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I'm a complete newbie here but I'm wondering if someone could please explain to me the difference between a MICROLIGHT,ULTRALIGHT,AND LIGHT. (and what ever comes next)



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Guest Crezzi

In Australia, microlight is traditionally used to describe weightshift "trikes". Trikes are also sometimes called powered hang gliders which is wrong (anybody who has lifted a trike wing will understand why you wouldn't be running anywhere with one).


There are lightweight (< 70kg) minimal trikes with hang glider wings which are referred to as nanolights. This is effectively a self launch hang glider as are foot launched powered hanggliders sugh as the Doodlebug.


In Australia ultralights is pretty much exclusively used to describe three axis aircraft. Which just leaves powered parachutes, paramotors etc etc.


In many other countries (such as UK and NZ), the term microlight is used to describe both trikes and 3 axis aircraft.


Hope that helps !





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Guest pelorus32

Hi Nev,


not sure that distinction matters!!


In Australia I reckon the relevant distinction is between General Aviation (GA) and Recreational Aviation (RA). GA is the stuff like your Cessna 172 etc and indeed on upwards through charter etc. You need a minimum of a Private Pilot's License (PPL) for that.


RA is what encompasses the stuff that used to be called Ultralight and is increasingly called Recreational Aircraft, and another subset call Light Sport Aircraft (LSA). For that you need an RAA Pilot's Certificate.


Purists, especially if they have been in the movement for a while, will have a different view about the importance of the Ultralight/Microlight Distinction.







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Hi Crezzi


I see that you have listed a Trike and a Tecnam as the aircraft you fly. I have been thinking of late in taking the plunge and learn to fly a Trike. My concern is the different mindset of the opposite stick control i.e. pull back to go up or push forward to go up for the Trike.


How do you find flying both and what kind of reaction would you have in an emergency - I mean an instant decision of pulling back on the stick would be different in the Trike?


That amphibian trike - the Ramphos Trident, interests me as it looks like fun. I hope Airborne bring out one. It may even make me part with my belovered Gazelle to get one, or then again maybe not but then I would have the CTsw, the Gazelle and an amphibian Trike - boy would I have fun then 006_laugh.gif.0f7b82c13a0ec29502c5fb56c616f069.gif



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Guest Crezzi

Hi Ian


Not surprisingly I'd encourage any 3-axis pilot to have a go in a trike ! There are many pilots who fly both types (including a few on this forum). It does take quite a few hours to be completely competent and confident in both but I believe my reactions to be pretty much equal in both. I do notice if I haven't flown one sort for a while so it is important to keep current.


The mindset of pushing the wrong way doesn't seem to be as big an issue as people often imagine. Instead of thinking about the input you are making, think of what you want the wing to do. In both types, you lower the left wing to go left for example. The stick or wheel is very different from a control bar and this actually seems to help people pick it up pretty quickly.


In my case, the more difficult aspect was to master the reverse inputs on the ground though I possibly made life harder on myself by doing the 3-axis conversion in a Thruster. I'm sure Tony would agree that we visited a few places on his airfield which planes don't normally use !


I believe Airborne have done some work on trikes with floats (as opposed to an amphibian like the Ramphos) - there are certainly examples flying overseas and also on skis (maybe of interest down there in Vic ?).


I love 3-axis for the technical challenge of the variety of different types but I could only have one aircraft and bought a trike. Give it a go and let us know what you think !







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Guest TOSGcentral

I will stick my oar in here – if John (Crezzie) does not mind me doing so.



I had John for his tr-axis conversion (on a Thruster T500 which is about as exacting as it gets). He was a highly experienced Trike pilot on holiday (at that time) from UK.



This was a golden opportunity for myself as an instructor. I wanted to really get into this conversion situation as there were simply no guide lines anywhere.



John actually was too good material for a ‘typical’ conversion scenario but we did a lot of talking about it.



Both of us sprang on Ian’s point about pitch ‘control reversal’. As an instructor I was concerned about this because under pressure people automatically revert to ‘first habits learnt’ and that could be potentially a bit rugged in a Thruster!



We talked it through quite a bit and there was actually no problem. I feel that John was instinctively ‘flying the wing’ and related to that instantly via the stick control rather than the trapeze bar control – even if they did work in opposite directions as far as pitch control went.



What we did discover (although it was less obvious to myself because John did so well) was that the main effort had to be applied to rudder pedal reversal!



The Trike has no rudder so the ‘rudder bar’ is a direct control of nosewheel steering and this was a real hard one. It also works in exactly the opposite direction of the tri axis aircraft.. This is even more instinctive. It is very akin to getting in a car and finding the steering wheel is working in the opposite direction. Bit grim in a taildragger that is diverging and you have to get it back instantly!



I think John did a helluva lot of concentrating during our time together but he (excuse the pun) never put a foot wrong and gave me no cause for concern and kept his concentration to himself.



That was John, others may have cause to consider their own path and concentration abilities!









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