It’s simple – a microlight is an aeroplane, capable of flight in the same way as any other. It is restricted to 2 seats, it must weigh around 265kg at most and it must be able to fly at low speed. Other than that, it’s an aeroplane!
Actually the rules are slightly more complicated than that and a legal definition of a microlight can be found at the bottom of this page.
There are three main types of Microlight;
the 3-axis (or fixed wing) type which looks more like a conventional aeroplane
the flexwing type which consists of a delta wing similar to a hang glider with a ‘trike’ unit suspended underneath it
and powered parachutes which have a ram air canopy below which is suspended a wheeled power unit often similar to the flexwing type.
All three of these types require a pilot’s licence to fly in the UK.
A microlight aeroplane is one designed to carry not more than two persons which has a Maximum Total Weight Authorised (MTWA) not exceeding:
- 300 kg for a single seat landplane.
- 390 kg for an amateur built single seat landplane for which aUK Permit to Fly or Certificate of Airworthiness was in force prior to 1 January 2003
- 450 kg for a two seat landplane
- 330 kg for a single seat amphibian or floatplane
- 495 kg for a two seat amphibian or floatplane
- 315kg for a single seat landplane equipped with an airframe mounted total recovery parachute system
- 472.5kg for a two-seat landplane equipped with an airframe mounted total recovery parachute system
A microlight must also have a stalling speed at the maximum weight authorised not exceeding 35 knots calibrated speed.
All UK registered aeroplanes falling within these parameters are Microlight aeroplanes.