Aerolite 103 The Best Bargain in a Ready-to-Fly Airplane? By Dan Johnson.

Aerolite 103 is, as its name implies, a legal Part 103 ultralight vehicle. Many pilots speak of airplanes they cannot afford. Indeed, $150,000 Light-Sport Aircraft are priced beyond common budgets. One way to solve this is through a partnership or fractional ownership... and I will be writing about partnerships later this year. 

Another way involves a ready-to-fly aircraft for under $20,000. You read it right: Under $20,000 for a ready to fly aircraft with many features you want including electric starting, flaps, brakes, tricycle gear, and instruments. It meets U.S. Part 103 ultralight regulations. Plus, it is great fun to fly!

Being a true 103 ultralight vehicle, you'll have to be a pilot to fly an Aerolite 103 but don't need any pilot certificate from FAA. 
Welcome back to Terry Raber's brilliant Aerolite 103... literally brilliant in day-glow orange (photo). An amazing value, let me list a few of the standard equipment items: Factory-built; Hirth F-33 engine with electric start & battery; nose fairing & windshield; instruments including airspeed, altimeter, tachometer, EGT, CHT, and clock; electric flaps; steerable nose wheel with suspension; and four-point restraint system (this list does not include everything you get). The only option I'd advise is the airframe parachute, which brings added safety and does not add to empty weight, per FAA. It does add $3,500 of cost. 

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Aerolite 103 won't fly 120 knots like an LSA; it can't, legally, as Part 103 aircraft are limited to 63 mph. The also-mandated five gallons of fuel may only provide a couple hours or so of duration, so if you simply must fly from New York to LA, this isn't your bird unless you have time. Admittedly, even at 120 knots, most LSA owners will never attempt such a long flight.

You can have the facatory professionally build your Aerolite 103... for less than $20,000! But the Aerolite 103 can provide years of fun at 55 mph and in a smiles-per-mile evaluation, the finest equipped LSA cannot beat the Aerolite 103 and your wide-open view of the landscape is nearly untouchable by any other aircraft. 

The only criticism I've heard for this aircraft is that it is built lightly and may not take repeated pounding by student pilots. That Aerolite is built lightly is obvious; it makes Part 103's tight weight limits. In my flight experience with the Aerolite, I found it to have excellent behavior that suggests "pounding" is something an experienced pilot won't (or at least shouldn't) do. 

If you want to fly for fun and do so economically, I advise you get in line early.  Even with more than 350 aircraft in my logbook, Aerolite 103 is one of my favorites. Maybe it could be yours? 

 Flight Training

Aerolite 103 Ultralight Aircraft flying at the Sport Aviation Expo Sebring Florida

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Aerolite 103 Ultralight Aircraft flying at sunset.
Aerolite 103, Dan Johnson Talks To Dennis Carley About His Aerolite 103 Legal Ultralight Aircraft.

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