Advisory of Transportation, Federal
Aviation Circular Administration
Subject: THE ULTRALIGHT VEHICLE Date: 1/30/84 AC No: AC 103-7 Initiated
Feb 17, 2007 |
Section II, Chapter 8 FAR 91 for Ultralighters
1. PURPOSE. This advisory circular provides
guidance to the operators of ultralights in the United States. It
discusses the elements which make up the definition of ultralight vehicles
for the purposes of operating under Federal Aviation Regulation (FAR) Part
103, It also discusses when an ultralight must be operated as an aircraft
under the regulations applicable to certificated aircraft.
a. The number of ultralight vehicles and
participants in the various aspects of this sport has increased
dramatically in recent years. All indications are that this growth will
continue. The presence of these vehicles in the national airspace has
become a factor to be considered in assuring the safety of all users of
b. On October 4, 1982, a new regulation (Part
103) applicable to the operation of ultralight vehicles became
effective. This regulation defines those vehicles which may be operated
as "ultralight vehicles" and provides operating rules which
parallel those applicable to certificated aircraft. The Federal Aviation
Regulations regarding aircraft certification, pilot certification, and
aircraft registration are not applicable to ultralight vehicles or their
c. Ultralight vehicle operations may only be
conducted as sport or recreational activity. The operators of these
vehicles are responsible for assessing the risks involved and assuring
their own personal safety. The rules in Part 103 are intended to assure
the safety of those not involved in the sport, including persons and
property on the surface and other users of the airspace. The ultralight
community is encouraged to adopt good operating practices and programs
in order to avoid more extensive regulation by the Federal Aviation
3. DEFINITIONS. For the purpose of this advisory
circular, the following definitions apply:
a. Ultralight Vehicle. This term refers to
ultralights meeting the applicability for operations under Part 103.
b. Recognized Technical Standards Committee.
This term refers to a group of at least three persons technically
qualified to determine whether a given ultralight meets the requirements
for operations under Part 103, as follows:
(1) It is recognized by a national pilot
(2) It is comprised of persons not directly associated with the
manufacture and/or sale of the make of ultralight being inspected, and
(3) It conducts its review and documents the findings in accordance
with the guidance provided in this circular.
4. WHAT DOES THIS MEAN FOR THE PERSON WHO WANTS
TO FLY UNDER PART 103?
a. You are Responsible for Your Personal
Safety. Certificated aircraft are designed, light tested, manufactured,
maintained, and operated under Federal regulations intended to provide
an aircraft of consistent performance, controllability, structural
integrity, and maintenance. An ultralight vehicle is not subject to
Federal aircraft certification and maintenance standards. This means
that the costs of purchasing and maintaining an ultralight vehicle may
be considerably less than the purchase of a certificated aircraft. There
is no assurance that a particular ultralight vehicle will have
consistent performance, controllability, structural integrity, or
maintenance. Your safety, and potentially that of others, depends on
your adherence to good operation and maintenance practices. This
includes proper preflight techniques, operation of the vehicle within
the manufacturer's recommended flight envelope, operation only in safe
weather conditions, and providing safety devices in anticipation of
emergencies. Part 103 is based on the assumption that any individual who
elects to fly an ultralight vehicle has assessed the dangers involved
and assumes personal responsibility for his/her safety.
b. You are Limited to Single-Occupant
operations. Part 103 is based on the single-occupant concept; operation
by an individual who has assumed all responsibility for his/her personal
safety, Pilots of ultralight vehicles subject to Part 103 are not
required to have training or previous experience prior to the operation
of these vehicles. You should consider receiving adequate
training prior to participation.
c. You are Limited to Recreation and Sport
Purposes, Operations for any other purpose are not authorized under the
applicability of Part l03.
d. You are Limited as Necessary for the Safety
of Other Persons and Property, Part 103 consists of operating rules
which were determined necessary for the safety of other users of the
airspace and persons on the surface. These rules were developed in
consideration of the capabilities of the vehicles and their pilots, It
is your responsibility to know, understand and comply with
these rules. Ignorance of the regulations pertaining to the activities
you pursue is not an acceptable excuse for violating those regulations.
e. You are Responsible for the Future Direction
the Federal Government Takes With Respect to Ultralight Vehicles, The
actions of the ultralight community will affect the direction Government
takes in future regulations. The safety record of ultralight vehicles
will be the foremost factor in determining the need for further
5. FAA CONTACT POINTS. The FAA will provide
clarification of particular subject areas, information, and assistance
pertaining to the operations of ultralight vehicles through the following
a, Flight Standards Field Offices. Flight
Standards District Offices (FSDOs), General Aviation District Offices (GADOs),
and Manufacturing and Inspection District Offices (MIDDS) are the FAA
field offices where information and assistance are available regarding
the operation of ultralight vehicles, acceptable methods of complying
with Part 103 requirements, and compliance with
other regulations should it become necessary to operate an ultralight as
a certificated aircraft.
b. Air Traffic Control Facilities. FAA Air
Traffic Control facilities are located throughout the United States and
maintain jurisdiction over the use of the controlled airspace in their
particular area. To obtain authorization to operate from or into the
airspace designated in S 103,17, contact must be made with the
c. Flight Service Stations, These facilities
provide operational information to pilots,, such as weather briefings,
advisory information regarding the status of facilities, etc., and are
the most accessible of the FAA points of contact. They can provide
additional information regarding how to reach the other points of
contacts mentioned here,
d. Airports District Offices. These offices
inspect airports certificated under Part 139 of the FARS to get ermine
whether an airport is safe for public use. Persons wanting to establish
new airports or flight parks, or operate ultralight vehicles from
Federally-funded airports, may contact these offices for assistance.
SECTION 1, WHAT IS AN ULTRALIGHT VEHICLE?
10. SCOPE AND CONTENTS. This section discusses the elements contained in
103 .l which make up the definition of an "ultralight vehicle"
and the proper way to assure that Part 103 applies.
11. APPLICABILITY OF PART 103.
a. Probably the single most critical
determination which must be made is whether or not your vehicle and the
operations you have planned are permitted under Part 103. The fact that
you are operating a vehicle which is called or advertised as a
"powered ultralight," "hang glider," or "hang
balloon" is not an assurance that it can be operated as an
ultralight vehicle under Part 103. There are a number of elements
contained in 103.1 which make up the definition of the "ultralight
vehicle." If you fail to meet any one of the elements, you may not
operate under Part 103. Any operations conducted without meeting all of
the elements are subject to all aircraft certification, pilot
certification, equipment requirements, and aircraft operating rules
applicable to the particular operation.
b. The FAA realizes that it is possible to
design an ultralight which, on paper, meets the requirements of 103.1,
but in reality does not. However, the designers, manufacturers of the
kits, and builders are not responsible to the FAA for meeting those
requirements. Operators of ultralights should bear in mind that they are
responsible for meeting 103.1 during each flight. The FAA will hold the
operator of a given flight responsible if it is later determined that
the ultralight did not meet the applicability for operations under Part
103. Be wary of any designs which are advertised as meeting the
requirements for use as an ultralight vehicle, yet provide for
performance or other design innovations which are not in concert with
any element of 103. 1. The FAA may inspect any ultralight which appears,
by design or performance, to not comply with 103.1.
c. If the FAA Determines Your Ultralight Was
Not Eligible for Operation as an Ultralight Vehicle If your ultralight
does not meet 103.1, it must be operated in accordance with applicable
aircraft regulations. You will be subject to enforcement action ($1000
civil penalty for each violation) for each operation of that aircraft.
12. ELEMENTS MAKING UP THE DEFINITION OF AN
a. Single Occupancy. An ultralight cannot be
operated under Part 103 if there is more than one occupant or if it has
provisions for more than one occupant.
b. Sport or Recreational Purposes Only. An
ultralight cannot be operated under Part 103 if it is operated for
purposes other than sport or recreation or if it is equipped for other
c. No Airworthiness Certificate. An ultralight
cannot be operated under Part 103 if it has been issued a-current U.S.
or foreign airworthiness certificate.
d. Unpowered Vehicles. An unpowered ultralight
cannot be operated under Part 103 if it weighs 155 pounds or more,
Balloons and gliders are unpowered vehicles,
e. Powered Vehicles, A powered ultralight
cannot be operated under Part 103 when it has an empty weight of 254
pounds or are; has a fuel capacity exceeding 5 U.S. gallons; is capable
of more than 55 knots airspeed at full power in level flight; and has a
power-off stall speed which exceeds 24 knots.
13. SINGLE OCCUPANT.
a. The Rationale for Allowing Single Occupant
Operations Only, One aspect of the rationale for allowing ultralight
vehicles to operate under special rules which do not require pilot and
aircraft certification is the single-occupant limitation. The assumption
is made that a person who elects to operate an uncertificated vehicle
alone is aware of the risks involved. This assumption does not
necessarily hold true for a passenger. Because the pilot qualifications
for ultralight vehicle operations are not Federally controlled or
monitored, the single-occupant requirement is a necessary component to
the continuation of the policies and regulations which allow the
operation of ultralight vehicles free from many of the restrictions
imposed on the operation of certificated aircraft.
b. Guidelines Regarding Seating Arrangements
Which Should be Considered when Purchasing or Operating an Ultralight
(1) Any provisions for more than one occupant
automatically disqualify an ultralight for operations under Part 103.
(2) Some powered ultralights were originally
manufactured with bench or "love" seats with only one
seatbelt, but have been advertised as two-place in the ultralight
periodicals. They are not eligible for operations under Part 103.
While no maximum width standards for the size of a "single"
seat have been established at this time, most manufacturers are
providing seats which have a
width of 18 to 22 inches. Any seat notably wider than 22 inches raises
a question as to whether the ultralight is intended for single
(3) An ultralight with provisions for more
than one occupant can only be operated as a certificated aircraft,
even when occupied by only one person, In addition to the previously
stated aircraft certification and registration requirements, the pilot
must hold a medical certificate and at least a student pilot
certificate with the proper endorsements for solo operations. At least
one occupant during two-occupant operations must hold at least a
private pilot certificate.
c. Two-place Ultralight Operations under Part
103, The AOPA Air Safety Foundation, Experimental Aircraft Association,
and the United States Hang Gliding Association have been granted
exemptions from the applicable aircraft regulations to authorize use of
two-place ultralights under Part 103 for limited training purposes and
for certain hang glider operations, Except as authorized by exemption,
no person may operate an ultralight under Part 103 with more than one
14. RECREATION AND SPORT PURPOSES ONLY
a. The Rationale for Only Allowing Recreation
and Sport Operations Under Part 103. In combination with the
single-occupant requirement, the limitation to recreation and sport
operations only is the basis for allowing ultralight vehicle operations
under minimum regulations. The reason for allowing the operation of
these vehicles without requiring aircraft and pilot certification is
that this activity is a "sport" generally conducted away from
concentrations of population and aircraft operations.
b. Determining Whether a Particular Operation
is for Recreation and Sport Purposes. There are several considerations
that are necessary in determining whether a given operation is conducted
for recreation or sport purposes:
(1) Is the flight undertaken to accomplish
some task, such as patrolling a fence line or advertising a product?
If so, Part 103 is not
(2) Is the ultralight equipped with
attachments or modifications for the accomplishment of some task, such
as banner towing or agricultural spraying? If so, Part 103 does not
(3) Is the pilot advertising his/her services
to perform any task using an ultralight? If so, Part 103 does not
(4) Is the pilot receiving any form of
compensation for the performance of a task using an ultralight
vehicle? If so, Part 103 does not apply,
c. Examples of Operations Which are Clearly Not
for Sport or Recreational Purposes.
(1) Aerial Advertising, Part 103 does not
apply to operations that include the towing of banners and the use of
loudspeakers, programmed light chains, sake writing, dropping
leaflets, and advertising on wings; nor does it apply to the use of
interchangeable parts with different business advertisements or flying
specific patterns to achieve maximum public visibility.
(2) Aerial Application, Part 103 does not
apply to operations that include using an ultralight to perform aerial
application of any substance intended for plant nourishment, soil
treatment, propagation of plant life or pest control, An ultralight
with an experimental certificate as an amateur aircraft could be used
to perform this function under specific, limited circumstances.
Paragraph 35b provides more detail on this subject,
(3) Aerial Surveying and Patrolling.
Patrolling powerlines, waterways, highways, suburbs, etc., does not
come under Part 103. The conduct of these activities in an ultralight
must be in compliance with applicable aircraft regulations as outlined
in paragraph 34. Local, state, or Federal government entities may
operate an ultralight as a "public aircraft." This is
discussed in greater detail in paragraph 35a.
(4) Carrying parcels for hire.
d. Examples of Situations Involving Money or
Some Other Form of Compensation Allowable Under the Recreation and Sport
(1) Rental of Ultralight Vehicles. Renting an
ultralight vehicle to another person is permissible.
(2) Receiving a Purse or Prize. Persons
participating in sport or competitive events involving the use of
ultralights are not prohibited from receiving money or some other form
of compensation in recognition of their performance.
(3) Authoring Books About Ultralights.
Persons are not prohibited from flying ultralights and then authoring
books about their experiences, for which they ultimately receive
(4) Receiving Discount on Purchase of an
Ultralight. There is no prohibition which would prevent you from
taking advantage of any discount on the price of an ultralight a
company might offer where its logo or name appears on a portion of the
vehicle. You cannot, however, enter into any agreement which might
specify the location; number, or, pattern of flights contingent on the
receipt of that discount. Any operation under such an agreement could
not be conducted under Part 103.
(5) Participation in Airshows and Events. You
may participate in airshows and other special events where persons are
charged for viewing those events, so long as you receive no
compensation for your participation. This does not hold true where you
stand to benefit directly from the proceeds as the organizer or
producer of the event.
15. AIRWORTHINESS CERTIFICATE (103.1(c).
a. If your ultralight has been issued an
airworthiness certificate. YOU cannot operate it as an ultralight
vehicle under Part 103, An ultralight cannot be operated interchangeably
as a certificated aircraft and an ultralight vehicle.
b, If you want to operate your ultralight under
Part 103, you must turn in, to the issuing authority, any airworthiness
certificates currently issued for the craft.
c. You may operate an ultralight as a
certificated aircraft if you obtain the proper certification, If you do
not already hold an airworthiness certificate, you should consult
paragraph 31 for further guidance.
d. An ultralight is eligible for operation
under Part 103, even where the same make and model is also being issued
airworthiness certificates, so long as a all elements of the definition
of an ultralight vehicle contained in 103.1 are satisfied. As an
example, assume that there is a model which would meet the definition of
an ultralight vehicle being manufactured in Canada and is issued a
Canadian airworthiness certificate. If you purchased one, you would have
to turn in the airworthiness certificate to the Canadian authorities
before operating it in the United States under Part 103.
16. UNPOWERED ULTRALIGHT VEHICLES.
a. Unpowered Ultralight Vehicles Eligible for
Operation Under Part 103, All forms of gliders and free balloons
weighing less than 155 pounds and meeting all other requirements of
103.1 are eligible for operation under Part 103.
b. Unpowered ultralights eligible for
operations under Part 103 are not required to be operated under that
Part. In some cases, you can obtain certification of your glider or free
balloon as an experimental aircraft.
c. Computing the Empty Weight of an Unpowered
(1) Gliders. The fuselage, wings,, structure,
control surfaces, harnesses, and landing gear, etc., are included in
this determination, Parachutes and all personal operating equipment
and harnesses associated with their use are not included.
(2) Free Balloons. The envelope, lines,
harnesses, gondola, burner, and fuel tank are included in this
determination. Parachutes and all personal operating equipment and
harnesses associated with their use are not included. The weight of
the fuel, in the case of a not-air balloon, or any logical amount of
removable ballast, when intended for control of the buoyancy of a gas
balloon, is not included in the weight specified 103.1(d).
d. Free Balloons are Considered
"Unpowered." A balloon, for Part 103 eligibility, is
considered an unpowered ultralight, regardless of whether it drops
ballast to ascend or uses heated air. The burner on a hot-air balloon is
use(] to raise the temperature of the air in the envelope allowing the
balloon to rise. This can he compared to the glider's use of lifting air
as a means of ascending. In both cases, no method of Horizontal
propulsion is employed and a loss Of the lifting -force will cause the
vehicle to descend to the surface.
17. POWERED ULTRALIGHT VEHICLES.
a. "Powered" Ultralights Eligible For
Operation Under Part 103, All ultralights with a means of horizontal
propulsion which also meet the provisions of 103.1 are eligible; this
includes ultralight airships, helicopters, gyrocopters, and airplanes.
b. A powered ultralights eligible for operation
under Part 103 is not required to be operated under that Part. You may
elect to certificate and operate it as an experimental aircraft The
applicable procedures and regulations are explained in Advisory Circular
20-27C, Certification and Operation of Amateur-Built Aircraft.
18. POWERED VEHICLE WEIGHT.
a. Items Excluded From the Computation of the
Empty Weight of a Powered Ultralight Vehicle.
( 1) Safety Devices Which are Intended for
Deployment in a Potentially Catastrophic Situation. Parachutes and
some associated additional equipment necessary for their operation
meet this criteria. Other devices, such as seatbelts, roll cages,
instruments, or wheel brakes, are considered part of the airframe and
are included in the empty weight.
(i) Up to 24 pounds of weight associated
with the parachute system may be excluded by the FAA without
requiring a separate weighing of the system components.
(ii) No weight allowance will be given for
any component of the parachute system if, when it was operated, the
parachute was not carried and attached to the ultralight at the
reinforced points/fittings provided.
(2) Floats Used For Landings On Water. Only
the weight of the floats and any integral, external attachment points
are excluded. All other items associated with attachment of the floats
to the airframe are included in the vehicle's empty weight. Up to 30
pounds per float may be excluded by the FAA without requiring
substantiation of the float's actual weight. This exclusion was
allowed under the rationale that float-equipped ultralights would not
usually be operated in the vicinity of airports and large
concentrations of people and, thus, would be even less of a safety
hazard than those which had conventional landing gear. While
amphibious capability would appear to negate somewhat that rationale,
some allowance for the "float" capability is made.
(i) Amphibious Floats. up to 30 pounds per
float may be excluded by the FAA. The weight of all attached items
associated with the installation and operation of the landing gear
is included in the calculation of the dry, empty weight specified in
5 103.1(e)(1). Satisfactory evidence of the weight of those
components must be available.
(ii) Amphibious Fuselage. Where the
fuselage is intended to function as a float during water landings,
up to 30 pounds (tile average weight of a single float) is allowed
by the FAA to be excluded from the empty weight where the ultralight
is capable of repeated water takeoffs and landings. (Operators may
be required to demonstrate the water operational capability of their
in order to receive an allowance for the added weight.) Up to 10
pounds per outrigger float and pylon is also allowed by the FAA.
(iii) "Float" provisions not
discussed here should be reviewed with FAA personnel at a Flight
Standards field office.
b. Acceptable Methods for Determining the
Weight of an Ultralight. The completely assembled ultralight should be
taken to a draftless location and placed on:
(1) A Single Scale. A determination may be
made on a calibrated scale which has sufficient weighing surface to
accommodate the ultralight resting fully on that surface without any
stabilizing assistance, or
(2) Two or More Scales. A determination may
be made on two or more calibrated scales if they are located at all
Points where the ultralight contacts the surface when parked and it is
resting fully on those scales without any stabilizing assistance. In
this case, the sum of the scales will be used.
19. MAXIMUM FUEL CAPACITY OF A POWERED ULTRALIGHT
VEHICLE, The maximum fuel capacity for a powered ultralight vehicle is 5
U.S. gallons. Any powered ultralight with fuel tank(s) exceeding this
capacity is ineligible for operation as an ultralight vehicle,
a. Determination of Fuel Capacity. The total
volume, including all available space for usable and unusable fuel in
the fuel tank or tanks on the vehicle is the total fuel capacity. The
fuel in the lines, pump,, strainer,, and carburetor is not considered in
a calculation of total volume.
b. Use of an Artificial Means to Control
( 1) Tanks which have a permanent standpipe
or venting arrangement to control capacity are permitted, but may be
subject to demonstration of the capacity if there is any reason to
doubt that the arrangement is effective.
(2) A temporary, detachable, or
voluntarily-observed method for restricting fuel capacity, such as a
"fill-to" line, is not acceptable.
20. MAXIMUM LEVEL FLIGHT SPEED OF A POWERED
ULTRALIGHT VEHICLE. The maximum speed of an ultralight vehicle at full
power in level flight cannot exceed 55 knots.
a. The 55 knots specified in S103,1(e)(3) is a
performance limitation, not a speed limit, It is not a speed limit that
a pilot has to observe. The vehicle, as configured (exposed drag areas,
engine power output, and propeller efficiency), cannot be capable of
driving through the air in level flight at full power faster than 55
knots. It is also not a structural never-exceed speed (Vne). The vehicle
may well be structurally capable of higher airspeeds.
b. The use of "voluntarily observed"
or arbitrarily specified maximum airspeeds, such as a red line on the
airspeed indicator, is not acceptable where the ultralight is capable of
more than 55 knots in level flight.
c. Acceptable Methods of Determining the
Maximum Level Flight Airspeed of an Ultralight.
(1) A calculation, using the information in
Appendix I , is an acceptable method for making this determination.
NOTE: The engine manufacturer's maximum
horsepower rating will be used for all computations associated with
maximum level flight speeds (unless the operator can provide
documentation from the engine manufacturer that a method of derating
an engine will result in a predictable reduction in horsepower).
(2) A series of three or more full-Power
level runs in both directions along a 1,000-foot course under
specified conditions could be used by a recognized technical standards
committee to make this determination. The average speed derived should
be adjusted for atmospheric conditions other than sea level on a
NOTE: While these guidelines contain
provisions allowing, flight testing to establish eligibility for
operations under Part 103, the FAA has provided charts in Appendixes 1
and 2 which encompass most normal aircraft design factors without
requiring flight testing. Any flight testing to establish eligibility
for operations under Part 103 is done at the risk of the participants.
(3) A calibrated radar gun may also be used.
Again, a series of full-power level runs as described in subparagraph
c(2) could be used by a recognized technical standards committee to
make this determination.
d. Use of an Artificial means to Limit the
maximum Level Flight Airspeed.
(1) An artificial means of restricting the
total power output of an engine in order to lower the maximum level
flight speed at full power would be acceptable if the method used to
restrict the power available is one which cannot be modified,
bypassed, or overridden in flight and the pilot or operator can
provide the FAA, on request, satisfactory evidence that the- vehicle
meets the requirement of 103.1(e)(3).
NOTE: Vehicles which require artificial
restrictions to power or propeller arrangements may incur a
substantial penalty in terms of takeoff, climb, and absolute
performance. This factor should L-e considered when assessing the
safety of ultralight vehicle operations, especially at high altitude
(2) As a general guideline, a method is
unacceptable if it can be modified, bypassed, or overridden in any way
while sitting in the pilot seat so as to further increase the power.
There may be some ultralights which could be operated as ultralight
vehicles if such restrictions are employed to meet the requirements of
103.1(e)(3). If you change or modify the restricting elements, your
vehicle may be ineligible for use under Part 103.
(3) The use of voluntarily-observed
restrictions, such as a lower power setting, instead of using all
available power, is unacceptable.
e. Use of a Less Efficient Propeller/Shaft
Arrangement. The use of a less efficient propeller/shaft arrangement to
lower the level flight speed at full power is acceptable, if the
operator or pilot can provide the FAA, on request, satisfactory evidence
that the vehicle meets the requirements of 103.1(e)(3), If you change or
modify that arrangement to increase the efficiency, your vehicle may be
ineligible for use under Part 103.
f. Use of an Aerodynamic Restriction. The use
of an aerodynamic restriction, such as a limiting device to pitch
control travel on a canard arrangement, automatically deployed speed
brakes, or a strut installed for drag purposes only, is acceptable,
provided a recognized technical standards committee has evaluated the
resulting maximum full-power level flight speeds at a pilot weight of
170 pounds and determined that the vehicle is not capable of maintaining
level flight above 55 knots. (Again, modification of that arrangement my
render the vehicle ineligible for use under Part 103.)
NOTE: Vehicles using aerodynamic restrictions
to limit maximum speed may have undesirable flight characteristics when
operated near the controllability limits.
21. MAXIMUM POWER-OFF STALL SPEED OF A POWERED
ULTRALIGHT VEHICLE. The maximum power-off stall speed of an ultralight
vehicle cannot exceed 2 knots (28 mph).
a. Acceptable Methods of Determining the
Power-Off Stall Speed of an Ultralight Vehicle.
(1) A calculation, using the information
provided in Appendix 2, is an acceptable method of providing
satisfactory evidence that your vehicle meets this requirement.
NOTE: For the purpose of all stall speed
calculations, the pilot's weight will be considered to be 170 pounds
and the fuel tank(s) filled (6 lbs./gal.).
(2) This speed can also be determined by a
recognized technical standards committee which can take the average
speed from a series of power-off stalls using existing flight test
b. Use of High-Lift Devices to Lower Stall
Speed to 24 Knots. Slots, slats, flaps, and any other devices which
would lower the stall speed are acceptable. A determination of the
resulting average stall speed by a technical standards committee is
acceptable evidence of compliance-.
22. DOCUMENTATION OF A TECHNICAL STANDARDS
COMMITTEE'S. If an ultralight is found by a recognized technical standards
committee to meet the requirements of 103.1 with respect to the items
specified in paragraphs 18 through 21, the committee should issue a
document confirming its findings. (See Appendix 4 for an example of this
23. CONTENTS OF THE DOCUMENT. To be acceptable,
the document will contain, as a minimum, the:
a. Name and address of the person requesting
b. Type/model and general description of the
ultralight, including any installed equipment.
c. Empty weight of the ultralight, showing the
allowances given for parachutes, floats, and fuel, and how it was
d. Fuel capacity and how it was determined.
e. Maximum speed at full power in level flight
and how it was determined, including, a description of any method
incorporated to limit the power or thrust output or the ability of the
vehicle to fly in level flight at more than 55 knots. (This description
should allow an inspector reviewing the document to determine that the
limiting devices are still operational.)
f. Maximum power-off stall speed and how it was
determined, including a description of any lift devices used.
g. Typed or printed names of the committee
members, their signatures, and the name of the organization which
recognizes their committee.
24. CONTACTS WITH FAA INSPECTORS. Most ultralight
operators will probably only encounter FAA field inspectors during
accident, incident, or public complaint investigation. On initial
contact, the inspector will usually ask for your pilot certificate and the
aircraft airworthiness certificate. You should inform the inspector
that you are operating your ultralight under Part 103 and provide evidence
that it meets the applicability of 103.1.
a. Failure to Provide Satisfactory Evidence. If
you cannot provide this evidence, or if the evidence provided is not
satisfactory, your ultralight will be considered an aircraft subject to
all applicable aircraft regulations and you will be subject to all
requirements applicable to the operator. It is your responsibility to
prove that your ultralight and any operations you may 'nave conducted
meet the applicability for operation-under Part 103. Until you do, the
FAA will proceed with any enforcement investigation resulting from your
inability to provide that proof.
b. "Satisfactory Evidence."
(1) The use of the graphs provided in
Appendixes I and 2 will be acceptable for determination of the maximum
level flight speed and power-off stall speed if your ultralight has no
special limitations to maximum speed or power and no special high-lift
(2) An FAA-certificated aircraft mechanic or
repair station may also weigh your ultralight and provide a weight
document similar to that provided for aircraft, listing the components
and attachments of the ultralight when Weighed. An FAA-certificated
mechanic may also make the determinations in paragraphs 18 through 21
and issue the Documentation outlined in paragraph 23, provided that
the maximum speeds were determined through the use of the graphs
provided in Appendixes 1 and 2.
(3) A recognized technical standards
committee's findings documented as provided in paragraph 23 will
usually be considered acceptable. A committee may issue their findings
in relation to a given model of ultralight which are then included by
the manufacturer in the sale of the ultralight. The subsequent
operators of that model of ultralight may use those findings without
having another inspection made, provided that there are no changes or
modifications to the configuration, components, engine, or propeller
arrangements of the basic model originally reviewed by the committee
and any artificial means of restricting maximum airspeed is installed
c. FAA Ultralight inspection Authority. The FAA
has the legal authority to inspect any ultralight, whether it is
operated as an aircraft under Part 91 or as an ultralight vehicle under
Part 103. In the case of an ultralight operated under Part 103, this
authority will usually be exercised only when an inspector has reason to
doubt the validity of the evidence provided by the operator or that the
ultralight still conforms to the findings contained in that evidence.
(1) Refusal to Allow the Inspection. Refusal
to allow the inspector to inspect the ultralight would be a violation
of the Federal Aviation Act of 1958, as amended, and the applicable
FAR, and would result in enforcement action.
(2) Usual Content of the Inspection. The
inspector may ask you to show compliance with 103.1 by measuring the
capacity of the fuel tank. weighing the vehicle, measuring the wing,,
stabilizing and control surface areas,, and showing that any
artificial means required to restrict the maximum airspeed are
installed, operational,, and cannot be bypassed. Further checks may be
made in situations where the inspector has reason to doubt the
effectiveness of any restriction to maximum airspeed.
SECTION 2. HOW TO CERTIFICATE AND OPERATE AN
ULTRALIGHT AS AN AIRCRAFT
30. SCOPE AND CONTENTS. This section outlines the
regulations which are applicable to the operation of ultralights as
certificated aircraft and provides general information regarding how to
comply with the regulations.
31, AIRCRAFT CERTIFICATION, A person who chooses
to operate an ultralight as a certificated aircraft has two options for
airworthiness certification of the vehicle, depending primarily on the
configuration of the vehicle or kit when purchased, as follows:
a, Completely Assembled at the Factory, or
Assembled by the Purchaser From a "Bolt-Together" Kit With
Little or No Fabrication Operations, An ultralight in this category
would be eligible for airworthiness certification only for the purpose
of exhibition in the experimental classification. Application for an
experimental certificate for exhibition may be made to the nearest
Flight Standards field office.
b. Major Portion (Over 50%) Fabricated by the
Builder/Purchaser, Either from Raw materials to the Builder's Own Design
or From a Partially Prefabricated Kit. A vehicle shown to meet the
provisions of this category would be eligible for airworthiness
certification as an amateur-built aircraft,, in addition to eligibility
for experimental exhibition. Detailed information pertaining to
amateur-built aircraft requirements are in FAA Advisory Circular
20-27C,, Certification and Operation of Amateur-Built Aircraft,
Applications for such certification may be made to the nearest Flight
Standards field office.
32. REGISTRATION, An ultralight that is to be
certificated and operated as an aircraft S Subject to the registration and
marking requirements applicable to aircraft. The applicant should contact
the nearest Flight Standards field office to obtain the required forms and
information concerning the procedures to be followed. Advisory Circular
20-27C also contains information concerning registration arid marking
requirements as they apply to amateur-built aircraft.
33. PART 61 (CERTIFICATION: PILOTS AND FLIGHT
INSTRUCTORS), Part 61 of the Federal Aviation Regulations contains the
regulations which define the certificates and ratings which pilots must
hold to function as a pilot of a certificated aircraft in the United
States, It also outlines the minimum experience levels and standards to
qualify for those certificates and ratings. The minimum levels of pilot
currency for certain operations are also contained in Part 61.
34. PART 91 (GENERAL OPERATING AND FLIGHT'
RULES), Part 91 contains the general operating rules (Subpart A), flight
rules (Subpart B), and maintenance rules (Subpart C) which are
applicable to all certificated aircraft operations, Pilots of certificated
ultralight aircraft must comply with Part 91, No certificated aircraft can
be operated under Part 103, The flight rules of Subpart B are the minimum
standards for flight operations except where the operating limitations of
the particular aircraft establish more stringent standards. The majority
of the rules contained in Subpart A and Subpart C will not apply to
operations of certificated ultralight aircraft; however, a thorough review
of these regulations should be conducted to determine those applicable to
a particular type of ultralight aircraft.
35. SPECIAL FLIGHT OPERATIONS. There are some
special operations of ultralight aircraft that are all under present
a. "Public" Aircraft, An ultralight
way be used exclusively in the service of a Federal, state,, or local
government without an airworthiness certificate. (The pilots do not have
to hold pilot certificates.)
(1) The ultralight must be properly
registered with the FAA and display appropriate registration markings,
(2) All operations must be conducted in
accordance with the applicable operating and flight rules of Part 91.
b, Aerial Agricultural Application. A farmer
owning an amateur-built experimentally certificated aircraft may use
that aircraft for aerial agricultural applications over his/her own
property, provided that,
(1) The ultralight is certificated as an
amateur-built aircraft and does not have any operating limitations
prohibiting agricultural operations;
(2) The pilot holds at least a private pilot
certificate and successfully completes a knowledge and skill test as
specified in 137.19(e); and
(3) The farmer holds at least a Private
Agricultural Operator Certificate under Part 137 and all operations
are conducted in accordance with that regulation.