GET TO KNOW THE AEROLITE
THE JOY OF FLYING DOESN'T GET
SIMPLER THAN THIS
We are a proud to partner with U-Fly-It, the Aerolite’s manufacturer based in Deland, Florida. All airframe materials are obtained and fabricated in the USA, including structure, sail cloth, and hardware.
Hirth Engines are expertly made in Germany and our floats are made in Quebec, Canada.
Starting at $20,400 USD READY TO FLY
Kits available, please ask for details
The Aerolite 103 was designed by long-time aviation enthusiast Terry Raber in 1996. Everyone in the Ultralight and Light Sport industry knows Terry. The vast majority of the light aircraft flying use his Streamline Strut Fairings and Stainless Exhaust Brackets (both of which he designed back in 1993).
In the early 1990’s, Terry was building and selling ultralights, but he always felt the perfect plane had not yet been designed. Not being one to settle for second best, he carefully studied the best features of each ultralight. Eventually, he put all the pieces together with his own refinements to produce the Aerolite 103. The first prototype Aerolite 103 flew on October 6, 1996. Testing continued while building the production prototype and the Aerolite 103 debuted at Oshkosh in 1997. The Aerolite 103 was appropriately awarded the ultimate prize of Grand Champion Ultralight. Since that day, the design has gone on to win multiple awards over the years.
Between 1997 and 2012, Terry produced hundreds of Aerolite 103’s. The aircraft has always been extremely popular and highly regarded by both experienced and newer pilots alike.
In 2012, Terry made the difficult decision to pursue other non-aviation business interests and decided it was time for the Aerolite 103 design to have a new home. Terry contacted U-FLY-IT Light Sport Aircraft’s owner, Dennis Carley, to inquire if he had an interest in carrying on the manufacturing. After a brief, yet very productive conversation, plans were implemented to facilitate the relocation of the Aerolite production facility to U-FLY-IT’s base of operation in DeLand, Florida.
Dennis also has an extensive history of building and flying Ultralight/Light Sport Aircraft. He too has received Grand Champion and other awards for his craftsmanship that has been exhibited. Having built over 100 Ultralight and Experimental aircraft in the past 20 years, he was well suited and the perfect person to carry on with the production of the Aerolite 103. While working in the capacity as a DAR, Dennis issued hundreds of airworthiness certificates to all types of Ultralight, Experimental and Homebuilt aircraft. He has consistently regarded the Aerolite as one of the best designed and most rugged light aircraft ever produced.
Production of the Aerolite 103 continues to adhere to the highest aviation standards, delivering years of safe pleasure flying to those who own or fly one. It is arguably the best value of any ultralight aircraft available!
What size trailer is needed to transport the Aerolite?
The floor width requirement is 6’ 6” inside the wheel well, and we recommend a length is 16’ (it can sometimes be done in a 14’ trailer, depending on the interior layout, but it is very tight at 14’). The wings need to be suspended in slings against the wall, so the vertical height of the wall above the wheel wells must be a minimum of 4’ plus another foot or so for the straps. And there must be a way to secure the straps to the wall (a rail, hooks, etc.).
Does the Aerolite need rudder or elevator trim tabs?
No, the Aerolite design is such that the pilot basically sits at the centre of gravity of the airfoil. Unlike many other designs, which must compensate for different pilot weights with trim tabs and/or ballast, that is not the case with the Aerolite. Another great benefit of the pilot seat being located near the CG (and not having to use a trim tab) is increased efficiency of the airfoil.
Does the seat adjust for shorter pilots?
The seat itself does not adjust, but we have two ways to compensate for shorter pilots (shorter than about 5’7”). First, when we build the aircraft for a shorter pilot we move the rudder pedals back 2” towards the seat. Normally, that is sufficient for our shorter owners to comfortably reach the pedals and be able to fully deflect them with ease. If that still is not comfortable for you, then we simply add an additional 1”- 2” of 100 pound density foam in the rear seat back to move the pilot a bit closer to the pedals.
Do you offer a stick instead of a yoke?
No, the yoke design on the Aerolite was intentional, primarily to allow the use of high-quality Teleflex style cables for the elevator and aileron controls (they are also used on the electric flaps). The smoothness, lack of slop and positive control surface response with the push/pull cables that we have custom made can not be duplicated with standard aircraft cables and pulleys. If you ever move the controls on an Aerolite, you will see how much smoother our flight controls are than most other aircraft.
What is the best engine for my Aerolite?
The Hirth F-33 or Kawasaki 340 are fine for most clients, and the F-33 is the engine that we use the most. For example, we use the F-33 on one of our demo planes. I am 6′ 2″, 210 pounds, and I get 650 FPM climb at 40 MPH indicated (stall is 26). Cruise is 55-60 MPH. For larger pilots, or higher altitudes, the Hirth 2702 is a great option.
Can my new Aerolite be shipped to me?
Yes, it certainly can, and we do it all the time. We ship about 90% of the ones we build for non-local customers. You are certainly welcome to pick it up if you would like, but most clients find it less expensive in the long run to have the plane delivered. We normally use a company that does nothing but move light aircraft from one location to another in the U.S. The owner is a licensed A&P mechanic, bonded, insured, and the planes are moved in an enclosed trailer. Moving aircraft is their sole job, and they have moved about 100 of them for us. Their rate fluctuates a bit based on fuel cost, and is based on one-way mileage. For an exact shipping quote, email us any time for the transport company’s current rate.
How long does it take to get a new Aerolite?
It depends on what time of year you order. It normally ranges from 8 to 16 weeks, but can extend a bit longer at peak times of the year.
Is the Aerolite available as a kit?
Currently, we offer the Aerolite in two forms: completely assembled, test flown and ready to fly, or a completely built airframe, less engine, instruments and prop (for those customers who already have an engine they wish to install). Although we occasionally receive an inquiry for an Aerolite kit, we have found that most customers prefer a ready to fly aircraft, especially when the price for an Aerolite is already lower than nearly every other manufacturer’s kit.
In addition, all of the components of the Aerolite are built and assembled using permanent jigs and fixtures, for precision construction. In other words, if we were to supply the components in kit form, the end user would simply not be able to have a completed aircraft with the same precision, fit and finish that we can supply directly from the factory. If you compare the quality of the Aerolite to any other Part 103 aircraft, we are sure you will find that there actually is no comparison.
Do the wings fold for transport?
The Aerolite wings do not fold, but the aircraft can easily be disassembled for storage or transport. There is a huge misconception in the light aircraft industry regarding the few aircraft designs that do incorporate wings that fold back. These designs were meant to fold back in 5-10 minutes, allowing the owner to park the plane in a hangar, barn, etc., but NOT to roll onto a trailer and go driving down the road. On most of the folding wing designs, if you fold the wings back and then transport the aircraft without taking additional steps to secure the wings in their folded position, you can damage the wing spars, necessitating a very costly repair.
For transport, all light planes are much less susceptible to damage if the wings are removed. The Aerolite wings and tail assembly can be removed for transport or storage in about 20 minutes. Reassembly takes about 30. The control system design of the Aerolite, using Teleflex style cables for aileron, flap and elevator controls, can be disconnected or reconnected in a matter of seconds.