Why the animosity towards ultralights?

Discussion in 'General Experimental Aviation Questions' started by fusionfab, Nov 5, 2019.

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  1. Nov 8, 2019 #41

    stiffpitot

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    So very true Pops! Freedom has been slowly and methodically evolving to mean something entirely different today than it did 242 years ago.
     
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  2. Nov 8, 2019 #42

    MadProfessor8138

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    I will not go on a political rant because I care nothing about politics,but......
    You know,you can boil a frog alive and he will be happy to let you do it....as long as you turn the heat up slowly.
    Anyone that thinks we still have FREEDOM in this country is sadly mistaken.
    Stop for just a minute and honestly think about everything in your life that is controlled by the Federal,State and Local government not to mention businesses that you frequent.
    Rules,regulations and taxes are a part of every aspect of your life now.
    So you're right.....Freedom today is nothing compared to 242 years ago.
    Just look at the changes that have happened in your lifetime from the span of being a kid to adulthood.
    Because we let them do it to us.......
    I love this country,and some of the people in it..lol,but geeze..enough is enough already.

    Kevin
     
    Last edited: Nov 8, 2019
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  3. Nov 8, 2019 #43

    bmcj

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    This is true, and it is akin to the concerns over remotely piloted drones. The concern about ultralights fades quickly after some exposure because the ultralight pilots at least have an appreciation of aviation, a concept about what an airport is, and they have real skin in the game if they mess up. RC models are sometimes welcome for their understanding and appreciation of airports and aviation. Drone pilots, though, may not have any love of flying, have any knowledge of airports or airways, and have no skin in the game beyond a couple hundred dollars for equipment. They fly not for the flight, but because they can place a remote camera in inaccessible areas. Many have shown their lack of knowledge or lack of concern for the rules by pulling stupid stunts like flying thousands of feet up into the approach paths of major airports. Granted, this doesn’t describe ALL drone pilots, but it describes enough of the. To warrant the concern.

    I don’t want to open a drone discussion in this thread (we can do that elsewhere), but I was pointing out the parallel to ultralight acceptance and also where they differ.
     
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  4. Nov 8, 2019 #44

    Dan Thomas

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    A lot of regulations are written to stop the 20% of people that are 80% of the problem. 242 years ago people were largely religious and regarded themselves as subject to a much higher Authority than any human ruler, and they behaved themselves accordingly. The worldview of society has changed enormously since that time and people now do whatever they think they can get away with, so we have governments constantly wrapping more chains around us in an effort to legislate behavior. And they write rules that simply don't work, since crooks disregard rules anyway, while honest folks with common sense don't do the things being ruled out anyhow.

    And taxes. It takes money to pay legislators and law enforcement folks.

    Nothing will change for the better until the worldview changes, IMHO.
     
  5. Nov 8, 2019 #45

    BBerson

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    Ultralights are banned from congested areas. That alone should be enough to satisfy GA, FAA and the populace.
     
  6. Nov 10, 2019 #46

    xwing

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  7. Nov 10, 2019 #47

    Alan_VA

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    If I may be so bold..... a prohibition on flying over congested areas does not, in itself, stop stupid and/or ignorant behavior. Some years back while approaching a non-towered field for touch-and-go practice, I discovered a small pusher UL doing figure eight turns about 50 feet over the approach end of the runway. I chalked it up to pure ignorance and a lack of concern for the safety of others. "Your freedom to swing your fist ends at my chin.", so to speak. This is my primary concern about drones as well. Think "teenager gets expensive Christmas present and decides to fly it immediately that day". Oops, it went out of sight. Now what? Who then up in the air just became an endangered species?

    Alan
     
  8. Nov 10, 2019 #48

    BBerson

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    The rule also requires the ultralight to yield to all other traffic. It was purposely made short (just two pages).
    There might be less ignorant behavior if the local airport had a resident ultralight instructor. Finding an instructor is less likely now then it was.
     
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  9. Nov 10, 2019 #49

    FritzW

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    The attitude towards UL's depends on the local situation. At my local field UL's are mostly operated by "old school" GA pilots (like me) who are attracted by the low cost and absence of red tape. Proper airport etiquette gets followed (as much as it ever did). The new UL guys off the street come in through/because of that group so they learn the ropes before they get in trouble.

    I may have looked down my nose at them a few years ago but now I'm looking forward to finishing the Ranger so I can join them.
     
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  10. Nov 11, 2019 #50

    pwood66889

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    Quite frankly, I believe if it flys, it is beautiful. And something I wish I had on days like today!
    Politics put the only airport in my county in play and the ultralighters left. They were the only ones reliably there. Now 2J0 is like the back side of the Moon... :-(
    Only creditable flying field is an hour away - I know, not that far for those living in a megalopolis.
    Everything else is locked down or over run by TSA.
     
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  11. Nov 11, 2019 #51

    pictsidhe

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    Muahaha, another tempted away from the dark side!
     
  12. Dec 9, 2019 #52

    Jeff Higgins

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    New guy here. I’m currently working on getting my Sport License because of issues obtaining a medical but have noticed the looks when mentioning that I’m building a minimax. It’s like years ago when I was teaching myself to tattoo. The guys that worked as an apprentice and went the long route were absolutely pissed that I had “taken a shortcut”. How dare I deviate from what they saw as the proper channel.
     
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  13. Dec 9, 2019 #53

    akwrencher

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  14. Dec 9, 2019 #54

    MadProfessor8138

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    Unfortunately,even with our advanced technology,nothing can be made idiot proof......just look at the FAA.

    Yes,there were individuals that pushed the limits of legality back in the good ole days,but for the most part everyone behaved themselves,were safe because they had access to instructors and were just having a good time in general.

    Now days,I see more stupid s**t going on then I ever did before because the individual has been left on his/her own to train themselves to fly and then adhere to rules that they are not familiar with.
    The FAA took a situation that could have been controlled with a little policing and turned it into a free-for-all by banishing the instructors that were educating individuals in flight safety and proper procedures.

    Kudos to the young man in the video for being respectful of the township laws,town citizens and trying to work with them instead of flipping them the bird and doing whatever he wanted.
    Also,kudos to the township for trying to work with everyone instead of just shutting the whole issue down with the word "no".

    In a day and age where parents have to drag their kids away from the xbox,play station,cellphone,etc and literally push them out the door into nature.....why would anyone discourage people from being active and enjoying nature as long as they are being respectful while doing so ???

    Kevin
     
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  15. Dec 9, 2019 #55

    BJC

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    I suppose that it all depends on one’s definition of just when the “good ole days” were, and just what “safe” means, but by my standards, there were way too many fatal crashes in the late 1970’s / early 1980’s. I suspect that there were fatalities that never were included in any data base.

    To answer the thread’s title question; it seems to be endemic among the human species to rank people and things in order of perceived importance. Thus the many airline pilots who look down on corporate pilots who look down on general aviation pilots, who look down on HBA. Not to mention the instrument rated who look down on VFR only pilots.

    Although I’ve never flown an ultralight, I always have been interested in them, and lightweight aircraft in general, and have expected to own one eventually. At Oshkosh, I normally swing through the warbirds every other or every third year; I always visit the ultralights at Oshkosh and Sun n Fun.

    I don’t worry about those who look down on me or what I fly; I do what I want do do within my ability to do it without negatively impacting others. The older I get, the less I care about what anyone else thinks. I appreciate every individual the holds down a job, takes care of his or her family, and is not a burden on society.


    BJC
     
  16. Dec 9, 2019 #56

    Victor Bravo

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    Something to think about that is closely related:

    The hang glider community is largely self-policing, and the old days where people just went out and injured themselves in hang gliders ten times every week are in the distant past. The sport is a whole lot safer and more responsibly practiced now than X years ago.

    What I believe happened is that the people who flew hang gliders realized that they had to self-police, and keep the idiots at bay, otherwise they would lose all their launch sites and LZ's.

    So today, if I wanted to just go off and buy a hang glider and leap off the nearest launch site without any training, there would be a group of people who would do everything they could to stop me and make sure I got instruction, learned how to fly, understand not to fly at a site above my skill level, etc. I know we have several experienced HG people here, y'all please correct me if I'm wrong. I have no personal experience flying HG's.

    The ultralight community in this part of the country (SoCal) is also far better at self-policing now than perhaps it was back in prehistoric times. From my recent experience hanging around only one or two UL sites (Camarillo, CA and Brian Ranch, CA) there is at least some amount of experienced people watching over the beginners, knowledge is being transferred, and when someone does stupid s**t there is a discussion about it.

    (There are unfortunately one or two local UL "instructors" who are lower quality people and instructors than what one would hope for, and word is slowly spreading to mitigate the risk.)

    Although the AVERAGE UL pilots and owners certainly do not have the same level of technical education or pursuit of fail-safe redundancy as GA and most E-AB operators, they appear to have a reasonable amount of concern for safety compared to the "brain-dead simpleton" image that had been prevalent years ago. Although there's still plenty of OMFG things that happen out in the middle of the desert, I can't show up at any of the established ultralight airfields in Southern California with a blatantly unsafe aircraft and no flying experience, without some number of people walking over and trying to prevent me from winning the Darwin Award. The airfield owner (Brian Ranch) or club people (Camarillo) would exercise whatever their ability to prevent me from flying at those places, similar to the HG club not letting me launch from their site.

    So the point of this blathering is that I think things are moving in the right direction. There's plenty of room for further improvement, but as flying gets more expensive we will likely see an increase in interest from more experienced people. So older pilots with GA experience will hopefully be hanging around at UL strips and on UL social media, bringing even more experience and technical knowledge.

    But to address the OP and title of this thread, the answer is inertia and still not enough high quality formal training. The problems with older UL aircraft and the average UL pilots not having the same level of training... are still in our collective consciousness.
     

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