A Thousand Ultralight Pilots Sharing the Sky” …is the tagline used by the Dayton Ultralights group again sponsoring the World Ultralight Fly-In. However, what it is NOT is a fly-IN. The truth is that “sub-87” aircraft, as the segment is often called, cannot span the immense distances of an entire globe to fly “in” to one location. So organizers got creative. Sub-87 refers to a LSA regulation reference to aircraft that fly less than 87 knots or 100 mph.
WUFI’16 is, however, the second annual event, an innovative way to get hundreds, perhaps even more than a thousand pilots to all go airborne on the same day and to log that effort on a map that shows the world where on Earth ultralights enjoy the skies. The organizers put only a few restrictions on what kind of aircraft can be used. The event is more one of virtual camaraderie than a physical gathering, a worthy endeavor that represents the spirit of light recreational flying
Look! If you have one of these lightweight flying machines, your time aloft is a thing of joy. You can fly with a flock of local fellow aviators or you can do a solo act. Even if the latter, you can know that on one day, all over the planet, many hundreds of your fellow ultralight pilots are sharing some air with with you. I think that’s very cool and I applaud Dayton Ultralights for putting the event together.
- WHEN — Starts at daybreak, October 1, 2016
- WHERE — Anywhere on the planet Earth that people fly!
- WHO & WHAT — Any pilot of an aircraft considered an “ultralight” and/or “open air” aircraft… ultralight, powered paraglider, powered parachute, weight shift trike, wheeled paramotor, hang glider, hot air balloon — basically any imaginative, magnificent flying machine.
Check out the always-updated version of the WUFI 2016 map By all means, if you can join the other participants, follow the instructions to put your pin on the map.
This is written on September 20th, so you have ten days to get your ultralight flight-worthy. Then go have a little fun flying with your virtual squadron mates from across the USA and around the world. Sounds like a good time to me!
Some folks think ultralights went away when the SP/LSA rule was introduced in the summer of 2004. Yes, by early 2010, all those two-place trainer ultralights were forced to transition to become ELSA or Experimental Light-Sport Aircraft. This ended up devastating the ranks of ultralight instructors who used such aircraft for compensated flight training. As an ELSA, paid flight instruction was no longer allowed and the sector never fully recovered from this blow, one said to have been in the interest of safety though safe operation of such aircraft had been improved steadily over the many years they existed.
Nonetheless, single place ultralights qualifying under Part 103 continued to operate and in recent years more increasing activity has been observed in the segment. As one example — by no means the only one — U-Fly-It, producer of Aerolite 103 is working at full capacity to turn out more than 40 new Aerolites a year. They are so busy that they’ve had to add kits to allow some folks to get in the air faster. Kits also allow these aircraft owners to add more powerful or four stroke engines plus other accessories without worrying about busting Part 103’s 254-pound empty weight limit.
In most other countries, “ultralight” (sometimes “microlight”) refers to an aircraft that is only a bit smaller and lighter than present-day Light-Sport Aircraft. European national CAAs — operating in parallel to the EU-wide EASA organization — continue to embrace this segment and several thousand are flying, still bringing great joy and broad smiles to their operators while also saving them tens of thousands of euros.
Check the Dayton Ultralights website or send email for more info. If you’re already signed up or if you simply think what Dayton Ultralights is doing is cool, you can buy tee shirts and more with their distinctive WUFI logo and support their effort in this way.