ANN Reader Robb Stapleton tells us that, "The
completion and use of 51 percent, glider-trike homebuilt ultralight
kits offered at Birchwood Airport has influenced the FAA to create
a new flexibility for this type of sport aircraft."
"We will soon issue new operational specifications that will
allow aircraft specific training in the glider trikes," said FAA's
Sue Gardner. Gardner is the project manager for a proposed new FAA
Sport Pilot certification program, and eventual Light Sport
"The completion and use of our Antares kits has convinced the
FAA that there is sufficient interest and a need to allow pilots to
receive transitional training in weight shift experimental
aircraft," says Mike Jacober, president of Arctic Sparrow
According to Gardner, the new flight privilege will allow flight
instructors from a non governmental, FAA recognized organization to
offer official training for FAA licensed pilots, or introductory
training toward other pilot certifications.
The specifications will also change the
operational limitations of the aircraft as regulated by the FAA.
Officials expect the ruling by the end of March.
The glider-trike, or powered glider is more commonly referred to
as a weight shift, or powered hang glider type aircraft. Jacober
and Sergey Zozuliya of Antares Aircraft LLC, worked with the FAA in
2001 to get the Antares MA-32-33 aircraft on the organization's 51
percent homebuilt kit list. 51 percent homebuilt means that the kit
builder is required to actually build 51 percent of the aircraft
kit. The builder may receive up to 49 percent assistance from a
mechanic or FAA certified airframe and power plant mechanic, or the
This development comes six years after Arizona resident Greg
Silva, was the first person in the U.S. to obtain licensing for 51
percent homebuilt "Experimental" aircraft. Silva built the
Ukrainian designed Antares MA-32. Jacober, and Antares LLC, offer
the only weight shift kit aircraft of its kind in the world.
Currently there are nine of the Antares kits that have been
completed and licensed as "Experimental" aircraft, with three more
close to completion.
Presently, the FAA does not specifically recognize
weight shift, powered hang-glider, type flying in a different pilot
category. There are specific provisions in the FARs under Part 103
that regulate this type of aircraft and flight activity. But, there
is no license, certification or special endorsement for FAA
certified airmen, according to Jacober.
This unprecedented change would allow this type of experimental
aircraft to be used for hire, but for instruction only.