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Converting Standard to Sport

Posted By:
Ben Anderson
Homebuilder or Craftsman
#1 Posted: 3/12/2011 08:49:14

Reading an article about a certain gentleman who converted a standard ultralight into a sport ultralight got me thinking about the safety of such modification. All he did was strengthen the structure, such as his ribs, spars, tail structures, and overall framing. He put an aluminum leading edge in stead of felt etc. Does this really help the overall safety as to give you peace of mind when your in a nose dive? Of course pulling such stunts in an ultralight, God forbid, however, do these precautions aid anything outside of the mind?

Dana Hague
#2 Posted: 3/14/2011 17:39:17


I'm not sure what you mean by "standard ultralight" and "sport ultralight".  There was a transition period during which "fat ultralights" (two seat ultralight trainers and overweight single seat ultralights) could be converted to (i.e. registered as)  "experimental light-sport aircraft" (E-LSA).  This required no modifications; it was primarily a paperwork thing along with an inspection.

Structurally, most ultralights are more than adequate.  Some older designs were on the flimsy side, but few of those old ones are still flying.  Any structural modifications or additions must be treated as a completely new design and properly analyzed.  Sometimes adding strength to a structure can move the stresses to other, weaker parts of the structure and actually reduce the strength.