AirVenture 2022: Where have all the Ultralights gone?

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rv7charlie

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Well, the DL medical had completely stalled during the FAA's rulemaking process (IIRC, not the FAA's fault but at a required sign-off somewhere in the Dept of Transportation). If Congress hadn't acted, we'd have nothing at all. The info I got (including from my legislators) was that they were worried about the political blowback if they allowed the DL medical with no physician's oversight at all, and accidents started happening.
 

radfordc

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The RANGE of a ultralight is really not good to do similar trips to Airventure. So all the ultralights there are locals or people who trailered the airplane (less adventurous).

Some people flew ULs hundreds of miles to Oshkosh. Paul Fiebich (Airbike Ace) here in Kansas has done it many times. I did it twice. If the weather is good a 500 mile UL flight is just one long day of pleasant sightseeing. One guy I met flew a powered parachute from TN to Oshkosh and back....now that's a long trip.
 

ToddK

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Well, the DL medical had completely stalled during the FAA's rulemaking process (IIRC, not the FAA's fault but at a required sign-off somewhere in the Dept of Transportation). If Congress hadn't acted, we'd have nothing at all. The info I got (including from my legislators) was that they were worried about the political blowback if they allowed the DL medical with no physician's oversight at all, and accidents started happening.

I wonder if it will take a similar act of Congress to push unleaded avgas out of the bureaucratic black hole its caught up in.
 

BBerson

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You don’t like my synopsis, feel free to come up with a better one
I already said the FAA preamble to the Light Sport rule did not mention what is being said about flaunting violations. It said “The FAA does not rule by exemption”. They wanted to end the exemption process and they did. The problem is no trainers exist now and that issue is not being addressed.

Post 53 said it is “obviously” ok to shut down a segment.
I don’t agree.
 
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Gary Hogue

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There was a Weedhopper distributer in Texas who taught over 100 buyers to fly with a radio, off their private field, with a very good system they developed. Zero problems. The guy is a legend in the Weedhopper community. I think he still sells a DVD.
Intriguing! Any more recollections? My searches so far have come up empty, and my two-seat Quick training guy prospect just dried up yesterday.
 

rv7charlie

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I wonder if it will take a similar act of Congress to push unleaded avgas out of the bureaucratic black hole its caught up in.
It might, but be careful what you wish for. TFF's criticism of Basic Med legislation is legit; it should have been DL. But we got something rather than nothing.

If someone of infinite wisdom (like me ;-) ) were making the UL (unleaded; not ultralite) decision, I would have said, the new standard, effective in 5 years, is 94 octane, and there will be no more leaded gas after 5 years. The engine mfgrs have the tech (or rather, the tech exists) to modify the big, high output engines to run on 94 octane (at perhaps *slightly* reduced output). The guys running almost all those engines operate them all the time; they burn 75-80% of avgas in this country. They'll hit TBO within 5 years anyway, and they are the ones most able to afford the engine 'upgrade' (and engine costs are a minor percentage of their operating costs, on that class a/c).

They can most afford it, and more importantly, they're the ones causing the problem; they should pay. Me? I'll continue to run mogas....
 

jedi

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Obviously yes, when the rule breakers represent a large portion of the entire segment.

When it is one odd case here and there (someone flying under a bridge, or jumping out of a plane), you can easily enforce action against them, but when such a huge portion violates, enforcement on them becomes an impossibility and there’s no other choice.
Is there a parallel here with gun legislation??
Not making a political comment here. I happen to know someone who has plans to mount an AK 47 to his ultralight like wanabe.
 

Fred C

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Young people don't seem to be interested in much of anything. There are a lot of young men that are not even interested in getting their driver's license or even owing a car. For all the good computers have done, I think computers/games have had a negative effect on our younger generation.
You must live on the east coast. Not true for middle of the country or the west.
 

BJC

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Congress acting correctly? They messed up the basic med. it was put forth as drivers license only, but MD lobby who felt dissed that they wouldn’t get a piece of the pie came up with what was passed, just for spite.
IIRC, ALPA intervened with strong opposition. I questioned a handful of members, and they had no idea of why their union took that position.


BJC
 

Ricknsharon

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Some people flew ULs hundreds of miles to Oshkosh. Paul Fiebich (Airbike Ace) here in Kansas has done it many times. I did it twice. If the weather is good a 500 mile UL flight is just one long day of pleasant sightseeing. One guy I met flew a powered parachute from TN to Oshkosh and back....now that's a long trip.
The AirBike was/is a great example of an easy to fly Ultralight offered in a single or tandem seat, but was killed off by a lawsuit that was first unsuccessful, then sued again bankrupting the company with lawyer fees. The sue-happy mentality of America is killing off many small businesses (non-aviation included) and adding huge costs to the aviation industry. I'm sure a large portion of the costs we see on aircraft can be traced back to liability insurance costs, not only on the final product but each and every part it is made up of. We just had an A&P close shop at our airport because his liability insurance costs was too high.

BTW, the 40th anniversary of the AirBike will be 2024 and I hope to fly mine to Oshkosh and have a reunion of many others.
 

TFF

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All these problems are either haves not wanting to release control or have nots wanting to have control. It’s not ever about the problem.

The issue with unleaded has to deal with the safety police. If I owned a twin Bonanza needing high octane, let it be my fault if I blow it up on unleaded 93. Unless the FAA accepts this, as long as there is one flying plane needing 100LL, they have to have the fuel. There is no money to amend every airframe and engine TCDS to allow modified engines. No money for every plane to have an STC to be developed. Every plane and engine per their rules. The FAA can clean the slate and wipe out every plane needing 100LL. That is their only regulatory option if no one can submit a new fuel. It’s a red tape monster, not a put fuel in the tank monster. Until someone comes up with a strategy that upholds the FAA position it’s a regulatory physics problem. Can’t change physics. The safety police arm of the FAA can’t look the other way. If I owned a T-Bone, I could nurse it on 93. I bet I could nurse most planes. The FAA is not wired for retraction of materials. The closest argument I could come up with is the substitution of materials for vintage planes that are not manufactured anymore. Making all legacy 100LL planes “Vintage “ and it’s their issue to fuel it.
 

Niels

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I wonder if it will take a similar act of Congress to push unleaded avgas out of the bureaucratic black hole its caught up in.
Read the Gami patent.
Roughly half of G100UL is modified benzene compounds that improves octane rating solidly.
The benzene content of ordinary mogas is limited to one percent as it is a proven carciogenic.
If I was public servant,I would not love to put signature on permission.
It will be an uphill battle to get and keep permission.
 

Bigshu

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Like reo12 said, not all people can afford something pricy. 💰Ultralights can make aviation possible for the low budgets. Yes, there are expensive kits. But there are also scrathbuilt building plans. A bit of a handy man can build his airplane himself with garagetools. 🛠️
Yes, the Hummel UC is available plans only, or any combination of parts you want, up to a full kit. This is one reason membership in an EAA chapter could come in handy, a decent group of builders could help a novice knock out a simple design like this in short order. Going that route, you can pay as you go at your favorite metal supplier, and track down or build a V-twin or 1/2 VW engine, and there you go. Instruments for a simple around the patch and nearby areas would be what, an ASI and an altimeter? You could get more than that on a phone or Ipad, add a handheld radio so you can be in contact with people, and you're golden. I'm sure you can get a UC in the air for around 20K, because there was a complete one for sale by owner at the Hummel booth, with the new V-twin engine (it was being modified for the engine, so it was wasn't RTF at the show). I expect to get my UC in the air for closer to 15K. If you can find a project for sale, it's even cheaper. I think the issue is availability of storage or landing fields as much as cost. I do most flying alone, so single seat doesn't bother me.
 

Bigshu

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Congress acting correctly? They messed up the basic med. it was put forth as drivers license only, but MD lobby who felt dissed that they wouldn’t get a piece of the pie came up with what was passed, just for spite. Be careful what you ask for. To get it, you will need to out maneuver, those pros. It will be like a candy bar melted in a wrapper in your car. All the ingredients are there, but it doesn’t look anything like what it’s supposed to.
I'm still hoping for some growth at the LSA portion of the fleet, opening up a lot of legacy aircraft to drivers license medicals. If we get that, then the camel's nose is in the tent...you know where that leads.
 

KeithO

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If hummel had adopted the Zenith assembly method with pop rivets, building one would be a much easier job. But the fact is that its close to the same amount of work as building a Vans with the same need to get bucking bars into difficult to access places so its difficult to work alone. Unfortunately the BK-1 fell in the same trap which is why completion rates are so low.
 

Bigshu

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Intriguing! Any more recollections? My searches so far have come up empty, and my two-seat Quick training guy prospect just dried up yesterday.
Just find an instructor, or experienced pilot with a taildragger, the smaller the better, and go fly with them. A couple of hours in a Cub will teach you all you need to know for most ULs. It would be nice to have some aeronautical knowledge, but, no license means just that.
 

Bigshu

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If hummel had adopted the Zenith assembly method with pop rivets, building one would be a much easier job. But the fact is that its close to the same amount of work as building a Vans with the same need to get bucking bars into difficult to access places so its difficult to work alone. Unfortunately the BK-1 fell in the same trap which is why completion rates are so low.
I don't know, the motor box and spar are all you need solid rivets for, so as simple as those structures are, it doesn.t sound like a big hardship.
 

goney3

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If hummel had adopted the Zenith assembly method with pop rivets, building one would be a much easier job. But the fact is that its close to the same amount of work as building a Vans with the same need to get bucking bars into difficult to access places so its difficult to work alone. Unfortunately the BK-1 fell in the same trap which is why completion rates are so low.
A guy at my local field built an UltraCruiser with blind rivets, fly's fine 🤷‍♂️
 
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