by Andrew Fling
There are many factors that go into choosing the right microlight aircraft. Before you invest your hard earned money in an aircraft, take the time to consider the following:
Budget. For many people budget is the main concern. It will, all by itself, trim your list of possible aircraft considerably. Within that list however, you will still be left with decisions like ready-to-fly, microlight aircraft kit or build-it-from-scratch plans, and also the type of aircraft, which will include 3-axis, weight-shift trike, autogyro, powered parachute, powered paraglider, helicopter, hot air balloon, and hopper balloon.
Ready-to-fly aircraft will be the most expensive, as someone has taken the time to build the aircraft for you. The least expensive route is a microlight aircraft kit. You can bolt it together in a few weekends and save big. If you're interested in build-it-from-scratch plans, make sure that these aircraft are getting certified by the FAA before you even by the plans. This step could save you a lot of headache and significant expense.
Performance. The next thing you will want to consider is performance. Are you interested in flying really fast, and being able to perform complex stunts? Would you like to be able to fly to California for a day at the beach? Perhaps a closed cockpit aircraft that can fly above the clouds is for you.
If you think you might enjoy that open air flying go cart experience, then 3-axis microlight aircraft or weight-shift trike might be just the thing. Between the two, the 3-axis aircraft will provide you with slightly more performance than the trike.
Pilot License. If you're just starting out, flying anything may seem pretty great. However, if you're interested in getting your pilot license someday you should purchase a 3-axis plane. Learning to fly a weight shift trike may be great fun, thought it won't prepare you for your license.
Lifestyle. If you're an on-the-go kind of person, that would like to be able to store your aircraft in your garage, and then hook it to the back of your truck to join your friends up in the mountains for a weekend of flying, you should consider a microlight aircraft with foldable wings. These aircraft include Weight-Shift Trikes and Powered Parachutes.
Beyond these basic considerations, the best way to know what you will like to begin taking lessons. Your instructor will be a great source of information, and you will also begin to learn what you like about the aircraft you are training on, and what you don't.