Microlight Aircraft Explained

Here we hope to explain the requirements and limitations for an aircraft to fit into the microlight category, but first we will explain why its exits.

Why a Different Category

Your normal Single Engine Piston (SEP) aircraft like a Cessna or a Piper are designed and built under agreed international rules. These have the safety of the crew and passengers as there highest priority and can be used for commercial purposes such as air charter and other for reward work. The standards used are the same for a two seat aircraft up to your large commercial airliner. Once size fits all. A microlight aircraft or an ultralight aircraft as it is known in other parts of the world, is designed and built for the sports and recreation pilot. Thus the requirements have been changed and adapted for this specific niche.

Microlight Aircraft Explained

A microlight aircraft is designed for use by the sports pilot with no commercial intent with the exception of training other microlight pilots. Other than that, it cannot be used for any commercial purposes. A passenger cannot pay or be charged for a flight. However, a passenger can contribute to and share the cost of the flight that they have had. For an aircraft to fit into the microlight category it must comply with the following all up weights:

  • 300kg for a single seat land plane.

  • 472.5 kg for a land plane, two seater equipped with an airframe mounted total recovery parachute system

  • 450kg for a two seat land plane

  • 330kg for a single seat amphibian or float plane

  • 495kg for a two seat amphibian or float plane

  • 315kg for a land plane single seater equipped with an airframe mounted total recovery parachute system

In addition microlights must have a stall speed of less than 35 knots in the landing configuration, flaps extended etc., 

Types of Microlight

Currently there are three types of microlights defined.

  • 3 axis microlight, which are similar to other  fixed wing aircraft and are controlled about the 3 axis by ailerons, rudder and elevator.
  • The weight shift flexwing microlight and have a wing similar to that of a hang glider. It is controlled by the pilot moving their weight to shift the center of gravity.
  • A powered parachutes microlight has a para-glider type canopy and is powered either by a motor hung on a frame into which the pilot (cough, cough) sits into or on the back of the pilot. The propeller is contained within a cage to prevent fouling the lines.
Hopefully the above has helped explain the differences between microlights and group A.





Where are we?


Fergus McDonnell


00 353 (0)87 805 1400

Address: Lights Sport Aviation Ltd.
Co. Galway,