Ultralight aircraft in the United States are much smaller and lighter than ultralight aircraft in all other countries.
In the USA ultralights are classified as vehicles and not aircraft and are thus not required to be registered nor is the pilot required to have a pilot license or certificate.
US definition of "ultralight"
Regulation of ultralight aircraft in the United States is covered by the Code of Federal Regulations Title 14 (Federal Aviation Regulations) Part 103 or 14 CFR Part 103, which defines an "ultralight" as a vehicle that:
- Weighs less than 254 pounds (115 kg) empty weight, excluding floats and safety devices
- Has a maximum fuel capacity of 5 U.S. gallons (19 L);
- Has a top speed of 55 knots (102 km/h; 63 mph) calibrated airspeed at full power in level flight
- Has a power-off stall speed of 24 knots (45 km/h; 28 mph) calibrated airspeed or less
- The vehicle has an operating anti-collision light visible for at least 3 statute miles
- The flight is only in uncontrolled airspace
Ultralight vehicles cannot be flown over any congested area of a city, town, or settlement, or over any open air assembly of persons.
Weight allowances can be made for amphibious landing gear, and ballistic parachute systems.
In the United States, while no license or training is required by law for ultralights, training is highly advisable.