How Much Does An Ultralight Cost?
16 April 2023 | Updated on November 22, 2023
Experiencing the pleasure and freedom of recreational flying isn’t cheap, and many people are unwilling to bear or can not afford the enormous costs of aircraft ownership. Ultralight aircraft are an inexpensive alternative to conventional airplanes, offering amateurs and professional pilots affordable flying thrills without spending a fortune.
We often talk about the joys of flying an ultralight but rarely discuss how much it costs to own one. An ultralight cost depends on several factors, including the ultralight type, design, and construction. Chatting with ultralight owners at your local club is an excellent way to get much information about ultralight costs.
This article explores the prices of different ultralight models, ownership costs, and factors affecting how much you will pay for an ultralight!
What is an ultralight?
Ultralights are experimental light aircraft of different design types with varying flight characteristics and handling. They include.
- Lighter than air ultralights consisting of balloons or powered airships;
- Powered fixed-wing aircraft;
- Powered parachutes and gliders:
- Unpowered gliders and sailplanes;
How much does an ultralight cost?
Depending on your desired type, you should expect to spend between $10,500 to over $100,000 on an ultralight aircraft. And you will usually pay more for ultralights with multiple seats or a more complex design. Kit versions are a cheaper option than assembled aircraft, but these require hundreds of hours of manual assembly before they are ready to fly.
You may prefer to construct an ultralight; it is a relatively easy process if you are handy with tools. However, buying a cheap, used ultralight in decent condition, completely rebuilding the airframe, replacing the wing fabrics, and overhauling the engine will get you the safe ultralight of your dreams without spending tons of cash.
People with minimal or no technical abilities can also enjoy the benefits of ultralight ownership if they buy one from a manufacturer. And since there are numerous ultralight brands and models to choose from, we will focus on the cost of the most popular ultralights, namely single/two-seat trikes and powered fixed-wing aircraft.
Single-seat ultralight cost
A basic model single-seat ultralight, like the Air Creation Pixel 303 with a 2-stroke engine, costs between $10,600-$16,000. While mid-range models like the REV ultralight trike cost between $20,000- $30,000. High-end ultralights with expensive features can cost more than $45,000.
- Basic models cost: $10,600 – $16,000.
- Mid-range models cost: $20,000 – $30,000.
- High-end models cost: Over $45,000.
Two-seat ultralight cost
A brand-new two-seater ultralight trike like BioniX² – Skypper Evo costs $45,000, and prices can exceed $85,000 for well-equipped models like the two-seater REVO ultralight trike aircraft.
- Basic models cost: $25,000 – $35,000.
- Mid-range models cost: $45,000 – $55,000.
- High-end models cost: Over $85,000.
You can buy used single and two-seater ultralight for 20% to 60% less than their original purchase price. For example, a used CGS Hawk Arrow Classic II two-seat ultralight in decent condition costs around $35,000. And you can buy a used single-seat ultralight like the Airbike LS for around $6,000.
Flex wing (Trike) ultralight cost
A trike, also known as a flex wing ultralight, is cheaper (almost half the price) than fixed-wing ultralights. However, they are less aerodynamic and unsafe than fixed-wing ultralights, which resemble conventional aircraft. The simple construction and controls of ultralight trikes make them popular with ultralight pilots and enthusiasts.
Prices of ultralight trikes range between $10,000 and over $60,000, depending on the product type and performance options. A Navajo Light Sport Aircraft with a Mustang 3-wing kit costs $18,9990, while a Scout XC Navajo ultralight trike with a Rotax 912UL 4-stroke engine costs $59,300. You can buy ultralight kit trikes without engines for between $4,000 and $20,000.
- Kit models cost: $4,000 – $20,000.
- Mid-range models cost: $18,000 – $35,000.
- High-end models cost: over $45,000
Fixed-wing ultralight cost
Fixed-wing ultralights command much higher prices than trikes, but we have found several safe and reliable fixed-wing ultralight aircraft with a similar price point. The Badland F1 Ultralight is one of the cheapest fixed-wing ultralight kits on the market, costing $11,700, and its total cost when fitted with a Rotax 912 engine is around $31,700. We also found an original high-wing super-lightweight Sparrow ultralight with conventional or tricycle landing gear for around $11,500 as a pre-assembled kit. The total cost is around $20,000 when fitted with a 45hp Rotax 503 engine.
- Basic models: $20,000 – $35,000.
- Mid-range models: $45,000 – $60,000.
- High-end models: over $60,000
The most popular ultralights and their price
Researching the different ultralight aircraft models is a good idea. And having excellent information about their price point, reliability, and performance is essential when buying an ultralight. A good way of knowing the best ultralight models is by their popularity. The most popular ultralight models have excellent reliability and performance, but they may also be slightly more expensive than less popular ultralight models.
Below is a list of the most popular ultralight models in the United States and their prices.
|Zigolo MG-12 “||Aviad Francesco Di Martino||$13,500-$20,000||Fixed-wing|
|1100R Mini-Max||Team Mini-Max||$6,690-$10,000||Fixed-wing|
|NorthWing Maverick 2 RT.||North Wing Design||$22,500-$27,600||Trike|
|Kolb Twinstart Mark III||Kolb Aircraft||$11,000-$13,000||Fixed-wing|
|Quicksilver MXL II Sport||Quicksilver Aircraft||$9,800-$17,800||Powered glider|
|Aeromarine Merlin Lite.||Aeromarine LSA||$22,000-$31,000||Fixed-wing|
|Aerolite 103||Aero-Works Inc||$16,950-$22,000||Fixed-wing|
|Quicksilver MX 103||Quicksilver Aircraft||$18,900||Fixed-wing|
|Kolb Firefly||Kolb Aircraft||$15,000||Fixed-wing|
|Jordan Lake Air-Bike 103||Jordan lake Aero||$6,995||Fixed-Wing|
|Aventura UL||Aero Adventure||$25,000-$32,000||Fixed-Wing|
|Badland F1 UL||Badland Aircraft||$18,900-$37,000||Fixed-Wing|
|CGS Hawk Arrow.||CGS Aviation||$25,000||Fixed-Wing|
|CGS Hawk Ultra||CGS Aviation||$9,000-$13,700||Fixed-Wing|
|Kolb Firestar||Kolb Aircraft||$25,000-$30,000||Fixed-wing|
|Sparrow Ultralight||Carlson Aircraft||$11,500||Fixed-wing|
Factors affecting ultralight cost
It is time to reveal the factors impacting ultralight prices now that we know how much they cost.
- Design: more advanced ultralight designs with complex construction techniques and safety features typically cost more than less technical designs due to their complex construction techniques. Powergliders and weight-shift trikes with open cockpit designs, minimal engineering, and safety features will cost less than fixed-wing ultralight aircraft with enclosed cockpit designs and conventional airplane controls.
- Materials: you will pay more when choosing an ultralight with aviation-grade aluminum tubes, titanium, and carbon fiber construction. These expensive materials add more to an overall ultralight cost than wood, fiberglass, or industrial steel.
- Options: loading your ultralight aircraft with options like a GPS navigation system, a fuel gauge, an altimeter, and other avionics equipment will increase its cost and make it more expensive than an ultralight without options.
- Engine: buying an ultralight body kit without the engine is cheaper than a fully assembled ultralight aircraft with the engine installed. Also, adding a more powerful engine will increase your ultralight costs than selecting a less powerful engine option.
- Brand/manufacturer: as mentioned earlier in the article, ultralight models from brands renowned for producing high-quality and reliable ultralight aircraft will have a higher price point than products from manufacturers producing less-desirable ultralight models.
Tips on selecting the best ultralight at a reasonable cost
Most ultralight owners admit getting their first ultralight was a harrowing and often frustrating process due to inadequate information and knowledge about the aircraft they should buy. Ultralights were designed to provide airborne pleasure; buying one should be a fun-filled experience.
Below are some helpful tips on buying a new or used ultralight:
- Buy from a company that has been in business for over 10 years. The longer the company has been building aircraft, the better.
- It is better to select a model with a high number of flying kits. Manufacturers are incentivized to produce spare parts for popular ultralight models even if they stop production.
- Buying an ultralight with a standard (3-axis) control system allows you to fly in different weather conditions, including cross-winds. It also provides you with cross-country flight capabilities.
- Your engine choice is the difference between stress-free flying and a problematic ultralight ownership experience. Rotax engines are the industry favorite and are installed in thousands of ultralight aircraft. Repairing or sourcing parts for a Rotax engine is easier than other brands because of its widespread use.
- Buying a model with a two-seater trainer variant allows you to transition easily to flying your ultralight after receiving training in the exact model.
- Dealer support is crucial if you want to keep your ultralight serviceable. We advise buying from a dealer within a hundred miles of your location. an ultralight
- Approach other ultralight flyers or clubs in your area for more information on the best aircraft for your needs and a better idea of the ultralight ownership experience.
- Check the safety record of your preferred ultralight, and avoid models with a history of accidents. The best sources of information are aviation publications, government agencies, and pilots.
While many people complain about the lack of affordable ultralights, you get great deals if you follow the guidelines explained in this article. We advise prospective buyers to learn as much as they can about their preferred model. And also not cut corners by not researching manufacturer/model history or getting a thorough inspection if you are buying used aircraft.
You can also avoid buying a potentially unsafe ultralight by talking to experienced pilots, ultralight club members, or even flight instructors in your area. Online forums are also an excellent source of information about the best airworthy ultralights.