There is a certain mystique and allure about ultralight aircraft. They are reminiscent of the early days of aviation when would-be pilots built their own aircrafts and took to the skies for their own test flights. Ultralights are affordable and exciting. Building them from a kit evokes a sense of accomplishment and pride.

With all the brands and models on the market, it can be hard to sift through the noise and zero in on the best options for your ultralight purchase.

Keeping that in mind, we have put together a list of the top 3 single place (seat) and two place ultralight aircraft currently available. Read on to discover the wings that will take you on your next adventure.

Top 3 Single Place Ultralight Aircraft

Single place ultralights have just one seat for you – the pilot. To qualify as an ultralight, your prospective aircraft must meet certain weight requirements.

To fly under FAA Ultralight Rules (FAR Part 103), the single place aircraft must be used for recreational flights and have an empty weight of less than 254 pounds. Training for pilots operating under FAR Part 103 is self-regulated and you need not obtain an FAA pilot certification.

If your aircraft’s empty weight is over 254 pounds, you will be flying under GA Rules (Part 61 & 91). Under these rules, your aircraft must be registered and have a current airworthiness certificate issued by an FAA inspector. You will also be required to obtain a minimum of a sport pilot certificate.

Now, onto the ultralights!

Table of Contents

  1. Composite FX XEL Helicopter
  2. Jordan Lake Air-Bike LS
  3. Kolb Firestar
  4. CGS Hawk Arrow II
  5. Kolb Firefly
  6. Quicksilver MX II Sprint
  7. Aero-Works Aerolite 103
  8. Jordan Lake Air-Bike 103
  9. North Wing Maverick 2 Legend
  10. Rans S-21 Outbound

 

Image of the XEL Helicopter Ultralight from Composite FX
[image is sourced from: Composite FX]

1.      Composite FX XEL Helicopter

For pilots who enjoy rotorcrafts, the XEL is classified as an ultralight aircraft equipped with floats and fueled by the MZ202 motor, and weighs in at 312 pounds (142 kilograms).

  • Empty weight: 312 lbs.
  • Max Gross: 610 lbs.
  • Engine: MZ202
  • Fuel capacity: 5 gallons
  • Fuel Consumption: 6 gph
  • Cruise Speed: 62.5 mph
  • Main Rotor: 540 rpm
  • Tail Rotor: 2500 rpm
  • Take-off distance: 125 ft.
  • Landing distance: 75 ft.
  • Rate of Climb: 900 fpm
  • Max Airspeed: 70 mph
  • Kit Price: $47,000
Air-Bike LS from Jordan Lake Aero
[image is sourced from: Jordan Lake Aero]

2.      Jordan Lake Air-Bike LS

Pilots looking for the best bang for their buck on a tried and true ultralight will be delighted with the Jordan Lake Air-Bike 103. This ultralight originally debuted in 1995, was discontinued for a while, and has since made a return with the Jordan Lake Aero company.

The narrow fuselage means that the rudder pedals are on the outside of the aircraft, giving the pilot the appearance of riding a motorcycle – hence the inspiration for the Air-Bike name. Expect an inexpensive, easy-to-build and fun-to-fly aircraft.

  • Empty weight: 262-320 lbs.
  • Gross weight: 557 lbs.
  • Useful load: 295 lbs.
  • Engine: Rotax/Hirth 40-50hp
  • Fuel capacity: 5 or 10 gallons
  • Range: 180 mi.
  • Ceiling: 10,000 ft.
  • Cruise Speed: 60 mph
  • Stall Speed: 28 mph
  • Take-off distance: 150 ft.
  • Landing distance: 200 ft.
  • Rate of climb: 800-1,000 fpm.
  • Wingspan:75 ft.
  • Wing Area: 120 sq. ft.
  • Length: 16 ft.
  • Build time: 250 hours
  • Complete airframe kit cost: $6,995
Image of Kolb Firestar
[image is sourced from: Kolb Aircraft]

3.      Kolb Firestar

The Firestar is one of Kolb Aircraft’s classic proven designs and has been in production since 1985. It is known for its versatility, light weight, sporty handling and rapid climb rate.

  • Empty weight: 280-325 lbs. (depending on options)
  • Gross weight: 725 lbs.
  • Useful load: 400-445 lbs.
  • Engine: Hirth 3202 (standard), Rotax 503, or Rotax 447
  • Fuel capacity: 5 or 10 gal.
  • Cruise Speed: 80 mph
  • Stall Speed: 27 mph
  • Take-off distance: 100-200 ft.
  • Landing distance: 150 ft.
  • Rate of climb: 1,200 fpm
  • Wingspan: 27’
  • Wing Area: 140 sq. ft.
  • Length: 22’6”
  • Build time: 350-400 hours
  • Kit price: $6,776 - $7,260
  • Engine package price: $7,819 - $8,842

Top 3 Two Place Ultralight Aircraft

The second category of ultralight aircraft is two place or two seaters. With a two-place ultralight, you can take a passenger along for the ride. Just remember that with a two-place aircraft, you will be flying under GA Rules (Part 61 & 91).

As previously mentioned, under these rules, you must register your aircraft and have a current airworthiness certificate issued by an FAA inspector. The maximum approved gross weight for a two-place ultralight is 1,320 pounds. To solo in a two-place ultralight, you will need at least a sport pilot certificate. If you intend to fly with a passenger, you are required to earn a recreational pilot certificate.

Now let’s introduce our top 3 two-place ultralights:

Image of CGS Arrow II from CGS Aviation
[image is sourced from: CGS Aviation ]

4.      CGS Hawk Arrow II

Hawk Ultralights have been around since 1982 when the single place classic model scored 3 prestigious awards in its first year of production and went on to scoop up many more. The outstanding new design winner from the 1982 EAA International Air Show earned that title with high scores for appearance, design, engineering, flying performance and portability. It was the first fully enclosed ultralight on the market and has become a time-honored classic.

The Arrow II builds on that legend with better visibility and modern jet-like lines. A second seat is added behind the pilot. This tandem style seating configuration minimizes the difference in center of gravity when flying alone vs with a passenger.

  • Empty weight: 550 lbs.
  • Gross weight: 1,100 lbs.
  • Useful load: 550 lbs.
  • Engine: Rotax 582
  • Fuel capacity: 5 gal. (standard) or 10 gal. (optional)
  • Cruise Speed: 55-80 mph
  • Stall Speed: 35-40 mph
  • Rate of climb: 600-1,200 fpm
  • Wingspan: 31’ 6”
  • Wing area: 147 sq. ft.
  • Build time: 300 hours
  • “Amateur” kit price: $14,500
  • “ELSA” kit price: $32,400 (includes wingtanks, elevator trim, folding tail, Rotax 582)
Image of Kolb Firefly
[image is sourced from: Kolb Aircraft ]

5.      Kolb Firefly

The Mark III Xtra has become Kolb’s most popular aircraft. It is based off the Mark III Classic design with some aerodynamic enhancements to generate an extra 10-15 mph cruise speed. A sturdy steel and aluminum construction, removable doors/windows and folding wings and tail complete the priced-just-right package.

  • Empty weight: 500 lbs.
  • Gross weight: 1,100 lbs.
  • Useful load: 600 lbs.
  • Engine: Rotax 582 (standard) or Rotax 912/912s (optional)
  • Fuel capacity: 10 gal.
  • Cruise Speed: 80 mph.
  • Stall Speed: 41 mph.
  • Take-off distance: 150 ft. (solo) or 200 ft (dual)
  • Landing distance: Not specified
  • Rate of climb: 1,000 fpm (solo) or 800 fpm (dual)
  • Wingspan: 30 ft.
  • Wing Area: 160 sq. ft.
  • Length: 24 ft.
  • Build time: 450 hours
  • Kit price: $7,235 - $11,520
  • Engine package price: $6,162 - $20,251
MX II Sprint from Quicksilver Aircraft
    [image is sourced from: Quicksilver Aircraft ]

    6.      Quicksilver MX II Sprint

    The MX II Sprint was built with the new pilot in mind and is one of the easiest two place ultralights to assemble and learn to fly. Quicksilver made this aircraft to handle predictably at low flight speeds and to be capable of a very short take-off and landing roll.

    • Empty weight: 330 lbs.
    • Gross weight: 720 lbs.
    • Useful load: 390 lbs.
    • Engine: Rotax 582
    • Fuel capacity: 6 gal.
    • Cruise Speed: 64 mph
    • Stall Speed: 27 mph
    • Take-off distance: 79 ft. (202 ft. with 50’ obstacle)
    • Landing distance: 75 ft. (240 ft. with 50’ obstacle)
    • Rate of climb: 1145 fpm
    • Wingspan: 32’ 7”
    • Wing area: 180 sq. ft.
    • Length: 18’ ½”
    • Build time: 40-60 hours
    • Price: Quicksilver says you can “get up and running for less than 20k.”

    Honorable Mention Ultralight Aircraft

    These Ultralight crafts might not be in our Top 3 lists, but they are certainly worth checking out!

    Aero-Works Aerolite Aircraft from UFlyIt
    [image is sourced from: U-Fly-It]

    7.      Aero-Works Aerolite 103

    Fast and easy, the Aero-Works Aerolite sold by U-Fly-It is available as a fully assembled aircraft and as a quick-build-kit for self-assembly.

    • Empty weight: 235 lbs.

    • Gross weight: 600 lbs.

    • Fuel capacity: 5 US Gallons

    • Cruise Speed: 45-63 mph

    • Stall Speed: 26-28 mph

    • Take-off distance: 100-200 ft

    • Landing distance: 100-200 ft

    • Rate of climb: 500-650 fpm

    • Wingspan: 26 ft 10.25 in.

    • Wing Area: 121 sq. ft.

    • Length: 16ft 3.25 in.

    • Build time: 50 hrs

    • Kit price: $16,950

    • Find more information about this ultralight aircraft: Here

    Air-Bike 103 by Jordan Lake Aero
    [image is sourced from: Jordan Lake Aero ]

    8.      Jordan Lake Air-Bike 103

    Come and experience the Air-Bike 103 Ultralight, where lightness meets pleasure. It is designed with a precise engine and customizable features to comply with the Part 103 regulations. Go further by selecting from additional details like folding wings, brakes, wingtips, and wheelpants to make this aircraft truly yours. Soaring through the sky awaits you—the Air-Bike 103 is ready for your journey.

    • Empty weight: 242-248 lbs.

    • Engine: Hirth F-33, 28hp

    • Fuel Capacity: 5 US Gal.

    • Cruise Speed: 55 mph

    • Stall Speed: 28 mph

    • Take-off roll: 250 ft.

    • Landing roll: 200 ft.

    • Rate of climb: 1000 fpm

    • Wingspan: 26.75 ft.

    • Wing Area: 120 sq. ft

    • Length: 16 ft.

    • Build time:  450 hrs.

    • Complete airframe Kit: $6,995 

    • Find more information about this ultralight aircraft: Here

    Maverick 2 Legend by North Wing
    [image is sourced from:  North Wing]

    9.      North Wing Maverick 2 Legend

    The Maverick 2 Legend Ultralight Trike has recently been improved to increase flight performance, convivence, and space – all wrapped up in an ultralight package.

    • Empty Weight: 447 lbs. 

    • Gross weight: 600 lbs.

    • Engine: Rotax 

    • Cruise Speed: 40 mph

    • Stall Speed @ Gross: 28 mph

    • Take-off distance: 600 ft @ 700 fpm (clear 50 ft obstacle @ 650 lb fross)

    • Landing distance: 600 ft @ gross weight

    • Rate of climb: 700 fpm

    • Wing Folded Up: 12” x 20 ft

    • Wing Span: 31.25 ft

    • Wing Area: 147 sq ft.

    • Length: 108”

    • Kit Price: Call for details

    • Engine package price: Starting at $24300.00

    • Find more information about this ultralight aircraft: Here

    S 21 Outbound by Rans
    [image is sourced from: Rans]

    10.      Rans S-21 Outbound

    Another stunning aircraft we had to have on this list was the S-21 Outbound. This is a Titan 340 powered(180 HP) ultralight aircraft. The S-21 does not require welding and can be built from start to finish in approximately 700 hours. A fun little project to take on for any pilot or aviation-mechanic enthusiast. 

    • Empty weight: 985 lbs

    • Gross weight:  1320-1800 lbs

    • Useful Load: 500 lbs

    • Take Off Roll: 325 ft

    • Rate of Climb: 850 fpm

    • VNE: 215 MPH

    • Wingspan: 28 ft

    • Cockpit Width: 46.5

    • Landing Gear: TR/TD

    • Build time: 700-1,000 hours (no welding req.)

    • Kit Price: $10,950.00-$18,450.00

    • Engine package price: $11,995.00-$23,400.00

    • Find more information about this ultralight aircraft: Here

    How to choose an ultralight aircraft:

    When considering your options, rank the merits of each aircraft and compare them using the Ultralight News’ handy 10-point system for rating ultralight aircraft. This will walk you through exactly what to look for and what to avoid when selecting your next ultralight. Soon you will take to the air flying the best ultralight aircraft for the money.

    Want to know more about plane ownership?

    We have several guides to help you get on the right track!

    Did you find this article helpful?

    Do you think we missed anything important? Let us know in the comments below!

    Aircraft ownershipEducation

    14 comments

    CH

    CH

    Hey guys, the wingspan of the #2 aircraft, the Jordan Lake Air-Bike LS is certainly not 75 feet! LOL

    Brandon

    Brandon

    Jim, do you have a link to your Lazair progress ?

    Tony Ryan

    Tony Ryan

    I get the feeling that Richard has his head screwed on. I would prefer an aerodynamic plane that can take me 200Ks with low fuel usage. Where I must fly there is only woodland or sea, and the sea has crocs, so reliability is everything.

    Jim

    Jim

    Richard is spot on! I have always been a Lazair man as it was and still is the least powered and slowest stall speed of any of the ultralights out there. Dale was a aerodynamics man. I have 1 two place (for sale) and also 6 others. Two flying and and 4 to putter with. Such a simple plane.

    Jeff Mcfarland

    Jeff Mcfarland

    I’m building my first light sport aircraft and it’s one step above an ultralight and I wanted to have high back country bush stol capabilities and I would like to know if I should incorporate flaps with my ailerons or should I just run with flapperons what would be the advantages not knowing and at the risk of sounding stupid.

    Robert Davis

    Robert Davis

    This isn’t a comment but a question. I have been thinking about ultralighs for years and now that I’m retired I have time for my bucket list. I recently saw a 2009 GT 400 for sale with 96 hrs on airframe. The seller went from b7000 down to 6000 dollars . What is a good price ? Is what he’s wanting to high or reasonable. ?

    Jeff Mcfarland

    Jeff Mcfarland

    What are the penalty’s if you was to get caught flying a light sport aircraft with a passenger with out any licensing at all , i live in alaska

    Bob Pickett

    Bob Pickett

    After seeing the U-tube video, I now have to have one. Have there been any floats/wheel combo added to a ultra-lite? Where is the best place in Mich to Learn how to fly a powered ultra-light. Bob

    richard

    richard

    I raise an eyebrow at most of these entries.
    Efficiency for instance is abysmal for these. The Earthstar Gull 2000 for instance. (relatively) slow cruise speed and a massive 7gph fuel consumption.
    Another issue I have is with the trend to rely on enormously powerful engines to get the same performance than was gained in a prior era with engines half or even a third as powerful.
    I’m a huge fan of nothing beats aerodynamics though the macho idea of nothing beats horsepower seems to have come home to roost.
    I will close by pointing out that two bicycle mechanics figured out how to fly well by understanding aerodynamics were king while simultaneously beating out a huge government funded push to create a controllable airplane headed up by a man with the familiar name Langley who insisted horsepower was what was needed.
    I understand there’s many ways to place valuation on a plane, it’s only my personal opinion that the way to do that has gone awry but I do hope I can convince at least one other person to say wait a minute, this cant be as good as it gets.

    I will liken designs like these to the last gasp flak that cessna and piper were filling the skies with insisting that huge heavy aerodynamically dirty planes were ideal while the kit plane folks and the european theater kept advancing with new materials and ever cleaner slippery cost efficient designs.

    Jeff Dillow

    Jeff Dillow

    any suggestions on where to buy used ultra lights? looking for 2 seat preferably. Thanks in advance for your time.

    Geoff

    Geoff

    Like an electric ultralight? There are motors out there. I see no point in solar panels on board, I suppose you might be able to squeeze out 5 more mins in an hour flight? Leave the panels on the ground

    Warren E Bullock

    Warren E Bullock

    interested love to fly south with birds lol

    robertm haver

    robertm haver

    Like to hear about 1 and 2 seatersI,m old 90 and was an IFR rating all in single engines. Still very active.

    Virginia Fleming

    Virginia Fleming

    I’d like a solar powered ultralight… anyone try converting one?

    Leave a comment

    All comments are moderated before being published

    Featured products

    Bose A30 Aviation Headset Dual Plug Battery Power General Aviation with Bluetooth
    Bose
    Best Seller
    Bose A30 Aviation Headset Dual Plug Battery Power General Aviation with Bluetooth
    Sale price$1,299.00 USD
    Re-stocking soon
    MyGoFlight Flight Bag PLC Pro 2024 Edition
    MyGoFlight
    🛍️ New Product
    MyGoFlight Flight Bag PLC Pro 2024 Edition
    Sale price$299.00 USD
    Sold out
    Cessna® 172 Skyhawk SP (Red) Clear Canopy Large Mahogany Model
    High Flying Models
    🚨 Memorial Day Flash Sale 🚨
    Cessna® 172 Skyhawk SP (Red) Clear Canopy Large Mahogany Model
    Sale price$404.10 USD Regular price$449.00 USD
    In stock

    Latest Blog Posts

    View all
    How to Decide if Being an Airline Pilot is Right for You

    How to Decide if Being an Airline Pilot is Right for You

    Airlines
    Becoming an airline pilot is the ultimate dream for many flight students. Along with the thrill of traveling on a daily basis, there is also the financial security that comes with the job. Let's examine the airline pilot pros and cons to determine if it lines up with your personal goals and interests.
    How to Become a Helicopter Pilot (Step-By-Step Guide)

    How to Become a Helicopter Pilot (Step-By-Step Guide)

    Helicopter

    Almost everyone looks up when they hear a helicopter flying overhead, right? There’s a certain mystique about helicopters and the people who pilot them. Helicopters are fast, they’re agile and they can get into places that a fixed wing aircraft couldn’t hope to. Helicopter pilots conduct search and rescue operations, they airlift wounded military members out of hot zones, they provide aerial reconnaissance, civilian medical transport and more.

    Breaking Down Everything in the Cessna 172 Cockpit

    Breaking Down Everything in the Cessna 172 Cockpit

    Aircraft

    Are you curious about the inner workings of a Cessna 172 cockpit? In this guide we’ll take your through each control and instrument to boost your cockpit awareness. If you're just starting flight training as a student pilot or preparing for a checkout in a new aircraft with your instructor, this guide will help you become a knowledgeable and confident pilot.