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Ultralight/Microlight Aircraft Ownership Cost

If you are like most folks, you probably think that owning and maintaining an aircraft is too expensive for the average person. While there are costs that need to be considered, flying an ultralight/microlight aircraft is way more affordable than you might think.


Here are a few things to consider as you enter this world of light sport aviation.

Ultralight/Microlight Aircraft Kits
If you are interested in building a microlight aircraft from a kit, you can build a variety of models for around $3000-$6000. An assembly kit provides you with prebuilt parts and the aircraft can be bolted together in a few weekends. The cost of these kits begins around $6000. A raw materials kit, or construction kit (minus the engine) is the least expensive way to go, though it is quite a bit more labor intensive.

Ready-To-Fly Ultralight/Microlight Aircraft
The cost of a new single-seat ultralight/microlight starts around $9,000. If you're considering a new model, you can have confidence that airworthiness and wear should not be a problem. Because aircraft are designed differently. they respond in a variety of ways. A qualified instructor can help you understand these differences and then help you decide which aircraft will best suit your interests.

Used Ultralight/Microlight Aircraft
It's possible to purchase an ultralight/microlight aircraft for around $3,000 though it's not always a good idea to buy one for that price. If you find one that you're interested in, take someone with you who will be able to offer some good advice. They will have your safety at heart and will be well qualified to assess if the aircraft is airworthy. If you are considering an older plane, you might want to reconsider as parts may be hard to come by.

Additional Equipment
If you purchase a ready-to-fly ultralight/microlight aircraft, it may already be equipt with everything you need. If not, you may need to add a two-way radio system, a helmet, and instruments.

Operating Expenses
Ultralight/microlight aircraft engines typically only burn 2-3 gallons of fuel an hour so flying is fairly inexpensive. Some expenses can be a little more costly such as rebuilding the engine or replacing the fabric that covers the wings. Storing your aircraft in a hanger will protect it from sunlight and will greatly extend the life of the fabric.

Don't Forget the Hanger
If you have the space for an ultralight shelter, or can disassemble your aircraft and store it in your garage, you can spare yourself from monthly hanger fees. If you don't have the space at home, you will need to find hanger space. This largest single operating expense can amount to $20-$300 a month depending on where you live.


Need a more affordable alternative? Here are a few ideas for tight budgets:

Renting
Renting an ultralight/microlight or light sport aircraft instead of owning could save you a bundle. If this plan sounds appealing, swing by your local ultralight training school and ask about the possibility of renting.

"Timeshare" Ownership
Do you have a friend who shares your passion for ultralight/microlight aircraft aviation? Ask them if they would be interested in sharing the cost of ownership. Schedule conflicts may arise occasionally but for half the cost of ownership it may seem like a small price to pay.



       







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