AC 103-7 Advisory Circular (Part 103 Ultralights)
U.S. Department of Transportation
Federal Aviation Administration
Subject: THE ULTRALIGHT VEHICLE Date: 1/30/84 AC No: AC 103-7
Initiated by: AF0-820
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
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 the airspace.
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
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 representative organization,
(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 regulations.
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 contacts:
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
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 controlling facilities.
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
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
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 ULTRALIGHT VEHICLE.
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
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 uses.
c. No Airworthiness Certificate. An ultralight cannot be operated under
Part 103 if it has been issued a-current U.S. or foreign airworthiness
d. Unpowered Vehicles. An unpowered ultralight cannot be operated under
Part 103 if it weighs 155 pounds or more, Balloons and gliders are unpowered
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 Vehicle.
(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 occupancy.
(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
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 (103.1(b)).
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 apply,
(3) Is the pilot advertising his/her services to perform any task using
an ultralight? If so, Part 103 does not apply,
(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
(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 Limitation.
(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
(3) Authoring Books About Ultralights. Persons are not prohibited from
flying ultralights and then authoring books about their experiences, for which
they ultimately receive compensation.
(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
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
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 Ultralight Vehicle.
(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
(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
( 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
(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 vehicle
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
(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 Capacity.
( 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
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
(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 standard day.
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 locations.
(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
(1) A calculation, using the information provided in Appendix 2, is an
acceptable method of providing satisfactory evidence that your vehicle meets this
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
(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 procedures.
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 documentation.)
23. CONTENTS OF THE DOCUMENT. To be acceptable, the document will contain, as a
a. Name and address of the person requesting the determination.
b. Type/model and general description of the ultralight, including any
c. Empty weight of the ultralight, showing the allowances given for
parachutes, floats, and fuel, and how it was determined.
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-of f
stall speed if your ultralight has no special limitations to maximum speed or
power and no special high-lift devices.
(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 and operational.
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
(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
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
35. SPECIAL FLIGHT OPERATIONS. There are some special operations of ultralight
aircraft that are all under present regulations.
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, and
(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);
(3) The farmer holds at least a Private Agricultural Operator
Certificate under Part 137 and all operations are conducted in accordance with