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galapoola

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I'm waiting for the spring loaded ejector! 😧
Kidding aside, There are the "toss" chutes used by the para guys. That could be packed in a tube above a disk and a spring. That would be a fully mechanical solution and in the spirit of experimental. It would also save you some weight.
 

jazzenjohn

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Kidding aside, There are the "toss" chutes used by the para guys. That could be packed in a tube above a disk and a spring. That would be a fully mechanical solution and in the spirit of experimental. It would also save you some weight.
I agree about hand deploy chutes Galapoola. BRS and parachute often seem to be used interchangeably. I think there is more to it than stuffing a parachute into a tube with a spring for most aircraft though. In some situations an inadvertent deployment might mean certain death. In those cases, like on a gyroplane, it would be prudent for a several stage deployment so it has redundant safety systems to prevent it from being deployed when Not necessary.
 

BTCrenshaw

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Kidding aside, There are the "toss" chutes used by the para guys. That could be packed in a tube above a disk and a spring. That would be a fully mechanical solution and in the spirit of experimental. It would also save you some weight.
That's not a bad idea except I'm thinking the size of chute needed for 550Lbs gross ultralight weight might be a consideration.

After a unfortunate incident -

NTSB - Didn't he have a chute?
Pilot Friend - Yes he did.
NTSB - Why did it look like he was trying to open a tent inside the cockpit?
Pilot Friend - Uh, I think that was his hand tossed chute. o_O
 

BTCrenshaw

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I agree about hand deploy chutes Galapoola. BRS and parachute often seem to be used interchangeably. I think there is more to it than stuffing a parachute into a tube with a spring for most aircraft though. In some situations an inadvertent deployment might mean certain death. In those cases, like on a gyroplane, it would be prudent for a several stage deployment so it has redundant safety systems to prevent it from being deployed when Not necessary.
Sorry, another funny came to mind -

BTCrenshaw- Where's Galapoola, I thought he was prepping to go fly?
JazzenJohn - Yeah he was.
BTCrenshaw - So where's he at?
JazzenJohn - You see that tent over there? Well, it ain't a tent. 😆
 

TLAR

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166
IIRC, I believe I was quoted about 60mph min deployment, the nice little Italian chute was designed for a little faster aircraft so with Ultralight speed one would be using it close to its margin
 

TFF

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Memphis, TN
Pringles can with a plastic paratrooper army guy inside. If I was putting it on, I’m expecting it to work. No junk just to make weight.
 

REVAN

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BRS gives you an extra 24lbs to the 103 254lb limit. The BRS doesn’t weigh 24lbs so you have in effect allowed your plane to be heavier than 254lbs.
While this trick works and is legal, there are clear advantages to being under 254. First is that the BRS is optional if you are just below 254 instead of just over it. Then, if you don't want a BRS, you don't have to pay for it, install it, or maintain it. If it is just there to be legal, that's a big price to pay for 5 or 10 pounds of extra airframe weight. If a BRS costs $3000 and another $500 to $800 when it is serviced every few years, you have got to wonder if there is a way to cut the excess weight for less money than the cost of the BRS.

Ultralights tend to spend a lot of time flying less than 200 feet above ground. At very low altitudes, a BRS is a liability, not an asset. One trike instructor I know has said that he know of more pilots who have been killed from accidental BRS deployment, than he knows of pilots who's lives were save because it was there when it was needed. Ultralights fly and land slow. It's not like an ultralight needs a BRS because of an engine out situation, as would be the case for a Cirrus with an engine failure over the Rocky Mountains at night. So, in an ultralight a BRS is mainly there for a catastrophic airframe failures or control system failures. If you like doing aerobatics at altitude, a BRS is a very good investment. If you fly rarely departing past 30 degrees, and never over 60, is a BRS worth it? How often do those types of catastrophic airframe failures happen vs. how often a BRS is accidentally triggered too low to the ground to not kill or seriously injure the pilot?

If you have a true ultralight that weighs less than 254 pounds without the BRS, you can have "Safety devices which are intended for deployment in a potentially catastrophic situation" without the 24 pound restriction. In other words, a 50 pound BRS on a 253 pound ultralight would be legal. I haven't shopped, or priced BRS systems, but there may be heavier systems that cost less and are more robust than the very light systems designed to free up extra pounds to legalize a slightly heavy ultralight.
 
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BTCrenshaw

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Some good points have been made here, but I'm one of those that likes to fly with more altitude. Altitude to me is safety. I have more time to react to an unexpected situation if it occurs.

I agree if a pilot is using the chute for nothing more than to allow their ultralight to go over normal weight restrictions, than that's the wrong reason for using such a device. However, look at the Merlin Lite, the Badland's F series, the Belite, and similar ultralights - these aren't your average open cockpit ultralights. I think the correct statement would be ultralights typically fly low and slow, but they don't have to fly low if they don't want to. There are even paramotorsists that go up to 10K feet. For those type of pilots the emergency chute is an option if they desire it. Closed cockpits have a tendency to allow higher altitude flight without freezing your .... off.

So, is it a trick? It can be, but I don't see it as one in the Merlin Lite or the Badland F series (which the Badland doesn't come with one by default, but I will have one on mine).

As for the initial fee, absolutely - chutes aren't cheap, nor is the repacking but each has to determine what value to place on their own life. For me, it's worth it. For others, maybe not. It's a personal choice.

The mention of the use of a chute in an ultralight, that the need would only be for a catastrophic failure is the same as the example given for the Cirrus; an engine failure, at night, over the Rockies would be a catastrophic failure - the engine has stopped. If that's not a catastrophic I'm not sure what is. If either aircraft had an engine failure during the day over the Rockies the situation would still be catastrophic. Find a place to land over the Rockies, it's almost impossible. And with the Cirrus being a production aircraft, under FAA maintenance regulations, I think it more likely for the ultralight to have a catastrophic failure. And this is the bad part - this would be the case because there are a lot of ultralight pilots that are untrained idiots. They will overstress the ultralight and have no clue how to actually fly. You've seen the braggers on YouTube "my first ultralight flight and with no training". These people are idiots.

I've not seen any statistics on accidental launches of emergency chutes. I can only say I know of only one and that's because it was caught on YouTube by a paramotor who somehow kicked his hand pulled chute out during launch.

The Comelli chutes come in two models. The up to 500Lbs model and the up to 1024Lbs model. They cost about half the price of BRS chutes and weigh less because they aren't as complex. The up to 500Lbs chute is only 11Lbs, so pilots wouldn't be putting on a 50Lb chute to get 24Lbs added on for max empty ultralight weight.

A comment several back stated "the nice little Italian chute was designed for a little faster aircraft so with Ultralight speed one would be using it close to its margin", but this I believe is incorrect. Comelli advertises their chutes for everything from paramotor's to ultralights, so I don't believe an ultralight would be close to the chutes margin. They sell by gross weight of the plane they are to be attached to.

The statement "but there may be heavier systems that cost less and are more robust than the very light systems designed to free up extra pounds to legalize a slightly heavy ultralight." makes the accusation that these chutes were designed specifically to legalize a heavy ultralight. This in my opinion is incorrect. Add on why would someone add on a heavier system to free up extra pounds to legalize a slightly heave ultralight?

Both BRS and Comelli have been around for a long time. They don't design safety chutes so pilots can get past the 254 weight limit. It just happens that they have a product that can be placed on an ultralight if the owner decides he/she wants that safety device. That device with the 500Lbs chute allows 24Lbs-11Lbs of extra ultralight weight. However if the 1024 chute is chosen, the ultralight is still overweight because it weighs in at 30Lbs, putting it 6Lbs over the limit if the ultralight was at or near max standard weight.

Also ultralights with floats are allowed to go over the standard weight too. Are those made just so the ultralight can get past the 254Lbs limit?
These are allowed options by the FAA so I don't see an issue. Besides, most ultralights I've been looking at have a max or gross takeoff weight of 500 to 550Lbs. It doesn't really matter what the ultralight weight is (not meaning they can go past the weight limit just if they want to). Just saying that ultralights don't carry much weight anyway. The pilot can only add so much along with themselves and then there done. So weather the ultralight weighs in at 254 or 278, there's still for the most part a hard limit at 500 to 550 depending on the ultralight. The pilot doesn't gain anything but a safety device or floats for water landings.
 

jedi

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Reference post #29 above: "That device with the 500Lbs chute allows 24Lbs-11Lbs of extra ultralight weight. However if the 1024 chute is chosen, the ultralight is still overweight because it weighs in at 30Lbs, putting it 6Lbs over the limit if the ultralight was at or near max standard weight."

Read the AC 103-7 more closely with regard. to floats and chutes. The float allowance is a limit on how overweight the aircraft can be. The safety device (generally a BRS) is an allowance regardless of weight as in the example given. It is not a max weight for the safety device.

With closer readiing of AC 103-7 I think you will find that if the empty weight of the UL is "less than 254 pounds" there is no limit on the weight of the safety device as long as the UL still meets all other UL requirements, speed, fuel caapacity, seats, etc. The safety device is not limited to a BRS or 24 pounds. You could add a 100 pound safety device if the aircraft still met the 103 stall speed requirement.
 

BTCrenshaw

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Reference post #29 above: "That device with the 500Lbs chute allows 24Lbs-11Lbs of extra ultralight weight. However if the 1024 chute is chosen, the ultralight is still overweight because it weighs in at 30Lbs, putting it 6Lbs over the limit if the ultralight was at or near max standard weight."

Read the AC 103-7 more closely with regard. to floats and chutes. The float allowance is a limit on how overweight the aircraft can be. The safety device (generally a BRS) is an allowance regardless of weight as in the example given. It is not a max weight for the safety device.

With closer readiing of AC 103-7 I think you will find that if the empty weight of the UL is "less than 254 pounds" there is no limit on the weight of the safety device as long as the UL still meets all other UL requirements, speed, fuel caapacity, seats, etc. The safety device is not limited to a BRS or 24 pounds. You could add a 100 pound safety device if the aircraft still met the 103 stall speed requirement.
First off thank you for pointing out the AC_103-7 document. This really clears up a lot of other questions I had about the operation of ultralights. It’s important to know not just that a rule or regulation exists, but why it exists, and how the measurement of such rules and regulations are made.

For instance, I know there is a 55 knot maximum level flight speed for ultralights. What I didn’t know is how is that measurement is made? Now I know the measurement is taken at level flight of 1000 feet with the assumption of a 170Lbs pilot, and there are several methods used to determine if the ultralight meets or exceeds the 55 knot rule. Good to know info.

I see your point on the weight if the ultralight is under the 254 maximum concerning the added weight of the chute chosen. However can you be more specific on the float allowance – because I’m understanding it differently after reading AC 103-7 than I’m understanding what your comment.

The float allowance is a limit on how overweight the aircraft can be. The safety device (generally a BRS) is an allowance regardless of weight as in the example given.

From 18.a.1. - (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.

From 18.a.2 Floats Used for Landings On Water – (extracted from the paragraph) - Up to 30 pounds per float may be excluded by the FAA without requiring substantiation of the float's actual weight.

You’re saying there is a weight limit with consideration of the use of floats, but not of the chute? I don’t see either item or additional information mentioning thi in AC 103.7. From what I’m reading and understanding, ultralights have 24Lbs of allowance (254+24) for the addition of a chute and/or 30Lbs per float (254+(30*2)) for the addition of floats. Giving both a weight limit exceeding the standard 254Lbs limit. I don't see any mention of the floats being an allowance on the limit of how overweight the ultralight can be and that a BRS is an allowance regardless of the weight of the ultralight.

Help, what am I missing here?

Thanks,
Todd
 

REVAN

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Help, what am I missing here?
The first statement in each numbered portion of AC 103-7 is the rule. What follows are clarifications and allowed deviations. You can add floats and or "safety devices" to a legal ultralight and not include the weight of those items as part of the vehicles empty weight. They are excluded. That is to say, there are no weight limitations or restrictions on these items aside from the fact that the vehicle still needs to still meet the other defining (non empty-weight related) characteristics of an ultralight as defined in AC 103-7.

However, the rules also explicitly allow certain items to be included in the empty weight with a limited weight allowance. This is a alternate method that can be chosen, but it is up to the operator to decide which method they will use (which method is most advantageous for them). The alternate method that includes the additional equipment in the empty weight with a limited allowance has the effect of legalizing slightly overweight ultralights so long as they carry the equipment (even if it is only marginally functional, i.e. - someone must be able demonstrate successful use of the equipment one time), and that the integral weight of the vehicle plus the additional equipment sum up to less than the increased weight allowance as defined.

I hope that is clear.
 
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REVAN

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...The mention of the use of a chute in an ultralight, that the need would only be for a catastrophic failure is the same as the example given for the Cirrus; an engine failure, at night, over the Rockies would be a catastrophic failure - the engine has stopped. If that's not a catastrophic I'm not sure what is. If either aircraft had an engine failure during the day over the Rockies the situation would still be catastrophic. Find a place to land over the Rockies, it's almost impossible. And with the Cirrus being a production aircraft, under FAA maintenance regulations, I think it more likely for the ultralight to have a catastrophic failure. And this is the bad part - this would be the case because there are a lot of ultralight pilots that are untrained idiots. They will overstress the ultralight and have no clue how to actually fly. You've seen the braggers on YouTube "my first ultralight flight and with no training". These people are idiots....
"Cirrus; an engine failure, at night, over the Rockies would be a catastrophic failure - the engine has stopped. If that's not a catastrophic I'm not sure what is. "

This example would be considered a catastrophic engine failure. My point is that this situation does not translate to ultralights. An engine failure in an ultralight is rarely catastrophic without other compounding factors such as stall-spin. A forced landing in an ultralight, so long as the pilot maintains control of the aircraft, is arguably as, if not more, survivable than an uncontrolled descent under the canopy of a BRS. The engine failure in the Cirrus is catastrophic. An engine failure in an ultralight is probably not. That's my point. Also, ultralights don't have engine failures at night because they don't fly at night.

While I understand your argument on untrained pilots overstressing airframes, is there data to back that up? How many ultralights are overstressed to the point of breaking up in flight? I'm thinking it is exceedingly rare these days. There were some instances back in the 80's, but most modern ultralights are overbuilt to the point where I haven't heard of this happening in decades. If improved engineering has in fact all but eliminated these types of failures, kudos to the ultralight community.

...The statement "but there may be heavier systems that cost less and are more robust than the very light systems designed to free up extra pounds to legalize a slightly heavy ultralight." makes the accusation that these chutes were designed specifically to legalize a heavy ultralight. This in my opinion is incorrect. Add on why would someone add on a heavier system to free up extra pounds to legalize a slightly heave ultralight?...
I am not making the accusation that these chutes were designed specifically to legalize heavy ultralights. My accusation is that people with an overweight ultralight have an incentive to use a chute that will make their plane legal. That may involve buying a more expensive system with better engineering and that weighs less, or using a smaller than ideal BRS system, or possibly a combination of both. A legal ultralight opens up more options. Those options may be better or worse, so it is up to the pilot to make good choices for their situation.

...Also ultralights with floats are allowed to go over the standard weight too. Are those made just so the ultralight can get past the 254Lbs limit?
In some cases, I think the answer is yes. The best example I can think of is the Mosquito helicopter ultralight (the cool looking one with the cockpit). It makes the allowed integral ultralight weight limit with two floats (254+2*30 = 314). However, the floats are just inflated bags tied to the helicopter's landing skis. They demonstrated operation from the water once. It required great piloting skill and was still very unstable looking. No one would intentionally fly this system from the water for recreation. The risk of capsizing your $60,000+ ultralight on those wonky floats is just to great of a risk. However, you can fly an unlicensed Mosquito from the land with the floats attached and that is both legal and no less safe than a licensed experimental category Mosquito without the floats.
 
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BTCrenshaw

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The first statement in each numbered portion of AC 103-7 is the rule. What follows are clarifications and allowed deviations. You can add floats and or "safety devices" to a legal ultralight and not include the weight of those items as part of the vehicles empty weight. They are excluded. That is to say, there are no weight limitations or restrictions on these items aside from the fact that the vehicle still needs to still meet the other defining (non empty-weight related) characteristics of an ultralight as defined in AC 103-7.

However, the rules also explicitly allow certain items to be included in the empty weight with a limited weight allowance. This is a alternate method that can be chosen, but it is up to the operator to decide which method they will use (which method is most advantageous for them). The alternate method that includes the additional equipment in the empty weight with a limited allowance has the effect of legalizing slightly overweight ultralights so long as they carry the equipment (even if it is only marginally functional, i.e. - someone must be able demonstrate successful use of the equipment one time), and that the integral weight of the vehicle plus the additional equipment sum up to less than the increased weight allowance as defined.

I hope that is clear.
That helps. Still a bit confusing but I have a better grasp on it. Thank you for the additional detail.

Todd
 

BTCrenshaw

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"Cirrus; an engine failure, at night, over the Rockies would be a catastrophic failure - the engine has stopped. If that's not a catastrophic I'm not sure what is. "

This example would be considered a catastrophic engine failure. My point is that this situation does not translate to ultralights. An engine failure in an ultralight is rarely catastrophic without other compounding factors such as stall-spin. A forced landing in an ultralight, so long as the pilot maintains control of the aircraft, is arguably as, if not more, survivable than an uncontrolled descent under the canopy of a BRS. The engine failure in the Cirrus is catastrophic. An engine failure in an ultralight is probably not. That's my point. Also, ultralights don't have engine failures at night because they don't fly at night.

While I understand your argument on untrained pilots overstressing airframes, is there data to back that up? How many ultralights are overstressed to the point of breaking up in flight? I'm thinking it is exceedingly rare these days. There were some instances back in the 80's, but most modern ultralights are overbuilt to the point where I haven't heard of this happening in decades. If improved engineering has in fact all but eliminated these types of failures, kudos to the ultralight community.



I am not making the accusation that these chutes were designed specifically to legalize heavy ultralights. My accusation is that people with an overweight ultralight have an incentive to use a chute that will make their plane legal. That may involve buying a more expensive system with better engineering and that weighs less, or using a smaller than ideal BRS system, or possibly a combination of both. A legal ultralight opens up more options. Those options may be better or worse, so it is up to the pilot to make good choices for their situation.



In some cases, I think the answer is yes. The best example I can think of is the Mosquito helicopter ultralight (the cool looking one with the cockpit). It makes the allowed integral ultralight weight limit with two floats (254+2*30 = 314). However, the floats are just inflated bags tied to the helicopter's landing skis. They demonstrated operation from the water once. It required great piloting skill and was still very unstable looking. No one would intentionally fly this system from the water for recreation. The risk of capsizing your $60,000+ ultralight on those wonky floats is just to great of a risk. However, you can fly an unlicensed Mosquito from the land with the floats attached and that is both legal and no less safe than a licensed experimental category Mosquito without the floats.
First paragraph – I agree and now understand your explanation. Though nothing as we know is 100% and ultralights themselves with a competent pilot at the controls will have a much better chance at making it down with little or no injury. That I also agree with, and is both arguably what the FAA was going for with ultralight restrictions as well as what’s desired by many new ultralight pilots. I’ve flown Cessna 150 and 182’s (20 years ago) and now am looking at an ultralight trail dragger for the first time. I’d be fibbing if I didn’t say that the tail dragger part scares the heck out of me over climbing into a Cessna, even today. I’ve got a CFI here in Dallas that trains in tail draggers so I’m going to contact him shortly and see about getting some training. I don’t want ANY catastrophic anything to happen, but also know it’s best to train and be ready for it in case something does go wrong.

Second paragraph – Ok, my mistake at miss-understanding your comment. It just appeared to me to be leaning in the “cheating” direction, and notably some do. And I totally agree with the rest of your statement. It’s sort of strange that ultralight pilots are given so much freedom, yet there are those that show so much stupidity.

Third paragraph – Interesting about the Mosquito. I work IT and it reminds me of the rules we follow for application use. What I mean by this is that I’ve had people say “but I can do it in the app, why doesn’t it work right?” I have to remind them that coders and configurators rarely can catch all the dumb things people do when using a software application. The simple truth is, just because you can, doesn’t mean you should! I think I’ve seen a video or two of what you’ve described – yeah, not me buddy!

Thanks for taking the time to explain your point of view and providing me more detail about what you are trying to convey. This is why I like this crowd so much. There are few that use the forums like Facebook or Twitter, and instead try and help without flipping out because someone doesn’t necessarily understand.
 

jedi

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First paragraph – I agree and now understand your explanation. Though nothing as we know is 100% and ultralights themselves with a competent pilot at the controls will have a much better chance at making it down with little or no injury. That I also agree with, and is both arguably what the FAA was going for with ultralight restrictions as well as what’s desired by many new ultralight pilots. I’ve flown Cessna 150 and 182’s (20 years ago) and now am looking at an ultralight trail dragger for the first time. I’d be fibbing if I didn’t say that the tail dragger part scares the heck out of me over climbing into a Cessna, even today. I’ve got a CFI here in Dallas that trains in tail draggers so I’m going to contact him shortly and see about getting some training. I don’t want ANY catastrophic anything to happen, but also know it’s best to train and be ready for it in case something does go wrong.

Second paragraph – Ok, my mistake at miss-understanding your comment. It just appeared to me to be leaning in the “cheating” direction, and notably some do. And I totally agree with the rest of your statement. It’s sort of strange that ultralight pilots are given so much freedom, yet there are those that show so much stupidity.

Third paragraph – Interesting about the Mosquito. I work IT and it reminds me of the rules we follow for application use. What I mean by this is that I’ve had people say “but I can do it in the app, why doesn’t it work right?” I have to remind them that coders and configurators rarely can catch all the dumb things people do when using a software application. The simple truth is, just because you can, doesn’t mean you should! I think I’ve seen a video or two of what you’ve described – yeah, not me buddy!

Thanks for taking the time to explain your point of view and providing me more detail about what you are trying to convey. This is why I like this crowd so much. There are few that use the forums like Facebook or Twitter, and instead try and help without flipping out because someone doesn’t necessarily understand.
The tail wheel shouldn't scare you but you must respect it.

A properly designed, built and maintained "tail dragger" flown within the weather limitations of the pilot and plane works fine. Few tail wheel incidents are life threatening. They can be expensive and are embarrassing but not very scary.

Get the training as you intend and then realize that your UL will not respond the same as the aircraft that you trained with. Do some low and high speed taxiing and approach the transition to your UL with caution and respect.

PS: When you do a transition to the borrowed North American P-51 or Vought F4U Corsair it is ok to be scared.

The beauty of Ultralights is that you can screw up and not cost a million dollars even though they can still kill you.
 

jedi

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First off thank you for pointing out the AC_103-7 document. This really clears up a lot of other questions I had about the operation of ultralights. It’s important to know not just that a rule or regulation exists, but why it exists, and how the measurement of such rules and regulations are made.

For instance, I know there is a 55 knot maximum level flight speed for ultralights. What I didn’t know is how is that measurement is made? Now I know the measurement is taken at level flight of 1000 feet with the assumption of a 170Lbs pilot, and there are several methods used to determine if the ultralight meets or exceeds the 55 knot rule. Good to know info.

I see your point on the weight if the ultralight is under the 254 maximum concerning the added weight of the chute chosen. However can you be more specific on the float allowance – because I’m understanding it differently after reading AC 103-7 than I’m understanding what your comment.

The float allowance is a limit on how overweight the aircraft can be. The safety device (generally a BRS) is an allowance regardless of weight as in the example given.

From 18.a.1. - (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.

From 18.a.2 Floats Used for Landings On Water – (extracted from the paragraph) - Up to 30 pounds per float may be excluded by the FAA without requiring substantiation of the float's actual weight.

You’re saying there is a weight limit with consideration of the use of floats, but not of the chute? I don’t see either item or additional information mentioning thi in AC 103.7. From what I’m reading and understanding, ultralights have 24Lbs of allowance (254+24) for the addition of a chute and/or 30Lbs per float (254+(30*2)) for the addition of floats. Giving both a weight limit exceeding the standard 254Lbs limit. I don't see any mention of the floats being an allowance on the limit of how overweight the ultralight can be and that a BRS is an allowance regardless of the weight of the ultralight.

Help, what am I missing here?

Thanks,
Todd
BTCrenshaw,

I think you now understand the FAR 103 exemptions to the 254 pound weight limitations of CFR 14 103.1(e) (1) as out llned in AC 103-7. I agree that my comments of post # 30 were not clear as to the intent as I stated "floats" where I should have said Amphibious floats and Amphibious Fuselage.

Specifically section 18 (a) (2) (ii) of AC 103-7 which allows up to 30 pounds for the fuselage and up to 10 pounds per outrigger float and pylon. The "up to" implies a limit but it is a limit to the automatic extension. The following paragraph (iii) further explains that further exemptions should be discussed with the Flight Standards Field Office (FSDO) implying that additional exemptions may be authorized.

Similarly section 18 (a) (1) (i) of AC 103-7 allows up to 24 pounds for a parachute system but section 18 (a) (1) of AC 103-7 does not limit the "Safety Devices Which are Intended for Deployment in a Potentially Catastrophic Situation" to a parachute. Other systems may qualify and the weight of the alternate system is not limited but may be subject to FSDO approval. Clearly, the weight of the system is not included in the empty weight of the vehicle.

Using my imagination I can envision a Mars Lander type of rocket descent or a battery operated quad copter lifting device that may weigh considerably more than 24 pounds as safety device. The "safety device" need not be limited to a "landing device" but could be a device to allow continued safe flight to a location for suitable landing in the event of a "Potentially Catastrophic Situation".

I hope that helps.
 
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Gregory Perkins

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Joined
May 25, 2019
Messages
70
Location
Atlanta
What may not be clear to everyone is the fine wording of the regulation that is often overlooked.
"Up to 30 pounds per float may be excluded by the FAA without requiring substantiation of the float's actual weight. " See the "REQUIRING SUBSTANTIATION" verbiage ? to explain. If you have a claimed ultralight plane with two floats attached and that plane weighs 454 pounds the plane COULD be legal as far as weight goes as the attached safety devices being the floats do not have a maximum weight as long at the plane itself without floats is legal.. In theory, you have to remove the floats and weigh the plane which weighs 254 pounds or less and the floats just happen to weigh 100 pounds each - because they do not have a separate weight limit. ( other than as they might affect flying qualities/speeds )
The thirty pound allowance for each of two floats comes in when you do not desire to "require substantiation" of the weight of the individual floats and the plane separately so you can weigh the whole assembled aircraft which then must not exceed 254+30+30. A Hull based Seaplane UL does not have the same flexibility as there is no way to remove the hull and weigh separately. An assembled hull based seaplane UL must weigh 254+30+10+10 or less to be legal. (ignoring parachute allowances) One other thing. As far as I know, the max speed and stall speed of ULs were never tested or required to be demonstrated by the FAA. The FAA created a formula which incorporated many variables which would determine the anticipated stall and max speeds. This formula included such things as span, wing area, single or double sided wings, strut-wire or cantilever wings, horsepower, windshield shape etc. The Kolb Firefly was famous for exploiting weaknesses in this formula such that it could exceed the max speed in reality but according to the formula it was legal. To my knowledge this formula was never adjusted to accomodate the extra weight of floats or hull ( or parachute ) so in theory the seaplane ULs could still be legal even if they could not demonstrate the minimum stall speed.
 

JohnB

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HBA Supporter
Joined
Aug 18, 2019
Messages
85
e. Powered Vehicles. A powered ultralight cannot be operated under Part 103 when it has an empty weight of 254 pounds or more; 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 wlich exceeds 24 knots.



Not to be anal about this but a LOT have the notion that 254 or less is legal, As stated in the regs 254# is NOT a legal 103 item. LESS than 254 is JB
 

REVAN

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Joined
Dec 6, 2016
Messages
239
Location
Tucson, Arizona USA
BTW: I think the Merlin Lite is a really neat looking airplane. Its downsides are its upsides; it is clearly an airplane. That comes with both advantages and disadvantages. But if you want an airplane and want to avoid the registration and pilot certifications, the Merlin Lite is a very cool looking option. When it gets the cowl installed, I think it will look a bit like a miniature Helio-Stallion (please try to give it a cowl that looks turbine).

The Merlin has a very nice clean airframe that I think would make an excellent candidate for an electric ultralight. Electric motors are power dense, so it will likely be able to come in below 254 pounds without the BRS using electric propulsion. Add 5 gallons of new Tesla batteries and have fun!

The downside is that it will likely be a $40,000+ ultralight airplane as an electric, and it will need an airport and hangar to operate from. But, the direct operating costs will be close to nothing.

PS - Can anyone tell me if the Badlands 103 complaint ultralight retains the wing folding option?
 
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