CHAPTER 1. Introduction To Weight-Shift Control

New Challenges

By the 1980s, individuals were rapidly developing and operating small powered trikes. This development failed to address the sport nature and unique challenges these new aircraft presented to the aviation community. In an attempt to include these fl ying machines in its regulatory framework, the FAA issued Title 14 of the Code of Federal Regulations (14 CFR) part 103, Ultralight Vehicles, in 1982. Aircraft falling within the ultralight vehicle specifi cations are lightweight (less than 254 pounds if powered, or 155 pounds if unpowered), are intended for manned operation by a single occupant, have a fuel capacity of fi ve gallons or less, a maximum calibrated airspeed of not more than 55 knots, and a maximum stall speed of not more than 24 knots. Ultralight vehicles do not require pilot licensing, medical certifi cation, or aircraft registration. Ultralight vehicles are defi ned in more detail with their operating limitations in 14 CFR part 103.

Because training was so important for the single-place ultralight vehicle pilots, the FAA granted an exemption that allowed the use of two-seat ultralight vehicles for training, and the sport of two-seat ultralight training vehicles grew. Throughout the 1990s, worldwide sales of both singleseat and two-seat ultralight vehicles soared, but it was the proliferation of two-seat trainers that took the industry and the regulators by surprise. Worldwide sales of two-seat ultralight vehicle trainers vastly outnumbered the sales of single-seat ultralight vehicles; and it became clear that the two-seat trainers, which were intended to be operated as trainers only, were being used for sport and recreational purposes. This created a demand for increased comfort and reliability, which resulted in heavier, more sophisticated machines.

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