Rating an ultralight aircraft

Backyard Flyer Ultralight Aircraft Tri-Gear

2. The number of kits that have been sold.

It is fine to sell 400 aircraft kits, but if it takes 500/1,000 hours to build a kit then it will be some time before those kits are actually flying and problems associated with their use are reported back to the factory, for correction. 

10 points for 100 kits sold. 

B1-RD two place ultralight trainer


3. The number of planes that are actually out there flying!

Most of the factories that I have had dealings with over the years are selling at least 10 kits a month. This means that if they have been in business for 5 years they have produced a minimum of 5 x 12 x 10 = 600 aircraft. 600 aircraft flying generally means that even if the manufacturer goes out of business it is would be economically feasible for other manufacturers to produce parts and pieces (sails/tubing/brackets) for this aircraft.


10 points for 100 aircraft flying with hours on them.

BobCat ultralight aircraft


If the manufacturer has not sold 100 kits delete 2 points for every 10 below 100.

Many quick build kits such as the Quicksilver MX are ideal aircraft for this kind of chart. The kit takes about 50 hours to build, sometimes in a little as a week the owners had their craft flying.

Because of this they would be flying very quickly resulting in problems being reported to the factory. With the marketing used by Eipper it was reported that in a 4 year span over 8,000 kits were delivered world wide.

10 point system for rating ultralight aircraft

4. Control system :

  1. 3 axis standard control gets you 10 points
  2. weight shift in a trike gets you 10 points
  3. 2 axis control gets you 5 points*
  4. weight shift control other than trikes gets 2 points
  5. powered parachutes 10 (if you buy a powered parachute you know it's limitations).
  6. powered para-gliders 10 (again if you buy a powered para-glider you know it's limitations). 

Standard three axis control systems get 10 points as do trikes because they allow flight in more varied conditions, during more hours of the day. They also give the pilot cross country capability because he knows that he can land in a cross wind at another field.

Two axis control only receives 5 points due to the crafts limitation in cross wind, and windy conditions. Most two axis control aircraft will be flown in early morning or late evening conditions, and usually just around the take off and landing site. 

*I would give this type of craft 10 points if the owner is buying the craft to fly in these conditions. I know of many pilots who own two axis control aircraft on floats, who fly only morning/evenings or on weekends from the lake where their cottages are located.

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