plans built Ultralight will change depending on how the ailerons are “rigged”, wing tip choices, and of coarse the engine choice (40hp Min. to 52hp 503DC).   

The PB-U ultralight aircraft is designed as an introductory ultralight, featuring simple construction and low cost. The craft features wings that are detachable in 30 minutes with a folding option available.

The PB-U uses aluminum tube, bolt and rivet together construction.

When building from plans simple hand tools are used but the builder will also need a cable swedge, pipe bender, access to a press, slip roll and some knowledge of welding.

Sub assembly kits are available which will eliminate the need for some of these tools and equipment.

PoorBoy Aviation
5920 62nd St. SW
Minot, ND 58701-8814
701 833-8029

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