How To Learn to Fly an Ultralight

Learning to fly an ultralight aircraft is a very rewarding experience.  It is also a very serious subject that requires proper instruction.  Even though ultralights look very simple to operate, falling out of the sky can be deadly.  When ultralights first became popular back in the early 1980s, folks were being killed left and right by trying to fly an ultralight without proper, or in some cases, any instruction.

The first step in how to learn to fly an Ultralight aircraft is to find a competent instructor.  One of the best sources of information on how and where to find a flight instructor is the United States Ultralight Association most commonly known as USUA.  Their website,, has just about every aspect of ultralight flying covered.  They have a page listing flight instructors and their specialties.  Some are dedicated to ultralight airplanes.  Other do flight instruction for an ultralight aircraft type known as weight shift.  The third category of instructor listed is for the powered parachute type of ultralight.  Which ever aircraft is to be used an instructor is listed there.

A second source of flight instruction is from the dealers who sell ultralight aircraft.  In the early days of ultralights, there were some dealers who sold ultralight aircraft and provided only minimal instruction to the new pilots who bought their aircraft.  After quite a few not so well trained pilot injuries and deaths this began to change.  Most of the change was brought about by lawyers of the families of poorly trained pilots.  Dealers began to see that at the risk of losing everything they have, the flight instruction they were to provide to their customers was not only important but necessary to their financial existence.

Flying the ultralight aircraft with proper flight training is all well and good but there is another aspect to flying that is not done in the air.  That is called ground instruction.  Ground instruction covers many topics from the rules and regulations to the physics of flight.  How to navigate from the air is not something that is intuitive.  When you get lost you can not simply pull over and ask directions.  Even if you were to ask in flight how to get to somewhere on the radio the first question they would ask you is "Where are you now" and that is usually difficult to answer if you are lost.  Part of the ground instruction also covers weather briefing.  Before any pilot goes flying they should get a weather briefing.  This can be done in one of two ways, either through a call to a Flight Service briefer or online through Duats.  Not only will you be briefed on the current and forecast weather but also if there are any known flight restrictions.


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